Tranmere striker James Vaughan has today announced his surprise retirement from football.
Just days after a disappointing play-off defeat against Morecambe, Tranmere are now facing an even tougher challenge to shape a squad for next season following the shock retirement of top scorer James Vaughan.
Vaughan initially joined Rovers on loan in League One and made a positive impact before the EFL curtailed the season and chose to demote Tranmere. Vaughany wasn’t gone long, making his move from Bradford City permanent last summer.
He became a talisman for Rovers and was at the forefront of the League Two goalscoring charts alongside one of the men he replaced at Prenton Park, Paul Mullin.
Vaughan was integral to how Tranmere played during the last campaign. A focal point to the attack who could hold the ball up, lead the line and bring others into play. His leadership qualities and experience were vital, his contribution defensively on set pieces also key. But it was his goals that were more important than anything.
On 27th February, Vaughan was fouled in the closing stages of Rovers’ game at Leyton Orient. Leading 3-1, Tranmere had been on fire and automatic promotion looked like it would almost be routine. Vaughan had 21 goals to his name.
However, that challenge on Vaughan would become the turning point.
He limped off and would miss almost two months, returning for two brief appearances before having to sit out the final few matches again up until the play-offs.
He returned to play a part in the play-offs and notched goal number 22 of the season in the second leg at Morecambe. However, it was too little, too late for Rovers.
Vaughan was consoled at full-time by Peter Clarke, the striker clearly struggling to control his emotions. A few days later, it looks as though that wasn’t purely because of the result on the day, but because he knew he’d played his last professional game.
He had been one of just a handful of players under contract for next season. Along with Jay Spearing and Calum Macdonald, he was looking like a key component of a promotion challenge in 21/22.
Now Rovers must replace 22 goals in their team, as well as building on a squad of four contracted players and no manager.
Tranmere fans everywhere will wish Vaughany nothing but the best in retirement and thanks for the contribution over the past 18 months.