In August Neil Danns stood outside Gigg Lane, umbrella in his hand, and not only encouraged the throbbing rain, but whatever questions the Bury supporters had for the captain of their club about its future.
The answers came to the fore of what they had all been afraid of, with the Shakers expelled from the Football League days later. Danns knew, just like everyone else, from the players to the kitman, that he would have to look for another job.
& # 39; I honestly didn't do it & # 39; Don't think it would ever happen, "he told Sportsmail . & # 39; But if you play the game for so long, you'll learn that you never know. Things are changing for better or worse and luckily for me it has changed in a good way. & # 39;
Danns knows he was one of the lucky ones. He is now 37, more than 12 years since he last appeared in the Premier League for Birmingham in a career that has brought him to Crystal Palace, Bolton and Leicester City.
He was on his way to international service at Guyana when he received a call from Tranmere asking if he would like to meet manager Micky Mellon.
& I was immediately enthusiastic & # 39 ;, says Danns. & # 39; As a Merseyside boy, I had always grown up with a view to Tranmere, one of the local clubs. I always felt that I would end up there someday. & # 39;
Danns has 19 appearances for Rovers this season, the last time when Tranmere eliminated the Premier League-side Watford in their re-arranged repeat in Prenton Park, rescheduled for a field full of water, 3- 0 came to take a draw in the first meeting.
United comes to town on Sunday and the opportunity is up. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under increasing pressure, the United fans have engaged the owners. Has there ever been a better time to cope with them, especially on Tranmere & # 39; s own pitch? Solskjaer has told his players to expect divots.
& # 39; Everyone buzzes & # 39 ;, says Danns. & # 39; You can already feel the excitement. It is such a huge game and we are really looking forward to it. & # 39;
& Everyone who participates in the game and does not believe we have a chance has the wrong attitude. We are realistic, we know that it is a big question.
& # 39; Regardless of whether they are struggling, they have talent. They only struggle by their standard. We cannot precede ourselves.
& # 39; They are still fifth in the Premier League, which is no easy feat. Struggling for Manchester United is different than struggling for a lower division. & # 39;
Tranmere wrestles herself, in the relegation zone of League One that has achieved successive promotions, but Danns believes the FA Cup has given the club the belief that it can & # 39; really try & # 39; in the second half of the season – and there is still the belief that the Cup trip can continue.
& # 39; We know that in one-off games anything can happen. You must have that faith. But we also have to enjoy, especially when you think where the club comes from. & # 39;
There is also a personal side to the band for Danns. As a lifelong fan of Liverpool, where his son Jayden is also part of the academy, it is always nice to beat United. But above all, he knows that the time he has left on the field, at 37, will not last forever.
Danns loves his music and has studied audio engineering and production at a school in Manchester for the past three years. He is passionate about writing songs and will continue his career as soon as he withdraws from football. He also plans to release a charity issue with his eight-year-old daughter Hayla-Essen to raise money for underprivileged children.
& # 39; For my own football career, I am standing on that slope where I have not yet been for many years & # 39 ;, he says. & # 39; I will record it year after year and at the moment I play regularly and perform decent performances.
& # 39; But I have the opportunity to play live on television against Manchester United in the FA Cup at the age of 37. I have to enjoy it. I will soak every moment. & # 39;
The good news for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as he skillfully investigates the mud plasters on the worn Prenton Park field on Sunday, is that Sir Alex Ferguson once survived being dumped from the FA Cup by a League One side.
Admittedly, he had 17 years of credit and a historic treble in the bank before he suffered that fate in 2010. And when he lost it was high flying Leeds, a northern powerhouse.
That was embarrassing, but it wasn't Tranmere Rovers, currently 21st in League One and demolished in the National League two years ago. To make comparisons, you would have to go back 26 years to 1984 when Harry Redknapp was a fresh-faced Bournemouth manager with a classic old-fashioned Adidas training suit that told Match of the Day how United defeated the best day of 2-0 his life. How times change.
Some old hands, United fans in the last half of life, could not remember something as horrible as the screening of United against Burnley on Wednesday night. In reality, the seventies were worse, especially the degradation of 1973-74. But that is not how it feels at Old Trafford at the moment. United just can't lose at Prenton Park.
Tranmere is a good club with a proud tradition, but they are clear about their relative status. Their games were once wonderfully marketed as & # 39; Friday Night Fever & # 39 ;, the Merseyside club that played early in the weekend, so fans could watch Liverpool and Everton on Saturday. The reality is that this United side, shaved from Marcus Rashford, could lose on Sunday.
They must have enough to win. But the screen against Burnley offered no confidence. The response either. The players of the game reported that as soon as the TV interviews were completed, the players rushed outside, many of which diverted the gaze from waiting reporters. Being able to get up and be counted in the worst times, Solskjaer noted in his playing time.
Now as a manager he defends this young group, as he should, when it becomes clear that they are hiding. & # 39; I have not seen many of my players raise their hoods, hide and try to disappear, & # 39; he insisted. & # 39; I see a lot of players who want this to be a success. We have open discussions behind the doors, but we are not going to hang people to dry. That's just common sense, because when I point your finger at you, more fingers are pointed at me. So I don't agree with you. & # 39;
The combat conversation is to be expected. Solskjaer believes in the core of this group, although he still needs six or seven players before he can say that it is the team he wants. Paul Pogba will no doubt leave in the summer and free up a budget to breathe new life into midfield. & # 39; We have to spend wisely, that's one of the keys for me & # 39 ;, Solskjaer added. & # 39; We've spent a lot of money in the last five or six seasons since Sir Alex left, and I have to make sure that the club makes sure that when we spend the money it's the right type. & # 39;
Solskjaer insists that he make a promise: that vice-president Ed Woodward looked him in the eye and agreed with his analysis that turning over a club's oil tanker will take time. It must be said that David Moyes felt that he had been told the same thing, just like Louis van Gaal. Jose Mourinho, you suspected, was always too cunning to be that familiar. But Solskjaer does believe. & # 39; When we sat down, we all agreed, the club and I, that the culture had to change & he said.
& # 39; It is not as I was told without my permission what we do because we agreed on things when we signed contracts. & # 39; I am not afraid of my position in that regard, I just keep working. Of course you need results, but I will not spend a lot of money on someone who comes in here if they are not suitable for the club. & # 39;
That is bold; even naive. If he doesn't sign a center to strengthen Anthony Martial and replace the Rashford goals, Solskjaer could eventually do what is good for the club by not wasting their money but losing his job. In the same vein, allowing Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku to go last summer, was probably right if they wanted to reform the club.
& # 39; I didn't think: & # 39; Oh, I wish I had kept it. & # 39; Some that we let go did not fit the culture I was trying to build. That is why we made sure that the players we know will run through a brick wall in front of the club – not everyone did that. & # 39;
There was a hint that threatened to compromise, a short-term purchase. "There may be players of a different age who can come in to help this young group."
And Solskjaer refused to place a firewall between himself and Woodward during this difficult time. & # 39; It is a skill to sometimes look at yourself in the mirror and not just blame others, & # 39; he said. & # 39; Some of us blame others, some of us think we are better than others. I believe in the structure that was set up here in the time that I was here. & # 39;
Still, it will take time to bear fruit. And recent history suggests that failing managers are not offered a luxury in the United States.
Manchester United & # 39; cannot use Lowry Hotel for FA Cup collision against Tranmere & # 39; with opulent hotel & # 39; fully booked by Strictly Come Dancing tour stars & # 39;
- Manchester United may take over the Lowry Hotel Tranmere
- Their favorite hotel has been booked by Strictly Come Dancing tour stars
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his team will now be staying in a hotel in Liverpool instead
United often used the Lowry before matches and had hoped to stay in the hotel for Sunday's match.
However, as reported by The Sun the hotel was already booked for Strictly & # 39; s two tour openers in Manchester this weekend.
Amongst the strict stars staying at the hotel are the former Arsenal Women star Alex Scott.
The side of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer only discovered their fourth round of opponents on Wednesday when Tranmere conquered Watford in a repeat of the third round.
United will now be staying in a hotel in Liverpool instead of the collision in Prenton Park.
The Red Devils cannot afford to be upset against the League One side and beat three games in their last five games.
League One-side Tranmere hopes to offer the biggest shock of the fourth round of this season when they enter 12 times winners United to Preston Park.
Sportsmail looks at what United can expect from their trip to Tranmere.
Prenton Park pitch
The old saying that the pitch of an underdog is an & # 39; leveler & # 39; can be against a better opposition, this season already applies to Tranmere. The state of their turf in Prenton Park is one that is not suitable for a League One side, let alone a Premier League team – with two games on the ground postponed in recent weeks due to bad weather.
United Women & # 39; s match was stopped earlier this month due to a soaked field, while Tranmere & # 39; s replay with Watford had to be reset nine days after Storm Brendan destroyed the area. And Rovers used that to their advantage on Thursday, in a tie that saw the field shorten badly, as they knocked out the Hornets in extra time.
But despite the poor condition of the playing surface, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told his side that they should not use that as an excuse.
& # 39; The field isn't great, but that's the same for both of us, & # 39; he said in his pre-game press conference on Friday. & # 39; The players just have to be focused and ready. There are divots everywhere. This generation that comes through with astroturf and beautiful fields becomes lazy in the heads.
& # 39; So everyone should just be focused, both on injuries and of course on bouncing the ball. & # 39;
Bare spots were evident on Thursday night in Tranmere & FA's 39 Cup replay victory over Watford
The old guard
What Tranmere may lack quality, they certainly have no experience with many veterans in their squad. While United can bring a youthful side with people like Mason Greenwood (18 years old), Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James (both 22); The starting XI van Rovers could have a number of wise old sages.
Their starting XI against Watford contained three players during the twilight of their career in Peter Clarke (38), Neil Danns and David Perkins (both 37). Mid-Midfield Partnership Danns and Perkins have a combined age of 75, but they proved that age is just a number on Thursday with Danns playing 100 minutes, while Perkins played the entire game. Clarke played in the middle back during the famous victory.
The trio all want to use their experience on Sunday as well.
Tranmere & # 39; s FA Cup-Giant Murder Pedigree
Tranmere is not disadvantageous for delivering FA Cup shocks like Thursday night thanks to substitute striker Paul Mullin & # 39; s header. Since the Premier League was started in 1992-93, the club has never eliminated more games from the top flight in the FA Cup than Tranmere Rovers (seven, level with Millwall).
They also want to eliminate two Premier League clubs from the same FA Cup campaign for the first time since the 2000-01 season, when they knocked out Everton and Southampton when they upset the Red Devils at the weekend made. That match against Southampton was particularly moving as they came 3-0 in the break to win 4-3 thanks to Paul Rideout & # 39; s second half hat trick and the late winner of Stuart Barlow.
In a further warning to United, Tranmere reached the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time since the 2003-04 season, when they finally reached the quarterfinals. They have progressed from each of their last five fourth-round tires, last bending at this stage in 1994-95 against Wimbledon.
Ref Look … but not as you know it
There may be a familiar face in the stands that support Tranmere on Sunday … in the form of Mike Dean.
The official Premier League comes from Heswall in Wirral – a short seven miles from Tranmere. And during Tranmere & # 39; s successful League Two play-off run last season, he was spotted among the out-fans who celebrated their 1-1 draw with Forest Green Rovers wild – a result that brought them to the final 2-1 in total showed.
& # 39; Mike loves his Tranmere, & # 39; said manager Micky Mellon of their fan of celebrities last term. "He comes in to see us a lot and I am really happy for him."
The 51-year-old Dean has whistled three Manchester United games this season – two of which ended in defeat for Ole De side of Gunnar Solskjaer (1-0 loss against Newcastle in the Premier League and the 3- 1 Carabao Cup semi-final first leg setback to Manchester City).
Dean, who is the VAR official for the confrontation of Bournemouth against Arsenal on Monday evening, hopes to be able to eat game on Sunday at 5 p.m.
Tranmere's attacker is their second top scorer this season with seven goals, but only two years ago there were concerns that he might never play again. Just days before their last play-off of the Vanarama National League against Boreham Wood, Jennings was in a coma with suspected meningitis.
Although he had little chance of being available for the showpiece, he quickly recovered as a substitute – delivering the decisive assist in that game. And then a year later, he scored the winner of Rovers in the 119th minute against Newport County in the League Two play-off final to seal back-to-back promotions for the club.
Jennings hopes to write his name in further Tranmere folklore with a matchwinning presentation against Manchester United.
& # 39; The players should just be focused … there are divots everywhere & # 39 ;: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists that players of Manchester United cannot use Tranmere conditions as an excuse … and claims that young stars & # 39; become lazy & # 39; on beautiful fields
- Tranmere host Manchester United in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday
- The field in Prenton Park is in poor condition as it turns out from their win against Watford
- United enters the game after two consecutive Premier League losses
Tranmere defeated Watford in a replay on Thursday evening but only after the game was canceled due to the position of the field. It went bad when the League One club defeated their Premier League opponents, and Tranmere hopes to use it again to their advantage.
Solskjaer claimed that younger players & # 39; lazy & # 39; have become accustomed to better pitches, and told his team to continue working.
& # 39; The field isn't great, but that's the same for both of us, & # 39; he said. & # 39; The players just have to be focused and ready. There are divots everywhere. This generation that comes with astroturf and beautiful fields becomes lazy in the heads. & # 39;
Victor Lindelof is available again after illness and Eric Bailly was able to play for the first time this season after recovering from a knee injury.
& # 39; Victor has recovered, so he is better again, & # 39; Solskjaer added. & # 39; Let's see how good he feels today and tomorrow. Apart from that, nobody has any blows.
& # 39; Eric played a few behind-closed-door games here. He is one of them who is more prepared for that field. Everyone must be focused on bouncing the ball. & # 39;
United enters the game after the successive Premier League defeats of Liverpool and Burnley, knowing that a cup shock by Tranmere will stir up the pressure on their manager.
& # 39; It's a quick turn around & # 39 ;, said Solskjaer. & # 39; We played on Wednesday and didn't prepare much. We have watched a few games and those from last night. The opposition is the opposition, we will look at it today.
& # 39; Of course we can go again. It is the second day of recovery today. You just have to move on to the next one with the right mentality. You're disappointed and down, I'm not going to lie. Losing two games wasn't fun, but you spend an hour or two and get over it. & # 39;
Tranmere 2-1 Watford (AET): Paul Mullin stuns Hornets and starts FA Cup fourth round clash with Manchester United in Prenton Park
- Paul Mullin scored an extra-time winner for Steer Prenton Park into a frenzy
- Manny Monthe had led Tranmere with his first half strike
- Watford equalized Kaylen's Hinds wheel the game of extension
They say FA Cup no longer plays, but try telling a Tranmere team that lived up to the rich tradition of killing the club. tumbling at the first hurdle, but it would be wrong to choose a man for special praise one evening when those in white and blue stopped themselves.
This famous old club from the Wirral have had their complaint this season in League One, but the FA Cup has enlivened them and their reward for overthrowing Watford could not be greater: Manchester United are the following and what wonderful possibilities their visit conjures up.
Manny Monthe turns 25 on Sunday and the defender of Cameroon has a birthday to remember against United; he scored the opening goal and his mountainous performance formed the basis for Tranmere to rebuild.
Tranmere v Watford: Player ratings
Tranmere (4-1-4-1): Davies 7; Caprice 7, Monthe 8, Clarke 7, Ridehalgh 7; Perkins 6; Morris 7, Danns 8, Jennings 7, Blackett-Taylor 6.5; Ferrier 6.
Subs: Pilling, Woods, Nelson, Mullin, Hepburn-Murphy, Gilmour, Payne.
Watford (4-4-2): Bachmann 6; Barrett 6, Kabasele 6, Spencer-Adams 6, Holebas 6; Whelan 5, Dele-Bashiru 6, Quina 5, Hungbo 6; Gray 5, Pedro 5.
Subs: Dahlberg, Dalby, Balogun, Wise, Hinds, Bennetts, Janjeva.
Referee: Tony Harrington 6.
It was clear from the early stages which party wanted it more. Watford, who made large-scale changes after Tuesday's exercises at Aston Villa, was apathetic to large parts of the game and they hardly earned the goal of substitute Kayden Hinds that forced extra time.
Tranmere started off with a lot of buzzing Corey Blackett-Taylor, a lively mid-field runner, was the first to try his luck in the 22nd minute with a shot roaring over the bar; He missed a better chance in the 28th minute, but picked his lines from 10 meters after stumbling on a loose ball. Vicarage Road, Tranmere fired in the 36th minute in front. He enjoyed it, just like his manager, Micky Mellon, who celebrated by waving his arms like windmills.
Watford marginally improved in the second half and caused parity when Hinds collapsed up close after a goal move, but Tranmere refused to lose heart and could have won it in normal time, but lost three glorious chances, of which the best thing about Mullin.
Fortunately it didn't matter. With 104 minutes played, a cross coming in from the left led to a goal for Mullin. He did not, sent his efforts past Daniel Bachmann to cause bedlam and to fire dreams of overthrowing United.
Watford & # 39; s FA Cup replay threatened by Storm Brendan with up to 80 MPH wind and heavy rainfall Great Britain
- Watford & # 39; s FA Cup replay Tranmere is threatened by Storm Brendan
- Heavy rainfall and 80 mph winds hit Britain on Monday and could stop the procedure
- The meeting in Prenton Park is still on the program. Tuesday evening
- Both clubs will follow the situation before the kick-off at 7.45 pm
Heavy rainfall and 80 km / h affected large parts of the country, with more rain forecast later on Tuesday.
Although the meeting in Prenton Park is still planned, the Hornets in a statement revealed that both clubs are in & # 39; regular contact & # 39; have been with the FA and the referee about the possible downpour.
With much more rain expected, Tranmere prepares for the field until 6:00 pm GMT, about an hour and 45 minutes before the kickoff in an attempt to raise the playing surface preserve.
Super League Liverpool Women's League with Manchester United at Prenton Park was postponed on Sunday due to a soaked field after heavy rain the night before.
Hornets boss Nigel Pearson has decided to give priority to the survival of the Premier League over the FA Cup and is expected to make many changes for the repeat of Tuesday
& # 39; I am paid to make decisions based on what is good for our club, & # 39; he said. & # 39; I can't be sentimental. I have always been someone who likes to play in cupruns, but I am a manager, so my role is different.
& # 39; My role is to make decisions based on the schedule for our week. We played Sunday, we play Tuesday and we got away with managing our way through the Christmas period, which was very hectic.
& # 39; The demands of the game are now incredibly high and the working speed of the players in Bournemouth was incredible, so we need to get the recovery right and make sure we are ready for the game on Saturday.
& # 39; This is where other players get opportunities. I do not apologize for it and I do not apologize for it.
& # 39; Did I say that, do I respect cup competitions? Of course I do, but it has nothing to do with still being able to make decisions based on what I believe and what we believe if a club is right for us. It is clear that Premier League security is of the utmost importance. & # 39;
First team stars Ben Foster, Etienne Capoue, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Gerard Deulofeu and Troy Deeney are expected to miss the repetition.
& # 39; Chris Powell would stand up for us & # 39 ;: what an angry Southend player told boss Sun Campbell after a meeting about unpaid wages like stars and staff threatening to continue STRIKE
- Southend players and staff threatened to beat Saturday's game
- The protest comes after a bitter meeting about unpaid wages
- Sportsmail has learned that players have met with manager Sol Campbell after training
- It is believed that players were not satisfied with Campbell's response to the issue
- Roberto Pereyra was sent for a tangle with those of Tranmere banning three games through an appeal]
Pererya saw red from referee Graham Scott for a seemingly innocent push in the back of Tranmere & # 39; s Kieron Morris after 89 minutes.
But the Hornets saw the decision rescinded in a hearing on Tuesday in what is another blow to VAR's reputation because the decision was not investigated at the time.Watford has successfully redirected the red card shown to Roberto Pereyrato be passed on The decision was not controlled by VAR, despite the fact that technology was available at that time
Watford & # 39; s competition t Tranmere was one of the 13 FA Cup third round tires where VAR was used.
Th and news also comes as a boost for Watford & # 39; s fight to prevent relegation while Pereyra, who scored in the cup match, was confronted with a prohibition of three games before his resignation.
The Hornets have been rejuvenated since Nigel Pearson was appointed as manager in December.Pereyra had previously scored in the game with Tranmere, who eventually ended up as a 3-3 drawThe news is a boost for Watford boss Nigel Pearson with Premier League action resumed
Victories against Manchester United, Aston Villa and Wolves, as well as a draw with Sheffield United, have pulled Watford from the foot of the Premier League table.
They are still two points out of safety and return to the Premier League promotion on Sunday when they travel to Bournemouth.
The repeat against Tranmere follows just two days later in Prenton Park.
Watford : Bachmann, Mariappa, Dawson, Spencer-Adams (Barrett 77) , Masina, Quina (Whelan 61), Chalobah (John Peter 45), Dele-Bashiru, Success, Gray, Pereyra
Goalscorers : His-Bashiru 12 , Chalobah 14, Pereyra 34
Tranmere ]: Chapman, Caprice, Clarke, Monthe, Nelson (Woods 45), Morris , Danns, Jennings, Perkins, Ferrier (Mullin 81), Payne (Blackett-Taylor 45)
Subs not used : Ray, Gilmour, Pilling, Walker-Rice
Goalscorers : Jennings 65, Monthe 78, Mullin pen 87
Booked : Jennings, Monthe
Referee : Gr aham Sco tt |
Players and staff of Southend threaten to strike before they strike The Saturday's game against Tranmere in a protest about unpaid wages after a bitter meeting with manager Sol Campbell about the issue.
Sportsmail revealed earlier this week that at least seven players and staff had not received a wage that was due on December 31 and that they had not yet been paid despite a promise by President Ron Martin that they would get their money on Tuesday, putting the League One competition of Saturday at risk.
To indicate the club's fraudulent mood Sportsmail learned that a number of players met Campbell after training on Thursday, and were not satisfied with his response.
It is claimed that a campbelled player Campbell with the words & # 39; Chris Powell would stand up for us & # 39 ;, a reference to the former manager of the club, who perished very badly with the former English defender.
Campbell and his coaching staff have been paid, but various fringe players and youth teams are still waiting for the December wage.
In a related development, a number of club stewards have also not been paid and are in danger of not coming to work at Roots Hall on Saturday, creating the prospect of a postponement of the competition for security reasons.
The PFA has agreed to meet Southend players in the club in the hope of finding a solution to the crisis.
Bury, Bolton and Macclesfield have all postponed games due to non-paying players this season, with the Gigg Lane club being thrown out of the league last summer after they had not demonstrated that they had sufficient means to continue to go.
Southend's failure to complete Saturday's match would be a new blow to the status of the EFL, accompanied by financial problems in the lower leagues, and cast doubt on the future of the club in the long-term.