Thursday, 27 August 2009

Funny place, up there, sticks out

This was Harold Macmillan's comment about The Wirral which once provided the constituency of his erstwhile unfortunate Chancellor, Selwyn Lloyd. At one time The Wirral had two league clubs, but New Brighton, located in a rapidly fading seaside result, succumbed in the early 1950s and tottered on as a non-league club until the 1980s.

Tranmere Rovers have to survive in the shadow of the two Merseyside giants. At least Charlton have not suffered the humiliation of being put up for sale on E-bay which is what the North Carolina consultants charged with the club's sale did to Tranmere a few weeks ago.

I have been there once and enjoyed the visit. I was able to park up outside, the reception was very friendly and a steel band playing in front of our stand at half time got Brian Cole dancing away. Without checking the stats I recall that the game ended in a 2-2 draw.

The Birkenhead club is now managed by ex Addick John Barnes. An indifferent stint at Celtic blighted his managerial career and with the Jamaican FA not standing in his way when the call came from Prenton Park it is last chance saloon for the former England winger. Some fans think that the treatment of former manager Ronnie Moore under whom the club had made steady progress was harsh.

Goalkeeper Danny Coyne is rated as one of the most important players, while Bas Savage is admired by the fans for his work rate which could make him a candidate for the headless chicken award. Charlie Barnett is reckoned to be improving all the time.

For Charlton, Jose Semedo has a slight hamstring strain and will be asssessed again today before the journey north.

The Tranmere fans fear relegation, but hope for a mid-table finish. Pundits put them in the relegation zone and they haven't made the brighest of starts.

Nevertheless, Charlton can't go on winning for ever and I am forecasting that the few hundred Addicks making the trip will witness another 2-2 draw with goals from Shelvey and Bailey.

Supremo Phil Parkinson has revealed his frustration with the takeover situation and the limits it places on his ability to strengthen the squad: 'The situation is frustrating, but I understand people are working every hour there is to get matters resolved,' he said. 'The transfer window is a concern, but if we can't bring anyone in, then we will have to move on, and perhaps go down the loan route.'

Let's hope there is no truth in the rumours that the current argument is about who should get how many seats in the directors' box (the dispute about West Stand car parking spaces hopefully having been settled). I would not expect any announcement over the Bank Holiday Weekend and if it comes on Tuesday I shall be on a plane to Canada.

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