Matt’s Monologue: Quick Changes

It is remarkable how the fortunes of a club can change within just a few months and years.

I will not be the first to say this, but just look at how Leicester are doing at the moment. They are flying at the top of the Premier League, five points clear of the chasing pack.

But you do not have to go back too far to find them struggling much further down the English pyramid.

The Foxes had some extremely rocky years following their League Cup success in 2000, of course beating Tranmere in the final at Wembley, ending up in the third their come 2008.

In between, they overcame plenty of financial troubles (including going into administration) and went through an impressive twelve permanent managers between Martin O’Neill and Claudio Ranieri.

Nigel Pearson was in charge when they came to Prenton Park almost exactly seven years ago on March 11th 2009.

Ronnie Moore’s Rovers were targeting the play-offs but came up against a side unbeaten in an incredible 23 league games.

That did not both the hosts though, who put in one of their most memorable performances of the last decade in winning 2-0, with Anthony Kay and Steven Jennings on target.

Nowadays, the outlook for both sides is so different.

Tranmere narrowly missed out on the top six that season, with a draw on the final day against Scunthorpe ending their Wembley dream, and a brace of relegations have followed in the intervening years.

Leicester meanwhile won League One at a canter before getting promoted back to the Premier League five years later.

So, in the space of seven years, there are now an incredible four divisions and 98 places between the two sides.

The amazing thing is Leicester are not the only ones. For Bournemouth, the rise has been even sharper. It is only three years ago that they were earning promotion to the Championship with a final day draw at Prenton Park.

Norwich, Swansea and Southampton are three more clubs who have faced Rovers in the not too distance past in League One as well, yet now find themselves battling in the top flight.

Mark Palios’ dream is to take Tranmere up to the Championship. That was the original target set out when he and wife Nicola purchased the club little over 18-months ago.

Of course, that suffered a set-back last season as Rovers were relegated out of the Football League for the first time.

But just look around the pyramid and scattered all around are teams who have gone through peaks and troughs – some lower than Rovers (Stockport, for one) and some higher.

What is shows is that football comes around in cycles. Hopefully another one is not too far around the corner for Tranmere Rovers.


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