Rough guide to
About this rough guide
How our predictions went
Rough guide to...Plymouth Argyle
13 June 2003
Relationship with Division Two
The Hull of the South are on friendly terms with the middle lower division, having spent much of their time bumbling and stumbling through the hedge of hope that is Division Two (formerly Division Three, formerly Division Three South). Brief flirtations with the first, most recently in the early 90s, have been like the last dance in the disco - hours of sweaty wishing resulting in a three-minute grope and a stale kebab down Union Street. They always wake up the next morning alone at Home Park.
Facts? You want facts? Then go to a football stats site. It'll tell you the same thing but in numbers.
Casual viewers would instantly leap on their FA Cup semi-final appearance in 1984, losing to Watford. That's very casual, for their most historic match was the 1973 slaughter of Pele's money-grabbing Santos (the club, not Gorgeous Georges) at Home Park, in front of 37,639.
For domestic honours you don't get much bigger than the 2001-02 third division championship. Well, they haven't.
The usual local hatreds - 'them' at perennial stragglers Torquay and Exeter, whose Conference calling brought forth a chorus of Beethoven's glorious ninth - Schadenfreude in all places green with submarines. Bristolians are never welcome, nor anyone else really, for "You're not from round here" is the look of love on all Devonian faces when striding through Pennycomequick on the long haul up the hill to Home Park. From the way you talk, and the way you walk, they can tell that you aren't an Argyle man. Remember that if you want to stay alive. Plymouth is the furthest footballing outpost, the end of the line, the lower-league version of the "wet Tuesday in Grimsby" shtick. They have the same chip on their shoulder as Town fans; well, perhaps not exactly the same chip, and maybe on the other shoulder. The transient vogueish hatred du jour seems to be Luton. And why not.
Some great names: Romain Larrieu, David Friiiiiiiiio (for whom daylight came and he wanted to go home), Osvaldo Lopes, Marino Keith, Hasney Aljofree, and the obligatory manager's son in the squad, Blair Sturrock. Others you may recall from times past include Mickey Evans, who didn't excite West Brom or Southampton supporters in his flirtations with big-time footy. He can run fast though. Martin Phillips - remember him? The future of English football, according to Alan Ball when he signed him up for Man City from Exeter. Not even the future of Devon football now. No one else, unless your specialist subject is Watford rejects, in this case Nathan Lowndes.
They don't even have fabtastic hair these days - all very disappointing and average. For the collective is greater than the individual, which is laudably socialist and should increase pasty production in Mother Devon.
The most exciting news from Home Park is that they are to have a new mascot. A couple of years ago they had a squad packed with horrendous hair. They should have hired a lion tamer, not a manager. A few player links with Town: the Chris twins, Hargreaves and Leadbitter, from us to them by a most circuitous route, and Rhys Wilmot coming the other way but missing the cross. We remember Wayne Burnett more fondly than they do. If you want notoriety, Warnock was once their manager, and who can forget the battle of Saltergate when 20 players had a punch-up? Even here there's a Town connection, for the one outfield player to miss the scrap was Mr G Lund who, in true Town striker fashion, was way outside the box and looking the other way.
Argyle - funny name, eh? Why? Was it so cold their original first team played in woolly jumpers? Sadly, no. The real reason is more prosaic: when the club had to submit its application to the FA they thought they had to have two names - Plymouth and something. So the secretary put down the name of the street where he lived, Eliza. Argyle Terrace if you must know. If only he'd lived in Mutley Plain. Drat, drat and triple drat.
Michael Foot is usually wheeled out at some point in any contemplation of/condescension towards the Argyle. Wheel him back - he's going no further here. Football historians will look fondly towards Tommy Tynan. Ah, the colossus of Home Park himself. If Ron Atkinson were alive today he'd say: "Tommy scored goals for fun all day, you know". And he did. Where do we start? He left in a harrumph over wages for the balmy, delightful heights of Rotherham, but returned on loan towards the end of the same season, under a gentleman's agreement not to play in the game against the Millers. He did play, he scored the winner, Plymouth were promoted. His finest hour was, sadly, not in an Argyle shirt, nor anyone's, for his twilight days were spent at Torquay and he missed out on a Wembley appearance by thwacking the assistant manager with a kettle a couple of days before a play-off final. Alliteration is a prerequisite for footballing greatness, isn't it.
Trevor Francis was born in Plymouth. Should we blame them for that?
How will they do?
Dunno. Do you? Does anyone? They seem to have a reasonably stable squad and some capable players. The usual 'ifs and buts' caveats apply, though they have the resources (relatively) to launch a pre-emptive strike towards the play-offs, even if they don't think so themselves. Traditionally their home form has been excellent, for it's so far away that opponents have suffered jetlag, and the bends, not to mention DVT. Daytrippers beware a stuffing. An arbitrary mid-June prediction of 10th is as good as any thought this fine morning.
RuboftheGreens.com is the Rivals network site, with links to a defunct site and a messageboard. Their 'humorous' analysis of the relegated clubs leads me to say don't bother going there if you want any originality, or facts.
Intensive research on a rainy afternoon hasn't revealed much by the way of Argyle-related sites, just some rather earnest stuff on the Supporters Trust, the Cornish Supporters Association and their bit of the FootyMad network - a basic stats and reports site. By far the most exciting site was Greens on Screen, a collection of great Argyle moments captured on celluloid. Perhaps Argyle fans prefer to talk to each other, rather than the world. Well, we aren't from round there, are we.