Tranmere and Forest Green seem to have developed a habit of running in to each other at key times recently, but the links between the two go further than that.
Despite FGR’s relatively recent emergence on the football scene, certainly from our perspective, there’s a fair few players who have played for both clubs. James Norwood is obviously the most prominent, but how many of these do you remember?
We’ve found 12 so far – if we’ve missed any, let us know on our Tranmere forum.
Norwood is almost certainly the most well-known of the players who has played for both clubs. Nors played well over 150 games during a four year stint with Forest Green, but also played a further 11 times during a loan spell there earlier in his career.
In 2015, he became Tranmere’s first signing in non-league when he swapped The New Lawn for Prenton Park. He’s now one of the most coveted strikers in the Football League and a true Tranmere hero.
Defender Manny Monthe made the move to Tranmere midway through last season having starred for Forest Green during the Wembley play-off final in 2017. He formed a key defensive partnership with Mark Ellis that day as FGR ran out 3-1 victors. However, with the Nailsworth club struggling with life in the EFL last season, he was allowed to join Tranmere on loan, a move which was made permanent last summer.
Also making the move to Tranmere last summer was Mark Ellis, the other half of that solid defensive duo at Wembley. He moved to Prenton Park on a free from Carlisle and finally forced his way in to the team in January, becoming a key part. Sadly, he picked up a serious knee injury against Forest Green on Good Friday and won’t play again this season.
Another of Forest Green’s 2017 heroes was influential midfielder Drissa Traore. He was a massive part of the club’s promotion to the National League but was allowed to leave soon after Monthe did last season. He too made the move to Tranmere but appeared just three times before returning to France due to personal reasons.
Former Tranmere forward Andy Mangan was a popular figure during his team with both clubs, and he had two spells at each of them too! He played around 50 games for FGR between 2008 and 2010 and also a few more games for the club prior to joining Shrewsbury in 2014.
He would later move to Tranmere and partner James Norwood up front during the 2015/16 season, ultimately making 61 league appearances over two spells at Prenton Park.
This one may have escaped your attention on Good Friday, but the number 16 for Forest Green was Gaving Gunning (main photo at the top of the page). If his name rings a bell, that’s because he was one of the players John Barnes signed on-loan in 2009. Joining from Blackburn Rovers, he was part of an incredibly young and inexperienced back four that started that game at Yeovil on the opening day of the 2009/10 season.
He would make just six appearances for Rovers, pretty much all of them left a lot to be desired. He joined Forest Green in 2018 and has done very well for them mostly playing in midfield.
Ah, the man who loves a good promotion party but contributes very little! James Alabi joined Tranmere from Chester in 2017 but managed just nine appearances and no goals. In 2013, he joined Forest Green on loan and had even less of an impact, appearing twice as a sub and also failing to find the net.
Midfielder James Rowe left Forest Green in favour of a trial at then-League One Tranmere in 2013. He never really established himself as a key first team player, making only 10 league starts in two years with the club. In total, he made 36 appearances with Rovers across all competitions, scoring three times.
Ollie James was a young midfielder who came through Tranmere’s youth system in in the early 2000s. He made one senior appearance for Rovers, coming on as a sub against Doncaster for the final 10 minutes of the 2005-06 season. He joined Forest Green in 2007 after leaving Tranmere and played just seven times at The New Lawn.
Well, there’s not much to say about this guy. He was one of Micky Adams’ many horrendous signings in November 2014 and made three dour sub appearances before disappearing off the radar again (unless you search his name on BBC News…). Earlier in his career he joined Forest Green on loan from Bristol City before making the switch permanent and scored nine goals in 24 appearances for them.
You may do well to remember this one! In the late 1990s, John Aldridge signed tiny midfielder Ryan Williams from Mansfield Town for £70,000. Big things were expected and even back in 1997, this was a decent fee for Tranmere to pay.
As it turned out, he was out of his depth – Rovers were an established Championship club at the time. He played just five games for Tranmere before heading to Chesterfield. In December 2004 he joined Forest Green on loan, playing six games and scoring once before returning to parent club Bristol Rovers.
Another from our dismal 2014/15 relegation season, big Kayode Odejayi made 47 appearances for Tranmere, scoring seven goals, as we fell out of the Football League. In fairness, he was at the backend of a decent career.
All the way back in 2001, he joined Forest Green on loan and then on a permanent basis from Bristol City. He did so well during a two-year spell with FGR that he moved to Cheltenham for £5,000 where his career really began to show promise.