There is no love lost between Tranmere Rovers and Forest Green Rovers. The latter beat the former in 2017 to earn a place in the Football League, with the reverse happening two years later in the League Two play-offs.
Forest Green owner Dale Vince has already had some fun at Tranmere’s expense, teasing them over the rather controversial issue of their potential relegation on a points per game basis. He has now lashed out at their proposal to introduce a new metric by which to sort out the season.
Upon seeing their proposal for ending the season using past performances as well as the current season, he suggested it was; ‘complex and looks designed specifically for their circumstances – to avoid relegation. I see no equity or logic in it’. When challenged by a Tranmere supporter, he added; “It’s convoluted, reaching into past form – we all know that’s no indicator of future games, creates an artificial concept of ‘margin of error’ and has no logical purpose except to save Tranmere. Ending the season early is unfair on many clubs, not just yours.”
That drew the ire of Nicola Palios, wife of Tranmere chairman Mark Palios. She replied to Vince, saying: “It does not look at past form of any one club – it looks at average margin for error for ALL clubs across all divisions over the last 3 years and applies that figure to all.”
The outspoken Forest Green owner, who once put three grey stars on their kit to be filled in after promotion to the Championship, had to have the last word, adding; “I don’t see how past form is relevant, by definition most teams that get relegated have a bad year, that’s how it happens. What is this ‘margin for error’ – did you create it, how is it relevant? And why go to the press before you published it, claiming a majority supported?”
At the last time of checking, Nicola Palios has not further indulged the Forest Green owner, who has often made himself unpopular with rival supporters. After winning the National League play-offs, he claimed promotion to League One would be ‘easy’, something supporters are still waiting for three years later. In the interim period, the team Forest Green challenged for National League glory, Lincoln City, have won the EFL Trophy and League Two, despite a raging controversy between those two clubs as well.
Forest Green have grabbed plenty of positive headlines for their green ethos, which is all power to them, but their public relations are a huge mess.
They’ve been embroiled in arguments with Leyton Orient this season, as well as clashing with Lincoln City and of course, Tranmere Rovers. They might be darlings of the media, but many football fans are becoming increasingly irritated by the ‘holier than thou’ persona undermined by cheap shots and what might even be described as utter arrogance.
Replies to Vince’s post include many fans of clubs FGR have not fallen out with, indicating that using the current crisis as a vehicle to criticise rival clubs is not going down well at all.