The Boys A Bit Special: Ian Moore


Chris Hulme - FourFourTwo Magazine

They call him Golden Boy. And he hates it. But anyone who, after a mere handful of first-team games, threatens to rival Ferguson, Fowler and Collymore as the most talked about striker on Merseyside, probably deserves some stick. And with dad Ronniebeing assistant manager, that's something Ian gets plenty of at Prenton Park. From his dad as much as anyone - Ronnie Moore admits he's Ian's biggest critic: 'He often asks me why I'm SO hard on him. But he handles it really well.'

Right now Tranmere's 19-year-old prodigy is having to handle the barren spell that comes to all strikers, and his share of attention from defenders more usually pre- occupied with John Aldridge. 'Before, no-one knew him and he relished the space,' admits Ronnie. 'Now defenders are finding out just how capable he is.

And not just defenders. Reports of Ian's pace, strength and finishing skills (a recent burst produced seven goals in eight games) have been noted above and beyond the Endsleigh League. But chairman Frank Corfe has hung a 'Not For Sale' sign over his young stars and manager Johnny King is giving Moore the Ryan Giggs treatment: the press are rarely granted access.

You don't need to be a super-scout to see that he's a handful for First Division defences. And he's done the business elsewhere, scoring a hat-trick on his England Under-18 debut against Denmark. Moore senior noticed a big difference in his lad after that trip. 'He had much more self-belief, says Ronnie. 'He needs that because it's sometimes the easy option to pass to Aldo instead of thinking: "Sod you, I'll shoot myself." He's a great fin- isher - he's like Teddy Sheringham, but with pace.'

Ian's grown up under Ronnie's watchful eye ('He'd come training with me as a kid, you could see then he was special') and dad's proudest moment was when Ian came off the bench to score a late winner on his debut against Huddersfield. 'He won me a few bob that day. And I had 40-1 on him scoring first against Leicester SO I was quids-in again but I did give him a fiver.'