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Chairman's statement regarding 2019/20 EFL season

9 June 2020

I am disappointed if not surprised at the decision of the EFL to terminate the season on a PPG basis, which results in Tranmere’s removal from League One by a vote of its clubs. The unreturned calls and messages indicated where the votes would go.

I accept that a global pandemic is a desperate situation of nobody’s making. I accept that difficult choices have to be made.  However, I do not believe that this particular outcome was the fairest solution. I understand why it was the one chosen when clubs are all looking to protect their own vested interests at an extremely difficult time. However, it cannot be right that clubs are pitted against clubs, when nobody voting (including Tranmere) is able to take a purely dispassionate view. Perhaps it exposes the fable of the “football family” and the complete collapse of the collective when faced with an external challenge.

Unfortunately, the consequence of voting on a method of ending the season retrospectively is that the minority, being those in the relegation places, will inevitably be outnumbered by those for whom the solution represents safety, or promotion.  Had we been having the debate at the start of the season, I suspect that the vote would have looked very different.

I have lost count of the number of Chairman who have sympathised at the unfairness of our plight, whilst still voting for it.  However, sympathy doesn’t pay wages or assuage a deep sense of unfairness.

I have no doubt that we would have survived had we been able to play on. 

Nicky and I would like to thank the Tranmere supporters, friends and politicians as well as those in the media for their tremendous support at an immensely difficult time for the Club. The consequence of what has happened, if not overturned, is that we now have to prepare for a drop of approximately £1 million in our income next year, over and above the financial stresses of having no gate income. However, we shall survive because of all the hard work put in, by so many people, over previous years to ensure we have sound financial foundations. Inevitably, this decision will have a knock on impact on the capital projects we had planned and lead to a reduction in staffing numbers.  The latter aspect, in particular, makes me sick at heart, but I shall do what I have to do to make sure this Club lives to fight another day. 

For Tranmere fans this will leave a burning sense of injustice. We need to bottle that, and use it to spur us on to reclaim our rightful place in League One. We have survived worse and come back stronger and we shall do so again.

Finally, we shall reflect on the situation and decide on the best course of action going forwards.

Ubi Fides Ibi Lux Et Robur.

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