Oldham’s Strange Rivalry Against Tranmere

There are obvious rivalries in football, and some not so obvious. Then there are the really bizarre ones. Tranmere and Oldham lie roughly 60 miles apart, geographically they shouldn’t even figure on the list of footballing rivalries but they do, and this animosity has been around for a considerable length of time.

People who are keen students of history will point back to the 1935/36 season when possibly because of the depression, Christmas appeared to have been cancelled as the two teams faced each other on Christmas Day. Latics must have decided that Christmas cheer had no place on a football pitch and rattled in four goals against Tranmere’s one.

Bizarrely, the two clubs faced each other again the next day and Oldham having made the trip to Birkenhead on Boxing Day put another four past the Tranmere ‘keeper. There was only one slight change from the day before however, they let in thirteen. You will not be surprised to discover that the result remains Oldham’s biggest ever defeat.

That would surely be enough to explain the long running feud, but many supporters will be unaware of that game and to alert them to it might fuel rivalries further. Meetings between the two clubs are pretty fairly evened out with Latics just shading the win total by 34 to 32.

There have been some notable games including the 2-2 draw in the FA Cup in January 1993 when Tranmere’s John Aldridge was sent off and, vented his spleen on the dressing room door. Naturally we sent him the bill for repairs.

Latics fans have always referred to Tranmere supporters as ‘bin dippers’ if further proof were needed of the rivalry.

There are also a fair few players who have played for both sides. Nick Henry ended his playing career at Tranmere after many fine years at Oldham. Clint Hill was signed from Tranmere when Chris Moore was the Oldham chairman as we apparently offered him more money. How times change! Calvin Zola and Reuben Hazell also played for both sides. Currently Tranmere have Ollie Banks and Ishmael Miller who both played for Latics recently and will no doubt be a target for ‘light hearted banter’ especially Banks who Latics fans have a particular dislike of.

One of the more successful managers in Oldham’s recent history was Ronnie Moore who was hounded away from Boundary Park after 58 games, but idolised at Prenton Park where he had two spells as manager.

Whatever the result, let’s hope the game is played in the right spirit and don’t forget to take your bins in!

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