So, the news we all dreaded has been confirmed; Micky Mellon has left Tranmere. So, where does Mark Palios turn next?
Rovers fans have enjoyed an amazing ride under Micky Mellon. Three Wembley appearances, back-to-back promotions and even little a return to the days of big cup runs at Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United visited Prenton Park in the FA Cup.
However, following Micky’s move to Dundee United, Rovers fans are left wondering where we go next. Having been senselessly demoted by Rick P*rry and his EFL chronies, the next managerial move is actually a huge one.
As fans, the expectation will be that the appointment demonstrated a real show of ambition. We want to be back in League One this time in 12 months and the appointment should reflect that.
So, who are the main runners and riders? Based purely on which managers are out of work and likely to be linked with the role, here is a very early list, based on nothing other than conjecture.
Birkenhead-born and a former Tranmere player, Nigel Adkins is probably an appointment that just about every fan would accept. In fact, he’d be a real statement of intent by the owners and get fans excited for the new season.
Of course, Adkins is used to working at much bigger clubs with bigger budgets and a bigger salary for himself than we could offer. Is a return to Wirral too far-fetched?
Expect this man to be right up there in the bookies markets. The 48-year-old Liverpudlian has cut his teeth in management at Colchester and led them to the League Two play-offs this season. He did, of course, start his playing career at Tranmere and played nearly 200 games for the club. Speculation also suggests he has quit his post at Colchester, though that is purely social media rumour at this point.
Another former Tranmere defender, Chally is sure to be mentioned in connection with the job. He’s currently in charge of Hartlepool United after several years with Fylde.
Vastly experienced, Simon Grayson may be seen as a safe pair of hands. However, his last couple of jobs have been underwhelming and he’s also likely to be pretty expensive. Add that to his slightly dull style of football in recent years and he’s not likely to be very sought after by Rovers fans.
We all know he will end up in the bookies pricing somewhere, so we’ve put him in here. In short, Ronnie’s time at Tranmere is probably best left in the past.
Former striker Ryan Lowe is forging a decent career for himself as a manager having achieved promotions with both Bury and Plymouth in consecutive League Two seasons. However, while he may like the idea of returning to Merseyside, his two promotions have come with a pretty big playing budget and he’s also under contract at Plymouth. Very little chance of this one happening.
Well, if we’re talking about former players, then let’s give Ivano a shout out. The 55-yer-old Italian had a spell in management at Dundee but he now to be found running the footgolf business he founded back in Italy. This one won’t happen either.
Keith Hill nearly became Tranmere manager many years ago, but his insistence on bringing his backroom staff from Rochdale but an end to it. However, having recently left Bolton, expect Hill to be among the names mentioned.
Uh oh, another Robbie Fowler rumour. This one may be inescapable in the coming weeks. Fowler, keen to become a manager in his own right, recently left his position as Head Coach of Brisbane Roar in the Australian A-League. He did okay, but nothing more. He’s been linked with moves as a player and as a potential owner/investor, so we’d be stunned if this doesn’t appear on a bookmaker’s shortlist.
Here’s an interesting one. Clough left Burton this summer due to the club not being able to afford his wages with the Coronavirus pandemic raging on. Out of work and with a pretty good track record, in terms of club size, this would be a real step forward for Clough.
Another former player doing well in management, Paul Cook would be an exceptional appointment for Rovers. However, he’s currently Wigan boss and highly unlikely to make the move here. Salary, if nothing else, would be a real stumbling block you’d have to believe.
The former Rovers man is currently assistant to Joey Barton at Fleetwood Town. If he fancies a move into management himself, you’d have to think that he’d see Tranmere as a perfect fit.
Here’s a curveball and a very unlikely one, you’d have thought. Gareth Taylor has recently been appointed manager of Manchester City Women having successfully worked in City’s youth setup for some time. He’s assisted at City by a certain Alan Mahon. Could it be a Prenton Park return for the former duo?
The Accrington Stanley boss is linked with the Tranmere hotseat every time it comes available, so why not have thw 2020 edition of the rumour. He would need to drop a division to get the job this time and Rovers would probably have to pay compensation. It’s an interesting one though. In terms of budget he’s well-used to signing younger players and developing them on, something Mark Palios is keen on.
Beale is currently assistant to Steven Gerrard at Rangers and also worked in the youth setup at Liverpool for many years. He was recently thought to be in the running for the Bolton job. However, surely Rovers will want someone with a little more experience?
Hopefully not one that will get anywhere near the interview stage, but expect Neil Aspin’s name to make it on to a list somewhere. He managed Port Vale in League Two for two years, not very well, mind.
Ex-Everton and Ireland midfielder who is desperate for a chance of managing. He’s worked around the first team setup at Coventry and Birmingham and is currently part of the England under-21 setup.