RONNIE MOORE is taking the fast track to delivering Tranmere from the threat of relegation – and earning the right to negotiate for his own long-term future as manager at Prenton Park.
Chairman Peter Johnson told shareholders he will “start talking” about a long-term contract for Moore when Tranmere reach the 50-point mark, which should be enough to guarantee League One football for another season.
That target is now just five points away following a 2-0 win at Rochdale on Tuesday, the first on the road since October. It gave Rovers a record of three wins and two draws in five games since Moore accepted a short-term assignment to manage the side until the end of the season.
Chairman Johnson, speaking at Tranmere’s annual meeting, said: “We will start talking at 50 points.” In response to a shareholder’s question about an extended appointment for Moore.
Johnson added: “The man in place is always a candidate.”
Johnson also made a joke to the meeting about deserving credit himself for a “brilliant appointment” in choosing a successor to Les Parry.
Moore, a former player, captain, assistant manager and manager at Prenton Park, took over on March 4. His previous three-year spell as manager ended in dismissal at Johnson’s hands, a few weeks after Tranmere narrowly missed making the League One play-offs in 2009.
The meeting heard Tranmere recorded an operating loss of £197,428 last season, compared to a loss of £22,660 in 2009/10.
Gate income decreased by 14% during the 2010/11 campaign. However, turnover went up by £100,000 to £3.46million, thanks to increased solidarity payments passed down from the Premier League.
The accounts for the year ended June 2011showed the club had debts of more than £7m at the end of last season – £2.1m in bank loans and £5m, owed to Johnson, the controlling shareholder since 1987.
Johnson reported Tranmere’s board of directors are “debating the options” about the future of a plan to build houses on the Ingleborough Road training ground and redevelop the Woodchurch Leisure Centre into a new training facility to be shared with the local community.
Tranmere withdrew a planning application for the linked projects last month but could submit new proposals to Wirral Council at any time.
Johnson handed out a public slap down to the Tranmere Rovers Supporters Trust, who have been negotiating to buy his controlling shares in the club since last summer and want to take the club into community ownership.
Earlier this week the Trust announced ambitious proposals to redevelop Prenton Park, adding hotels and retail outlets to the site, should they succeed in gaining control of the club.
Johnson would not be drawn on the progress of his negotiations with the Trust, saying: “Unlike the Trust, I like to keep my discussions private. The Trust have a habit of conducting their negotiations through the media.”