tommy jones

Seven years without the Football League had come to an end and Tranmere were gearing up for the new season. By August 1946 Tranmere were calling back their players to prepare for the up coming season.

The Club’s Secretary-Director Mr Trueman had the important task of replacing the first team Manager and Trainer Billy Ridding who had left the season before. Ridding had been put in place during the war after one of Tranmere’s greatest legends died suddenly in 1942. Jimmy Moreton who had been with Tranmere since 1910 as a player and then Trainer/Manager died of a stomach complaint in 1942 leaving a hole in the club Ridding could never fill.

As fans waited to hear who would be leading Tranmere into the 1946-47 season shocking news came out of Prenton Park as the Mr Trueman resigned from the Club after twelve years of services.

During the War Trueman had been running the Club almost single handily with so many of the Board involved in the War effort. After the war he continued to run the club without always consulting the still incomplete Board. Whilst trying to transfer Edward Chapman from Oldham the Board had written to the Oldham say Trueman did not have the backing of the Tranmere Board for any deal due to the lack of Board members.

Feeling incredibly hard done by Trueman offered his resignation at the Board meeting. Many of the other Board members let out cries of no but Trueman’s mind had been made and he left the Club he helped survive during the War.

In Trueman’s final statement as the Club Director he stated ‘Tranmere Rovers have had many ups and downs. If the Club is well managed, the desire to ape your betters resisted, and not be coerced by public opinion, you will be all right. You have got to manage on a strict budget, and that fact must always be remembered.’ The board then thanked Trueman for his years of service.

The Board meeting also announced the appointment of the new Trainer and Manager Tommy Jones. Jones had played for Rover between 1929-26 before joining Sheffield Wednesday and later Manchester United. During the War he had been the assistant trainer at Watford.

With the trouble at board level resolved and a new manager in place the club now needed to prepare for the up coming season. With 42 players on the books including youth players, amateurs and professionals the first pre season training was set to be busy.

As the new members of the Board made their way to the training ground they were somewhat surprised to see only five playing staff. Harold Bell, Benny Jones, ‘Lol’ Hodgson, Gil Alldis and Tommy Bryom were kicking a ball about at the training ground.

The absence of so many was not surprising when you consider so many players were still amateurs and were at work during the Thursday morning training session. Others either didn’t live in the area or were still waiting to be de-mod.

Further troubles hit the club as a break in at Prenton Park’s dressing rooms saw the club reduced to only having two footballs and not enough kits for the first teams. Everton loaned Tranmere six balls and it was hope replacement kits would be found before the start of the season.

As well as the damaged dressing room Prenton Park was not looking its best for the start of the 1946-47 season. A lack of materials and labour meant that five years after the Borough Road stand was bombed it still had not been repaired and the old hated concrete wall surrounding the pitch had not been replaced due to the lack of wood. The Kop too was in a poor state, after years of neglect weeds had taken hold and it resembled a meadow more than a stand.

The opening game of the season was to be against the Rotherham United at home, the same fixture they had played at the opening of the short lived 1939-40 season. The FA saw not reason in creating a new fixture list as so few games of the 1939-40 season fixtures had been played so they used the same one for the 1946-47 season.

On the afternoon of the 31st August 1946, almost seven years to the day, Tranmere fans wandered down to Prenton Park to watch the same fixture against Rotherham like they had done in 1939. This time however the fear of war was gone and a new dawn was breaking at Prenton Park as a new generation of players took up the torch of the 1939 team.