By Joel Lampkin
Tranmere Rovers legend John Aldridge says his switch to Prenton Park was something he took “advantage” of in his pursuit of goalscoring record.
The 59-year-old boasts a goal ratio not bettered by any player in English football during the post-war era, netting 476 times in 889 appearances for The Super Whites, Liverpool, Oxford United and Newport County.
With him and his family unable to settle down in Spain at Real Sociedad, the chance to lead Rovers to promotion into the upper echelon’s of English football was a challenge he could not pass up.
He said: “It was a lovely place but I just could not settle, well she [his wife] settled well – but she is just more of a home-bird with her kids so wanted to come home.
“I did not have an agent as such, but it suited me. Peter Johnson sold me the club. Johnny King, obviously where they wanted to go, and Peter had money, the new stadium was being built, well, built around, so I thought yeah it would be nice to get back into the Premier League.”
With the standard of the League below his level, Aldridge claims he made his chances count, due to his experience, and the players around him.
With a regular player for the Republic of Ireland, many saw the switch as a step below the capabilities of the striker.
He continued: “I know I could have played in the Premier League, no problem, but it was great for me, great for my family and the standard of defending in that league was not up to the standard of the Premiership so I took full advantage of it.
“I had good players around me, Johnny Morrissey, Pat Nevin some really good midfield players – Chris Malkin – helping me so I got loads of chances, and In Spain when you have a chance you have to put it away.”
With 40 goals in his debut season across the River Mersey from his former home at Anfield, Aldridge described a somewhat mixed relationship with the Super White Army.
He continued: “If you are scoring goals, that’s not a problem is it? Anyone who scores goals is endeared by the fans.
“Even though they were singing we hate ‘scousers’ before the game which I did not take too kindly to.”
The veteran said it was the style of football that he loved so much during his time at Tranmere, praising the design that the late, great Johnny King implemented.
“I did get quite a few hat-tricks and things, it was a really good team, a really exciting team, and that is what I loved, – exciting football, with [the way] Johnny King wanted to play it, and with the players that we had, it was attacking.”