Monday, 29 October 2007

Buzz Off

The Herald are reporting that Akos Buzsaky will be leaving the Greens to join another club on loan, possibly QPR.

Herald article


Akos's move to QPR on an emergency loan until January, with a view to become permanent has been confirmed.

PAFC Official announcement

Sunday, 28 October 2007

North Ended

Preston North End 2 (Omerod 11, Carter 66 )- 0 Plymouth Argyle

Preston CrestDeepdale is not happy hunting ground, and yesterday proved no exception as the Greens didn't even get started. From the off it seemed as if the players couldn't be bothered to play, as they spluttered through an inept performance of poor passing and lost possession. The Pilgrims were turned over by bottom of the league Preston after just 11 minutes as Omerod beat McCormick in front of the Green Army, who in spite of a 300+ turn out had all the wind knocked out of them as their disinterest in the game grew as great as the players on the pitch.

It was probably not the best start or first impression for Easter, who made his debut in the second half, and unlike Martin in a similar position against Blackpool, could not make any impact on the game. Holloway only made one change to the team who played Carlton, and that was Easter on the bench, and didn't even make substitutions until well into the second half. With Ollie blaming tiredness for the performance, it does beg the question as to why he didn't make any change to a team with no legs left.

The game was sealed when Carter volleyed a freekick past McCormick before he had a chance to see the ball, indeed it should have been another 3-0 defeat in stoppage time as referee Pike waved away a Preston penalty.

They say you can't win them all, but such a performance is "typically Argyle" and does nothing to attract supporters through the gate. Such issues never seem to be resolved and it gets trying for the fans.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Awaydays #8 - Charlton Athletic

The ValleyThe club: Charlton Athletic (The Addicks), The Valley

The ground: A good 'ol 'hemmed in by terraced housing' affair that has been redeveloped over the years. The ground is hidden away in back streets and has three enclosed sides of various levels and tiers - the North and West Sides behind the goal being two tiered, the East and South high backed singles, with the away South side completely separate from the rest of the ground. A complete absence of floodlight pylons, replaced with two rows of lights mounted on both the side stands is different of others' lighting solutions. A large video screen is located next to the away end. Unusually only the away seating is covered over - the rest of the facilities are open to the elements and the 'concourse' has a lower league ground feel to it
. The seats have a good view down the front, even the very front row as they are raised several feet off the ground. There is one single support pillar right in the centre of the stand behind the goal, any further back than it and you will get some resticted views. 7/10

The facilities and food: The number of facilities were woefully inadequate, located in a narrow walkway between the remote ticket office and turnstiles on Valley Grove and the stand, and totally open to all weathers. There is not enough room to queue for the bar and toilets, mill around or get to/from the seating area. The queues for the bar were very unorganised and after the game it took a good 15 minutes to get out as everyone tried to get through 1 small exit way. Alcohol is only served before the game, not at half time, and there are no pies - 'pastry slices' are on offer instead. 3/10

The stewarding/police: Compared to other London fixtures there seemed to be a smaller police presence. There were several patrols of the away pub, and vans of police personnel dotted around but not overly noticeable. The roads around the area are kept traffic free around game time. The stewards allowed supporters to stand for long periods of the game, even near the front. 8/10

The travelling: Very direct on long distance routes via the M25 and A2, roadworks permitting! Finding the ground hidden behind the main roads is hard as road signing is next to non existent - save for a few. Parking is also difficult as permit parking is only available until 6.30pm. Charlton is without the Tube coverage but a railway station is very close to the ground. 6/10

The surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): The Antigallican is away fan friendly, as is the social club further up the hill, both a few minutes from the away end. £3 a pint but the Antigallican was friendly and efficient. 6/10

The home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): Friendly and helpful and quite passionate, the sound travels nicely around the ground when they all sing especially with the good turn out.. 8/10

Total score: 38/60

Awaydays League Table:

Barnsley (Oakwell Stadium) - 42

Blackpool (Bloomfield Road) - 38
Charlton Athletic (The Valley) - 38
Hull City (KC Stadium) - 38
QPR (Loftus Road) - 36

West Ham (Boleyn Ground) - 31
Stoke City (Britannia Stadium) - 28
Torquay United (Plainmoor) - 27

Happy Easter

It has been confirmed that Jermain Easter will be joining the Pilgrims from Wycombe Wanderers on loan until 1 January 2008. Jermaine joins our strike force, at a opportune moment as Nick Chadwick is now out with an injury. Easter, 25, scored 17 goals last season in League One and Holloway hopes he can perform in the Championship. He has been at Wycombe for a year and a half, joining from Stockport as well as Wolves, Hartlepool, Cambridge and Boston, as well as debuting for the Welsh national side last February. Easter hopes to make the loan permanent come the transfer window in January.

Jermaine will play with squad number 36.

Official Site Announcement

Picture copyright BBC

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Good View from The Valley

Charlton Athletic 1 (McCormick 6 og) - 2 Plymouth Argyle (Ebanks-Blake 11, Hayles 40)

Charlton Athletic crest"Ollie hired muscle" was as the Guardian described last night's match verses Charlton, even though the only addition to the squad has been Lee Martin. Argyle certainly showed their might against an ex-Premier League team in a match that seemed twice as longer than it really was. Holloway kept the same match winning team as that against Coventry, with Larrieu returning to the bench as the only change, which paid dividend as Ebanks-Blake struck home a cross from Norris from 2 yards. Unfortunately for McCormick who otherwise played a blinding match, he was instrumental in the Addick's equaliser 5 minutes later when he poorly cleared Mill's shot, which rebounded off the post, hit him as he laid on the grass and reflected into the back of his net. He then went on to play one of his best games.

Argyle and Charlton fought a hard game right up until just before half time when Hayles scored the winning goal - just, the ball only just made it over the line but enough for the referee to award it on 40 minutes. The second half began with Charlton enjoying a period of attack which was thwarted by either Luke or the defence, sometimes a bit too close for comfort. A number of substitutions saw Charlton on the attack and Argyle on the defence as the desperation became overwhelming, but thankfully for the 1,200 strong Green Army, the Pilgrims held on for the 3 points.

Once again the referee had decided that the game was about him, not the football, and awarded a total of 10 cautions, meaning that several players are now 1-2 cards away from a suspension, which if compared to last season is a near replica in our game play, position and number of bookings. Last year Argyle did not capitalise on their success and gradually the feel good factor and hopes of play off positions faded away in that all to familiar way. Argyle have been granted a second chance, let's hope that everyone concerned grabs it with both hands.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Romain Returns II

Keeper Romain Larrieu has returned from his loan spell at Yeovil Town and will be available for the Charlton match tomorrow.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

No Sky Blues

Plymouth Argyle 1 (Martin 16) - 0 Coventry City

Coventry City crestManchester United loanee Lee Martin provided Argyle with their second home win of the season in his debut start. Martin netted the ball after 16 minutes by converting a cross from Ebanks-Blake in front of the Coventry support. Once again Holloway changed the starting team, relegating Buszaky back to the bench along with Chadwick, whilst Hayles took the captain's armband back from Nallis. Coventry too made two changes from their winning side against Wolves, but it was a much more conservative affair in comparison with the Greens.

Martin made a good partnership with Ebanks-Blake as Argyle dominated the game, which unfortunately left Hayles trailing behind, and overall Argyle should have scored more save for their finishing weakness, but Coventry should have claimed a few times too with some shots that fortunately fell wide. Ian Dowie sent on his substitutes in the second half and Coventry came close to claiming the upper hand until Argyle settled back down, their nearest shot in stoppage time at the end when Julian Gray's free kick was missed by McCormick, hit Kevin Kyle's head and the foot of the post, thankfully on the right side.

All in all a much better performance by the Greens, even with the usual reoccurring problems. Martin's performance was outstanding and put some our regular players to shame with this pace and game play, it was apparent that some are no longer up to the challenge of the league. It is a shame that Lee is with us for such a short time, hopefully Holloway will be able to retain him in the long run.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Bye Bye Bojan

Bojan Djordjic has decided he has no future at Plymouth Argyle and by mutual agreement with Ian Holloway has left Home Park.

Djordjic, who has played for Manchester United and Rangers, has never really got into the first team and has made only a few appearances for the Greens. Bojan was plagued my injuries and off-pitch problems, culminating in him joining the reserves and being transfer listed, when he had to prove his worth to rejoin the first team; unfortunately for Bojan these problems prevented him from proving himself on the field - where his talents lay - where he was quick and created opportunities and generally played well.

We wish Bojan well with his future.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Mickey's Match

Mickey Evans's testimonial match has been set for 29 April 2008, teams and further details will be announced in due course.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Squad Changes?

Holloway has stated that several of our players are out of contract this season; the state of play come next year with our regular players contracts currently does not look too good:

In contract
McCormick; Seip; Timar; Sawyer; Norris; Gosling; Halmosi; Fallon; Ebanks -Blake

Out of Contract
Abdou; Larrieu; Chadwick; Connolly; Doumbe; Laird; Nalis; Buszaky; Wotton; Summerfield; Hodges; Dickson; Djordjic; Hayles; Samba; Barnes; Reid.

Out of these 3 players are reaching the end of their careers (Nalis, Hayles and Hodges) who may either re-sign on a short contract, become a player-coach or retire; others like Djordjic and Samba aren't in favour and will probably seek out as soon as possible; Norris might be poached or not want to continue; and others like Summerfield, Connolly and Dickson haven't progressed their game in the league.

Come January there many be many out going players, hopefully followed by some incomings too. As it stands, the team needs freshening up and dead wooding, and that will be a challenge for both Holloway and the board. If the notion of 'Onwards and Upwards' is to be realised, prudent investment both financially and physically will be needed.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Awaydays #7 - Blackpool

The club: Blackpool (The Seasiders), Bloomfield Road

The ground: Bloomfield Road is the epitome of unfinished grounds, with 2 sides, 1 temporary stand and 1 side missing completely. The two sides are of the identikit design, clean straight lines, exposed concrete and space frame roof, with corporate boxes running along the top. The away fans enclosure consists of a shallow uncovered temporary scaffold stand running the length of the pitch with portacabin facilities. The PA system is for home fans only, which is against ground regulations is it not? The far end of the ground is missing completely. It makes for one of the most unusual grounds in the country. 5/10

The facilities and food: All are portacabins and 'chuckwagons' off a gravel 'concourse', even so the flow of people though the toilets was better than some grounds. The catering is from a wagon, and sells only fried food and soft drinks. No pies are available. 3/10

The stewarding/police: A sizable presence around town, including mounted police and a strong presence of stewards inside but there was no trouble. 8/10

The travelling: It's the perfect excuse for a weekend away considering how far you need to travel, however it is very easy to find if you follow the motorways and bypass right into the town. 5/10

The surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): Everything, the whole of Blackpool is your oyster with the tacky arcades, piers, tower and Pleasure Beach and obviously plenty of pubs! 8/10

The home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): The best in the league so far with a sell out (which isn't hard really!) and mass singing throughout the game.. 9/10

Total score: 38/60

Awaydays League Table:

Barnsley (Oakwell Stadium) - 42

Blackpool (Bloomfield Road) - 38
Hull City (KC Stadium) - 38
QPR (Loftus Road) - 36

West Ham (Boleyn Ground) - 31
Stoke City (Britannia Stadium) - 28
Torquay United (Plainmoor) - 27

Beside the Seaside

Blackpool 0 - 0 Plymouth Argyle

Blackpool crestOh, I do like to be beside the seaside; Blackpool is the great British drunken get-away, and saw many Argyle fans take advantage of the weekend and the unusual good weather to make the match a sell out. Blackpool were undefeated at home since February and Argyle left this record intact.

Following a minute's silence for Blackpool's late Bill Perry, Argyle seemed to wander comatosed through the following 90 minutes as Blackpool played their battering football. Again Holloway made changes to the squad with Ebanks-Blake now partnering Chadwick and Buszaky replacing Gosling. New signing Lee Martin was included on the subs bench, and was called up at the start of the second half. Martin showed promise with this quickness but was held back by his lack of experience with the team and their performance. Both teams pressed hard into the opposition's half but neither were able to finish what they started. Even so Argyle were out run for most of the game by Blackpool's quick moves and attacking play. The second half saw Argyle mainly on the back foot, quelling the repeated opportunities that Blackpool served up but they managed to hold out to a stalemate.

Holloway and many will say it was a good point gained, given Blackpool's performance, but Argyle never really got going. There seems to be something missing in this season's squad that is evident in everything they do. It could be the fact that two players don't want to stay come January, plus the other 15 who are out of contact this season, or the perceived lack of ambition in the club.

Friday, 5 October 2007

New signing

Lee MartinToday, Ian Holloway has signed his prey on a three month loan. 20 year old midfielder Lee Martin from Taunton, currently with Manchester United, will temporarily join the Pilgrims, being available for selection against Blackpool.

Lee played for Manchester United in their defeat against Coventry in the Carling Cup, as well as for Rangers in the SPL and Stoke City.

Lee Martin has squad number 29.

Picture copyright BBC

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

A Home Win

Plymouth Argyle 1 (Halmosi 50) - 0 Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace crestThe potential of beating the club's record of 5 home draws in a row was on the cards (yes, even Pulis never drew 5 games in a row) and it looked inevitable for most of the match. Once again we were treated to an uninspiring match, due to the on going playing issues, the poorness of the opposition and the dubious refereeing.

Holloway made a lot of changes to the squad - with Ebanks-Blake and Buszaky on the bench, Hodges, Chadwick and Gosling making a start, and Doumbe making his first appearance on the pitch this season. Even with all the changes, both team huffed and puffed through the first half with neither goal keeper called up on to do anything of note. What was different though was threat individual players' performances had picked up since the Wolves game, even if neither team could really make the team work for them; as usual Argyle's lack of finishing power kept them out of the game. Fans had to wait until the 50th minute for a goal, coming from Halmosi who hit a vertically cleared pass into their net, possibly via the foot of a Palace player.

Both sides made changes of personnel, Palace going for the draw and Argyle the win, which caused Argyle to work deeper and deeper into their own defence, however they managed to cling on for the whole 3 points however, the next games verses Blackpool away will tell whether this was really due to Palace's poor performance or Argyle's improvement.

Mickey Evans's Testimonial

Mickey Evans's testimonial committee have now launched their website where you can find out about all the events and details of his testimonial year.

A quick synopisis of the events include:

1 December 2007: Testimonial Dinner at Holiday Inn
January 2008: Meet the Managers with present and past managers and Mickey
January / February / March: Footballers' Wines
March 2008: Golf Day at St Mellion
May 2008: Testimonial Match

May 2008: Grand Ball

The link is also in the sidebar under Recommended Blogs and Links.