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'.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.