The ink had barely dried on what appeared to be a hastily prepared statement announcing Keith Hill's arrival when Tranmere fans started to voice their disapproval.

A search for Mike Jackson's replacement had not resulted in a romantic marriage with local favourite Nigel Adkins or managerial hotshot Danny Cowley, but instead a relatively safe pair of hands from Bolton.

Regardless of his obvious credentials it was not the appointment that supporters had wanted.

Such a difficult beginning to a job would not be particularly welcoming for anyone, but early results and performances cut Hill the slack that he needed to settle into the role and impose his own ideas.

Of course, another weird dynamic of his reign is that he took over a winning team, not a losing one.

Waving some sort of curious magic wand, interim boss Ian Dawes remained unbeaten during his time in charge and handed over a side to Hill that was remarkably already brimming with confidence and had just beaten Grimsby Town 5-0.

"It's not broken," said Hill. "It just needs a little bit of salt and pepper."

The new Tranmere boss' additional condiments appeared to work a treat in the beginning. Rovers continued to pick up wins, securing a double over Hill's former club Bolton, and made commendable progress in the Papa John's Trophy that took them all the way to the final at the expense of a handful of notable scalps.

And yet despite all this, there was still no wave of validation for the manager.

Hill's quotable press conference appearances and notable habit to just keep talking were a football reporter's dream, but as Tranmere's automatic promotion push started to unravel, talk of dour draws being 'positive points' was not cutting it with a fan base that has already been disenfranchised by having to watch every match on a laptop streamed using one relatively mediocre video camera.

There is no question that losing top goalscorer James Vaughan to a knee injury in late February contributed massively to derailing Rovers' hopes of finishing in the top three.

Yet once they finally made it into the holy trinity, chances to build on that achievement were squandered one after the other.

As team confidence appeared to ebb away, the rock 'n' roll football Rovers produced around winter time had been replaced with all the excitement of a cassette head cleaner.

Hill claimed that he did not do social media, but it was here where supporters routinely expressed their disgruntlement, with the pandemic ensuring this was their only real outlet.

With each passing game, the Rovers boss would take a swipe at an opinion or school of thought that had almost certainly originated from Twitter.

He took great offence to one disappointing draw being labelled a disaster and followed it up by suggesting that other negative opinions were fickle. A comment that was latched on to by supporters.

But ultimately Hill's unique PR approach has not ended his Prenton Park tenure all on it's own, even if he did his best to ensure that it did following Saturday's draw with Colchester.

Divisions in the squad and disgruntlement between the manager and the players appeared to be brewing.

Hill's long-standing approach of defending his team was abandoned near the end as he refused to take responsibility for the performance of his players once they crossed the white line.

In game sniping between players was glaringly evident in the final match of the regular season and if ever there was single moment of reckoning as to whether Tranmere had the team spirit required to force home a playoff promotion, it arrived at the full time whistle when not a single player or member of staff cheered with a playoff position secured.

There is no way that Hill has enjoyed these last few weeks or the pressure he has been operating under.

Just prior to his Colchester pre-match press conference, he let out a huge aching sigh as he sat down.

I asked him if he needed some Cod Liver Oil tablets. He responded by saying: "No, that was just the weight of expectation."

As we pass through what is national Mental Health Week, men are routinely being asked to talk about what's on their minds.

I suspect that is how Hill felt when he decided to get more than a bit off his chest straight after the Colchester match, criticising his players, questioning the workrate of Corey Blackett-Taylor, begrudging sharing fitness updates on Paul Lewis and Vaughan, and generally playing down Tranmere's hopes of playoff success, even peculiarly suggesting that they might do it with three draws.

But when he effectively made light of Tranmere's controversial Points Per Game demotion from League One last season, by bluntly pointing out that the club had been relegated for losing 18 games, not winning their last three, he was verbally signing his own contract termination.

Club Chairman Mark Palios would be all too aware that the manager of Tranmere Rovers simply cannot say things like that and expect there not to repercussions. I suspect that Hill knew there would be.

Despite his difficult relationship with the fans and as it turned out the players, I like Keith Hill. Covering his short tenure has never been dull off the pitch even if it has been on it for the past few months.

But all parties can agree that he was simply not the right fit for Tranmere Rovers and Palios' decision to cut his losses now will go a long way to repairing trust with supporters and who knows, might just provide the bounce that the team needs to turn pending failure into rejuvenated success.

So convinced by their shortcomings, I told a press colleague on Saturday that I would give them £100 if Tranmere win promotion through the playoffs. Now I'm wishing that I'd kept my mouth shut.