Mark Palios: Tranmere taken over by ex-FA chief and wife

Former Football Association chief executive Mark Palios and his wife Nicola are to become the new owners of League Two Tranmere Rovers.

A club statement said the pair were "taking a controlling interest" after reaching agreement with current owner Peter Johnson.

Palios, 61, made over 280 appearances in two spells with Tranmere during his playing career.

He will become executive chairman, with his lawyer wife as vice-chairman.

Johnson will hold the roles of shareholder, director and honorary president at Prenton Park.

Peter Johnson's Tranmere reign

Took control in 1987, rescuing the club from administration

Won promotion from Division Four in 1989 and Division Three in 1991

Reached the second tier play-offs in three consecutive years (1993, 1994 and 1995) but failed to win promotion to the Premier League

Lost to Leicester in 2000 League Cup final at Wembley

Tranmere relegated from second tier in 2001 and, then again in 2014 following 13 seasons in League One

Palios resigned from his position with the FA in 2004 following stories about his personal life.

He told BBC Radio Merseyside that his strong emotional ties with Rovers had led him to take up his new position.

"It was not in our plans to join any other football club," said Palios.

"It's not a business decision that we're making, it's an emotional decision, but it's one where we hope to bring business principles to the club."

Tranmere had emotional pull - Palios

"It's one of those great clubs - part of the football pyramid, which is unique to this country. It has the opportunities to develop as a club and not just to survive but to thrive."

Johnson rescued Tranmere from administration in 1987 and had been hoping to hand control of the club over to new owners for some time.

Former Southampton chairman Michael Wilde had been one possible investor, but he withdrew his offer in February, while another prospective bid fell through in March.

"I have been looking for a safe pair of hands to ensure the club's future," Johnson told the club website. "In Mark and Nicola I have found that.

"As a local lad who played for the club, and a former chief executive of The FA with a successful commercial track record, Mark is uniquely placed to help lead Tranmere to a bright future. Nicola is an accomplished lawyer and businesswoman.

"Between them, they have the passion and the experience to take the club forward and I am looking forward to working on the board with them. Finding this mix of football and business skills is highly unusual."

Tranmere were relegated to League Two at the end of last season and began the 2014-15 season with a 1-1 draw against York City on Saturday.