As the congregated members of the media waited for the manager's arrival in Prenton Park's Gold Lounge, laughter from a joke was broken by the arrival of Mike Jackson.

But the 46-year-old wasn't stopping. He continued straight through the room and exited the other side.

That he momentarily broke his stride to say hello was typical of a man who has remained polite in all of his dealings since his appointment, but at this point it was clear to me that he was on his way to meet Mark Palios, where there could only be two outcomes. He was either offering his resignation or was about to be fired.

It was the latter.

A fourth defeat in five matches had pushed the patience of Tranmere chairman and co-owner Palios to breaking point.

Jackson was up against it from the start, with little managerial pedigree to fall back on and a constant series of setbacks to deal with, including a mounting injury list and a Covid-19 outbreak.

But football is a results business and Tranmere simply weren't getting them. Perhaps even more significantly, their performances were reflecting their results.

Once the news was broken in the Gold Lounge and a statement cascaded around the room, Palios came in to answer questions shortly after.

He said: "I think everyone knows that the results are what count at the end of the day. We've lost four out of the last five and we've had 10 games, where we've shown what we can do in one game, I think.

"If you look at the Cambridge game you'll see that type of football that we planned to play and Jacko wanted to play.

"Unfortunately we have not fulfilled our own potential. In the game you set your own standards. We know we have the squad that I think can achieve in this league, but patently we haven't achieved that yet."

Jackson was seen as a low-risk appointment by many but Palios revealed that after he was suggested for the role by out-going successful boss Micky Mellon, the Rovers chairman spoke to Mellon's former assistant at length before following up with another three hour telephone conversation whilst stuck in France during lockdown.

Those fruitful conversations combined with Palios' lack of enthusiasm for available candidates, many of which he considered to be 'journeymen' led to Jackson's appointment without another candidate being interviewed.

Palios defended Jackson and the adversity that he has had to tackle, but with shots on goal becoming practically an endangered species, he accepted that a change was needed. 

"I think what says it all about Jacko is that the players were still playing for the manager and were still really keen to see him succeed, as were a lot of people in the club including myself. It's been one of the hardest decisions I've made since I've been here," he added.

Attention now turns to appointing a new manager and Palios gave off all the signals that a new boss will be swiftly appointed.

He said: "I would be surprised if other clubs do not have a list and keep an eye on available candidates at all times. I do.

"Just on the basis that the manager can be knocked over or poached by another club.

"We have that list. We haven't started any kind of process. We haven't interviewed anybody, but we start to go down that list in about an hour's time."

Palios hinted that the new manager needs to understand the club but it wasn't a prerequisite to have played for Tranmere. He also suggested that their targets may be set on individuals who have higher ambitions than Prenton Park in their career.

"Whether the appointment is long term or short term, one has to look at the fact that this season may not be finished.

"If a manager is looking for a platform through this difficult time then there's not many better (then Tranmere), as a platform for someone to re-engage their career for six months and then see where we are at the end of the season."

Tranmere's search for a new manager may now be officially underway, but the reality is that potential suitors have been jostling for position for the last few weeks with Palios confirming that he has been receiving messages from agents for the past four or five games.

The former FA chief executive's mantra is 'Better never sleeps' and it seems that he won't be getting much rest in the next 24-48 hours, as the new man to lead Tranmere Rovers is identified and secured.

Don't be surprised if they are in the dugout by Tuesday evening for the trip to Harrogate Town.