Tranmere Rovers 1975-76 Division Four promotion winners
DAVE PHILPOTTS says that promotion was always Tranmere Rovers’ target after they were relegated from Division Three.
And they got off to a great start by winning seven, drawing two and only losing one of their first ten games of the season.
Rovers weren’t going to feel sorry for themselves after relegation and in spite ofdrawing their opening two games things soon started to click into place.
New manager John King took over from Ron Yeats and made what turned out to be an inspired decision by converting Ronnie Moore from a central defender into a forward.
Moore, who is now Rovers manager, responded by scoring 34 goals including a hat-trick against Huddersfield who they pipped to fourth place by just two points.
“We had just been relegated in what obviously was a disappointing season for us, but the following season we just started off like a house on fire,” said Philpotts.
“Promotion was always our target after the set-back of going down. You always want to try and dominate the next season and turn things around.
“After the start that we made we realised pretty quickly that we could do something positive. Promotion was definitely the goal from the outset. Everything seemed to fall into place and we just seemed to get result after result, especially at home. We played home games on a Friday night back then.
“And we became renowned for being a really difficult side to get a result against at Prenton Park.”
There was no shortage of goals either. “We scored 89 that season was phenomenal really. So many people contributed even the likes of Mark Palios from midfield
“The massive thing was John King moving Ronnie up front. Pre-season they were talking about him playing alongside me in central defence.
“But we were short of a striker so they pushed Ronnie up front and in his first game of the season at Swansea City he scored.
“It was a real positive move because he was a big target and physically he enjoyed a battle.”
Philpotts feels that having a small squad also played a big part in their success as King didn’t have players to chop and change.
Philpotts, Moore, Dickie Johnson, Ray Mathias and Steve Peplow played all 46 games, while Eddie Flood, Bobby Tynan and Barrie Mitchell all played more than 40.
“We set the record for keeping the same team for the most number of games,” he added.
“Don’t forget in those days you were only allowed one substitute. But it helped with everybody getting used to playing with each other.
“That really helped us to win more games than we were losing. It was amazing really, we just had the same team.We knew what the team was going to be and unless there was an injury, the same team was coming out again.
“So you just got used to playing with each other. Continuity is a big thing. Keeping the same line up was a massive part of our success. And we knew that everybody in the squad was capable of coming in and doing a job if we had an injury.”
1. Clive Evans: Lives in Alderley Edge and has been a senior sports marketing manager for Adidas for 18 years.
2. Keith Hughes: A locally-born player who is still living on the Wirral.
3. Howard Mercer: He is believed to have emirgrated to Australia after spending two seasons at Bury.
4. Ray Stubbs: He stayed with Tranmere as commercial director then worked for Radio Merseyside, BBC Television, ESPN and now BT Sport.
5. Nikos Charalambous: He never made the grade and left the game.
6. Denis Postlewhite: He still lives on the Wirral.
MIDDLE ROW LEFT TO RIGHT:
7. John King: He took Tranmere from the bottom of the fourth division to the brink of the Premier League then became director of football.
8. Dave Russell: The former Bury and Tranmere Rovers manager was general manager until 1978. He died in June 2000 aged 86.
9. Clive Griffiths: Has settled in the USA, where he has been running soccer camps for more than 30 years.
10. David Philpotts: After retiring he joined the coaching staff at Prenton Park, and after stints at Wigan and Stockport County he returned to the club and is currently the chief scout.
11. Les Parry: Still lives on the Wirral. Worked in Sports Development for Ellesmere Port Council and for the last 12 years has been an HGV driver.
12. Mark Palios: A chartered accountant, he was a partner of Price- WaterhouseCoopers, then became chief executive of the FA and is now a business consultant.
13. Ronnie Moore: Is now back as the manager at Prenton Park for the second time. He has also managed Rotherham twice as well as Southport and Oldham Athletic.
14. Dickie Johnson: He went to work for Liverpool City Council after hanging up his boots and was deputy director of leisure and open spaces.
15. Eddie Flood: Lives in Copmanthorpe, York. Worked in the Rowntree’s Factory, then as a market trader.
16. Bill Kenny: His son also called Billy played for Everton. Lives in Wallasey.
17. Eddie Robertson: He was assistant manager and coach to John King until his death in December 1981 aged 46.
FRONT ROW LEFT TO RIGHT:
18. Russell Allen: The son of WBA legend Ronnie, he became a publican in his native Midlands after coaching in the United States.
19. Barrie Mitchell: Became a publican at the Victoria Lodge in Tranmere and then since 1998 The Coach and Horses in Greasby, Wirral.
20. Steve Peplow: He lives in Prenton, Birkenhead and is still a regular at matches. He has worked as a book maker for many years.
21. Ray Mathias: He has managed Rovers, Wigan Athletic and Stockport County. Also held a number of other coaching posts.
22. Bobby Tynan: The cousin of striker Tommy, he is based in Preston, has coached in Rovers’ Centre of Excellence and works as a postman.
23. Tommy Young: He lives in Potters Green, Coventry and has been working as a supervisor for Co-Op logistics.
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