Notes + Scribbles 5
Notes + Scribbles is a recurring feature here at ryanferguson.co.uk. It is where I share assorted thoughts, flotsam, observations and tidbits in a stream of consciousness format, grouped under logical – if eclectic – subheadings. Think of it as a periodic dose of ‘things that would have been tweets’ before Elon happened. Think of it as a messy throwback to 2000s-style blogging. Think of it as a cathartic emptying of my battered notebook. Onwards, dear reader. Onwards.
- Alison McGovern, MP for Wirral South, rose in parliament last week to protest the 10-point deduction handed to Everton for violating Premier League profit and sustainability rules. That is highly commendable, and I agree with much of McGovern’s missive – except, well, there was no such support for Tranmere Rovers when they were unfairly demoted from League One during the Covid-19 pandemic. Why is that an issue? Because McGovern’s consistency office is exactly 2.3 miles from Prenton Park, Rovers’ home stadium. She was also shadow sports minister when her hometown club was demoted. And people wonder why we, as diehard Tranmere fans, loathe our Premier League neighbours across the Mersey. The ignorance is comical.
- On the pitch, things are looking a little brighter for Rovers under the management of Nigel Adkins. It has been a pretty bleak season, all told, but Adkins is gradually turning the tide. Tranmere look a lot stronger than they did earlier in the season – a firm defensive shape matching an improved work ethic. Two points above the relegation zone, Rovers are not out of the woods yet by any means, but decent home form should see them safe eventually.
- To that end, Tranmere beat Gillingham 3-1 at home on Saturday, following a 3-0 triumph over Forest Green at Prenton Park two weeks ago. In the Gillingham game, Adkins’ difference-making nous was clear to see. For the first time in eons, a Rovers manager outwitted his opposite number. Tranmere had a clear gameplan to outlast Gillingham’s neat yet blunt approach play then spring devastating counter-attacks. Those tactics worked a treat, and it is great to once again have a manager capable of devising such innovative, winning blueprints.
- Young Rob Apter, on loan from Blackpool, continues to steal the show for Tranmere. A nippy winger with guts and guile, Apter has scored four goals in as many games, hauling Rovers out of a gloomy predicament. His loan expires in January, and Tranmere fans are clamouring for a permanent transfer. I’m sure Adkins is working on that, but whatever happens, it is just refreshing to see a loan signing work out. Lord knows we were due a good one.
- Connor Jennings continues to amaze on a weekly basis. The man is a Tranmere Rovers immortal. I cannot recall watching a Rovers player with greater intangibles – heart, effort, honesty, determination. Connor is also one of the most optimistic footballers I have ever encountered. He never lets his head go down. This is a guy who has overcome severe meningitis and cancer, and continues to play with admirable enthusiasm. He is also very good technically – shielding the ball, using his body well, and picking out imaginative passes. Oh, and he knows where the goal is. I’m delighted Connor has signed a new contract, keeping him at Prenton Park until at least 2025. He never should have been allowed to leave in the first place.
- A random fun fact: only three men have scored more than once at Wembley for Tranmere Rovers (including the Mercantile Credit Festival) – Ian Muir, Jim Steel and Connor Jennings. Oh, and Connor also has a famous Wembley assist, of course. He is a bonafide legend.
- It is that time of year again when the Dallas Cowboys tease and tantalise a famished fanbase. They are 8-3 and primed to reach the playoffs. Can America’s Team finally cross the Rubicon this season? Will Dak Prescott break into the elite echelon? Does Dallas have the grit and toughness to match the shimmer and pizzaz? We have asked the same questions for years, and the answers typically break your heart. But maybe this time will be different. Hope springs eternal – even if doubt lingers at the back of your mind.
- There is something special about watching the Cowboys play on Thanksgiving, and I really enjoyed their 45-10 win over Washington last week. As for Dolly Parton singing ‘We are the champions’ in AT&T Stadium, 28 years after Dallas last won a Super Bowl? Yeah, that was asinine.
- Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel strikes me as something of a genius. Again, my NFL knowledge is admittedly second-rate, but there is something captivating about the guy. I will be watching his Dolphins closely. They seem to be bringing the good times back to Miami.
- And finally, I was perplexed by the Seattle Mariners’ trade of Eugenio Suárez to the Diamondbacks for Carlos Vargas and Seby Zavala last week. Sure, Suarez may well be in decline at 32, but seeing a mid-market franchise dump a player set to earn $11 million in 2024, deeming him too expensive, is concerning. What, exactly, are the Mariners trying to do? At this point, you have to question the sincerity of owner john Stanton and the philosophy of president Jerry Dipoto, who has called the shots since 2015. Will yet another window of promised contention fizzle out in Seattle? This team makes so many head-scratching moves, and seems to wind up with the same meh group of Quadruple-A utility players every year. Something has to give, there. Mariners fans deserve better.