Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Stadium Review #12 - Underhill

Ground Information: Underhill (Barnet FC) Capacity 5,500

Appearance: A typical league two ground, surrounded by houses; how I'd love to live overlooking Home Park (if it was possible). Two open goal ends, 1 covered terrace, and a grandstand with an open side. Very unusual floodlights. 6/10

View: Roofing pilars and other people obsured about a quarter of the pitch when stood at the rear of the East Terrace, but otherwise what you'd expect. 5/10

Getting there: Not as difficult as some would say. Underhill is just down the road from High Barnet tube (though relying on the Northern line is not something to be done very often), and virtually straight on from junction 23 of the M25. There is no dedicated parking though. 6/10

Facilities (toilets, TVs etc): Expansive toilet facilities - was very impressed by their size, standard and cleanliness, especially when compared to Peterborough. There is nothing else though except for a catering bar. 8/10 (for the toilets alone!)

Food and Drink: Very tasty pie (Chicken and Mushroom) but a bit too soggy and hot. They ran out of pies again, not having learnt from the Green Army's previous visit. The bar remains open all game (no alcohol served) and there was a 30p difference in price depending on who served you! 6/10

Stewarding/Police: Didn't have anything to do with them. Which is a good thing. 6/10

Surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): Barnet centre is a trek up the hill, or you have the whole of London at your disposal via the tube. The Old Red Lion on the corner of Underhill and High Street is a popular pub and gets very full but I was charged double for one round and was too tipsy to notice. 6/10

Home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): The covered-uncovered nature of the ground makes it hard to hear anyone apart from those you are stood with. Argyle had the East terrace and North terrace and couldn't hear each other. So it's difficult to judge, but others nearer the fans have praised their enthusiasm. 6/10

Total score: 49/80

Stadium League Table:
Pride Park (Derby): 65
Poltair Park (St Austell): 57 [non league]
Stadium of Light (Sunderland): 55
Ricoh Arena (Coventry):51
= Carrow Road (Norwich): 50
= Walkers Stadium (Leicester): 50

Underhill (Barnet): 49
St Andrews (Birmingham): 48
Deepdale (Preston): 43
Ninian Park (Cardiff): 42
Roots Hall (Southend): 41
London Road (Peterbrough): 36

Fixture Change

Due to the FA Cup 5th rounds, the scheduled game verses Sheffield Wednesday will now be on:
Tuesday 6th March, 19.45, Hillsborough

Elsewhere, Romain Larrieu has gone back to Gillingham for a second loan spell.

Monday, 29 January 2007

Squad Changes

After Romain returned from his emergency loan to Gillingham on Saturday, two more changes have occured to the first team squad this week, namely Cherno Samba has gone out on loan to Wrexham and Anthony Barness has terminated his contract "by mutual concent". Ollie hopes that the next 4/5 games at Wrexham will give Samba more experience where as Barness has been out of favour since the beginning of the season with just two starts (1 league, 1 cup) and no bench appearances, so it seems natural that he moves on.

FA Cup 5th Round

Plymouth Argyle - Derby County

We're not getting much luck with these draws are we?

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Barnet Fair - FA Cup update

Barnet 0 - 2 Argyle

So for the first time in 19 years Argyle have go through to the fifth round, sealed with an excellent goal from on loan Sinclair who ran virtually all of the pitch alone before putting the ball away:

A top class goal. But we had to slog out the first half as Barnet matched Argyle up until Hasney's penalty. Why make such a meal out of playing a team two divisions below us?

The 5th round draw is on Monday, but we may have to wait until the 13th before we find out our true opposition. Here's hoping (3rd time lucky) for a premiership club!

One consequence is the CCC game verses Sheffield Wednesday for the 17th February will be rescheduled.

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Lights, Camera, Action!

Plymouth 3 - 2 Coventry
Though almost without the lights.

Two power failures, mirroring last year's failures verses Southampton exactly, delayed the kick off for 15 minutes in front of Sky's cameras and another low turnout.

A game played in bitterly cold conditions and very strong winds made hard going, especially for the high balls we tend to play, but Argyle managed some good attacking football before Gallen served up a début goal. But as usual when Argyle go 1-0 up, Coventry immediately came back with the equaliser. Buzsaky made the score 2-1 going into the break with Hayles extending the lead 3-1 in the second half as Coventry seemed to start to lack confidence. However their second goal brought them straight back into the game meaning that Plymouth had 20+3 minutes of tough battling to keep the three points.

The problem of conceeding soft goals stil remains, but tonight the players' hard work ethic went through the roof.

After a second win whilst live on digital satellite does this mean that the curse of Sky that has befallen Argyle over the past few seasons has been lifted?

Meanwhile Romain Larrieu has gone out on an emergency 7 day loan to Gillingham.

Friday, 19 January 2007

Signings and switchings

Ian Holloway has added two more players to the squad - number 33, Rory Fallon, a striker from Swansea and another striker, Scott Sinclair on loan from Chelsea.
This brings the total of new signings (4 loans, 2 with a view to permanent moves in the summer, and 1 long term) to 5, which is probably more than many Pilgrims supporters would have expected in December. Hopefully the club's record transfer fee of £300,000 on Fallon will be money well spent.

And on another note. It has been decided that the scheduled West Bromwich Albion match will now take place on Wednesday 31 January instead of Tuesday at the insistance of the police. This will put out a lot of supporters who have arranged holiday, travel and accommodation, especially at such short notice.

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Stadium Review #11 - Carrow Road

Ground Information: Carrow Road (Norwich City FC) Capacity 26,034

Appearance: A mish mash of different styles ranging from 50s multi-storey carpark to construction site from the outside, and a low single storey, high single storey and two two-tiered each end stands. And there's currently a new hotel being built in between the Jarrold and Barclay stands. 6/10

View: Sat quite low down due to the need to take photos, but none the less good. 6/10

Getting there: In the back and beyond from Plymouth really, but the ground is next to the city centre, meaning good access from the train/bus station, plus the ground was sign posted from the outskirts (if you come off at the right junction). The coach park is a bit of a trek away though. 6/10

Facilities (toilets, TVs etc): Good use of space in the concourse meant ample toilets and no queuing for the bars, a betting stand and TVs also available, although strangely these are turned off 5 minutes into each half . 6/10

Food and Drink: Delia's tried to bring football food up a class, from serving wine to beef and red wine pies which were a pleasant and surprising change, and what's better is that the prices are no higher than normal. 8/10

Stewarding/Police: Remaining seated at the front was imperative, but those near the back stood most of the match. The local bobbies were helpful in directing us to a pub. 6/10

Surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): The city centre is across the road, with a retail park and pubs, although you are limited to which public houses you're allowed in. If you like cheap and cheerful, try the Lloyds bar (Wetherspoons). 7/10

Home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): Lots of singing from the Barclay stand. 5/10

Total score: 50/80

Stadium League Table:
Pride Park (Derby): 65
Poltair Park (St Austell): 57 [non league]
Stadium of Light (Sunderland): 55
Ricoh Arena (Coventry):51
= Carrow Road (Norwich): 50
= Walkers Stadium (Leicester): 50

St Andrews (Birmingham): 48
Deepdale (Preston): 43
Ninian Park (Cardiff): 42
Roots Hall (Southend): 41
London Road (Peterbrough): 36

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

FA Cup Update

Plymouth Argyle 2 - 1 Peterborough

A scrappy game that saw the Pilgrims go 1-0 down to come back with two lucky goals in a stadium devoid of any atmosphere with some half-hearted attempts at playing football.

Therefore the 4th Round on Saturday 27th January will be:
Barnet - Plymouth

Sunday, 14 January 2007

Top of the Pies

Updated Pie of the Year league table:

1. Colchester 7.96
2. Crystal Palace 7.56
3. Birmingham 7.46
=4. Barnsley 7.36
=4. Southampton 7.36
6. Derby 7.3333333333333333
7. Sunderland 6.8
8. Coventry 6.69
9. Cardiff 6.4
10. Peterborough 6.326
11. Norwich 5.84
12. Southend 5.06
13. Leicester 5.03
14. Preston 4.93
15. Stoke 4.29


To quote Sparksy.

Norwich 1 - 3 Plymouth

Our new signings added to the mix whipped up some good goal scoring opportunited but it looked like a good beating was on the table when we went 1-0 and started the second half like headless chickens. But it was Norwich who ended up with egg on their faces when Hayles scrambled for a corner folled by Akos's straight cut free kicks. Despite a typical Argyle performance the Devon dumplings keep bouncing back.

To quote me.

It seemed the lady luck decided to turn out at 4.15 yesterday. Argyle were putting in a fairly string performance against the Canaries and had several very good chances. Halmosi's corners seemed more focused than Capaldi's, but as usual we had no one who could put the ball away. And Argyle were cetainly playing against a lino who was stuck on a four minute delay.
Luke suffered an injury scare when caught on his knee in his block, and was not happy taking the kicks afterwards, then usual mistakes put us 1-0 down come half time and Argyle started to loose shape and confidence starting the second half. But out of nowhere Hayles headed away a corner. This was followed by a free kick by Akos, who has had trouble finding the net this season, but again the ball was slotted away neatly.
Later still Akos lined up for another free kick, but this one wasn't as clear cut - the ball hit the crossbar and bounced on the line - did ot go in? Well the linesman and referee thought so, and that's what counts. Argyle then had to fight to hold out for the remaining 20 + 4 minutes.

We have played and fought harder than this in the last few games but only come out of them, at most, with draws. It seemed today we had the Rub of the Greens.

And Hayles didn't receive a card.

Stadium Review #10 - London Road

Ground Information: London Road (Peterborough United FC) Capacity 15,314

Appearance: A league two side who have tried to keep up with modern trends, London Road had a mix of the traditional terraces behind the goals and seating down either side. The newer South Stand with it space frame construction and patio door executive boxes looks out of place compared to the original three sides. The rest of the ground looks old but well maintained. 5/10

View: (based on Terracing, seating is available in a seperate stand) A couple of pillars in the way but as the terrace is vast you can easily move around. 6/10

Getting there: Roadworks in Peterborough meant a well signed diversion was set up to round the other side of the city. The ground is right next to the town centre but hidden behind a shopping precinct. The roadworks create some confusion and congestion. 6/10

Facilities (toilets, TVs etc): Just a small food and (non alcoholic) bar and very old toilets which couldn't cope with the large number of people we took. 4/10

Food and Drink: The pie was alright and reasonably prices, but the burgers were awful. They looked like premade microwave burgers which had been heated, wrapped and left to cool until sold. 4/10

Stewarding/Police: Local police were helpful in directing me to a local pub after I'd walked over the same railway bridge six times. The stewards insisted the aisles were kept clear before the match but didn't really care what happened during. 6/10

Surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): There are several pubs around (if you can find them!), alternatively the town centre is a short walk away. And some attraction called "Railworld" is next door. 6/10

Home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): The bottle throwing incident and the vitroil they showed towards Plymouth in aftermath of whole game did little to ingratiate them to us. 3/10

Total score: 36/80

Stadium League Table:
Pride Park (Derby): 65
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
London Road (Peterbrough): 36

Thursday, 11 January 2007


Home Park announced today the completion of 3 signings:
- Number 17. Kevin Gallen, striker (from QPR)
- Number 5. Krisztián Timár, midfielder (from Debreceni VSC)
- Number 16. Péter Halmosi, defender (from Ferencvaros)

This is the news than many greens have been waiting for, currently three players to help strengthen our squad, and hopefully a few more to come.

Gallen has worked with Holloway before, and at 31 is not the 'beast' that Ollie wants up front. As Kevin's contract is only until the end of the season, his signing seems to be a stop-gap until better things happen to come along. But Gallen does have the experience, has captained QPR and is versitile on the wings and midfield.

Timar and Halmosi have been signed from Hungary and Halmosi has worked with Akos before (though Peter's command of English is quite limited). Again they are on loan until the end of the season but are looking to move permanently come the summer. Halmosi is a left footed player and will certainly give Capaldi a run for his money, especially if wranglings over Tony's contract continue.

It is expected that Gallen, Timar and Halmosi will be seen in the squad for Argyle's game against Norwich on Saturday.

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

FA Cup fourth round update

Barnet - Plymouth/Peterborough

Discipline: getting stupid now

- Ollie in trouble with FA and FIFA regarding his comments about Blatter and the offside rule.
- Hasney Aljofree to be investigated by Peterborough police for inciting the crowd leading to the bottle throwing incident.
- Marcel Seip arrested AGAIN for public disturbance on Union Street.

Add to that that the mounting number of cards issued against Argyle players this season, the number of fouls committed and the amount of dissent on the pitch, it seems that the reigns upon discipline amongst players have been slackened far too much. Maybe its just because this is all happening at the same time, along with injuries etc, but the troubles at Home Park seem to be getting out of control. A severe lack of discipline looks evident. Is Holloway being too friendly and personal with people, does his 'happy-go-lucky' attitude impress the wrong attitude? Certainly it seems that Ollie is being far too informal on occasions and needs to engage brain before mouth - were his comments about throwing a bottle at Hasney said in jest or (as purported now) deadly serious. The issue with calling Blatter an 'idiot' bears this out.
On looking at Hasney's troubles it would seem that Peterborough are taking it too far to distract from the fans' own actions (would Argyle players really show the middle finger? - at the moment maybe yes!); but look at how certain Argyle supporters took the incident with Beresford from Luton and how that ended - I would predict something similar with Aljofree.
And Marcel is nothing short of disappointing. To do it once maybe excusable but again is just plain stupid. If he is unable to control his temper or to take the flak (brought upon himself by the first incident), then he should stop going out.

At the moment (and because as yet we have no signings and could see the departure of some from a threadbare squad), the immediate future does not look as green as it was a few months back.

Monday, 8 January 2007

FA Cup fourth round

Barnet/Colchester - Argyle/Peterborough


Sunday, 7 January 2007

Poshed off

Peterborough 1 - 1 Plymouth Argyle (FA Cup 3rd round)

Looking a Argyle and Ollie's history in the cup, yesterday's 1-all draw shouldn't have been a surprise, and judging by the team's performance a draw seemed fair enough. Leaving aside the bizzare game that was played out before us with inept refereeing, strange decisions, retaken penalties, bottle-throwing, manager and player dismissal and poor conditions, it seems that no matter what mix of players on the pitch, the same problems arise. Players seem very reluctant to have a go in the box, it's as if the large netted thing puts them off, corners are still going array, and defendce has large holes in it.
Luke's return to between the sticks was more by default due to Larrieu's injury, but seemed to inspire a more confident side (though he made mistakes like Larrieu too).
Hasney had managed to upset Holloway with his penalty goal celebration leading to the missile incident, but can Holloway afford to do this with a depleated squad?
With Connolly's dismissal, Capaldi's suspension and injuries, do we have a team to field next week. Here are the current standings

1Romain Larrieu (gk)injured
2Anthony Barness (d)out of favour
4Lilian Nallis (m)
6 Hasney Aljofree (d)out of favour? / recently recovered / 7 yellows
7David Norris (m)7 yellows
8Akos Buszaky (m)2 yellows
9Sylvan Ebanks Blake (s)injured / 4 yellows
10Barry Hayles (s)9 yellows
11Nick Chadwick (s)long term injured / 3 yellows
13Mathias Doumbe (d)injured / 4 yellows
14Tony Capaldi (m)1 match ban (5 yellows)
15Paul Wotton (m)long term injured / 3 yellows
18Gary Sawyer (d)
19Marcel Seip (d)3 yellows
20Lee Hodges (m)recently recovered
21Cherno Samba (s)1 yellow
22Paul Connolly (d)1 match ban (red) / 4 yellows / recently recovered
23Luke McCormick (gk)1 yellow
24Josh Clapham (gk)on loan
25Ryan Dickson (m)
27Reuban Reid (m)
28Scott Laird (d)
29Luke Summerfield (m)1 yellow
30Dan Gosling (m)
31Anthony Mason (s)
32Bojan Djordjic (m)long term injured

The replay will be on Tuesday 16th January, 19.45, Home Park; this is an extra game we could do without.
The 4th round draw is tomorrow at 13.30. No doubt one of the following will happen:
Argyle will draw a plum tie and go out to Peterborough,
Argyle will draw a Championship club and go through.
Ho hum

Friday, 5 January 2007

Pride at Stake

Tomorrow's FA cup match verses Peterborough is more than just a chance of a cup run, instead Argyle's pride is at stake. Recently getting into the fourth round of any cup is considered a 'run'; and now we've drawn Peterborough in the FA Cup third round - a club two leagues below us - and knowing Argyle's history this could be a big banana skin.

With bearly a squad to field due to injuries, our substitute captain out due to a booking and our keepers' current form, we shall be relying on our younger inexperienced members to deliver against a team who are bound to be out for all they can get. A loss will do nothing to help Argyle's profile during this transfer window and amongst its supporters.

Some say 'concentrate on the league', but why is it that everytime cup matches come round that concentrating on the league has to be a priority?

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Stadium Review #9 - Pride Park

Ground Information: Pride Park (Derby County FC) Capacity 33,597

Appearance: A very impressive stadium from both outside and in, similar to Home Park on a larger scale with the space frame design and wrap-round roof but with a two tiered side and very clean and bright facilities. The corner of executive boxes is unusual. 10/10

View: Excellent, couldn't fault anything. From the picture you can see I was dead centre of the goal due to the amount of space given to away supporters. 10/10

Getting there: Derby from the South West is a bit round the houses, took the M42 - A42 - A50 - A6 route, which from the outskirts sported large "Away Supporters" signage. Parked at a nearby pub but there is an away supporters car park next to the ground. The train station is about 15 minutes away. 8/10

Facilities (toilets, TVs etc): Massive. The concourse went on for miles and the toilets were cavernous. There were 2 large bars for alcohol and food and a smaller non alcohol-selling bar, though having to order through a grill was strange. The PA was excellent, maybe a tad too loud, with the usual TVs showing SSN. 9/10

Food and Drink: Good pie, good pint, good service. 8/10

Stewarding/Police: The group I was with came under the watchful eye of the local police force and we were filmed on CCTV for 10 minutes each half, but apart from a quiet work in the ear of a few more boisterous members, nothing happened. Stood all match. 8/10

Surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): Went to the pub, which was a fair trek from the ground as are other pubs in the city centre. 6/10

Home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): Passionate, some Argyle supprters jeered them but for the best part of the game (once they got started) they sang. 6/10

Total score: 65/80

So Derby tops the league table, which is not at all surprising.

Stadium League Table:
Pride Park (Derby): 65
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

Monday, 1 January 2007


Plymouth Argyle 1 - 1 Southampton

The game that nearly wasn't, and after 5 minutes many wished it remained that way. 3 hours before kick off the heavens opened and spewed forth a torrent of hail stones, along with thunder and lightning, and strong winds. The Mayflower stand was a total washout, large clumps of hail formed on the stairs and fell from the grandstand roof. This then melted and created wide rivers and large lakes causing turnstile opening to be prostponed whilst it was all hand to the brushes to clear up the mess.

The game looked in doubt when the referee made his first pitch inspection, a second was undertaken at 13.30 and the game declared on. Half hour before kick off a final inspection was made, and although there were dodgy patches the pitch was declared playable after much to-ing and fro-ing. This made for a frustrating game as players found it hard to stay on their feet.

Argyle went 0-1 down within 5 minutes due to a howler by Larrieu, who had a nightmare of a game, and seems to be suffering from a bout of silly mistakes. This made the defence unwilling to pass back to Larrieu for the rest of the game. And we still had the usual trouble with set pieces and shooting on target.

Second half turned out to be probably one of the most controversial 45 minutes of football this season at least. After Argyle's equaliser, we had a second disallowed; various baffling decisions given by the referee and his assistants; Hayles got his 10th yellow card normally meaning a 2 game ban but instead he then picked up another for dissent meaning the second of the game, so will serve a 1 match ban. When inevitably he'll pick up his 10th, another 2 match ban will come into force. This leaves Argyle captain-less for the second time this season. This was indeed an entertaining game with a better looking Argyle on show compared to their poor showing against Derby.

It's quite difficult to know what to do in circumstances like this, as it's very easy to moan and pick on individual players. But it is very clear that there are huge holes in the squad, poor decisions being made all round, and most of all a complete lack of discipline. Players are collecting yellow and red cards like they're going out of fashion and it's just not on. We have enough of the squad out due to injuries without others having to serve match bans due to dissent and poor play. At the moment we’re running to stay still in the league and unless some wonders occur soon, the rest of the season will be an uphill struggle.