Steve Peplow, the former Liverpool and Tranmere Rovers winger, has passed away following a long, heart-related illness. He was 72.

Liverpool-born Peplow progressed through the youth ranks at Anfield but made only two First Division appearances for Liverpool in 1969/70.

He then spent two seasons at Swindon Town, where he would play 40 senior games in two seasons.

But Peplow's career took off when he returned to Merseyside to join Tranmere Rovers in 1973, at the age of 24.

He went on to play 270 games for Rovers during the 1970s and 80s and forged an attacking relationship with striker Ronnie Moore that became one of the deadliest features of the promotion winning team of 1975/76.

Peplow was blessed with the skill to deliver crosses of precision into the opposition penalty area, even in those moments when he could find no more than a half a yard of space.

Steve Peplow in his Tranmere playing days. Photo: TRFC

Steve Peplow in his Tranmere playing days. Photo: TRFC

He also developed an understanding with Moore which led to the centre-forward plundering 37 league and cup goals as Tranmere stormed from the Fourth Division to the Third under rookie manager Johnny King.

Moore, who went on to serve Tranmere as a captain, coach and manager, said: "Pep's great strength was the accuracy of his final ball. Once he made the space to cross you knew just where he was going to put it."

Recalling Peplow's qualities in an interview with the Liverpool Daily Post more than a dozen years ago, King said: "Pep would not win you many battles in his own half and his shorts always seemed to stay clean even on the muddiest pitch.

"But in the last third of the field he was a true artist. He was able to go past opponents and deliver quality crosses into the box with outstanding accuracy. Our strikers gobbled them up."

Peplow also forged a strong personal friendship with another member of that Tranmere team of 40 years ago: Barrie Mitchell.

The bond was so strong that Scottish-born midfielder Mitchell was best man at Peplow's wedding 20 years on from the 75/76 promotion season and presented the groom with a unique gift. It was all to do with his first step onto the first team stage at Anfield.

Peplow was a skinny 20-year-old from Everton Valley when he made his debut for Liverpool in November 1969.

The match, against West Ham United at Anfield, was the first to be televised in colour by the BBC's Match of the Day.

The focus was on Peplow that day because the youngster from the reserves was replacing one of the greats of Bill Shankly's 60s team, Roger Hunt.

Peplow acquitted himself well, helping Liverpool to a 2-0 win, thanks to goals by Chris Lawler and Bobby Graham.

Mitchell, a character of enterprising nature who ran a pub in Greasby for many years, sprang a surprise on his friend at the reception, presenting Peplow with a video.

Peplow recalled: "The cover said something like 'Love Techniques for the Beginner'. I thought Barrie had got hold of a naughty video by way of a joke, but it turned out to be a specially commissioned recording of my debut for Liverpool."

Peplow went on: "Barrie had been in touch with Ray Stubbs at the BBC. Ray had been in the reserves at Tranmere when we played, before he moved into broadcasting.

"Ray got the commentator, John Motson, to dig out the recording of that old Liverpool v West Ham match. It was on film and they managed to get it transferred to video. It was a wonderful surprise."

Peplow made his final Tranmere appearance in May 1981, when he left the professional game. He remained a devoted Tranmere fan, regularly watching matches at Prenton Park.