Campaign to raise cash for statue of Tranmere Rovers legend Johnny King

Wirral Globe: Campaign to raise cash for statue to Tranmere Rovers legend King Campaign to raise cash for statue to Tranmere Rovers legend King

THE Tranmere Rovers Supporters' Trust is launching a fund-raising campaign to erect a statue of legendary manager Johnny King at Prenton Park.

The appeal, which will be formally launched at its AGM prior to Saturday's match with Oldham Athletic, aims to raise £50,000 for a life-size bronze statue as a permanent tribute to a man described as the club's greatest ever King family have said they are delighted to back the campaign.

Although the former Borough Road stand was re-named the Johnny King Stand in 2002, the Trust believes his achievements deserve the recognition that a statue would represent.

Trust Chairman Ben Harrison said: "Johnny King is the club's greatest ever manager and is rightly revered by every Tranmere Rovers supporter.

"A loyal servant as both player and manager, the unparalleled success and style of football played by his teams as we rose from near oblivion to the verge of the Premier League, was better than anything ever seen at Prenton Park.

"The late 1980s and early 1990s are understandably seen as the golden era in Tranmere's history, and Johnny King was the mastermind behind those glory days.

"He is to Tranmere supporters what Shankly is to Liverpool fans, and the Trust is proud to launch this campaign to install a statue at Prenton Park as a permanent tribute to his achievements."

Born in 1938, Johnny King began a playing career spanning more than 400 games at Everton.

He came to Tranmere in 1960 and made more than 240 appearances, helping the club win promotion from the old Fourth Division in 1967.

He began the first of two spells as manager at Prenton Park in 1975, leading the club to promotion in 1976, but it is his second spell for which he is regarded as the club's greatest ever manager, steering the club away from relegation to non-league football with a 1-0 victory over Exeter City after taking over in 1987.

The following season, Rovers began a meteoric rise with promotion out of the old fourth division.

Wembley became a second home for the club as King led Rovers to successive Leyland DAF Cup Finals and play-off finals, Chris Malkin's extra-time winner against Bolton taking Rovers to the second tier in 1991.

Having pulled off an incredible coup in signing John Aldridge from Real Sociedad, King consolidated Rovers in their first season before leading the club to three successive play-offs for promotion to the Premier League and the heartbreak of a Coca Cola Cup semi-final defeat to Ron Atkinson's Aston Villa.

As well as unparalleled success, King is revered for the free-flowing attacking football his teams played and his legendary quotes to the media.

Supporters who would like to make a donation can do so online shortly by visiting www.tranmereroverstrust.co.uk or by sending a cheque made payable to TWFST to Tranmere Rovers Trust, PO Box 352, Birkenhead, CH25 9EG.

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