Half Man Half Biscuit: The Tranmere fans who understand football is too important to miss

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The League Two side take on Tottenham in the FA Cup third round on Friday night and the travelling Londoners will see just how well supported Rovers are

Tranmere host Tottenham in the FA Cup on Friday night, live on talkSPORT at 19:45.

As the travelling White Hart Lane faithful are about to find out, the Birkenhead club are a well supported side, with the band, Half Man Half Biscuit once refusing to work on Fridays because it would mean not seeing their beloved team play.

It would brilliant if famous people who claim to support a football club actually cared about the team he/she declared their love for, wouldn’t it?
Otherwise you run the risk of looking like a clown.

No such accusation could be levelled at the boys from Half Man Half Biscuit.

When they were asked to appear on The Tube (1982-1987), a live Friday night show, which would allow them to showcase their musical talent to millions watching on telly, they politely declined.

Why? Because that’s when Rovers played their games in order to avoid clashes with neighbours Everton and Liverpool.

And this was no publicity stunt, as Derek Hammond and Gary Silke explain in their book The Lost World of Football.

“Frontman Nigel Blackwell and bassist Neil Crossley were genuinely keener to see Tranmere play Scunthorpe United than they were to join the flirtatious Paula Yates in bed on set, or to have oily opportunist Jools Holland recommend their wares to an unsuspecting nation – even after they were offered a helicopter ride back to Prenton Park.”

Had they jumped in a helicopter, the band would only have got back for half-time. That wasn’t good enough – they didn’t want to miss a minute of the action.

A number of HMHB songs contain football references and the country’s obsession with it and they’re good, which you can’t usually say about football-related songs.

‘All I want for Christmas is a Dukla Prague away kit’, with references to Subbuteo is quite possible the best Christmas song ever written.

It’s not just Tranmere fans hoping for an FA Cup giant killing, either. Manager Micky Mellon can’t wait.

“It’s our chance to show the world we are still here,” he said.

“We disappeared off the Football League radar for a while. You can lose generations of fans and you can stop being a big football club, but certainly we have seen over the last couple of years with trips to Wembley, big occasions like this and promotion battles, that Tranmere is still here.

Micky Mellon guided his side to victory against Southport in the second round to set up a clash against Spurs

Micky Mellon guided his side to victory against Southport in the second round to set up a clash against Spurs

“It still has a fan base that, when called upon, can sell-out in three hours. It’s up to us as a football business to try and keep the momentum from that going forward.

“It puts Tranmere back in the eyeline of football”

For Spurs, who have just triggered an extension in Toby Alderweireld’s contract, they have welcomed back Mousa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen and Erik Lamela to training, although they won’t be available for the match, which starts at 19:45 on talkSPORT.

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