WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

What Tran­mere’s 1988-89 Fourth Di­vi­sion run­ners-up are up to now

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Neil Fissler

ERIC NIXON be­lieves that John King turned a bunch of foot­balling mis­fits into the best side in the his­tory of Tran­mere Rovers. Nixon was in goal as Tran­mere went from within 90 min­utes of go­ing out of the Foot­ball League to within three points of win­ning pro­mo­tion to the Pre­mier League.

And he says that it was all down to the wheel­ing and deal­ing of King who once likened build­ing a suc­cess­ful squad to mak­ing a good cake – it is all down to in­gre­di­ents.

In this case, the in­gre­di­ents were cast-offs from other clubs but King man­aged to turn them into a squad who went from pos­si­ble obliv­ion to the brink of the sum­mit.

Climb

Rovers fin­ished just two points be­hind cham­pi­ons Rother­ham United and two points clear of third­placed Crewe Alexan­dra to start their climb through the di­vi­sions.

“John had a fan­tas­tic recipe,” said Nixon.“He brought in play­ers who weren’t be­ing given the time of day any­where else. Be­fore then it was like Raggy-Arse Rovers, let alone Tran­mere Rovers

“He cre­ated a spirit that was sec­ond to none. We went from the brink of go­ing out of ex­is­tence to every­body want­ing to jump on the Tran­mere Rovers bandwagon.

“He put to­gether what he called a band of broth­ers. It is hard to be­lieve the club al­most went bust.

“Peter John­son came in and put a lot of money into the club.”

In those days Tran­mere played their home games on a Fri­day night to avoid play­ing at the same time as Mersey­side gi­ants Liver­pool and Ever­ton.

“It was like one big party with 12,000 or 13,000 in the ground when we were go­ing through the di­vi­sions,” re­called Nixon.

“And then we could sit back over the week­end and watch the other teams suf­fer, know­ing we had three points in the bag.

“We had peo­ple like John Mor­ris­sey and Dave Martin­dale who could play foot­ball, Ian Muir to score goals, and Dave Hig­gins and Steve Vick­ers at the back.

“Pren­ton Park was like a fortress. No­body came to our ground and beat us – we just wouldn’t al­low teams to set­tle.” 1. Ken McKenna: Is cur­rently the as­sis­tant manager of More­cambe af­ter man­ag­ing TNS, Cam­mell Laird and Al­trin­cham. Also served Cam­bridge United as chief scout. 2. Gary Wil­liams: Scored the most im­por­tant goal in the his­tory of the club to keep them in the Foot­ball League and works on ed­u­ca­tion pro­grammes for the un­em­ployed. 3. Paul Collings: A for­mer goal­keeper who was a cab driver in Liver­pool and is now work­ing as a car sales­man in the city. 4. Eric Nixon: Has been a goal­keep­ing coach for Tran­mere and Fleet­wood. Is now at Ch­ester­field af­ter a spell as a busi­ness devel­op­ment manager for Last Room Ex­ten­sions. 5. Dave Hig­gins: Af­ter re­tir­ing, he joined the Royal Mail in Liver­pool, where he works in a sorting of­fice. 6. Ed­die Mur­ray: Af­ter hav­ing a coach­ing role at Ever­ton’s youth academy for ten years, he now has his own busi­ness de­liv­er­ing car parts. 7. Kenny Jones: He was Rovers’ sponge man un­til re­placed by Les Parry in Au­gust 1993, and is now work­ing for Wir­ral Bor­ough Coun­cil. 8. Ron­nie Moore: Has sat in the manager’s seat at Pren­ton Park twice. Has also man­aged Rother­ham twice as well as South­port and Old­ham. Is now in charge of Hartle­pool United. 9. Mark Hughes: A cousin of for­mer Liver­pool skip­per Em­lyn Hughes, he helped run his par­ents’ guest house in Black­pool. Now lives in Coven­try and works for so­cial ser­vices. 10. Jim Steele: He left foot­ball to join Mersey­side Po­lice. Be­came a sergeant and is part of the po­lice team in South Wir­ral. 11. Steve Vick­ers: He be­came a prop­erty de­vel­oper in the North­East and was head of youth devel­op­ment at BHP Sport Man­age­ment. Is now back in the prop­erty busi­ness with Cross­bury Con­struc­tion. 12. Chris Malkin: Qual­i­fied as a phys­io­ther­a­pist. Worked with Ch­ester Not­ting­ham For­est, As­ton Villa and Spire Mur­ray­field Hos­pi­tal. He now runs his own clinic. 13. War­wick Rim­mer: Man­aged Crewe and Sierra Leone. From 1987 un­til 2008 he ran Tran­mere’s youth team. Is now head of academy re­cruit­ment. 14. Nor­man Wil­son: He spent 25 years as club sec­re­tary un­til re­tir­ing in 1997. Was then sec­re­tary of the Liver­pool County FA un­til 2014. 15. Shaun Gar­nett: He is now the academy manager at Pren­ton Park and also runs the cen­tre of ex­cel­lence at the club. 16. John Mor­ris­sey: His fa­ther Johnny played for Liver­pool and Ever­ton. Went into the fam­ily prop­erty de­vel­op­ing busi­ness. 17. Dave Martin­dale: Is now living and work­ing in Liver­pool but is out of touch with his for­mer team-mates. 18. Mark McCar­rick: He is now living in Por­tu­gal’s Al­garve. Is direc­tor of foot­ball at the Ahdaaf Foot­ball Academy and runs a real es­tate busi­ness with his wife. 19. John King (manager): In nine years in charge from 1987-1996, he took them from the bot­tom of the Fourth Di­vi­sion to the brink of the Pre­mier League. Then be­came direc­tor of foot­ball. 20. Ian Muir: Rovers’ record goalscorer is now back in his na­tive Coven­try where he is the owner of his own greet­ing card shop in the city. 21. Jim Har­vey: He has man­aged More­cambe, For­est Green Rovers, Ch­ester City and Staly­bridge Celtic. He was also North­ern Ire­land as­sis­tant boss un­der Sammy McIl­roy. 22. Steve Mun­gall: Af­ter run­ning Rovers’ school of ex­cel­lence and man­ag­ing Ch­ester City, he ran SM Foot­ball in Cyprus. Is now work­ing as a post­man in Scot­land. 23. Ed­die Bishop: The older brother of co­me­dian John Bishop, he man­aged Wit­ton Al­bion. Is now an artist and has run a com­pany Aquarius Me­tal­craft which spe­cialises in iron sculp­tures.

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