Tranmere’s Nigel Adkins: ‘I still feel like an 18-year-old on the training ground’

Manager has sparked a resurgence at his boyhood club and has used everything from Subbuteo to Roosevelt in his coaching career

Nigel Adkins is talking about being back where it all started at Tranmere Rovers, recounting the days when, as an apprentice goalkeeper at Prenton Park, he would clean boots, sweep dressing-room floors and even climb on to the roof of the Cowshed Stand to retrieve stray balls. A few years earlier, he was looking on from the terrace when Charlie Lindsay, an avid supporter, infamously whacked the Bournemouth goalkeeper Kenny Allen with his walking stick for time-wasting.

Adkins carries fond memories of watching his heroes from behind the goal. “At the end of the game I’d run on the pitch – you were allowed to back in those days – and try and get Ronnie Moore’s tie-ups, or Dickie Johnson’s or Stevie Coppell’s, and then scarper up Woodchurch Lane and down Woodchurch Road to try and make sure I got home in one piece,” Adkins says. “Sometimes if there was a bit of a scuffle, my mum would go: ‘You’re not going to football any more.’ But I’d always go down on a Friday night, because it was my team.”

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