Summerfield Can Bring Success on a Shoestring
Byline: Nick Hilton
TRANMERE supporters are sure to welcome the testimony from new assistant manager Kevin Summerfield that success can be achieved on a tight budget in the lower divisions.
The experienced coach helped his former manager Paul Sturrock launch a couple of promotion campaigns at Plymouth Argyle from foundations built under conditions where the pennies had to do the work of pounds at wealthier clubs.
But Summerfield warns the serial optimists that hard work and patience must first go into the construction of a team that can defy the trend at all levels of the professional game for financial clout and depth of resources to dominate.
Rovers manager Les Parry and his new No 2 will be operating with one of the smallest budgets in League One during the forthcoming campaign.
Parry's overriding priority, after guiding the struggling team he inherited last October to safety in May, is to avoid another close shave with relegation in 2010-11.
But is it realistic for Tranmere to think beyond survival and progress towards a brighter future as they prepare for the start of the campaign on August 7? Summerfield answers with a history lesson laid down at the time Sturrock walked into Home Park in November 2000 as Plymouth struggled near the foot of the bottom division.
"We had a very small budget and a lot of young players," Summerfield recalls.
"We had a big clear-out and spent the first season redeveloping the team, trying to get some sort of group together.
"The next season we thought we might get beyond mid-table and towards the top end but instead we went right through the league, winning it by quite a distance with 102 points."
Promotion brought with it the rewards of increased revenue through the gates and an improved financial deal from the Football League. It was enough to allow Sturrock and Summerfield to strengthen the team further and consolidate with an eighth-placed finish in 2002/03.
Summerfield added: "The following season, because we had that strength bedded in, we went through and won the league again.
"So yes, it can be done on a small budget. It takes time and it takes a lot of work in every aspect of the club. Everyone has to be pulling in the same direction and have the same idea.
"There has to be a bit of patience. Supporters look for things to happen quickly but to build the right base and the right squad takes time."
After spending more than a week at Prenton Park, Summerfield is already confident that some of the basic essentials for success are in place. …