Three years on: Was sacking Rob Edwards the right move for Tranmere Rovers?

Back in October 2014, Rovers parted ways with their then manager Rob Edwards after just five months in charge.

The club were rock bottom of the Football League when the board replaced the former Bristol City and Preston defender with the much more experienced Micky Adams just three days later (Adams lasted just six months as the club were eventually relegated).

Exactly three years on, and with Rovers still stuck plying their trade in the National League, we look at whether moving on from Edwards was the right decision for the club.

On the surface, firing Edwards made little difference to the team’s form in the ill-fated 2014/15 season, as the Super White Army finished rock bottom of the Football League and were subsequently relegated to the National League.

And their fortunes haven’t improved much since, with Rovers missing out on a play-off spot the following season before losing to Forest Green in the play-off final at Wembley last year.

Boss Micky Mellon seems to have stopped the slide after successive relegations between 2013-2015, which is a big testament to the Scot, but Tranmere’s downward trajectory over the past few years suggests their relative demise shouldn’t be pinned solely on Edwards’ shoulders.

tranmere despair

Rovers have had a tough time of it since relegation from League One in 2014.

Having said that, the untried and untested Welshman was undoubtedly, with the benefit of hindsight, a poor appointment at the time. Rovers needed stability and Edwards, for all his better qualities, didn’t provide that.

At the time, Edwards complained of an inability to recruit his own players, citing the lack of a proven goal scorer as a factor in his dismissal.

He said: “Very early on I realised that it was going to take longer than the new owner and most of the fans were prepared to give a first-time manager.

“The recruitment in the summer was done under tight budget constraints which unfortunately didn’t enable us to sign a proven goal scorer and as it turned out this was a major weakness in the team.

“As the pressure to get a result increased the players performance suffered but I believe the team and individuals were developing and as the score lines showed we weren’t far away.”

Admittedly, five months was nowhere near enough time for Edwards to make an impact on this team, but Rovers were in freefall and, for all intents and purposes, were forced into making a change.

And as is always the case, the manager’s head was the first on the chopping block.

Although the change at the time didn’t prove to be a fruitful one, the club have since re-gained the stability that was severely lacking under Edwards’ reign, and for that reason alone, Tranmere are much better off looking towards the future, as opposed to wondering what might have been.


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