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Barnes gamble was doomed from the start

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Paul Fletcher | 14:00 UK time, Friday, 9 October 2009

John Barnes and Tranmere Rovers always had the look of an unlikely union - and news of his dimissal is hardly a major shock.

The former England international came into the job after a spell as coach of the Jamaica national team and had no experience of League One football.

His only previous job as a manager in club football came at Scottish giants Celtic - and 3,469 days separated his last match in charge there and his first meaningful fixture at Prenton Park.

At Tranmere he inherited a club that had lost several key players from the previous season but which had a lack of available finance to replace them.

It was always asking a lot of Barnes and his assistant Jason McAteer - the Digger and Trigger show - to deliver on what following their high-profile arrival was always going to be unrealistic expectations.

John BarnesJohn Barnes lasted 11 league games as manager of Tranmere Rovers

I spoke to Barnes before the season started and I must admit that I was impressed with his unwavering belief in his footballing principle. It's just that I wasn't convinced they would work at a League One club without any money.

He talked of the time he was spending on the training ground, instilling into his players the way he wanted them to play. The argument seemed to be that the level at which you play your football is irrelevant - what matters is how you work with your players.

"My whole philosophy is that it does not matter whether you have the best players or not, as long as you empower them in an organised manner then you can be consistent and competitive - and that is all I am asking," Barnes told me.

When I asked what he knew about the opposing teams in the division he answered that he was concentrating on his group of players, not anyone else's.

Make no mistake, Barnes is an intelligent and engaging man but it seems to me that if you are managing a League One club with a modest budget but high expectations, you need to do absolutely everything possible to give yourself an advantage over your rivals. I would have thought studying the form/personnel/tactics of your rivals would fall under this category.

Barnes came into management in League One and tried to impose his beliefs on the division. I admire him for trying but his team are 22nd in the division with two wins in 11 games. Barnes played some unusual formations, 4-2-2-2 isn't often seen in League One, and his teams leaked far too many goals (26 in 11 league games). The fans also turned against him.

In a way I don't blame Barnes for Tranmere's current predicament. I think that ultimate responsibility lies at the door of chairman Peter Johnson.

It is the chairman who dispensed with Ronnie Moore at the end of last season.

Moore is in many ways everything Barnes is not. He is a gritty, earthy character with an expert knowledge of lower division players and clubs.

Last season he took Tranmere to within minutes of the League One play-offs. Rovers led 1-0 at Scunthorpe on the final day of the season. A late goal from Iron skipper Cliff Byrne meant that Scunthorpe and not Rovers clinched the final play-off spot.

It was a heartbreaking end to the season and Moore deserved better for his efforts.

Moore has just returned to his former club Rotherham and taken charge of a side in an automatic promotion spot in League Two. He could be forgiven musing how it really is a funny old game.

No such laughs for Barnes.

The 45-year-old had been trying to return to club management for several years and in a way you can applaud Johnson for giving him an opportunity. But Barnes has a high media profile and you could also see it as a vanity appointment that was doomed from the moment it started.

Barnes conducted a series of promotional interviews on Thursday for an anti-smoking campaign he is fronting. The former Liverpool winger sounded confident that he could guide Rovers out of trouble and up the table. But his latest attempt to succeed in management has been stubbed out.

He also said that the fact his name is John Barnes counts for nothing. It would seem that Johnson has also arrived at that conclusion.

You can follow me throughout the season at


  • Comment number 1.

    Unfortunately, i think that in the lower levels of footballs professional regime, knowledge is the key.
    What Barnes has is a name and fair enough when the transfer market opens he is able to ask players because of who he is.

    Its a shame it never worked out for him, maybe its a case of becoming a coach / assistant to someone first and learn the ropes before hanging yourself out to dry.

    No doubt a talented footballer, and indeed my favourite footballer of all time, im pretty sure he can cut it as a coach, he probably like in my previous paragrah needs to be a number 2

    If his ego doesnt allow it then unfortunately his off the pitch life will never match what a great career he had on the pitch

  • Comment number 2.

    Truly the responsibility does lie with the chairman. As the club has been for sale for a while now and he really wants to take about £5m out so that he can retire, his forward planning seems a bit off. Would not a club pressing at the top of the table with a competent manager and a seasoned group of pros be a better bet for sale? If so why sack Moore and let a number of the first team contracts expire so that the core of last years team left in the summer.

    As it is many managers would have struggled this year but few would have made the mistakes that Barnes did in such a short time. During pre season and August transfer window we kept seeing more midfielders and forwards being bought but no defenders. Tranmere already had on their books a pair of useful young forwards and a couple of emerging talent in midfield. The requirement was always for additional defenders but they were not bought or it appears even looked for. Currently the worst goals against record is a result of having availabe for the back 4 only3 teenagers and 2 over 30 and no cover. The goalkeepers are 21 and 17 (athough the youngster looks to be a useful shot stopper.

    Regardless of who ever turns up as manager they must immediately go out and find at least a right back and a center half who know this division and are in their mid 20's.

    As for J Barnes future career, stick to the TV and radio please. This does look rather like a case of his not being able to relate to / coach players with less skill than his own.

  • Comment number 3.

    good example of great former player not making it as coach. blame the chairman, for sure. sacks previous manager who had relative success and proven track record and/or didn't replace him with either up and coming manager (such as gary brabin who did well at southport and cambridge) or someone with previous success at that level.
    mystifying. just like the current wycombe situation!

  • Comment number 4.

    I have to agree that its best to assist before becoming a manager and many great players dont have what it takes to manage or coach.
    Having knowledge is completely different to being able to impart that knowledge to others. Even being a leader on the pitch is different to managing a team on the sidelines.
    Its interesting to look at some of the top tier managers in the premiership. Many of them had less than glorious playing careers, but were spotted as having what it takes to manage a team.

  • Comment number 5.

    I actually think he still will come good. I just think he has been very unlucky. He has vast experience of the game, Problem is now is that I dont see anyone else giving him a second look. Its sad.

    I think it was the wrong role for him as a coach, the lower leagues require knowledge of the teams and players, and he had no exprience at all of this, I stand by my first sentence, and think he will come good just dont know who will take him on now.

  • Comment number 6.

    he ahsnt got a clue man, barnsey, wha a player but a terrible manager he looks so terrible. and mcateer man what a grade a idiot that guy will forever be. i wouldnt let him manage his own cheque book man, he is a bad geezer. and listen, take this and holla back, he was the worst celtic manager ever too. they got beat by caledonia whistle in the cup. that is like fellas, man utd getting beat by bognor regis, this should never happen. but it did, and digger was the man smiling as he collected his wages. haha. barnesy man, he really does crack me up. what a joker. he was desperate, i guess they would not have won another game all season with him in charge.

    players who earn 500 a week playing at teh 3rd level of english football, with under 10 000 fans watchin each week. man they do not wanna hear about barnsley playing in a world cup, with his millions, having iced creams with gazza. they cannot relate to this. they wanna hear ronnie moore telling them to butt people knees, and to have an ale like the rest of us.

  • Comment number 7.

    Paul, I read your previous blog with interest and there were some raised eyebrows at the time at Barnes’ philosophy. He did talk a good game, but that was never related on the pitch (barring a couple early season games). This philosophy did not last long either in terms of “empowering players” as he quickly blamed defeats on individuals. This culminated in him saying he would bring in 16-year-olds that had the right desire, back-tracking saying that this might do irreparable damage to their confidence, before blaming a 17-year-old debutant for a defeat. It was this personal attack on Joe Collister that saw the tide turn on Barnes from “unhappy, but give him time” to “enough is enough”.

    In reality, whoever was appointed was going to be given a bit of a rough ride, as I’m yet to meet a single fan who thinks sacking Ronnie was the right decision. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that having the second-best home record in the division and being unbeaten at home for around 7 months is not why attendances have dropped.

    While it’s easy to criticise Barnes, it’s also easy to sympathise with him. You mention his character, and I would concur that he is one of the nicest blokes I have met in football; however being nice doesn’t win you matches. Ronnie’s success was built upon years of experience of this level, knowing the players and knowing the style and approach needed at this level, unfortunately Barnes has none of that. This isn’t his fault, as I would agree how could you hire someone with zero experience of the field they will be operating in? It’s like me asking for John Motson’s job because I’ve spoken before! It makes no sense.

    It’s not just the results that the fans were unhappy about; it’s the nature of them and the performances that go with them. We looked clueless as a unit, with players unsure of their roles and visibly not confident in themselves, the system or the management.

    While a cliché, I genuinely wish John well in whatever he finds himself doing next. We all would have liked it to work and him get us a step further than Ronnie, but in reality it wasn’t meant to be.

  • Comment number 8.

    I genuinly feel sorry for John Barnes and his high ideals. However the hot water he jumped into had been far too deep for him to walk in and he was then unable to swim with all the other fish in his division. His inevitable downfall had become easy to predict. However, I don't use the word failure, as he simply did not get the required time to fail. Given the right club with the sufficient time and John Barnes may yet prove himself to be the good manager some people suspect him to be.

    I, myself, am a FA Qualified Football Coach who is making his way in the lower and heavily grassed roots of our game, and I know only to well how hard it can be when things don't got acccording to 'The Plan'. But one of the two things I have so far gleemed from my limited coaching and managing experiance has been, cut your cloth according to the material you have been given. So I am puzzled as to why John chose a 'odd' 4222 playing system? That he saw this as the best system for the players he had inherited, to my way of thinking, brings me to the second thing I have so far learned, imagination! The biggest single asset,I think, any manager can have is that you have got an imagination - an imaginaation to see how the players can be shaped, to kow what is best for them, sufficent for them to ask questions in which the opposition simply cannot answer. Imagination. This, for me, has been the key to my continued improvment as a coach and as a manager. John failed becasue he hasn't got the imagination to see what is best for his lads, an imagintion that can 'see' how best to beat his foe. Even the Chairman at Tranmere Rovers failed to have enough imagination to 'see' all this happening. In my view therefore, the blind ended up leading the blind into obl;ivion!

  • Comment number 9.

    an absolutely diabolical appointment from a chairman who clearly has no idea.

    anybody who watched barnes analysis on channel 5 of uefa cup football wouldnt of touched him with a barge pole. a total clown with no conception about how to manage a football club.

    and no sorry john it isnt because your black as you like to roll out to justify your own failings, its because you couldnt cut it and were quite frankly completely hopeless.

    the chairman should resign over this shambles.

  • Comment number 10.

    "he was the worst celtic manager ever too. they got beat by caledonia whistle in the cup. that is like fellas, man utd getting beat by bognor regis"

    Eh, no it's not. It's probably more like Everton getting beaten by Middlesbrough.

  • Comment number 11.

    No, no, no, as you were. Man Utd getting beat by Bognor Regis Town sounds an interesting enough concept to me!

  • Comment number 12.

    Barnes was a fantastic player but is THE worst manager EVER. A complete muppet!!!

    "...Eh, no it's not. It's probably more like Everton getting beaten by Middlesbrough..."

    Hmm I debate that - maybe because i am a Celtic fan - but at the time it was a completely unfathomable result, even if the example of Man Utd / Bognor Regis is a bit far.
    As for it being likened to Everton vs Boro, well that is utterly laughable. I can't help (and it isnt a chip on the shoulder due to our pish league of 2 teams and the rest making up the numbers!) but feel like the equivalent suggested is a tad disparaging to the genuine size of Celtic (and Rangers)!

  • Comment number 13.

    Very foolish decision to sack him.

    As people are saying, he had no experience of this level so he was always going to struggle at the start.

    But given a bit of time he would have worked out what was required in League 1. So results would have improved and at the end of the season Tranmere would have been right at the top of the table.

    Barnes would have come good, sadly the chairman didn't have the patience to wait.

  • Comment number 14.

    Sack a man that has been there since July, granted has had a bad start but surely should be given time to sort it out. But yet again a board hired him havent got the balls to back him when the fans start to show dissent.

    And then the final joke - they put the Physio in charge - what next is the club doctor going to be the 1st team coach?

  • Comment number 15.

    Maybe there is something to Barnes' race claims? Yes, he's a hopeless manager but there's plenty of those about. Bryan Robson was equally clueless but for a long time chairmen seemed happy enough to throw jobs at him. And when Ipswich sack Roy Keane I doubt it'll be long before he finds a new post.

  • Comment number 16.

    "[Y]ou need to do absolutely everything possible to give yourself an advantage over your rivals. I would have thought studying the form/personnel/tactics of your rivals would fall under this category."

    I'm not quite sure I understand what you're saying here. You asked John Barnes - during preseason - what he knew about the other teams in League One. He responded that he was only focused on his team.

    I don't quite see the problem with that. Why would he be focused on other teams before he has really gotten to know the players he has at his own disposal? There are 23 other teams in the league!

    I'm sure in preparing for his opponents he would do all the things that you ever so wisely pointed out, which - incidentally - is what a good manager does regardless of professional league and financial constraints.

    However, you seem to be suggesting that Barnes had no intention of analysing other teams at any point of the season. Is this really what he told you?

    If so, that might be where the problem lies.

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm a Tranmere fan, didn't want Ronnie to go but obviously wanted Barnes to succeed. Sadly where Barnes went wrong was having no defence or keeper sorted a week before the first game, a problem which has continued to haunt us. I feel sorry for the guy but he should never have got the job in the first place. Saying that, once he was appointed he should've got more games to prove he can turn things around.
    I also don't agree with the whole lack of funds argument as I'm sure this is also true for a lot of League 1 clubs who have been picking up better results than us.

  • Comment number 18.

    I am a massive John Barnes fan, as a player he was one of the best and depsite dogs abuse he carried on wearing the England shirt with pride. Unfortunately he's found management to be a different kettle of fish. He should maybe get a job as a coach or assistant (if he can) at Premier League or Championship team and properly learn the ropes, as these days no manager is really given time when they are struggling, especially young inexperienced managers. It is all to easy for chairmen and boards to pull the trigger. Which is why you have to applaud those that do give the manager a chance to change things and turn things around.

  • Comment number 19.

    @ andyj247

    Whilst I appreciate your comments I think if you knew a little more background about the club you would know that Les Parry has been a loyal servant of Tranmere for a great many years and is hugely popular. Obviously he is unlikely to be there for the long term but good on him for stepping up.

    Go get 'em Les!

  • Comment number 20.

    You really had to question is decision to leave sunny Jamaica for the wind of the Wirral!!

    Yet again we see an ex-professional who played at the highest level but can't hack it in League football.

  • Comment number 21.

    Whats sad is that he took on this job. He must have been really desparate to get back into English football for him to take on a job at a club like Tranny specially with no spending money & dilusional fans.

    I dont think any manager would have had a fair chance of avoiding relegation given that most of the better players seemed to have been sold off and no money left in the kittty. Also a hanging love affair with the previous manager would not have helped as many players would have resisted any change. Some may have even resented the fact that he is smarter than them., God forbid someone like Barnes being smart, what next a coloured President for the USA ?????

    Barnes probably made the wrong choice of club. He would need a club where he could have time and be trusted by the Chairman and be given some investment for players. I think his own desperation has ment that he wont get another crack at it.

    Hopefully, in a few years, Trany will get what they deserve, relagation to the non-league.

    I'll take my words back if the next guy that comes in gets tranny to mid-table.

  • Comment number 22.

    15. At 4:52pm on 09 Oct 2009, onedragonontheshirt wrote:

    Maybe there is something to Barnes' race claims? Yes, he's a hopeless manager but there's plenty of those about. Bryan Robson was equally clueless but for a long time chairmen seemed happy enough to throw jobs at him. And when Ipswich sack Roy Keane I doubt it'll be long before he finds a new post.

    Robbo wasn't much of a manager, but he achieved three cup finals, two promotions and two survivals with Middlesbrough, and a promotion and a survival with West Brom. Those are all achievements.

    Barnes has achieved absolutely nothing as a manager, is a rubbish pundit and his rapping on World In Motion was dreadful. Far from being discriminated against, I think his celebrity and reputation as a great player has given him opportunities many more talented people would have been denied.

  • Comment number 23.

    This was all so predictable, in fact I said on a forum that they'll be lucky to last until Christmas.In fact on that forum no-one thougt Barnes woud do a good job, mostly on his performance at Celtic, where they were starting to come third in a two horse race !!

    I've heard that the Tranmere players had nicknames for their manager and assistant manager, Dumb and Dumber (I'll let you decide who was who?).

    Anyway, I wish Barnes all the best in what he wants to do, but he is no manager and his presenting skills are so wooden it is unbelievable.

  • Comment number 24.

    hindsight always gives 20 20 vision-

  • Comment number 25.

    It's all well and good for some people to proclaim that he should have had more time and to call our fans delusional. However I'm willing to wager that these same people haven't actually seen Tranmere play this season.

    Yes most of our best players left during the pre-season but Barnes had more than enough time to rebuild properly. And he didn't. With a limited budget he signed a copious amount of midfielders, none of which have proved their worth, and almost left a depleted defense untouched. For the opening game our oldest defender was 20 whilst our keeper was 21. No matter how good they were (and there is some promise) the lack of experience is easily a red light. Right now we have six recognised defenders and the same amount of recognised forwards. It's this imbalance which has caused a great deal of our problems. The number of goals conceded speaks for themselves.

    On the pitch quite frankly the performances have been wretched. We have two defensive midfielders defending so deep they may as well be centre halfs, full backs who act as wingers at every opportunity, often leaving us exposed when our actual centre halves are caught out having to cover for them. It's clear that we could be easily cracked if any pressure was applied to us, something that was often exploited. And yet he refused to change the system.

    Quite frankly I have little sympathy for him either. As Paul has said, Barnes vowed to be on the training pitch trying to install his methods. And yet twice this week he's been anywhere but, opting to come to London to take part in various promotions. On Tuesday, the day we played Bury in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy instead of going through scouting reports and DVDs of the opposition he spent his day at Wembley promoting a certain chocoalte confectionary. That is unacceptable in my opinion.

    Did Peter Johnson make a mistake in sacking Ronnie and hiring Barnes and McAteer. Yes. But in these actions now he's recognising this, and is actively doing something about it. For this, as well as the fact it was him that got us into the dizzy heights of promotion candidates in Division One in the early nineties means I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Anyway there is a great spirit around the fans right now, and I'm each and every one of us get behind Les and the Lads on Monday night. Go 'ed Les!

  • Comment number 26.

    Phil- John Barnes is probably too nice a fella to be a football manager!
    There is a time for all FM's to 'dish it out', drop favoured players, take decisions that no-one else in the Club, or in its fan base agree with - don't think John, as knowledegable as he is about football, can do these things well - he has walked in the 'managers shoes' 3 times now; perhaps its time to apply his talents elsewhere, punditry, commentating, who knows?
    Feel very sorry for him he was a great player, even if its was 'for the enemy' .

  • Comment number 27.

    As a Celtic fan I can only ask one question. Why employ the man in the first place? He couldn't manage with money to spend and King Kenny behind him. What on Earth made the Rovers board think he would do better with no money and Jason McAteer?

    We have had some bad managers. Liam Brady and Lou Macari spring to mind. But they managed Celtic in very different and darker times in its history. Barnes was, quite frankly, awful.

    I wish you well in the future and hope that you too can get over the John Barnes experience.

  • Comment number 28.

    # 26 above -Sorry Paul for renaming you Phil!!

  • Comment number 29.

    Barnes had to go, as he made the same tactical errors here that he did at Celtic. You may assemble a team that knows how to pass and move once they get the ball but the biggest battle any team faces at this level is fighting just to get possession. In every competitive game this season, the opposition have had the majority of possession.
    And whenever we didn't have the ball, the opposition always looked like they were going to score. Tranmere have an appalling goal difference, and yet it could have been so much worse but for Luke Daniels, who has been made to look a worse keeper than he really is.
    Ironically, the caretaker team might come through for us. Everybody loves Les Parry, a man who wears shorts in all weathers, so he'll get our support from the get-go. Having Shaun Garnett alongside him could also be a bonus. He was someone who was not blessed with pace or physique as a player yet he knew how to defend. If Tranmere are to turn things round then it is vital that we stop leaking goals.
    As a replacement, well Ronnie Moore wouldn't want to come back and who could blame him? I'm glad in a way he's found gainful employment. Would have loved Jimmy Harvey to come back, but he has just filled a certain position just down the road.
    In spite of what BadAdmi says, we are not delusional. We did not instigate the sacking of Ronnie Moore, yet had someone with experience at this level come in then we might have been hopeful of holding our own in a competitive league. Barnes was not a good appointment as he not only didn't play or coach at this level, he hadn't managed full time for nearly a decade; Celtic fans still laugh at the time he forked out £5m on a player called Scheidt.
    Although calling for Barnes' head at this stage may seem reactionary, the results were as desperate as the performances with no sign of Barnes changing his philosophy. Managers have been sacked for a good deal less. Like Ronnie Moore.

  • Comment number 30.

    Andyj247 - Les Parry will only be a temporary measure, that said the last physio to take over a managers job in the football league was Nigel Adkins - he's done ok. Indeed before that Bertie Mee winner of the double with Arsenal started out as the clubs physio so its unusual but not as ridiculous as you make out.

    badadmi - What planet are you from? John Barnes took the only job he could get, he said as much himself! To suggest ex players have a choice of clubs which they want to manage is naive. To wish us relagated to non-league based on such a skewed world view is plain odd.

  • Comment number 31.

    24. At 7:01pm on 09 Oct 2009, dhenry wrote:
    hindsight always gives 20 20 vision-

    What 'hindsight' ? The vast majority of TRFC supportes were appalled at the sacking of Moore after narowly missing the play-offs, and had little faith in Barnes when he WAS appointed. How is this 'hindsight'. A trip to the dictionary for you dhenry.

  • Comment number 32.

    99neil I was commenting on the article-the statement made by the journalist I am well aware of the meaning of hindisght. The article is written after the event-if the journalist had stated that he believed that J Barnes was doomed then I wouldn't have said hindsight. Please check your dictionary for the meaning of the word-the fact that in your opinion so many of the supporters were against does not negate the use of hindsight in the context I used it-so to put it bluntly-so there!

  • Comment number 33.

    Re comments 6 & 11

    As a Bognor Regis Town fan let me tell you, we are bottom of the Ryman Premier and so bad we wouldn't even beat a team managed by John barnes!

  • Comment number 34.

    Nigal Atkins..a big possibilty according to my source.

  • Comment number 35.

    Once a show pony.....always a show pony!

  • Comment number 36.

    Getting the sack is part and parcel of football. Let us keep things in perspective, he still has health, wealth and family. If he wants to carry on in the game, he can do so. Let us be honest with each other, John Barnes has more opportunities than most of us on this blog. Life goes on.

  • Comment number 37.

    It's dead easy to point at John Barnes & brand him a management failure, but like this article says, it was doomed from the start at Tranmere.

    Really you could say it was Barnes' fault for taking the job. He was clearly never suited to it. They halved their wage bill by getting rid of all their best players in the summer. How was anyone supposed to be competitive in that situation?! The biggest problem here was that Barnes' was desperate for a club job, and Tranmere were the club that decided to have a go with him. They should have been looking at people who knew that division and the players as they were always in for a relegation fight from day 1!

    Barnes' record in his few games with Jamaica was good, and anyone who seriously points to his time at Celtic as proof that he's a bad manager is a bit out of order - That was years ago, and he clearly wasn't ready for it.

    The fact is Barnes was so desperate he took a job that he never had any buisiness going anywhere near. He wasn't right for that club or league, and the club weren't right for him.

    I personally would like to see someone else take a chance on him, in a situation where he's not up against it the minute he walks through the door. If he's preaching good football I hope he can make it in the game.

    For me John Barnes is still an unproven entity as a manager. A short spell at Celtic years ago where Henrik Larsson got injured, another short spell at Tranmere where he had no team and no money, and a few games as an international manager where he did OK I would suggest means you can't make a fair evaluation of his management skills right now.

  • Comment number 38.

    John Barnes had little money and lost alot of players. The same can be said for Exeter, Oldham, Hartlepool, Orient, Stockport, Bury, Yeovil, Brentford, Southend, Walsall, Gillingham, Carlisle...

    That's what the lower leagues is all about.

    There is NO EXCUSE for having 7 forwards for 2 positions and 6 defenders for 4.

    We went into the first game of the season with 1 recognised centre-back (an 18 year-old loanee from Blackburn who'd never played a professional match and didn't have time to train with the team. And was rubbish).

    Nice guy, but football is about defence and attack. You don't need to be a great player to know that. You don't need knowledge of League 1 for that. You don't even need to have this famous "intelligence". -17 goal difference after 11 games is ridiculous.

  • Comment number 39.

    Why did they sack Moore?

    A top coach at that level.

  • Comment number 40.

    Peter Johnson's Company paid me a seven figure sum in 2002 to buy my business, which had been trading profitably for 25 years. Inside two years they turned it upside down and sold it off for literably pennies!!! Based on this evidence, what chance for Tranmere Rovers under his stuardship?

  • Comment number 41.

    Not sure where these race comments are coming from. Barnesy has had his main home in Heswall for as long as I can remember, his kids go to school round here. He's often been seen in supermarkets etc (although perhaps not while at Tranmere) - he's generally well known and liked round here. Why would race come into it?

    I'm generally against the idea of sacking managers after short stints and not meeting (often unrealistic) expectations, but this wasn't a case of that. Even in his punditry he doesn't come across as the sharpest tool in the box, whatever might be going on in his head - and sadly the performance has been worse. Aside from the failure to strengthen the defence, the refusal to look at other teams or change a failing system (his comments after one match were that he hadn't changed anything in 5 or 6 defeats since we beat Gillingham - so what was he supposed to do?) the real disappointment was squarely blaming individuals after talking about empowering them and doing little else.

    I wish him (and Trigger) all the best - but I also wish we'd got shot of the pair of them before Ronnie went back to Rotherham.

  • Comment number 42.

    Nice guy, good footballer but he did not learn his trade when it came to football management. Why he thought his "knowledge" would be sufficient to manage Celtic and Tranmere is beyond me. He should have learnt and gained experience with a smaller club as an assistant before stepping into the big stage. Doubt he will now be given another chance.

  • Comment number 43.

    My work colleague, a Celtic fan, told me before the start of the season that Tranmere were bankers to lose every week with Barnes in charge. As a result he has put them down to lose every week on his coupon. He was gutted to hear that Barnes has been sacked.

  • Comment number 44.

    Roberto your comments at 37 are obviously based on the fact that you never saw Celtic play under Barnes.

    Celtic were simply terrible and he was voted as their worst manager in their long history, even today the poll would not change. This has nothing to do with Larsson "super caley go ballistic Celtic are atrocious" is a headline that has gone down in media sporting history in Scotland.

    If he was such a good manager why is it that nobody else has appointed him in the past 10 years other than Jamacia and a club looking for a front person to sell the club which hugely back fired?

    I hve nothing personal against John Barnes and after seeing a few Tranmere games this season have to say that he is nowhere near a football manager as the organisation, team selection and player acquisitions have proven to be well below the mark of acceptability. I am sure this is something that Celtic fans would also agree with.

  • Comment number 45.

    I can gladly say I have never known anyone in person to be as much of an idiot as Badadmi! The suggestion that our fans being 'dellusional' is to blame for Barnes failings is the funniest thing I have ever heard so thanks for the entertainment and amusement.

    The thing he/she should have slated Tranmere for is the sacking of Ronnie Moore. Granted the budget was reduced and we lost good players but if Moore was still in charge I see there being no chance of us being in the situation we currently find ourselves in. It has been dire! I don't know who Badadmi supports (I'd guess at Bolton or another club with a personal agenda against Tranmere) but I have severe doubts he/she would have stood back and approved of what's happened to us happening to his/her team. We found a situation similar at the turn of the decade when Watson was sacked and people in the local media turned on the club and one Philip McNulty from the L'pool Echo ranted about what a disgrace our club was at various levels be it supporters for shouting for Watson's head or the board for sacking him and he ended by wishing our club into the abyss.

    Comments from idiots with a chip on their shoulder are nothing new, the more rational will look to the fact that 99% of Tranmere fans where content with Moore in charge and we do not just turn on a manager for having a bad run of luck. Effort and passion from the team gets the fans on side and we have just not seen enough of it quite frankly. Add to this the imbalance of our squad (3 centre halves, 3 left-mids and 7, yes 7 centre forwards) and also the public hanging out to dry of a 17 year old debutant goalkeeper and you have a complete package that has had me cringing and cursing every day our club has been blighted by Barnes's presence for the last couple of months!

    I wish whoever we appoint the best of luck as they will need it to turn around the mess Barnes has left behind! We need to lose at least 2 forwards and gain 2 defenders and a goalkeeper to provide experienced backup to allow Collister to grow and develop in his own time (and not get slated and have his confidence torn to shreds by an idiot manager who doesn't want to shoulder any blame for losing to Exeter).

  • Comment number 46.

    As A Caley supporter I still vividly remember "SuperCaleyGoBallisticCelticWereAtrocious"!!!

    As is unanimously recognised, Barnsey is a super bloke and was a wonderful footballer, but a disaster as manager. There seems a clear general pattern here. Along with the even clearer example of Maradona, players who were footballing geniuses often lack the ability to man-manage and tactically organise lesser lights into effecient footballing units. Often the best ex-players who become successful managers were your more average footballers who empathise with non-iconic players and had to learn the worth of good tactics. Chairmen really ought to think about that before making unwise PR-orientated appointments.

  • Comment number 47.

    I think one of the problems ith Barnes is his self-belief\arrogance, delete as appropriate. He thinks he knows best and won't listen or look around him for fear of learning the contrary. What works in the premiership doen't necessarily work in the lower leagues. He should probably work as a coach for a few years before trying again (although it is hard to see anyone giving him another chance) or just forget about management. Probably the latter.
    But I must pick up on one point. Someone above said "It’s like me asking for John Motson’s job because I’ve spoken before! It makes no sense." John Motson is appalling at his job and I think most of us could do his job better than him. He may have an encyclopaedic knowledge of football stats, but with an encyclopedia in front of us, who wouldn't? His UNDERSTANDING of football is virtually zero! Even whn he's seen an incident and then seen the replay, he still can't analyse what happened. It's embarassing listening to his drivel. And that nervous laugh of his - aarrrgggghhhhh!
    When's he retiring?

  • Comment number 48.

    @14 - We put our Physio (Nigel Adkins) in charge when Brian Laws left and he's turing out to be a bit of a gem!

  • Comment number 49.

    As a Tranmere Fan I think it was a stupid decision in the first instance to sack Ronnie Moore and to hire John Barnes. But it goes to show you how much money plays a part in the game. As what was the reason for the manager switch? Simple, US investors. Last season US investors were close to dropping money into Tranmere but didn't know who Moore was and so asked for a bigger name to be manager the club before they invested. So instead of having a manager that knows the league that knows the teams as soon as we missed out on promotion and the need for money was greater the axe came and a bigger name (although an unproven name) was brought in that a US investor would have heard of. So was it worth the change - No - the change happened but the investment didn't. Where does it leave us, with a physio in charge.

  • Comment number 50.

    #47, I think it is my comment you are referring to. I used that as an example to demonstrate how wide of the mark Barnes’ approach was, as in when he arrived he was questioned about his knowledge of League One football and his response was that he knew nothing about League One but that ‘football is football whatever level it is played at’. I think the last 4 months have shown that not to be the case, so I won’t be expecting a phone call from Match of the Day any time soon!

  • Comment number 51.

    @ Post No 34.

    Your "source" can't even spell the fella's name correctly.

    I'd be amazed if Nigel came back to Tranmere at the moment, though he is someone I would love to have as manager one day.

    As for the race card, it's the easiest and laziest excuse. As someone else said, he lives local, and has been at Tranmere games in the past, and as far as I'm aware hasn't suffered any racial prejudice.

    It's also worth noting that Wayne "The Chief" Allison has been helping with training since Les took over, which I belive has been met with universal approval from Tranmere fans.

    Not that the colour of skin matters. He's at Tranmere because he's qualified and most importantly, respected, even though he had a completely different career path to John Barnes.

  • Comment number 52.

    I wasn't having a go at you, appologies if you thought I was.
    I totally agree, it was a bizarre appointment, and presumably a case of "let's get a big name in". His record with Celtic and his reputation with fans there should have (and I think with TR fans did) set the alarm bells ringing. I don't know how he did with Jamaica mind.
    I hope TR recover and I'm sure they will.
    But if MOTD do offer you the job instead of JM, please take it!

  • Comment number 53.

    My club had become a laughing stock, even up here in Scotland, thanks to Barnes... was it too early?... no! Should we have kept him on board till we had no chance of survival?... no!

    He had lost the fans that did back him and he he never seemed to have the dressing-room. I think the thing that sums the man up, is that everywhere you heard Tranmere being mentioned, they were questioning how long he had left in the job, and rather than rolling up his sleeves and getting stuck in to try and drag the team results our way, he swanned off to do promotional work... crazy.

    And for those playing the race card... rediculous... he was far more likely to suffer becuuse of the Liverpool thing; and that's football rivalry, the way things will always be, hopefully!

    Les Parry is a great servant for the club and could very well be a great short-term boost to morale and confidence. Cannae wait to watch the match tonight now, I can cheer us on with pride knowing that a Tranmere man is pulling the strings... go 'ed Les, lah!

  • Comment number 54.

    Mickey Mellon (fleetwood town) ex-player, is the right man for the job. We will not be accompanying a good manager like steve coppell or paul jewell especially after what JB and JM have left behind. Micky mellon all the way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 55.

    The people running Tranmere should write a book entitled: "How to turn a moderately successful football club into a complete disaster: In two easy lessons."

    Having been a Tranmere fan for some twenty years now I look on this situation as one of the worst the club has ever been in. Even when they were fighting to remain in the football league, at least there was spirit there at that time.

    The appointment of John Barnes and the sacking of Ronnie Moore was done for one reason - to put bums on seats at Prenton Park. There was a total disregard for the football team and the club as a whole. And then they put Les Parry, a physio, in charge. He's a lovely bloke and very funny, but he is not a football manager.

    I only prey that something good can come out of this madness. I almost feel they should drop a division and start the great comeback, as they did in the 1980's and 1990's. I do fear a Chester-like free fall for the club and appeal to those running Rovers to sort it out quickly or get out.

    Those heady days of battling for a place in the Premiership are long gone, I realise that, but this club showed the likes of Swindon and Bradford, and now Hull and Burnley that a place in the top flight is achievable for any club with a quality set-up and quality players.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed my days at Prenton Park and will never forget those amazing days at the top of the Championship. But let's not dwell too long in the past, even the immediate past. Let's look forward and take the recovery one step at a time, survival in this league this season with a view to building a better team next season with a manager who at least knows football at this level.

  • Comment number 56.

    The sacking of Ronnie Moore was absolute lunacy. Barnes is an average manager, not a bad one, but nobody could have done a better job with Tranmere than what Moore did.

    Given the ridiculous comparisons earlier on, I will liken Barnes' predicament to that of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when he takes over at Manchester United. Regardless of how good a job he does, it's never going to be as good as the guy before him. And if he starts off on a bad note, he's doomed.

  • Comment number 57.

    Paul i agree with everything you have wrote, i was and still am gutted that ronnie got the sack and johnson's feeble excuse of falling attendances, which incidentally have been falling years before ronnie was appointed manager, i can't help thinking hides a more sinister reason why he was booted out of a club that he ,like all of us trfc fans gave his heart and soul to.


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