Tranmere Rovers fans weren’t surprised by Micky Mellon’s return to the club after his departure from Dundee United.
That’s the belief of Phil Denton, who co-authored football management and leadership book The First 100 Days with Mellon.
Denton, who is also a headteacher in the Wirral, can’t muster up any shock at Mellon’s return to Prenton Park earlier this week – less than a year after he headed north to United.
Indeed, Denton and his fellow-Tranmere supporters are delighted to have the Scottish gaffer back on Merseyside for a second stint in charge at the Birkenhead club.
Mellon parted ways with the Tangerines at the end of last season after guiding them to ninth place in the Premiership and a Scottish Cup semi-final in their first campaign back in the top flight since 2016.
Academy coach Tam Courts remains the front-runner to replace him in the hot seat at United.
‘He said he was really content with the season, how it had gone, but things have just changed’
“It’s just football, isn’t it?,” Denton said of Mellon’s Tannadice exit.
“It happens all the time so I’m not really surprised.
“That’s nothing to do with Dundee United or Micky, I think that’s just football. It can change so quickly, can’t it?
“He said he was really content with the season, how it had gone, but things have just changed, haven’t they?
“We’re just delighted, as Tranmere fans, that he’s back.
“It’s amazing, brilliant, it feels like we’ve got our club back with Micky coming back. The owners and Micky work really well together, too.
“I can only speak about how it went at Tranmere and he’s a great leader of people and clubs.
“I don’t know why it didn’t work out for him at United.
“There’s a great saying: ‘Success leaves clues’.
“The success he’s had at Tranmere and the clues that he left point to the relationships he built up with everybody in and around the club and the community.”
Denton considers Micky ‘an adopted Tranmere supporter’
Speaking to Denton, you get the sense the draw of returning to Tranmere, a place where Mellon also played over two spells, was too big to turn down.
He’ll be looking to repeat the success of his four years in charge from 2016-20 in which Mellon guided Rovers from non-league football to League One.
Tranmere were relegated to League Two, where they remain, in Mellon’s last season in charge on a points-per-game basis due to the coronavirus curtailing the term.
Denton believes had he been able to complete the campaign Mellon would’ve kept them up and gets a sense of unfinished business in the former Terrors boss.
🟧"The only regret is I didn't get time to meet the supporters."
Former Dundee United boss Micky Mellon has been reflecting on his time at Tannadice and discusses why he left the club.
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) May 31, 2021
“I think all the Tranmere fans are delighted that he’s come back because he’s only ever had success at the club,” he continued.
“In the seasons he’s had we’ve got to one play-off final, got promoted twice in a row and, with the resources he had in League One, he did a brilliant job.
“I think everybody thinks we would’ve stayed up if that season had finished off.
“We’re just over the moon really because he’s a real figure, not just at the club but also in the community as well.
“If you look on Twitter you’ll see it. For the supporters, I think if you’d have asked them: ‘Would you rather go up with the management that we had for the majority of the season or have Micky back?’
— Tranmere Rovers FC (@TranmereRovers) June 1, 2021
“Almost certainly, they’d have gone for the latter because him coming back is special.
“What his great talent is is he really gets clubs and communities and he taps into that really well. He’s very much one of us really even though he’s from Scotland.
“I don’t think there’s a Tranmere fan that would have a bad word to say about him because of the way he interacted socially with people.
“He’s very much an adopted Tranmere supporter.”
Will Micky refer to his book for his First 100 Days back at Tranmere?
A big job lies ahead for Mellon as Tranmere aim for promotion from League Two.
Will he be referring to his own book for tips? Denton insists he won’t need to – he co-wrote it after all!
“It’s just both what we do really,” he laughed.
“We’ve studied leadership for so long, it’s ingrained in what we do every day anyway.
“It’s one of those where say you do your driving test, you learn all your skills and just get on with it.
“You don’t really go back to The Highway Code or anything like that to remember.
“I’m sure, though, there are definitely certain things he does now that are different or are accentuated because of the things we talked about and wrote about in the book.
“I’d imagine it’s a busy job and we’ve only got four players contracted so it’s a complete re-build of the squad.
“That’s new really because when he first took over there was quite a strong cohort of players that’d been there for a couple of years and now there’s not many.
“We’re over the moon, absolutely over the moon.”