Friday, 31 August 2007
Larrys joins Argyle following the signing of fellow countryman Nadjim Abdou (The French Connection) and has been assigned shirt number 6.
PAFC Official Site article
photo copyright www.psgenforce.net
Wednesday, 29 August 2007
Was the last time that Argyle progressed through to the 3rd round of the Carling League Cup. Holloway's rollocking following the Barnsley fiasco must have been fresh in the players' minds and coupled with a woeful Doncaster performance led to a better performance by the Greens, however Holloway was still less than satisfied.
Defying the now-common early conceded goal, it was Argyle's turn to score early with Ebanks-Blake's third goal of the season; but Argyle had to wait until the 91st minute to properly cement their lead. A plethora of near misses and an offside goal should have meant a higher scoreline but sadly Argyle couldn't finish.
Doncaster showed little spark until their triple substitution at half time, when upped their attacking play and came close several times to forcing extra time. This wasn't aided by Holloway's substitutions which worked in reverse from Saturday. Ebanks-Blake hit the ball home from 15 yards, closely followed by Chadwick who redirected Ebanks-Blake's mishit but unfortunately was judged offside and the second came from a free kick by Summerfield that no one got to, ending up luckily in the top corner of the Doncaster net.
Holloway used the change to give new player Nadjim Abdou his first start in a green shirt, and was impressive compared to his substitution run on Saturday, like wise Bojan Djordjic received a warm welcome as he came on in the second half.
The 3rd round games will be played week commencing 24 September.
Tuesday, 28 August 2007
The ground: The three developed sides tower over the older stand which has the television gantry perched on its roof. Unusually the stands are separate entities with large gaps in each corner where the turnstiles are located except for the disabled stand between the East and Pontefract Road stands. The newer stands have been clad with brick and given attractive stairwells with large church-like windows. This ground happily combines the old and the new and has the unusual approach of away fans walking through a field which is the away car park! 9/10
The facilities and food: Three quarters of the away end was allocated to Argyle, which is a huge cavernous stand. The concourse seems extremely big because of its height, plus there is an additional outside section between the turnstiles and the stand. There are two sets of very large toilets, and the pie extremely good. 8/10
The stewarding/police: The stewards left the fans alone but did complain about banging on the metal cladding at the back of the stand - the back two rows are cordoned off to prevent this. Just the usual police presence, although one squad car did take an interest in why our minibus had suddenly emptied up near the town - we saw a pub! 8/10
The travelling: You get to know the roads when travelling as it's always the same ones you go on to get anywhere, and the M42 and M1 were being their usual selves with roadworks. The bank holiday didn't help with a spate of accidents over the country, including several pile ups and a detour via the M6 north of Birmingham. even so this journey didn't seem as long as it should have. the stadium is signed from near the M1 but there is a rogue sign that will send you in a loop because of works in the city centre, when you get back to where you started you'll know which one it is! 6/10
The surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): Oakwell is on the edge of the city centre, but not really near anything in particular. There is a leisure centre next to the ground that permits away fans, or the Prince of Wales pub the other side of 10 (about 15 minutes walk away). the centre is the same distance over the ring road. 6/10
The home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): Quite quiet considering they were winning, only a few sustained chants all 90 minutes. The supporters before hand were very welcoming and chatty. 5/10
Total score: 42/60
Awaydays League Table:
Barnsley (Oakwell Stadium) - 42
Hull City (KC Stadium) - 38
Torquay United (Plainmoor) - 27
Sunday, 26 August 2007
The league games this season are following a worrying pattern - shocking defending leading to conceding an early goal, normally Argyle get back into the game quickly - but not this time. If Barnsley wanted to, the could have driven an armoured tank and a New York St Patrick's day parade through the defence, luckily they only chose 3 goals but it could probably have been more. Why have a wall of 2 players for a free kick in front of goal?
Who should shoulder the blame for such an inept performance? For the line up has worked in the past. Even so Holloway made some bum decisions - playing Seip after being out all week with an injury (who had a very poor game) and leaving the subs until far too late, at least Ebanks-Blake should have come on at half time. But when Holloway made a triple substitution - which smacks of a panicking manager with nothing to lose - the game changed with the added stroke force carving out two consolation goals. Unfortunately Argyle ten tried too hard to get the 3rd. Current partnerships are not working.
A small consolation that this is the first defeat of the season, and there will be many more to come; and that Hayles and Chadwick finally made it onto the score sheet.
Hopefully this will be a wake up call to all, and we will never experience a week of hell again.
Friday, 24 August 2007
Used to be the best kept secret of the Championship, but not anymore as someone's been blabbing. Norris joined Argyle in 2002 after a loan transfer from Bolton Wanderers and finally a £25,000 transfer and has since made 202 appearances for Argyle, scoring 23 goals*. Norris, nicknamed Chuck, has been a stalwart an integral part of the Argyle squad; some would say he was the 'Championship's best kept Secret' because of his effort, and level of play, sometimes outplaying 'more expensive' players. Until this year.
There have been rumours of several bids for Norris from other Championship clubs, including most recently £700,000 from Southampton. Holloway has said that Norris is not for sale unless it's a realistic figure. Sooner or later that realistic figure will come along or David will start getting itchy feet to move on to pastures new. And higher.
Monday, 20 August 2007
Holloway has likened Jimmy to Claude Makalele and belives he can will be bringing a lot of enthusiasm to the role. Adbou has be assigned the number 26 shirt.
Official site article
In related news, captain Paul Wotton will play his first competative match in the reserves team at Bristol Rovers tonight.
picture copyright allezsedan.com
Sunday, 19 August 2007
Saturday, 18 August 2007
Once again Argyle go down to a very early soft goal, and spend the rest of the match fighting back; with Holloway taken ill a few hours before the match, maybe this was preying on the lads' minds. Within 2 minutes Allan Lee ploughed through very poor defending to put Ipswich 1-0 up, who then spent the remaining 88+ minutes time wasting. The game was characterised by a plethora of bookings, only 5 of Ipswich's squad were booked, including Wilnis's red card for a poor tackle on Norris after just 3 minutes on the pitch from coming on as a substitute.
Argyle made it seem very hard to find the back of the net, as shot after shot would either go wide, or into the arms of keeper Alexander until Argyle were awarded a penalty for a foul on Halmosi. Ebanks-Blake stepped up and thumped the ball low into the net. Even against a 10 man Ipswich Argyle seemed to struggle to finish in spite of carving up the defence, causing Ipswich to lose their heads. If only Argyle can stop conceding the stupid early goals and find the target, however having a shot, even if it misses, is an improvement on last season when the urge was to walk the ball in. Buszaky was the busiest player on the field this afternoon, with numerous attempts on goals and corner taking, but unfortunately he couldn't finish, whilst others had a poor or quiet game..
The overriding thing to come out of this afternoon is : Get well soon Ollie.
The next games are: Barnsley away, Sat 25; Doncaster home, Tue 27/Wed28 (CC2)
Thursday, 16 August 2007
Ian Holloway's autobiography is due to be released this coming autumn, on 17th September. To promote this, Ollie is undertaking a 'tour' sponsored by Ginsters. To find out more about tour dates visit http://www.ollieontour.co.uk/. The 13th, 14th September and 18th October book signings will be in Plymouth,
Coinciding with this Ginsters are running a competition to win a VIP 'Day on the Bench' with Holloway - your chance to experience the match from the Argyle home bench; visit http://www.ginsters.com/ollie/ to enter.
Watch last season's Soccer AM interview where he discusses his book here
picture copyright ollieontour.co.uk
For more information visit http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/flavourfest.html
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
It wasn't a pretty match but we got her in the taxi, as Holloway might say.
Argyle have a shockingly bad history in this cup, having only got through to the 2nd round once in 14 years (excluding tonight) and there was little optimism for a good result tonight. Holloway fielded a youthful team as well as giving second choice first teamers a run out with Ebanks-Blake and Chadwick forming the strike force and McCormick back between the sticks.
The first 10 minutes were dominated by Wycombe until Argyle found their feet but not the goal - there were numerous attempts and near misses, including Ebanks-Blake rounding the keeper but panicking and losing the ball, until in the 41st minute when a defection came off Wycombe's Bullock into their net (this was mistakenly credited to Reuban Reid due to his proximity to the action). This spurred Argyle on with Hodges scoring 3 minutes later and they dominated the first half. Holloway decided to make some substitutions during the second half - and unlike at Hull, it didn't pay off. Argyle sat back and lost control of the game, culminating in Wycombe grabbing a goal back on 76 minutes. This led to a nail biting finish, with the possibility of extra time and penalties lingering in the air; but thankfully Argyle held on to win.
The 2nd round draw will take place on Thursday, whilst the game will be played on Wednesday 29 August.
The ground: The KC is an impressive stadium, set in parkland very much like Home Park. A totally wrapped round bowl ground, with a sweeping roof and a two tiered main stand. The concourse is industrial, with bare brick work and steelwork, but the seats are quite flimsy. 7/10
The facilities and food: Hull gave Argyle an extended concourse meaning there was more room than usual and more toilet facilities (curiously one set of gents only contained urinals). The pie was extremely hot and the filling fell out. Hull do a 'pie and pint' deal before 2pm and sell draught lagers and bitters.. 7/10
The stewarding/police: No complaints, the segregation at Hull is very rigid - away fans are caged in outside the ground as well as inside and there's the usual strong 'defensive wall' between in the corner between the home and away fans, nonetheless the stewards allowed fans to stand on the back three rows throughout the match. 8/10
The travelling: The longest journey this season, but very straight forward by road, the KC is easy to find and has a humongous car park; the station is 15 minutes away through a dodgy area which has been improved, there are regular bus services back to the centre but the queues get very long.. 6/10
The surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): You could sit in the parkland, and there's a small shopping area with a Sainsbury nearby, but very little else. The pubs are not very welcoming however this year we found a very amiable social club. The New Walton Social Club charges £1 per visitor (no admittance after 2pm mind) and is quite cheap. With your back to the away end, head over the car park to the road, turn right and head up towards the level crossing and cream coloured pub, the club is next door. 5/10
The home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): Started strongly, especially after their early lead, but dropped off as the game progressed. The majority of noise comes from the left of the away end, who tried to remain vocal throughout. Again there was a 10 minute period of silence during the second half. 5/10
Total score: 28/60
Awaydays League Table:
Hull City (KC Stadium) - 38
Torquay United (Plainmoor) - 27
Monday, 13 August 2007
The first game of the new season kicked of to a great start for Argyle, with a 3-2 win over Hull City, with Ebanks-Blake scoring the deciding goal in the same scoreline verses last season's winagainst Sunderland.
Argyle went 1-0 down within 3 minutes as Dean Windass netted the ball in front of Argyle's 800 strong support. However Argyle managed to dominate the first half, during which Nallis suffered a head injury, playing the remainder of the game with his head bandaged, with Norris scoring from 20 yards 10 minutes later and Fallon sending a diving header into Hull's goal in stoppage time.
And it all went pear-shaped at the break. From kick off at the second half, something had happened to Argyle for all structure was lost, and a flurry of bizarre refereeing and linesman decisions frustrated the rest of the game. The chant "swimming and driving" rang out, along with derogatory chants against the main culprit, Windass, as Hull sought to win every foul and offside possible. The equaliser came on the 48th minute when Marney netted a rebounded penalty, awarded for Halmosi tugging Marney's shirt. Romain saved the initial kick, but the ball was picked up by Hull and netted on the rebound. Argyle frustrated the fans and themselves by a series of narrow misses. It wasn't until Holloway made key substitutions with Hayles and Fallon being replaced by Ebanks-Blake and Chadwick respectively that Argyle were once again on top when Ebanks shot past Hull's keeper.
On the basis of one result, which sees Argyle in 4th position, the hang up of shooting from outside the box seems to have been dealt with, but it is early days yet - Argyle have won their last three first away fixtures and to speak of play offs is premature. However it is an very encouraging start to the season
Friday, 10 August 2007
We go into this season with fewer players than last season, having failed to sign anyone during the transfer window not even a loanie - even McVeigh has rumoured to have gone to Luton. Holloway says he is happy to work with a core of strong players, but with the number of injuries the team were carrying last season, we struggled. For that to happen again this season means we'll be up the famous creek. On a brighter note, the players that have sported injuries last season have made a return (with the exception of Wotton, who still has some recovery time pending, and Djordjic who picked up a small injury over the close season). This is why Argyle, along with the millstone that Argyle wear of being unfashionable, have been mainly by-passed in the season predictions - placed between mid table and relegation.
This is Argyle's 4th season in the Coca Cola Championship - will it be a "make or break" one?
Wednesday, 8 August 2007
Tuesday, 7 August 2007
Two green teams took to the field of Blaise Park yesterday, only one came out on top in a spectacular way. Although this was Argyle's reserve side, they continued the winning form of the 1st and youth teams on Saturday.
Barely minutes had passed and Argyle were 2-0 up and so the goals kept coming, including two penalties in either half. Three trialists were given a run out - Anton Robinson, Andre Taiwo and Aaron Silcott - but they quickly found their feet.
A comical moment right on full time, saw three Argyle players miss the goal in quick succession, with the Samba hitting the post for the ball to rebound to Robinson, who again hit the post and rebounded to Duggan who found the crossbar.
As born out of the scoreline, Argyle gave a good account of themselves, with several outstanding performances by players and trialists alike.
Sunday, 5 August 2007
What has happened to football - has the fat cat nature of the Premiership and the constant ramming of top flight football and its players, their wives and lives down everyone's throats worn down the populous?
Almost 50% of the male population and 75% of females are not looking forward to 2007/08, which are significant figures. "There's too much on TV" is a popular excuse - conveniently forgetting the fact that 'main stream TV' has lost football rights to specialist pay-per-view channels; "There's too much money in football" is another - and when you look at the Premiership etc is true, but once again people forget their local teams and the grass roots of the game; "Footballs full of thugs [the supporters]" - say that to my face mate and I'll knock yer f-ing block off; "I'm sick of hearing about Posh and Becks" - aren't we all love.
In the country that is the home of football, unless we are riding high in the World Cup, it looks like to a lot of the British and Westcountry population, the game we love is insignificant, if this continues, will it be sustainable in the future?
Saturday, 4 August 2007
The run away train came down the track and was nearly brought to a stop at half time.
In the only home friendly of the pre-season, Holloway fielded was must surely be his first choice team for the new season, incidentally wearing the new home kit, and they were unstoppable. Like a runaway freight train Argyle crashed through the Rovers' defence time and time again, yielding 5 goals by half time and 2 more in the second half.
But whilst the first half was crisp, clean, flowing, clinical football, the changes of half time saw the game fritter away into a semi-nothingness. Three substitutions after 10 minutes saw Argyle tighten up again with the return of goals. Unfortunately Argyle conceded 3 very soft goals by the Gas, two in that return from half time. But Argyle's goals were a joy to watch, players not afraid to have a pop at the net from distance - only Hayles tried to walk in a certain goal, and failed - the most spectacular being McVeigh's first goal - a volley from 25 yards. And it could have been more - if it wasn't for the woodwork again!
With the improving look of the team over the pre-season, the outlook for the league is looking rosey.
Thursday, 2 August 2007
The palaver started back towards the end of the 2006/07 season when supporters were invited to suggest colour schemes for the new away kit, this then turned into a vote on the final colour. Democracy in action. Or was it? The final colours came out as the traditional green, white, and black, along with silver and yellow. Unofficial votes saw silver as the main colour of choice. However as the the new kit was revealed in June it was to be yellow with green flashes - reminiscent of Norwich City. This took many supporters by surprise to say the least. The home kit was not up for negotiation.
Then there was the delay in announcing the sponsorship. The kit design preview drawings were released with the word SPONSOR in place of the Ginsters logo, this led to speculation about a new sponsorship deal. But when the announcement it was Ginsters again with a new deal. Now sponsorship deals are a complex process and there was probably a lot of background dealing and counter-dealings that led to this delay. But this has probably affected all the events which followed.
We are now nearly 1 week away from the start of the new season without any clear date on when supporters will be able to get their hands on them. At the opening of Centre Spot on Tuesday I was told the release will be 6 August, today - two days later - it is now being quoted as 10th August - 1 day before the new season starts!
Replica kits are a big money spinner for football clubs. Unfortunately they have also been part of merchandising corruption - with a kit costing £40 to buy the leading sports shops have been found guilty of price fixing the leading Premiership and National shirts. Even though this doesn't apply to Argyle, they have been sucked into the stance, because of Puma, that there has to be a new strip for every new season - the away shirt has been changed 3 times and the home twice in 3 seasons, with the new strips are only due to last for 1 season.
It has been a long held opinion that supporters are being taken for a ride over replica kits, and whilst Argyle have avoided the pitfalls so far, the last few years there is growing disquiet over how this part of their merchandising is being handled.
The second pre-season friendly in two days saw the same scoreline as at Paulton but this time against FA Vase winners, Truro City. Again Holloway was keen to see more of the new trialists with McVeigh in the line up with Nadjim Abdou in the starting line up.
Argyle didn't have such an easy ride as might have been expected, conceding a penalty in the first half which was saved by keeper Romain Larrieu, which Argyle took to their advantage by Halmosi scoring at the other end of the field from a corner. In a cliche it was a game of two halves with the first looking scrappy, whilst a change of Argyle personnel at half time saw a better second half when Reid and Buszaky widened the scoreline with 3 successive goals within the last 20 minutes of the game.
Wednesday, 1 August 2007
Ollie promised a full squad for the last minute fixture verses Paulton Rovers, Bristol, but the shoe-horned in game gave a chance for several trailists including Paul McVeigh, a former Northern Irelander, an unnamed Finish centre-back (possibly Tony Kallio) and French top division midfielder, Nabjim Abdou. However this game was always about fitness.
Paulton gave a good performance against a domineering Argyle, but it was the visitors who opened the scoring with Ryan Dickson knocked a low shot in on the 37th minute. Two goals by Nick Chadwick in the second half, followed by another from trialist McVeigh only extended a predictable scoreline. McVeigh and Abdou impressed supporters at the game especially in spite of McVeigh size, whilst the Finnish player didn't set the field on fire.