Micky Mellon dreaming of Wembley debut with Tranmere

He may be a proud Scotsman, born and bred in Glasgow, but even Micky Mellon grew up dreaming of Wembley.

Finally, at the age 45, he will get his chance to be there this weekend.

The Tranmere boss, who had two spells as a player at Prenton Park, has been in professional football for nearly three decades.

His career has largely been a success, winning promotions with West Brom and Burnley before guiding Shrewsbury and Fleetwood up as a manager.

There is one thing missing from his scrapbook though. A photo at Wembley.

“All the family are going to be there,” he says.

“It’s a place you should never tire of.

“Even in the playground in Glasgow, many times we played at Wembley.

“Now I get the opportunity to do it for real. It’s terrific.

“But I don’t know where it will rank in terms of my career. I haven’t really thought about me in all of this.

“It’s about the players and us as staff getting them prepared to take part in a massive game.

“I’m just trying to make sure I concentrate on giving them the best opportunity to perform really, really well.

“When I’m old and fully grey, I’ll maybe think about where it ranked then.”

Mellon will become just the third manager to lead Tranmere out at Wembley when they take on Forest Green in the National League play-off final on Sunday.

He follows in the footsteps of John King and John Aldridge, who turned the ground into “Prenton Park South” between 1988 and 2000.

After a 17-year hiatus, getting back there is something to celebrate, especially for the long suffering fans.

But Mellon knows there is still a big job to do in what is one of the biggest games in the club’s history.

“We’re delighted that we get the opportunity to contest the final,” he continued.

“I think that would be the least that we would have wanted to achieve at the start of the season.

“Now it’s all about getting the preparation right, getting down to Wembley and making sure the players are ready for what should be fantastic occasion.

“The key word is focus. We do it all the time in the way that we coach and play.

“They all have jobs to do, and they need to focus on their jobs.

“Everything else that is going on around them, whether it be the noise of the crowd or anything else is irrelevant.

“It has been easy to keep the players grounded.

“With 20,000 fans turning up and it being at Wembley, you know it’s a big game.

“They know they’ve got to go out there and fight and do well. That helps keep you in the zone.“

For Mellon, most of the preparation is done.

His squad will travel down to London today, giving them that bit of extra time to train in the capital before Sunday’s game.

What he has to do is put the finishing touches on one of the most important team talks of his managerial career.

He is, according to many people who have worked with him, a fantastic motivator.

So how does he approach his players in the minutes before leading them out onto the hallowed turf?

“I will say to them ‘do your jobs’, it’s as simple as that,” he insists.

“Since I’ve been here, that’s what it’s always been about.

“Get out there, focus on it, go and represent us in that moment and do it to the best of your ability.

“A massive one is also to make sure you take part in this event. Don’t let it pass you by without attacking it.”

Meanwhile the manager has paid tribute to the fans who will be making the trip to Wembley.

It is expected that around 20,000 supporters will be under the arch, desperate to see Tranmere promoted back into the Football League.

And Mellon says each and every one of them is important.

“The support is fantastic,” he added.

“We really appreciate them and make sure we represent them all the time.

“We go out there with that in mind and on the day we will make sure we give it everything we’ve got for them.

“I tend to be of the opinion that when you get these moments, you should really enjoy them.

“It’s been a long time since Tranmere were at Wembley – so the fans and players should enjoy it.

“Then when the game comes, make sure you go and take part in it. But we won’t overly get excited because that would be the wrong mentality.”


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