RONNIE Moore is five points away from delivering Tranmere from the threat of relegation – and earning the right to negotiate for his own long-term future as manager at Prenton Park.
Rovers have taken 11 points from five games since Moore took on the short-term assignment of managing the side until the end of the season.
A 2-0 victory at Rochdale on Tuesday – the first on the road since October – lifted Tranmere on to 45 points. The 50-point mark regarded as the safety line in League One has moved into view with eight games still remaining.
Chairman Peter Johnson, speaking at Tranmere’s annual meeting, said: “We will start talking at 50 points” in response to a shareholder’s question about an extended appointment for Moore, before adding: “The man in place is always a candidate.”
Johnson also made a joke to the meeting about deserving credit himself for a “brilliant appointment” in choosing a successor to Les Parry.
Moore took over on March 4 and boasts a record of three wins and two draws. His previous three-year spell as manager ended in dismissal at Johnson’s hands, a few weeks after Tranmere narrowly missed making the League One play-offs in 2009.
Tranmere recorded an operating loss of £197,428 last season, compared to a loss of £22.660 in 2009/10, the meeting heard. Gate income decreased by 14% during the 2010/11 campaign. However, turnover went up by £100,000 to £3.46 million, thanks to increased solidarity payments passed down from the Premier League.
The accounts for the year ended June 2011 showed the club had debts of more than £7million at the end of last season – £2.1 million in bank loans and £5 million, owed to Johnson, the controlling shareholder since 1987.
Johnson reported Tranmere’s board of directors are “debating the options” about the future of a plan to build houses on the Ingleborough Road training ground and redevelop the Woodchurch Leisure Centre into a new community training facility. Tranmere withdrew a planning application for the linked projects last month but could submit new proposals to Wirral Council at any time.
Johnson handed out a public slap down to the Tranmere Rovers Trust, who had been negotiating to buy his controlling shares in the club since last summer and want to take the club into community ownership.
He said: “Unlike the Trust, I keep my discussions private. The Trust have a habit of conducting their negotiations through the media.”
On the playing front, Tranmere extended the loan of midfielder James Wallace from Everton until the end of the season.