Matt’s Monologue: The Relegation Battle

Well this relegation battle is a bit tight isn’t it! And as Micky Adams, his players and staff have been telling us for a while, it is a battle that is going to go right to the wire.

One week, it looks like a team has pulled away. Then a handful of days later they are back in it after another string of unexpected results.

Just look at Tuesday for an example of that!

Of course, Tranmere fans should be used to a relegation battle after last year. But this one has so much more riding on it.

Rovers have actually been out of the Football League. They started life outside it. But since entering it 94 years ago, they have stuck around. Just.

Relegation has been flirted with – that win over Exeter, with that goal from Gary Williams are testament to that. And that is just one of near misses.

But since 1921, Prenton Park has hosted league football. And that is a run which everyone at the club is desperate to extend.

Perhaps, therefore, because maintaining that status is so important, there seems to be a bit more nervousness this year compared to last (and by this, I mean coming from the terraces).

That is completely understandable. It has been extremely tough for any Tranmere fan over the last couple of years. In fact, there has been very little to cheer since the season Rovers reached the play-offs back in 2004/05.

But you just get the feeling that if Micky Adams and his coaching staff can guide the club to safety this year, then the future is actually looking quite bright.

In Mark and Nicola Palios, the club has owners who are putting plans in place to grow the club, both on and off the field.

And it is away from the playing side of things that Rovers are in better shape than they have been for years.

There seems to be a fantastic team in place behind the scenes, bringing in brand new commercial partners and promoting the good name of Tranmere Rovers across Merseyside and the north west.

A new training facility is on it’s way, amongst other plans which include taking Tranmere to the Championship. Ambition that has not been shown, arguably, since the near miss with the play-offs in 2009.

And I think in a certain sense this silver lining is actually reflected on the terraces.

Just look at the attendances at Prenton Park on a match day. Despite the poor form, they have remained reasonably strong (and that bad run, remember, stretches back two years).

So fingers crossed the club can scrape to safety this year. Because it might be that a survival is the catalyst for much better times.

As a foot note, hard luck to Mongolia. With the dust still only just settling on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, they have suffered a 5-1 aggregate defeat to Timor-Leste, meaning they cannot qualify for the 2018 tournament in Russia.

That means they are the first country to be knocked out of the tournament. Quite an achievement!

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