Football teams all across the world have their players, managers and coaches whose deeds and actions will echo through eternity around their home grounds. Tranmere Rovers is no except to this with legends such as John Aldridge, Dixie Dean, Harold Bell, Johnny King and Ian Muir to name a few.

One name missing from the above list is perhaps my all time favourite Tranmere Rovers legend Jimmy Moreton. He doesn’t hold the record for most goals scored or even the most appearances but he played a crucial part in Tranmere Rovers for over thirty years as both a player and a coach.

John James Moreton was born on the 22nd September 1891 in Tranmere to parents Jack and Hannah Moreton. He grew up on a very typical terraced house on Tower Hill in Tranmere with his parents and younger sister Bella.

Like many young men in the area Jimmy worked as an Engineer at one of the areas largest employers Cammell Lairds, a job he continued throughout his career with Tranmere Rovers.

Jimmy began his football career at Cammell Lairds but was soon picked up by Tranmere in 1910 when Jimmy was only 18. The Moreton family were already well connected with Tranmere as Jimmy’s father Jack had played for the club in 1891.

Jimmy began life at PrentonPark like many younger players in the reserve team waiting for their call up to the firsts. Tranmere at this time were pushing to join the Football League from their brand new stadium at PrentonPark.

Jimmy did not have wait long for his call up to the first team and was part of the championship winning team of the 1913-14 season. Promotion to the Football League was within Tranmere’s grasp but the First World War put a stop that ambition.

As Jimmy was a ship’s engineer he would have been deemed to valuable to the war effort to be sent to the front and remained on the Wirral working at Cammell Lairds.

After the war Jimmy was part of one of the most important Tranmere teams as they finally battled for their place in the Football League. In 1921 Jimmy Moreton and the rest of the Tranmere team ran out on the field, after years of hard work, as Football League players.

Now in the Football League Jimmy was a regular in the first team and favourite amongst fans. He was best none for the almost perfect crosses he delivered to the likes of Dixie Dean. However Jimmy’s age was catching up to him and after a 10 month injury in 1924 his career as a player was on its final legs.

Jimmy finally retired as a player in 1926 at the age of 36 but continued on at the club as a trainer alongside Bert Cooke and later Jackie Carr and Jim Knowles.

Jimmy was an excellent tactician and could see where the game was going. He understood the importance of fitness which led to him being instrumental in building a new gymnasium behind the Main Stand.

When war broke out again in 1939 Jimmy was put in charge of building a wartime team. Jimmy at this time saw the future of Football with the youth well before the likes of Matt Busby. Jimmy even went as far as setting up special football youth camps to develop the young players.

Jimmy was building what would be the future youth model for all clubs across the country. However tragedy struck the borough as after a short bowel illness Jimmy Moreton died at the age of 50. The Tranmere team we so devastated they lost there next 15-3 against Blackpool.

Jimmy was buried at BedingtonCemetery in March of 1942. The attendance was large with local football officials and even the Mayor attending. Eight of the Tranmere Rovers youth players carried his coffin, including the future legend Harold Bell. Reverend Turnbull finished the service with the fitting statement ‘For him, the whistle announcing full time has gone.’

Jimmy Moreton was Tranmere through and through and one can only wonder what he would have done with the team if he had not be taken so cruelly from this world.

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