(Published in Give Us An R – *some material may be out of date due to time article was written)
People say that you should never go back, because things won’t be as good second time around.
But in football, that phrase is being applied less and less. Jose Mourinho’s just returned to Chelsea, Keith Hill is back at Rochdale and Billy Davies is once again in charge of Nottingham Forest.
And then you look at Tranmere. Ronnie Moore is currently enjoying his third spell in charge, whilst Andy Robinson and Danny Holmes are both at the club for a second time.
The likes of Alan Mahon, Ian Thomas-Moore and Paul McLaren all returned to the club in recent years too, playing out second spells with varying degrees of success.
This summer, another man has turned up at Raby Vale in a bid to continue where he left off: Jason Koumas.
It’s often been rumoured that a return to Tranmere was imminent for the former Wales international, but until now nothing has ever materialised.
Even this summer many people thought it was ‘silly season’ when it was hinted on the internet that he was indeed in talks with Ronnie Moore about a sensational return.
He has, after all, been out of the game for two years since leaving Wigan and amongst football circles, it’s fairly common knowledge that Jason had fallen out of love with the game.
But turn up at Raby he did, and Koumas has been training three times a day in order to get himself fit and back up to speed for competitive football.
That alone shows that he’s got his hunger back.
Further to this, I heard of Jason’s return to Prenton Park in May, so this isn’t a move that’s happened in a couple of weeks.
It’s something that’s been in the pipeline for sometime, and from what I can gather, he’s absolutely desperate to play for Tranmere once again.
There have, naturally, been some mixed opinions on his return. Some say that he’ll never be the same player again, whereas others think he won’t get fit enough.
But he may be fitter than some people think.
It’s true that he hasn’t played competitive football for two years, but during some of the interluding time, Jason has trained with Sheffield Wednesday. That will hopefully have helped him retain some of his fitness.
He also doesn’t appear to have piled on the pounds, like many retired footballers do, if pictures that have circulated on the internet are anything to go by.
So for Jason, who is, we must remember, only 33, it’s now a case of playing in matches, and if he can prove that he’s still go it, then what a player we’ve got on our hands.
He is, without doubt, one of the finest players to have worn the Rovers shirt.
Not the quickest, and far from the hardest worker, but when Jason Koumas was with Tranmere eleven years ago, before being sold to West Brom by Ray Mathias, he was the lynchpin of our side.
When Jason Koumas played well, Tranmere invariably won.
He scored crucial and memorable goals (Everton away, anybody), provided wonderful assists and had the ability to split any defence with the swing of either foot.
He might not have turned it on all the time, but when he did, he was a special player.
And that ability wasn’t just displayed at Prenton Park – he was the same in the Championship and the Premier League for a number of years with Wigan and West Brom.
His teammates rated him highly, too.
Andy Parkinson, played with Jason at Tranmere, whilst he also played in Liverpool’s youth team alongisde Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.
Despite that, he recently said that Jason was up there with the best he’s ever played with, a high tribute indeed.
It’ll be that ability that Ronnie Moore, Peter Johnson and all of us fans will be hoping Jason can display now that he’s back at Tranmere.
He still has to prove his fitness, of course, as well as showing that he can handle playing in a full match.
But if he can, then what a midfield we’ll have at Tranmere, with Koumas playing alongside Max Power, Andy Robinson and James Wallace!
So let’s hope that Jason does show that you can go back. After all, Johnny King had two spells in charge of Tranmere, and he wasn’t exactly bad second time round!