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🔎 The Opposition: Tranmere Rovers

Jed Penberthy takes a look at Saturday's opponents

10 December 2020

Exeter City return to league action with the visit of Tranmere Rovers on Saturday in our Rainbow Laces fixture.

Ahead of the game we look at our visitors from Merseyside.

  • Founded: 1884
  • Nicknames: Rovers
  • Honours: Division 3 (N) (1937/38), Welsh Cup (1935), Leyland DAF Cup (1990)
  • Home Kit: PUMA White shirt with blue trim, white shorts, white socks
  • Away Kit: PUMA Black hexagonal design shirt with blue trim, black socks and black socks
  • Form: WWWLW (10th in League Two)

Formed in 1884 as Belmont, they adopted the present title a year later and joined the West Lancashire League ahead of the 1889/90 season. The club almost folded a year later when the players left en bloc to join a rival club. Tranmere survived the crisis and went from strength to strength. They joined the Football League in 1921.

Tranmere is a suburban village outside the Wirral town of Birkenhead, on the south bank of the River Mersey. Birkenhead’s dock system is part of the famous Port of Liverpool with regular ferries to Dublin, Ireland. Local points of interest around the Wirral include Port Sunlight, a village built by the Lever Brother’s to house workers at the Soap factory, and Birkenhead Park which was the countries first publicly funded civic park.

The majority of Tranmere’s successes came in the 1930’s. In 1935, Rovers won the Welsh FA Cup and three years later celebrated their only league title, edging Doncaster to the title by 2 points. Rovers were helped in abundance by their free scoring striker Bunny Bell, who a season later scored nine (9) goals in a 13-4 victory over Oldham Athletic.  

The club have usually played in Tiers 3 and 4 but throughout the nineties Tranmere were regulars in Division 1 (now the Championship). John King had guided them to promotion in 1992 and Liverpool legend John Aldridge took the reins in ’96. Aldridge took Rovers to the last League Cup final played at the old Wembley, but they couldn’t win the three handled cup being beaten by Leicester.

After a slight slide which saw them briefly play in the National League and back to League One, Tranmere were relegated back to the fourth-tier last season.

The Manager

Keith Hill

The 51-year-old was appointed Tranmere boss in November after Mike Jackson was forced to Moonwalk out of the role after a Bad run of results. Hill has seen some Thriller results since taking over and until last week were Invincible; until they lost to Walsall.

Keith Hill.JPG

Keith Hill had a 400+ game playing career, twice winning the third division play-offs with Cheltenham Town and Plymouth. He went into management in 2006 at Rochdale before joining Barnsley. Within a year he returned to Spotland. A failed spell at Bolton led to his appointment at Prenton Park.

The Stadium

  • Name: Prenton Park
  • Capacity: 16,587
  • Year opened: 1912
  • Record Attendance: 24,424 v Stoke City, February 5, 1972
  • Address: Prenton Road West, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH42 9PY

Prenton Park.jpg

The nearest Football League ground to the River Mersey, Prenton Park was opened in 1912 to replace Ravenshaws Field. The ground hosts both Tranmere and Liverpool Womens and Reserves games.

When manager Dave Russell joined the club in 1961, one of his many influential changes was playing regular home games on Friday nights rather than the usual Saturday afternoon. This allowed supporters to watch Tranmere on Fridays and First Division sides Everton or Liverpool on Saturdays.

In 2019, murmurs and discussions began in a new stadium for Tranmere to make the Wirral “a more exciting place to visit,” yet these plans haven’t bore fruit just yet.

One To Watch

James Vaughan

It’s been a slight one-man team at Prenton Park this season. The former Evertonian has scored nine goals in all competitions this season, since signing from Bradford permanently this summer. Tranmere have been resurgent since the arrival of Keith Hill and Vaughan has flourished because of it.

James Vaughan.JPG

Now 32, the Birmingham born striker has played for 12 different clubs and scored 111 goals in a 16-year career. Vaughan scored against City last season for the Bantams so is accustomed against the Grecians defence.


Its been grim reading for Exeter fans in the last few meetings with Tranmere, with the Merseyside team being on top in the last three. Ninety-four goals have been shared in the 59 year-old rivalry, with only one 0-0 draw in 36 games.

City can boast of the best result when they ran out 5-0 winners, though it was back in 1963.

  • Exeter wins: 12
  • Draws: 9
  • Tranmere wins: 19

Recent encounters

Exeter City 0-1 Tranmere Rovers | League Two | March 2, 2019

James Norwood’s strike took the points for Rovers

Tranmere Rovers 2-0 Exeter City | League Two, | November 3, 2018

James Norwood’s brace succumbed City to defeat on the road.

Exeter City 1-2 Tranmere Rovers | League Two | January 31, 2015

Alex Nicholls’ strike did little to soften the blow, as Jennison Myrie-Williams and Rory Donnelly netted for the Merseyside outfit.

And Finally

The first ever Englishman to play in the World Cup finals was George Moorhouse, who appeared for the United States at Uruguay 1930. George played for Tranmere in the early 1920’s before emigrating to America and gaining US citizenship.

How to Watch

The match will see Season Ticket holders return to the Park as well as around 200 more fans on the Big Bank!

If you are unable to get a ticket, you can get the next best thing by purchasing a match pass at the cost of just £10 in the UK. The stream includes BBC Radio Devon commentary, score overlay and replays.

To purchase a match pass please click here.

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