8 things that stand out from the whiteboard in Mark Palios' office
Amid a press tour announcing secondary investment from Santini Group, Tranmere Rovers owner Mark Palios was today interviewed by Radio City News, who subsequently tweeted a photo promoting the appearance. Said photo features Palios standing with his wife and co-owner, Nicola, in front of a whiteboard brimming with information about the club’s strategic plans.
Quite how this was allowed to enter the public domain eludes me, and one has to question why the pair posed in front of such a backdrop, but let’s dive in and see what we can decipher.
1. Imagine the meltdown if Red Bull Tranmere ever became a thing
Under a heading of ‘equity,’ five bullet points are scribbled, including two projects under the Indonesia label. Indonesia one, presumably referring to the Santini investment, has been ticked. Indonesia two, whatever that is, remains a work in progress. Other bullet points under equity include RB, Essar and fans.
Imagine the social media meltdown if RB stood for Red Bull. Classic.
2. Wirral Borough Council remembered there is a football club in Birkenhead
In recent years, Tranmere have worked hard to rejuvenate their relationship with Wirral Borough Council, once a longstanding shirt sponsor. Civic receptions for both recent promotions have acted as a conduit to further discussions, allowing the Palioses to push their agenda towards regional powerbrokers.
Interestingly, the initials WBC appear several times on the whiteboard. Of course, I could be totally wrong, and this entire article is an exercise in satirical estimation, but that would appear to stand for Wirral Borough Council, right?
The whiteboard references WBC in relation to debt restructuring, grant aids and asset building efforts. More specifically, WBC support is earmarked for the Recreation Centre and the installation of a 3G pitch at The Campus training complex. Good to know.
3. I'm still banging on about Tranmere and Wirral Waters
A smaller note in the grants section refers to the LEP, or Local Enterprise Partnership, the primary engine of economic development in the Liverpool City Region. LEP offers a range of grants for local businesses, and Tranmere regularly bid for such funding to aid their community outreach initiatives.
This may appear to be of little consequence, but it once again underlines the movement of Tranmere to become involved at the heart of local politics and enterprise.
While my efforts to establish a clear link between the club and the showcase Wirral Waters regeneration have been unsuccessful so far, I firmly believe that collaboration in that venture - heavily linked to the kind of political arena Rovers are now immersed in through deals with WBC and LEP - may be a logical endpoint for all of the development machinations occurring at our football club.
4. The likelihood of Tranmere moving to a new stadium continues to grow
As referenced in a number of recent blogs, something is afoot with regard to a move from Prenton Park. Nicola Palios has said explicitly that plans for a new stadium are ‘on the drawing board,’ but now that drawing board has actually been leaked into the public domain, apparently.
The whiteboard features a tick next to stadium move, which lends further credibility to the notion that Rovers are deep down the exploratory road to a new home. This tick could merely represent the successful circulation of information-gathering media whispers about the project as opposed to any tangible progress, but at the nexus of Santini’s influence and the evolution of modern football, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tranmere in a new stadium within the next twenty years.
5. If you are an unemployed chef, send your CV to the Riverhill Hotel, Oxton
Quite ominously, a section of the whiteboard is devoted to those areas of the club receiving 'intensive care,' articulated in red ink for dramatic effect. Driving matchday sponsorships is listed in this section, along with recruitment and the marketing of Christmas event space offerings.
The need to hire a new chef at the Riverhill Hotel is also an urgent priority, as is the installation of CCTV to aid corporate hospitality efforts.
Tranmere also aim to expand their education arm, according to the whiteboard, while anyone with a background in finance may be keen for a sneak preview of a possible restructuring in that department, too.
6. There is genuine care about the fan experience at Prenton Park
The whiteboard section relating to playing budgets is slightly obscured, but it’s refreshing to see a clear correlation mapped between on-pitch performance and the availability of additional funds. An arrow also links on-pitch performance to fan experience, illustrating the bond between supporters and the club that sits at the heart of everything we are trying to achieve.
The institution not the individual, a fine slogan, is circled in bold font, indicating the importance of accentuating the unique advantages of Tranmere Rovers as an independent club of powerful heritage, tradition and culture. It's refreshing to see football owners that actually care about the fans of their club as contributors to the end rather than a means of achieving it.
7. We're very big on soccer here in Wirral
Over on the second whiteboard, to the right of Nicola on our view of the photograph, we see weekly tasks assigned to the club's Key Account Manager, including the upkeep of Tranmere’s sponsorship agreement with Essar.
More pertinently, we see two continents scrawled beneath the heading of Inbound: Asian and NA, presumably North America.
Again, the Indonesian investment crystallises Rovers’ efforts in the Asian market, but the club’s footprint in the United States and Canada appears to be the focus of expansion here.
In October 2018, Danny O’Donnell and Matt Hunter of the Tranmere Rovers International Academy embarked on tour of the USA, visiting 20 colleges in 13 different states to showcase the club’s educational program. The fruits of that labour are still yet to be conveyed, but the whiteboard brainstorm leads me to believe that announcements are forthcoming in that space, too.
8. The owners need some new reading material
On a lighter note, the photograph also affords us a nice look at the Palioses bookshelf. There we find copies of Blue Nose by Everton great Ronny Goodlass; The Prehistory of The Far Side by Gary Larson; The Far Side Gallery also by Gary Larson; and Hunger in Paradise by Rasmus Ankersen.
There is no copy of Planet Prentonia currently on view, but I would be happy to provide a signed version for Their Royal Highnesses totally free of charge.
In closing, stay vigilant out there, folks. You never know when somebody will take a photo of your office whiteboard and upload it to a social media website with 330 million active users.
Get the Planet Prentonia book!
Ryan Ferguson is the author of Planet Prentonia: The Real Story of Tranmere Rovers, available now in paperback and Kindle formats through Amazon. Click the link below to get your copy now!