Every Saturday whether in the Kop or a distant away stand somewhere in the country Tranmere fans can be heard cheering on the Rovers team usually to the chant of the Super White Army. The white that Tranmere play in has now become most recognised aspect of the club.

But as many may already know Tranmere have only been the Super White Army for fifty years of the club’s hundred and twenty nine year history. Way back in 1884 the Tranmere players wore blue shirts and white shorts. Why they chose blue is unclear but for nearly eighty years Tranmere were the blue army.

There was an early attempt to change Tranmere colours to a somewhat bizarre kit combination. In 1889 Tranmere played in maroon and orange shirts, navy shorts and white socks. Although Tranmere won their first silverware in the kit (Wirral Senior Cup) the design never really caught on and Tranmere reverted back to blue and white combination.

The blue shirts of Tranmere Rovers became an important symbol at the beginning of the 20th Century as their biggest rivals of the day Birkenhead FC played in red. For a decade the battle between the red and blue sides of the area took place with Tranmere being the victor in 1910 as Birkenhead FC folded.

Some of the biggest moments in the club’s history took place in blue shirts. In 1921 Tranmere played their first Football League game in the newly created Third Division in blue, their first filmed game against Chelsea in the 1930s was in blue and their only league title was won in blue.

Tranmere however were not the only team to play in blue and white in the Merseyside area. Everton had played in the same kit for even longer than Tranmere had and the two kits were identical in black and white. Even Liverpool who played in red shirts and white shorts looked the same as Tranmere in black and white.

At this time Tranmere lacked their own individual identity to separate themselves from their larger neighbours across the Mersey.

One man saw this lack of identity as a major hurdle to Tranmere becoming a successful team in Merseyside. Dave Russell joined Tranmere as their new manager in December 1961 and he saw great potential in the club. His efforts in the developing a youth policy led to some of Tranmere’s greatest players becoming home grown. The likes of Alan King, Joe Pritchard, Ronnie Moore and Bobby McFarland were all products of his system.

However his most recognisable contribution to the club was the introduction of a new colour scheme for the home kit. Russell wanted Tranmere to stand out against the red of Liverpool and the blue of Everton, so he chose an all white kit with the club badge making its first appearance on the shirt.

This new image would start the rievival of football at Prenton Park as Russell guided Tranmere out of their 1950s slump. With an almost none existent budget Russell managed to secure the quality players such as Barry Dyson, John Manning and George Yardley. He even managed to secure the services of the Everton legend Dave Hickson.

The new players and their new kit made their debut in the 1962-63 season with the hope that success would follow the new identity. However the 62-63 season would be better remembered not for the goals scored or Tranmere 6-1 win over Hartlepool, no instead its remembered for the snow.

In the winter of 1962 and three was one of the worst in recorded history with snow lying on the ground for months. This played havoc with the fixture list for many weeks with few games taking place across the country.

One game it was decided should go ahead in the Third Round of the FA Cup as Prenton Park played host to Chelsea. As this was the only game to take place that weekend the BBC came up to Prenton Park to give the Super White Army their first appearance on Match of the Day (it was called Sportview then). With their new kits and identity Tranmere were going to be given the opportunity play one of the biggest teams in the land on Television.

In their all white kits and on the snow covered pitch at Prenton Park Tranmere held Chelsea to a 2-2 draw and a replay at Stamford bridge.

The new all white identity and the class signings of Russell saw Tranmere spend the next few seasons finishing in the top ten only just missing out on promotion. But in 1967 Tranmere finally rejoined the Third Division and under Russell saw a great period of success for the new Super White Army.

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