Sunday, 31 December 2006

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to you all.

Rammed

Derby County 1 - 0 Plymouth Argyle

I was going to call this post something along the lines of "Rammed/Out of steam/Are we bovvered?", but it sounded like an episode title from The Love Boat plus I've slept since yesterday and forgotten what I exactly wanted to say.


Yesterday's performance against Derby was from two poor teams, one whose at the top of the table and the other floating around the middle. But unfortunately for Plymouth the result of a small squad, mounting injuries (Ebanks-Blake's very early substitution adding to the list) and the Christmas/New year schedule paid its toll and we've run out of steam. After the exciting Cardiff game in Boxing Day, this match was slow and dull, I lost concentration many times and the time didn't half drag. There was a hint of 'are we bovvered?' from some players - maybe with the January transfer window on their minds, or just fed up with wading through treacle at the moment.

The fixtures list in January permits a two-week break at the end of the month (assuming we don't have a cup run), and hopefully this will allow injuried players time to recover and any new signings to settle in. After the New Year's Day game verses Southampton, the Greens supporters will wait with baited breath.

Wednesday, 27 December 2006

Stadium Review #8 - Ninian Park

Ground Information: Ninian Park (Cardiff City FC) Capacity 20,000

Appearance: An old ground adapted to the new requirements, but looking decidedly shabby; forgivable due to their new stadium plans; consisting of 2 two-tier pitch length stands, single tier ends with open corners. The away end is still terracing with a small seated section, which (unless you stand on the Mayflower) is a novelty. 4/10

View: Who had the worst view? Everyone probably; the large pilars don't help, coupled with the shallow incline of the terrace, meaning a lot of the action is obscured depending on where you stand and with whom. The seating wasn't much better apparently. 3/10

Getting there: The best directions encountered so far. The VMSs on the M4 from Newport which declared "Plymouth Fans use J33" was a welcoming touch (though you do get the feeling they're luring you into an ambush!). From junction 33, follow the A road right to the car parks, cannot have been any easier. Ninian Park is on the opposite side of the railway tracks to the city centre, so should be easy to find from Cardiff Central. 10/10

Facilities (toilets, TVs etc): Third world? Housed in the corner by the turnstiles, the bar was at least covered (but probably only to comply with the 'no drinking in view of the pitch' rule) and there was a burger-bar style outlet. The toilets were antiquated at least - only consisting of urinals for the guys - don't have a curry the night before! Nothing else to do, but the PA announcer gave us a history lesson about PAFC and a couple of quiz questions.
BTW does anyone know which league football club's name in England or Scotland doens't contain any letters from the word "football"? 4/10

Food and Drink: Poor, pie was cold, but so were the drinks (which is good!). In fact all the food was cold - even the hot stuff - maybe part of some plot to give away fans food poisioning. 4/10

Stewarding/Police: Everyone was searched on the way in, but else had no problems. 8/10

Surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): Went straight to ground. The reputation Cardiff fans have for themselves make people wary of socialising near the ground, but as the city centre is near by, you probably could have gone to the sales. 5/10

Home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): Home crowds are generally low on the decibels, but they are an intimidating looking lot. Don't know who was on the receiving end of the Vicky Pollard chanting but it was excellent and must have taken it in good humour. 4/10

Total score: 42/80

Stadium League Table:
Poltair Park (St Austell): 57 [non league]
Stadium of Light (Sunderland): 55
Ricoh Arena (Coventry):51
Walkers Stadium (Leicester): 50
St Andrews (Birmingham): 48
Deepdale (Preston): 43
Ninian Park (Cardiff): 42
Roots Hall (Southend): 41

Tuesday, 26 December 2006

Needless waste

Cardiff City 2 - 2 Argyle

Yet again another draw, but this time it nearly wasn't.
Argyle went 1-0 up by half time, but as usual conceeded in the second half (2 goals in 4 minutes). This is why, as I mentioned about the WBA game, that I hate when Argyle take the lead, because they nearly always give away sloppy goals.

But inspite of that and the fact that we could have won 3-2 if the goal wasn't disallowed, this was a great performance by the lads and did well to bring about the equaliser. In all, quite an enjoyable day out and as it was an early kick off, I am home in time for Challenge Anneka

Monday, 25 December 2006

Merry Christmas

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas

Saturday, 23 December 2006

No Bore Draw

Argyle 2 - 2 West Bromwich

Inspite of the dire scoreline, because of both WBA goals coming in the first half added time, today's match was one of the most entertaining this season.

Larrieu made a return between the sticks and made of great saves in the second half but had to do a lot of back tracking due to commiting too early and missing, and of course they're goals; and Djordjic had "Hasney's Curse" upon him today and was (unneccesarily?) subbed early on due to a bleeding nose.

But a much better performance all round once we settled down, though again but for our poor finishing, hoofball and the keepers' performances, the scoreline should have been much higher.
And this is why I am extremely wary of Argyle leading in the first half.

Friday, 22 December 2006

Pie of the Year league

For those of you who are interested here is the league table of this season's pies:

1. Colchester 7.96
2. Crystal Palace 7.56
3. Birmingham 7.46
=4. Southampton 7.36
=4. Barnsley 7.36
6. Sunderland 6.8
7. Coventry 6.69
8. Southend 5.06
9. Leicester 5.03
10. Preston 4.93
11. Stoke 4.29

Pies are normally reviewed by Ruddlemoor Green and are given scores for pastry, filling, and health and safety, and are normally steak/steak and kidney flavour unless availability dictates otherwise.

Stadium Review #7 - Deepdale

Ground Information: Deepdale (Preston North End FC) Capacity 22,225

Appearance: Three redeveloped sides with the old terracing is still in limbo - not in use by the public but it houses the players' facilities and is therefore slowly decaying away until such times as a new stand is built. This could be a future echo of Home Park if nothing is decided about the grandstand and should be a warning to Argyle directors about not delaying. Elsewhere the ground is looking shabby, especially the away end concourse - walking into the toilet I thought I was in a caretaker's store. 4/10

View: The corners of the stands have been filled in using transparent walls, this allows the sun to come through at an awkward angle - just right to blind anyone in the away end. However the steepness of the seating permits a good view of the action. 6/10

Getting there: Easy - turn off the M6 ar junction 31 and apart from bearing left at the small roundabout, head straight ahead. If you do get lost, the gorund is signed from the motorway. Apparently parking is a nightmare and the train station is a 30 minute walk away though. 7/10

Facilities (toilets, TVs etc): As I said above the toilets looked very run down, with caretaker's equipment on view. However they were reasonably large and coped with the amount of fans we had, but would have been inadequate if we had more. There was 1 TV working (out of 2), showing the racing before the game and SSN at HT. 5/10

Food and Drink: Very poor pie - comes second to last on the PASOTI Pie of the Year league table so far, but the beer was on tap. 4/10

Stewarding/Police: Got frisked again on the way in - must be getting a reputation for hanging round with certain Bananabus people. A group stood all game and had the attention of a supervisor, a steward and a safety officer but they didn't succeed in getting them to sit down. One supporter was escorted out by police, but unsure what for. 6/10

Surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): Deepdale has the benefit of the National Football Museum built under its stands (and a gym and learning centre too), and what's best is that entrance is free. It is easy to spend a lot of time there. Else if your more alcoholic-minded, two recommended pubs are about 5 minutes' walk away, or if you want to do some shopping, the Deepdale retail park is 10-15 minutes' away and a supermarket over the road. 7/10

Home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): Poor, 3-0 and they still didn't sing (much) at least they didn't have those stupid blow up clappers like last season. 4/10

Total score: 43/80

Stadium League Table:
Poltair Park (St Austell): 57 [non league]
Stadium of Light (Sunderland): 55
Ricoh Arena (Coventry):51
Walkers Stadium (Leicester): 50
St Andrews (Birmingham): 48
Deepdale (Preston): 43
Roots Hall (Southend): 41

Jingle Balls - Have a Ball with Sparksy

"Following his enormous sucess with his balls, Plymouth Argyle BBC Radio Devon commentator, Gordon Sparks, has branched out into the music world with "Sparksy's Balls", a revised version of Bobby Vee's "Rubber Ball" with a 'B' side "Nice one Sparksy". 500 CDs have been manufactured and are available for £3 from Home Park Superstore, Argyle Store Drake Circus and Ivor Dewdney on Cornwall Street.

After his cancer scare earlier this season, Gordon launched "Have a Ball with Sparksy" to raise funds for Mustard Tree Macmillan Cancer relief and a few weeks afterwards, Romain Larrieu was also involved in his own scare.

His keyring balls are still on sale for £1 from numerous outlets over Plymouth, as well as tonight's "Have a gig with Sparksy" and a forthcoming "Have a Ball with Sparksy - the Match".

So remember guys and galls not to ignore things - the earlier you discover a problem and seek help, the better the chance of sorting it.

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Sold!

After months of wrangling it was confirmed today that Plymouth Argyle finally own the freehold of Home Park. This has been stalling for too long, and will now free up the board's attention to concentrate on such things as the January transfer window and getting phase II started.
Along with that some 'mystery' investors have approached the board with an offer of money; so hopefully things will start happening at Home Park on and off the pitch.

The Hearld article (Freehold)
Western Morning News article (Investment)

Monday, 18 December 2006

O Come All You Faithful

This evening saw the annual Argyle Carol Concert hosted by club chaplain Jeff Howden with guest readers Hasney Aljofree and David Norris.

Now in its 5th year, the Devonport end hosted a large crowd for traditional biblical readings and songs. In a world where Christianity is increasingly being pushed out of Christ-mas, it is a surprising change that a secular business that is Argyle is embrassing such an event, and more to their merit. And for the way that it is supported there seems to be a demand and a warm welcome for such initiatives.


And as it is that season, a recent suggestion on PASOTI for new Argyle related carols yielded the following:

Oh come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
Welcome to Home Park where the Green Army sing.
Skillful, determined, ne'er to be defeated.
Oh we are Plymouth Argyle
Oh we are Plymouth Argyle
Oh we are Plymouth Argyle
Sing for the Greens.

(Oh come all ye faithful by Tim_OHare)

The Ollie and the Army,
When they are both full grown
Of all the teams that are in the league
I just wish we’d win at home.
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Who said Elton John was queer?
(The Holly and the Ivy by McLondonG - this has 5 more verses!)

So I thought I'd have a go and came up with:

We, the greens of Plymouth Argyle
Cherno up front, McCormick in goal
Goals, we're scoring, glory glory
Forever to Argyle

Oh, Norris, Akos, Ollie's might
Djordjic, Chadwick, Connolly, Seip
Hayles, Capaldi, Wotton, Nalis
Greens go marching through the night
(We Three Kings)

Once in South West's premier city
Stood the might theatre of greens
Holloway, the barmy leader
Demport, Lyndhurst, Mayflower sings:

"Joyful to the boys in green
Pilgrims we shall always be!"
(Once in Royal David's City)


O Championship club, Argyle
How great to see thee play.
On Tuesday nights and Saturdays
Whether we're at home or away.
We're the green and white barmy army
We cheer along our lads.
Through thick or thin, come sun or rain
We're Argyle all the way.
(O Little Town of Bethlehem)

Trouble is I cannot sing the proper lyrics without smirking.

Sunday, 17 December 2006

Depressed-ton

Have the wheels fallen off Argyle’s happy bandwagon?

Well at the moment, yes. Another 3-0 drubbing, this time at Preston, has shown our squad up for the paper that-you-can-spit-through thinness that it is.

Today’s woeful performance was a Birmingham mark II, and once again you were left wondering after 2-0 down why the heck you’ve just spent £50+ and 17 hours on a coach. It was evident again that Holloway’s tinkering with positions due to injuries (and some players he just doesn’t like) is doing nothing to allow the lads to settle down, especially as players are having to fill in out of position, and the captain’s out for the season (at least). It seems that the spark that was evident in the early games has been extinguished for good, and with 3 games before January, when there is the possibility of fresh blood (some cynics may say, judging by the last 2 transfer and loan windows, don’t hold your breath), this festive season is going to be a big struggle for the greens.

Thursday, 14 December 2006

Captainless

All though the extent of his injury is not yet fully known, it looks like Paul Wotton's knee will keep him out of the team till the end of this season at least, and this leaves us without a Captain.

Holloway has not yet decided who should take over the armband, although [Barry] Hayles has filled in 3 times this season (Cardiff, Southampton & Luton) but Hayles may not have the right temperament to take on the role permanently - he is too argumentative with the referee. Supporters have debated the problem but cannot decide on a definitive answer with suggestions ranging from Norris, Aljofree, Nalis and Doumbe. The trouble is that Wotton has always been captain, and except for a few sub-ings etc, it's hard to see just who could take over.

But no doubt, this is going to knock the stuffing out of the squad - there have already been reported [by Holloway himself] incidence in training because of the lack of a captain - and it doesn't bode too well for Saturday's match at PNE, especially with the other injuries.

Everyone hopes that Paul gets well soon and we hope too that the lads will pull together and play this and subsequent matches to their best

Saturday, 9 December 2006

Toothless Tigers and Powerless Pilgrims

Plymouth 1 - 0 Hull; but the score line hides a lot.

With a severely depleted squad due to injuries and suspensions, Holloway fielded a decidedly young team to normal, but even with the new blood, the old problems were still apparent and if only either side could finish, there would have been far more goals.

It seems obvious to all that playing the high-long ball is not workable, they just get headed back and forth, so why are we still playing that way? Get it on the deck and pass!

To add salt to the wound, our paper-thin squad is even thinner after Wotton sustained a very bad injury which will see him out for a long time (this season at least) and is a loss of a long standing, experienced member, and skipper. However he has been subbed and dropped from the team before; we coped then, can we cope again? Though it did give the chance for our newest member, Gosling, to come on and by all accounts fielded a very good impression.

And if Hayles is to take over as skipper, he is definitely got to learn some self restraint, there have been too many bookings for dissent by him this season and was riding by the seat of his pants 2nd half when he sarcastically called the referee’s judgment into question over a foul. Luckily the referee laughed back at him as a booking should have been forthcoming.

As some would say "a win is a win is a win", does it matter how we get there?

Friday, 8 December 2006

Saturday Night's Alright...for Elton

In one of the most inspired and forward thinking acts to come out of Home Park for a long time, it was announced today that in May next year, Sir Elton John will be in concert at Home Park!

On the 26th May 2007, Home Park will be transformed, with a stage (most likely on the Mayflower as phase 1 seating is on sale) and additional seating constructed on the pitch. Tickets for the cheapest blocks have sold out already.

This is indeed great news that the clubs is moving forward, and no doubt the freehold purchase has facilitated this; for once Argyle deserve a huge pat on the back.

Argyle supporters can purchase tickets here

Wednesday, 6 December 2006

Stadium Review #6 - St Andrews

Ground Information: St Andrews (Birmingham City FC) Capacity 30,016

Appearance: Like Home Park, St Andrews has a touch of the traditional, with its old stand down one side of the ground, which contrasts starkly against the two tiers next to it. The three different stand designs made for a lot for the eye to take in and the flaired sides were rather odd. Where I was sat (far top left of the Railway end), you're barely in the stadium and quite remote from the action. 7/10

View: Apart from beeing miles away and having direct line of sight over the back of the lower tier of the Kop, there were no restrictions at all, meaning you got a very good view of our poor performance. 6/10

Getting there: People have commented that this is a very well signed stadium, and as you would expect from such a large city, there are many ways to reach it from the surrounding motorways. A 20 minute walk from New Streets station wouldn't be too taxing by anyone's standards. 6/10

Facilities (toilets, TVs etc): BCFC must have seriously understimated our away support, and as we had sold out all 2,500 tickets before the day, it's not like they hadn't had any warning. The concourse was very cramped and the toilets inadequate for the 2,700 that turned up. Maybe it's because I spotted this sign posted high up on a pillar, stating that the concourse was only licenced to hold 1,260 people - oops. There were no TVs. 5/10

Food and Drink: Reasonable priced, but wofully unprepared. The usual pies were available plus some oddities like a 'pizza pasty'. The Chicken Balti pie is highly recommended, plus the bitter/lager was on tap. 6/10

Stewarding/Police: The second time I stood all match. The stewards succeeded in getting people to sit down up to three rows in front of me but then gave up. 8/10

Surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): Some people say the area's too rough for away supporters and it's best to drink in the city, however I ended up in the Cricketer's Arms round the back of Morrisons - very very small, watered down lager but friendly locals. Alternatively you can go to the Woolworth superstore or Morissons caf├ęs if that's what appeals to you - and judging by some matchday photos I've seen, they were popular. 5/10

Home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): Were good when 2-0 and 3-0 up singing "Keep right on to the end...", something which is seriously lacking at Home Park. 5/10

Total score: 48/80

Stadium League Table:
[Poltair Park (St Austell): 57]
Stadium of Light (Sunderland): 55
Ricoh Arena (Coventry):51
Walkers Stadium (Leicester): 50
St Andrews (Birmingham): 48

Roots Hall (Southend): 41

Monday, 4 December 2006

No smoke without fire


The debate over the smoking ban has come to Home Park. With public areas due to go 'smokeless' from 1st July 2007, speculation over whether Argyle will ban smoking within its stadium is rife (at least on PASOTI it is).

Under the ruling Sports Stadia are included in the criteria for 'public place':
"Does this legislation cover sports stadiums?
Many sports stadiums are already smokefree. When smokefree legislation comes into force, only those stadiums that are enclosed or substantially enclosed will need to be smokefree."

(Smokefree England)

Argyle currently ban smoking within the seating areas, leaving the Mayflower terrace, the lane behind the Grandstand and concourse areas smoking areas. This causes is a juxtaposition whereby anyone in the Devonport, Lyndhurst or Barn Park has to go into an enclosed area, instead of remaining in the open air. The result is a build up of fumes at half time causing an unpleasent atmosphere for the non smokers.

Micheal Dunford has already banned smoking by staff on Home Park property at the beginning of this season, and this would suggest that come July (or even early), Argyle will be a completely smoke free environment. However is Home Park "enclosed or substantially enclosed"? The wording suggests that as we only have 3 completed sides and a terracing area, that Home Park is neither enclosed or substantially enclosed. This could mean that smoking could legally return to the seating areas (except the grandstand, due to its age).

But it would seem that, and would indeed in the long term be easier for, Argyle to go completely smoke-free next year. Unfortunately the way that Argyle play sometimes, it will be extremely hard for some to go 2+ hours without a drag. I suggest that the superstore should start stocking Argyle branded nicitine patched and Polo mints.

Sunday, 3 December 2006

FA Cup 3rd Round

Away to Peterborough (league 2), 6th January.

There go the dreams of Manchester United or Liverpool
.

I guess that's why they call them the Blues

Birmingham City managed to show Plymouth to be the small club that everyone thinks we are; outclassed in style, power, threat, perseverance and everything else; from their second goal I knew that the game was lost and that the next 1 1/2 hours of my life were going to be wasted, 3-0 and the game was dead and buried.

Yesterday, Ollie got it wrong, the change in squad that shook up the Luton game to success was too much, and unlike when Birmingham won 0-1 earlier in the season inspite of Argyle being the better team, yesterday they never really got started. The flaws that were always there were shown up to be the cracks they've developed into: lack of height, the awful corners - why do people get excited about corners, when they're always the same? - and just the general nature of a small squad with no money. This season for some reason we are racking up the cards and the injuries so much more so than last, and though the squad is versatile enough, the players are no longer coping.

A lot of people expected a massive loss today (4+-0) and we were good enough to hold it at 3-0, thanks to Luke's saves in the second half. But again, in front of the largest away attendance (2,700), the fans were let down like they were in front of the largest home attendance (17,088 Leeds). Will Argyle do the treble this season and fail in front of the cameras against Coventry?

Today sees the draw for the FA cup 3rd round, and many supporters would have liked a cup run this season, and a few weeks back it seemed possible, but now with the squad not coping in the league, the excess of a cup run will make it unlikely that we'll make any progress.

Friday, 1 December 2006

Trip down Memory Lane

I have just spent 3 hours looking for a website that was under my nose all the time, grrr!

I came across the following site
(Plymouth Argyle FC Flickr photoset) about a month ago, which primarily documents Home Park before, during and after redevelopment of phase 1 (amongst the antics of a naked PAFC supporter at the World Cup) and is a fabulous trip down memory lane.

I particularly remember when young having an irrational fear of the Lyndhurst turnstiles (pictured), and looking at that picture it still gives me the shivers.


And I also discovered my first 'official link' to this blog thanks to Semper Viridis! Cheers mate.

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Feeling much better, Thank you.

Tonight's 1-0 win has caused a feeling of euphoria to settle upon Greens supporters.
Ollie made some drastic changes to the team sheet tonight that must have shook the guys up enough to inspire a much more solid performance inspite of the play being more spread between both teams and Luton threatening the goal on numerous occasions. With Djordjic scoring his 3rd goal on his 3rd start (doubters take note) and bringing us back up to 9th in the table...

The future's bright, the future's green.

(Yes that sounds fickle but, blah)

Saturday, 25 November 2006

"How did we come out of that with a result?"

Was the comment made by a Leeds supporter after today's game.

On one hand I feel quite indifferent about today's 2-1 loss, which put us 12th in the table, mainly because I had the feeling that, Argyle being Argyle, we wouldn't deliver. It seems quite difficult for us to turn over teams at the bottom of the league when we should be hoovering up the points.

On the other hand it's because of this lack of ability that I'm quite angry. Did the team turn up today? Like last week at Southend they put in a lacklustre appearance and the 'feel good factor' which was sweeping the club, and all the 'Premiership-here-we-come' optimism has vanished. Some are now even predicting a relegation battle.

And to top it all they decided not to perform in front of the biggest crowd to date; would anyone have been impressed enough to return? Would they have heck.

Friday, 24 November 2006

Ooo Matron!

Found this today:



I'll say no more.

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Stadium Review #5 - Roots Hall

Ground Information: Roots Hall (Southend United FC) Capacity 12,392

Appearance: Hmm, what to say. A very traditional set up here which could do with more than a lick of paint but then again I prefer ‘traditional’ stadia, however was somewhat disappointed here. Was also surprised that Southend had invested in automated turnstiles - why, when the rest of the stadium is shabby?
The away stand is a converted terrace - seating bolted onto the original structure - but is not that bad, although it suffers from an extreme lack of circulating space. 5
/10

View: View? What view? Stationed myself more or less central but the support pillars were always in the way of the action, plus if your team tend to play high balls, you miss half the match. 5/10

Getting there: Did all of Southend decide to go out that day? There was traffic coming and going, then once we’d been dropped off at the main entrance, the away entrance was quite difficult to find. 5/10

Facilities (toilets, TVs etc): Hopelessly inadequate for the amount of fans we took: 1,000+ supporters had to file through a gap big enough for 2 to go anywhere, the ‘family room’ (“Restaurant” according to the signs and it does have tables and chairs!) didn’t sell alcohol, though the choice was good if you arrived early and was reasonably priced. I queued for 15 minutes at half time for the toilets and 10 minutes upon arrival. There were no TVs but pre-match entertainment provided by Chico. 4/10

Food and Drink: Reasonable priced, and we were allowed to keep our soft drinks in the bottles. The chicken and mushroom pie was poor. And as mentioned, no alcohol. 5/10

Stewarding/Police: The first time I defied officialdom and stood for the whole match because the stewards didn’t give two hoots. 8/10

Surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): Go to the pub… there’s an away-fans only pub by the main entrance or a few more 5 minutes away but no one from Southend could direct me to them. 5/10

Home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): Like Leicester, only heard them when they equalised. 4/10

Total score: 41/80

I feel quite bad giving Southend such a low score - they are a a newly promoted side who's facilities are not used to Coca Cola Championship standards at least they do have plans for a new stadium

Sunday, 19 November 2006

Being generous

Why are Argyle so generous? Why do we give away points like yesterday?

After Djordjic’s 4-minute goal, Southend were ready for a defeat. Until half time. What happened? It seemed no one could be bothered playing another 45 minutes, which Southend capitalised on; the guys seemed rather wooden.
And when Southend equalised, the new gung-ho go-for-goal mentality didn’t appear and inspite of Ollie sending on two strikes, last season’s ‘settling for the draw’ attitude seemed to have reared its ugly head.

And the problem with corners is still prevalent, do they not get practiced? Stop fafffing about, when it’s booted in the box none of the attackers are in the right place or it goes straight to their keeper – mark him for crying out loud, and when it’s passed short, there’s no one around to back up.
All in all it was a strange day – strange stadium, strange game and a strange Green Army, who, like the players, didn’t really get going second half. And to add insult to injury, Stoke are above us in the table.

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

Stadium Review #4 - Walkers Stadium

Ground Information: Walkers Stadium (Leicester City FC) Capacity 32,500

Appearance: A very new stadium (2002), this is an all round good ground, though parts of the concourse looked shabby. The concourse was ample, and seemed to go on forever, but the stairway access to the stands was quite narrow. Gets extra points for being off Raw Dykes Lane! 8/10

View: Superb. Being located in a corner, you can be quite far from the pitch, but pick your spot carefully and it doesn't really matter. 7/10

Getting there: All of Leicester's sports grounds are located within the same area and next to the A594, so it should be easy to find; however miss your turning on the M6 and you'll end up going the long way round. There was very little parking in the immediate area and very long queues leaving Leicester. 5/10

Facilities (toilets, TVs etc): As mentioned, the concourse was rather ample, and even had an extra bit round the corner. There were two bars open - one selling alcohol and one not, meaning the usual queues but nothing overtly major. The usual TVs were there and a more than adequate number of lavatorial facilities. 8/10

Food and Drink: Reasonable priced, was amused at having to have my Pepsi poured into a paper cup after being used to bottles at Argyle. The chicken and mushroom pie was alright, but as they were served in a polystyrene container with a spork, you knew something wasn't right. After the first bite, the top came off, the bottom folded in half and the filling fell out. A much more intricate review of Leicester's pies can be found on PASOTI. 5/10

Stewarding/Police: Can't really comment as I had no dealings with them. Please note that the Walkers Stadium is a non smoking ground, however the stewards can't be bothered to enforce the rule.
Leicester's police have been known to be heavy handed but we avoided them by the clever 'missing your motorway turn off and coming in he back way' plan. 8/10

Surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): Shop at Morrisons or get drunk in the pub. 5/10

Home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): Home fans? Were there any there? Oh yes, sorry, they woke up after they scored, fell asleep after the equaliser, work up again after they went 2-1 up and then left 10 minutes before full time. 4/10

Total score: 50/80

Sunday, 12 November 2006

Out Foxed?

Leicester thought they had it all sewn up.

After a "not as good as the previous two away games" performance by the Greens this Saturday, Leicester were absolutely sickened by Hayles's 90th minute equaliser. Having watched their first half lead disappear because of “Leicester reject, Lillian Nalis”, this was too much for some Foxes to stomach as they slowly and quietly filed home past the jubilant Green Army.

It was a quiet game for some of the players, especially second half when we didn’t really get started, but we sure finished! The run of game was different too – we didn’t set up as many chances as before, but this time we scored the goals.

And how unlucky is Aljofree? How can one man get injured so much? He should have a kit made of bubblewrap.

Tuesday, 7 November 2006

Saturday morning get down to the Superstore

Urged Saturday Superstore (BBC Saturday mornings 1982-87).

The Argyle shop blossomed into the Argyle Superstore in 2005 when the “village” expanded. Then they began their conquering of Cornwall with ‘official merchandisers’. Now Argyle are ready to take a jump into the world of ‘big retailing’, be it for a limited period.

From Monday (13th November), the Superstore is opening a branch at the new Drake Circus shopping mall in Plymouth City Centre and will be open until Saturday 23rd December. It’s not quite known what form this’ll take, but considering the short amount of time, a proper unit seems unlikely; maybe the exhibition space near M&S and H&M will host a temporary shop?

But it certainly is a step in the right direction. Many other clubs have a shop in their respective town centres (Wolves, WBA, Southampton spring to mind) and Argyle are long due a more permanent presence in Plymouth, as opposed to the limited range in Derry’s. And this doesn’t have to be in Drake Circus itself if there are rent issues – there are plenty of other empty units around. Let’s hope if this is a success, that one day another Superstore becomes a reality.

However, it does seem strange to stop before Christmas, why not hang around and catch the January sales too?

Drake Circus website
Official Site announcement

Sunday, 5 November 2006

"The flag's at half mast"

A throw-away comment made by one of my (more senior) friends when discussing yesterday's 1-0 defeat against Birmingham.

Traditionally, flying a flag at half staff[1] is a mark of respect or mourning, and, yes, we maybe should be mourning the loss of 3 points – 5 including the Ipswich draw – for the final scores were not warranted after the football displayed by Argyle.

Steve Bruce [Birmingham Manager] said to the BBC …“But overall Plymouth can feel that they have been harshly done by that they have not got something out of the game.”… and I think that most of the Green Army feel the same. Argyle bossed two teams around Home Park, controlling the game for most of the 90 minutes, but for a sloppy 1st minute against Ipswich and poor defending against 1 of Birmingham’s 4 corners.

With statistics like 9:4 shots on target, 7:4 corners (Argyle:Brum) and 12:1, 12:13 respectively (Argyle:Ipswich), it’s not like we’re not setting up chances. Just for some reason those chances aren’t being converted. This season Argyle have racked up 108 corners, where would we be if just 1/5 of those (let alone all!) had been converted into goals?

But then again, aren’t we taking things too far? So far Argyle have played 16, won 6, drawn 7 and lost 3 and are 7th in the table. Yes, lost 3 – out of 16. Put that way, a defeat against a million-pound squad is nothing to get het up about.

Anyway, it’s only a month before we invade St Andrews and give ‘em the hiding they should have got.

[1]"Half mast" is really only related to naval terminology - like the Union Jack (who said blogs weren't educational?)

Friday, 3 November 2006

Stadium Review #3 - Stadium of Light

Since I haven't been able to get to away games this month, here's a retrospective of Sunderland, home of that 3-2 win...

Ground Information: Stadium of Light (Sunderland FC)
Capacity 49,000

Appearance: A recently new stadium (1997), this is an impressive affair, if in the middle of a building site. The two tiers on two sides give it an interesting shape, especially with the additional turnstile entrances/stairs to the upper tier built away from the main building. Include the fact that the pitch is below ground level, meaning until you get to the stand everything is on the level; this is an excellent stadium. The seperate ticket office with toilets was well thought out. 9/10

View: Superb (as far as I can remember). 8/10

Getting there: Located north of the river, it would be a fair old walk from the town centre, but add the fact that there's a major A road straight to the site, numerous park & ride/park & walk schemes, and a metro system; you couldn't get lost. It's just the 16 hour round trip from Plymouth that's the killer. 7/10

Facilities (toilets, TVs etc): The concourse was rather small for the amount of fans a club could bring, meaning it was quite crowded with the Green Army. The usual TVs were available and plenty of relief facilities. 7/10

Food and Drink: Only had a cup of tea to give a cafine boost! 6/10

Stewarding/Police: Horse mounted police with wooden battens! But else no trouble. 8/10

Surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): Nowt. I was planning on walking over to the town centre but gave up as I got lost. 4/10

Home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): A whirlwind of a game meaning ups and downs for both sides means an electric afternoon 6/10

Total score: 55/80

Which reminds me that I never claimed my pint from Ollie for going. Hmmpf.

Tuesday, 31 October 2006

A game with no end

Tonight's game against Ipswich felt like a game with no ending. From their (very quick) goal, there was an air of expectancy - a certain 'edge of your seat', waiting for something to happen feeling that should never have ended in a 1-1 result.

By the way, this is what Home Park looks like before the stand lighting is turned on...

...I think I've really caught the atmosphere.

Can you explain...

...why it is so hard to not stand on the yellow-painted areas, the yellow hatched areas and areas marked 'Keep Clear' in Home Park?

And why does it get harder to do when there are fewer people around and thus there's more place to stand?

Happy Hollowe'en

Did the FA conspire to land us with tonight's fixture of Ips-WITCH on HOLLOWe'en?
Get your black cats (no, not a Sunderland player) and lucky rabbits' feet at the ready.

All we need now is a suitably named refereeing team...

Saturday, 28 October 2006

When will we be taken seriously?

or “Plymouth Argyle? Who?”

As the title suggests, when will people start taking Argyle seriously? People refer to us a “Little Plymouth” – see many a fans’ forum – ITV1’s “The Championship” give us (if we’re lucky) 45 seconds’ of coverage, Sky Sports News seldom have live match reports and match reports in the Monday papers have shrunk to half a column.
You would have thought that maybe since the win over Sunderland (which earned us a full spread in several national newspapers – all be it about how poorly the Black Cats played), “Little Plymouth”, currently 5th in the table would be worthy of a second thought.

But then again, flying “below the radar” is useful, for we can quietly creep our way up the table, holding our own, demolishing the so-called ‘big teams’ and next season we’re in the Premiership.
Then let people ask “Who are Plymouth Argyle?”

Friday, 27 October 2006

Ollie's Oratory and Viz

Argyle’s profile is growing this season, in part thanks to Ollie.
For starters there’s Holloway’s weekly column on the BBC website and to top it off Argyle feature in November’s edition of Viz magazine. Although it’s great to reach the premiership of men’s literature, the way Argyle are depicted as swapping third division football for a life on the ocean waves, and dying after being cast adrift by Long John Diego Maradona is a tad unflattering, reading between the lines.

Thursday, 26 October 2006

Sparksy's Balls

On a serious note guys, Argyle Live commentator Gordon Sparks will soon be launching his "Have a Ball with Sparksy" campaign at the Birmingham game on the 4th.

"Most people are aware that I managed to successfully come through testicular cancer earlier this year," explained Gordon.

Us guys are very reluctant to get help when we’re not well, especially when it’s “down below”, and with Gordon and Romain’s recent scares, it has brought the subject to the door of PAFC. And while we may like a fiddle, checking for abnormalities should be second nature.
The keyrings cost £1 each and will be available from the club shop, BBC reception in Plymouth and selected newsagents.


BBC News Article

Saturday, 21 October 2006

Chim Chimini...

...Chim Chimini Chim Chim Che Roo, we played the Clarets but we only drew.

This was meant to be a post about superstitions and how Argyle have won every time I attended a home match as a steward without purchasing a programme. But now that doesn't work anymore. Maybe I should concentrate more during matches, for the mental chanting of "1-0 to Argyle" has seen the ball in the back of the opposition's goal on every occasion. Today I was distracted. Sorry

Wednesday, 18 October 2006

Work gets in the way

>Why can't I have a job that doesn't involve weekends and I could get Tuesdays off?
That's the trouble with earning a living, it always seems to clash with the fixtures. This month I'm not able to get to either the Barnsley or Palace away games and I'm having withdrawl symptoms.
It's only two games you say! But they're bound to be two of the best games of the season. Barnsley yesterday was by all accounts a cracker of a match but I was at work without internet access (faulty) or a radio (poor reception) and yes I'll admit it I'm sulking.
Here's for a more accommodating job or self employment. Anyone want to employ an Argyle-maniac?

Monday, 16 October 2006

Argyle Premiership Champions

Sadly not, but Barclays', the Premiership sponsor, roadshow came to Plymouth's Drake Circus today. An article on Gordon Sparks's breakfast show and a naughty sneek out of work resulted in this:



Unfortunately it will have to wait until the end of next season to be adorned with green, black and white ribbons.

Sunday, 15 October 2006

The Sky's the Limit

Today Sky TV came to Home Park. Judging by Plymouth's past performance in front of the cameras and the fact that they haven't beaten Derby for 20 years, it proved a great 3-1 victory with two penalties from Wotton and a goal from Samba in a scrappy, card-ridden game.
Plymouth managed to overcome some very dodgy refereeing decisions, playing most of the second half with 10 men and some of that time with 9 after Aljofree's injury. Even if he second penalty decision was down to Hayles's theatrics it makes up for some consistancy issues and it's the final score that counts.


What the viewers don't see - the Sky Sports studio


The Mayflower touchline cameraman

The three points mean that currently Argyle are in the playoffs in 5th place. Ollie has installed a new mentality at Home, Park for the immediate equaliser by Derby would have had us closing ranks and Doumbe's sending off would have meant the beginning of the end last season. To quote Holloway "Maybe more people will take a bit of notice about us now because we are not one of the fashionable clubs."
A big well done this afternoon lads.

Stadium Review #2 - Poltair Park

As I won't be able to get to any away games this month, here's my review of St Austell's ground after they played Argyle reserves in the Carlsberg South Western league...

Ground Information: Poltair Park (St Austell AFC)

Appearance: Typical non-league ground, with a raised stand at the halfway line, a tea hut and not much else. But all in all a tidy affair. 8/10

View: Superb, a good view from where ever but you are quite far from the pitch. 9/10

Getting there: The ground's just round the corner from the train station, a few minutes from the town centre. Once you know where you're going it's not hard to find. 7/10

Facilities (toilets, TVs etc): If you suffer from a mould phobia don't go to the toilet! The club house was welcoming and more than adequate. 8/10

Food and Drink: Food was cooked as you waited and very reasonably priced although my fellow supporters weren't too taken by the ladies' attitudes or cooking styles. The chance to take alcoholic drinks pitchside was a novelty. 5/10

Stewarding/Police: They've only got 2 stewards! They've only got 2 stewards! If you can call them that - sort of pseudo ticketman/programme seller. 10/10

Surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): Get drunk! The St Austell Brewery is just down the road and they sometimes do tours. Plus the town centre is nearby. Unfortunately they're not much else in St Austell. 5/10

Home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): Very friendly bunch. Seemed surprised at the Argyle support's singing - some tried correcting the lyrics (cheeky). Fair doos to the guy who tried singing back 'Dirty northern b**tards'.
5/10

Total score: 57/80

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

It never rains...

...but it hammers down.
And there's thunder and lightning.


Last night was a good one. The thunderstorms which began at 21.00 and eventually left us at gone midnight were some of the best ever, but then I was at home and my electric didn't go off all night. Some weren't so fortunate, and it probably wasn't the best time for one of Argyle's oldest current players to make his debute.

For, as I mentioned in On a Break, Ollie signed himself as a player for the SWL Liskeard game. Apparrently he played well in centre midfield inspite of losing 3 - 0 and lasted the full 90 minutes.

Now who in the first XI midfield can Ollie replace?

Other Argyle blogs

There aren't that many Argyle-related blogs around, in fact 3 in total (including mine) which is why after the demise of the Rev's input I decided to start my own. In one way is a shame but in others makes those of us who do blog more special!

For those of you who want a different view check out
Ed's Green Journals and Serendipity

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

On a break

Well, we're still in the middle of the Championship's International break, when everyone must down tools in order for England to mess up again.
It's a times like this when club fans run out of things to talk about and the trivial takes over ('ere, they've open'd that shoppin' centre down town - think I'll go Markies get s'um new pants). Having said that Mr Holloway seems determined to keep Argyle in the public eye. Not least signing himself as a player for the Carlsberg South Western League game verses Liskeard and starting! Did he have a trial first?


PAFC article

Friday, 6 October 2006

A face for radio

Yesterday I decided that I definitely had the face for radio. The BBC had a mini roadshow at the Drake Circus opening with live Radio Devon broadcasts, meet the presenters and a chance 'read the news'.
Having gone along to engage in some banter with the legendary (Sir) Gordon Sparks, I was collared to take part in a 'radio play'. Intended to be recorded live for broadcast in half term, I was partnered with two other members of the public and BBC's Matt Woodley to play the roles of Spider crabs(!) Unfortunately the two ladies were too quiet for the recording so it had to be redone with a new cast, so my second 10 minutes' of fame won't materialise.
Whilst I was on a roll, I decided to have a go at reading the news (which incidentally included a massive 6-0 win to Argyle against Manchester United). I was duly presented with a VHS recording to watch later...

...I won't be gracing your TVs on purpose in the future.

BBC Radio Devon

What goes up...

...might not come down.

A few days ago the RFU (Rugby Football Union) announced they were considering ending promotion to/relegation from their Premiership (BBC News Article). The decisions they make are bound to make the FA sit up and take notice and considering the amount of clout the ex-division 1 teams and Sky TV had which resulted in the formation of the Premiership, this may result in an "exclusive" English (football) Premiership too.

I for one would not see the point as currently the Premiership is seen as the 'promised land' flowing with milk and honey (or rather money) and team strive to reach the dizzy heights of top league football. Indeed Argyle have aspirations in that direction. What would there be to aim for? What would be the point of playing if the only way is down?


[of course if Argyle do the (im)possible and win the Championship the above views don’t count!]

Thursday, 5 October 2006

The Circus comes to Town

Today the long awaited Drake Circus shopping centre opened its doors to the paying public.



After 15 years of waiting, I went down town to see for myself the centre which has split the people of Plymouth. Many have criticised the external architecture as a mish-mash of styles and blank walls. Well, I for one like it, and unfortunately, unlike other cities where centres are built behind the existing shop frontages, Plymouth wasn’t designed like that, so the shop’s rear walls had to go somewhere.

Inside, you get the feeling that you aren’t in Plymouth at all – maybe because this indoor shopping experience is so alien to the city. And whilst the mix of shops is decidedly weighted towards women, I was very impressed.

There are still units left to be let and hopefully they will be to new stores not already present in Plymouth. Walking around the rest of the city, it was decidedly empty compared to the top end where the centre is (let’s hope that predictions that the centre will suck the life out of the rest of the shopping area will prove unfounded) and the vacant units of the newly located businesses were noticeable. Here’s longing for a greater presence for Argyle in the city centre in the form of a dedicated superstore!

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

Stadium Review #1 - Ricoh Arena

I used to belong to another Argyle forum that had a stadium review section which I found very helpful. Unfortunately it closed down, so I thought I would proffer my thoughts on the grounds I visit this season...

Ground Information: Ricoh Arena (Coventry City), 32,000 all seater capacity

Appearance: The Ricoh is certainly an impressive looking ground, with the conference centre helping it to stand out among the flat-packed stadia prevalent today. The away concourse was huge and easily accommodated the 1,000+ Green Army. The steep stands were quite knackering after a while and as usual with large stadia and small crowds, the empty seats looked jarring.
8/10

View: The steep stands made you quite far from the pitch, making it appear optically quite small, however you wouldn't have someone's head in the way.
7/10

Getting there: Wasn't driving but as long as you enter Coventry from the M6 you can't miss it. Coming from the South has caused some people trouble navigating their excuse for a ring road. Going by train would be a journey and a half as the station is the other side of the city and two bus rides away.
6/10

Facilities (toilets, TVs etc): Didn't have to queue to take a leak all afternoon, and they were clean. Concourse had usual TV plus the large scoreboard was showing Sky Sports News at half time.
8/10

Food and Drink: Was served right away, pints were pre-poured and reasonably priced.[1]
7/10

Stewarding/Police: Stewards seemed very fair, got chatting to two after we showed interest in their emergency phone, but like a lot of people they didn't know the difference between Plymouth and Portsmouth.
8/10

Surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): Another stadium built in the outskirts, meaning little of interest in the immediate area. Apparently there is a Tesco Extra (ooh!). There are a couple of pubs about 10-15 minutes' walk away, which is where we ended up.
5/10

Home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): Attendance was 18,000 but you wouldn't have thought it. Didn't hear a peep out of them all match.
2/10

Total score: 51/80

[1]For more in-depth analysis of away ground food see the Pie of the Year thread on PASOTI

Monday, 2 October 2006

Play up Sky Blues

Ricoh
Saturday (30th Sept) I set off with the infamous "Bananabus Boys"[1] to the Coventry game with excitement but not knowing what really to expect from the guys.


Actually they are a great bunch of fellas and I enjoyed my time with them. This would be the first time that hadn't gone to away matches on the official Travel Club coaches - an alcohol free zone, and I must say that several (many?) units of alcohol makes watching Argyle play all the better. Should have tried it during the Pulis era really. It also lubricates the throat so the chantting came a lot easier than before! (I'm normally quite reserved).

Argyle had regained their away form with an excellent performance, and awarded the Green Army with a late goal thanks to debutant Cherno Samba. Argyle's game has improved greatly from the Hoofball experience of last season and you know that when we are down on goals we'll have a goal, and we won't be happy to draw.

The Ricoh[2] is an impressive stadium but a 19k attendance made for a lot of empty seats and they had a very quiet home support!


The win certainly helped the home journey and yes I did get my shirt off (see [1]).
Unfortunatley I can't go to the Barnsley or Palace games due to working so my next away will be Leicester and I've booked on the BBus.


[1]The Bananabus boys are a group of guys who travel to away matches mostly from Cornwall. They used to travel in a yellow minibus. They have a certain 'reputation' and their fashion for "Bananabus justice: shirts off, naked as God intended" goes before them.

[2]A Coventry fan travelling with us told me it stood for "Relegation is Coventry's only Hope"

Come on you Greens

OK, I've messed around with the template so it's sort of how I want it, so I thought I'd better start blogging.

Those of you who have read my profile will know that my real name is Dan, my nickname coming from by log in of Plymouth Argyle's number 1 internet forum, PASOTI. My blogging inspiratation comes from Dave's excellent site, Bus Driving - the trials and tribulations of public transport in Torquay (home of Argyle's second team!) and Bills Sticker's Walking the Streets.

I don't know what I'll end up writing on here, excuse me if I moan a lot, but that's what us Janners/Argo followers do (sorry).

'Ere we Go, 'Ere we Go, 'Ere we Go

Hi guys, thought I'd take the step into the world of blogging.
This is a test post so I can sort stuff out.