Twin Terrors - John Morrissey


If it's twisting and turning and weaving and winding you want, look no further than Prenton Park, the home of First Division wing wizards TRANMERE ROVERS. Take it from JOHN MORRISSEY: he and Pat Nevin plan to conjure up something special this season. 90 MINUTES gets turned inside out

Wing king Johnny Morrissey has W stuck by Tranmere Rovers through thick and thin. From the bottom of the Fourth Division to the top of the First Division and the brink of the Premier League. So how does the boss, Johnny King, reward him? He goes and buys another winger - and a famous one at that. Seven years of mazy dribbling and that's the thanks you get!

It's OK. Morrissey hasn't really been given the elbow. Nevin was poached from Everton to partner the 27-year-old flyer, not to replace him. "The manager has made it obvious that he wants to play with two wide men," explains John, "and he's proved it can be done.

"People have suggested I might feel threatened by Pat's arrival. But it's great having him here. It takes the pressure off me for a start. If I'm getting no joy with the left- back or vice versa for Pat, we'll switch round and mix it up.

"He's an international so people take notice - and when they take notice of Pat, they also take notice of me. They've been saying John Morrissey is every bit as good. It's brilliant!

"It's been great having John Aldridge here, as well, not just for the players but for the fans, too. He's a "name-player" and an international. We've got another lad here, lan Muir, the club's record goalscorer, who really stands out. I've been lucky to play with two of the best finishers around.

As you can imagine, Rovers, for so long the minnows of Merseyside, are enjoying their new celebrity status Not that their success is due wholly to the star names. The wrinklies have done their bit, too. Morrissey picks out veteran defender Steve Mungall and the much-travelled Neil McNab as unsung heroes.

"Steve has been here for 15 years. He and Neil have come in and steadied things down. They're the backbone of the team, along with our keeper, Eric Nixon. He's one of the main reasons we've got this far. The club have done well to keep hold of him because he should be in the Premier League."

The way the side are playing, he might well be there next season. Rovers in the Premier League! Who'd have believed it was possible?

"People used to think of 'little Tranmere but now everybody knows the type of football we play,' adds Morrissey. "We were a bit in awe of teams last season, we didn't know what to expect. But after 10 or 12 games we found nothing different and we started to believe in ourselves.

"I'd be telling lies if I said we weren't surprised to be where we are But there's an awful lot of ability at the club and we're confident we can go all the way. This is the best football ever played in the history of this club. When we keep possession, no one can live with us, especially at home.

"When I first arrived here [Morrissey was released by Everton and joined Rovers after a spell at Wolves] thought what have I come to?

"But the last four or five years have been fantastic for me. We've been to Wembley five times, been promoted twice, played in two Leyland DAF Cup Finals and we've just been to Italy in the Angio-Italian Cup. "Now we're in the First Division, which means better football, bigger crowds and just one step away from the Premier League. Hopefully, with the position we're in now, we can ignite things." The First Division promotion race is hotting up. Prepare for some explosive stuff down at Prenton Park.