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Tranmere preview with Steve Wilson, MOTD

Thu 03 January 2019, 18:18|Tottenham Hotspur

He has a voice recognised by millions as a commentator for BBC Match of the Day and Five Live – yet few will know Steve Wilson as a Tranmere fan, born and bred, who went to his first game at Prenton Park 44 years ago. Steve will be commentating on Blackpool-Arsenal and Wolves-Liverpool over FA Cup third round weekend but on Friday night, he’ll return ‘home’ for our tie against his beloved Rovers.

Here’s Steve’s insight into Tranmere in our latest ‘Preview from the Press Box’.

Steve and Tranmere

Steve: “I was born on the Wirral and on a night game, I could see the glow of the Prenton Park floodlights from my bedroom window. The first match I went to was Tranmere against Grimsby in January, 1975. Steve Coppell was in the Tranmere side and he went on to play for Manchester United and England. Mark Palios, who now owns the club, was also a first team player at that stage. I got the bug at that game. I’ve still got the programme at home! I carried on watching them until I moved to London in 1990 when I got a job at Capital Radio. We used to go to most home games and in those days, they were often on Friday nights, so for Tranmere fans of a certain age, the fact this game is on a Friday night is even better! I must say when I go now, I really enjoy it – it’s a nice contrast to watching Premier League football all the time.”

Reaction to the draw

Steve: “For a start, it’s sold out! I don’t know how long it’s been since Prenton Park was sold out, but I’m guessing it must be 20 years. It’s really big for the club. You can imagine they had a few nerves when they had a replay against Southport between them and a tie against Spurs! It’s a long time since Tranmere had a big team at Prenton Park. When John Aldridge was the manager (1996-2001) they reached the League Cup Final (lost to Leicester in 2000) and once beat Southampton 4-3 after trailing 3-0 at half-time (FA Cup, 2001). I was commentating on that for Five Live! They had a few good cup runs at that time. They played in the FA Cup quarter-final three times losing to Newcastle (2000), Liverpool (2001) and Millwall (2004). This is the biggest tie since those days.”

What can Spurs expect?

Steve: “Tranmere are a decent side, they try to knock it about and play a bit of decent football. Connor Jennings has chipped in with a few goals of late, including a couple of brilliant goals in the replay against Southport. They are quite reliant on James Norwood for goals, he’s scored 16 this season. The goalkeeper Scott Davies has come good. Tranmere also have Steve McNulty at the back. He was a youth player at Liverpool. He doesn’t look like a footballer – he’s a big lad – but his touch is fantastic, he has great intelligence and reads the game superbly. He’s a bit of a cult figure. Tranmere are a club that really suffered because of back-to-back relegations. They were at the top of League One (2013/14) and about two-and-a-half years later they’d been relegated into the Conference (end of 2014/15). Mark Palios has done a brilliant job since taking over. Tranmere had three seasons in the Conference and then won the play-off final against Boreham Wood in unbelievable fashion as they had a man sent off in the first minute but still won 2-1 at Wembley (May, 2018). What an effort. This is the club’s reward – on the fringes of the play-offs in League Two and playing Spurs in the third round of the FA Cup.”

Tranmere’s key player

Steve: “You’d have to say James Norwood because his goalscoring record since he’s been with Tranmere is unbelievable. Norwood and Andy Cook tore up the Conference last season, scoring loads of goals. Cook went off to Walsall in the summer but Norwood has managed to keep it going. He’s scored a high percentage of Tranmere’s goals this season. Every team needs a striker like Harry Kane - Tranmere have James Norwood.”


Steve: “Okay, my head says Spurs will win by three - my heart says Tranmere win by one!”