Thursday, 29 November 2007

Welcome Home?

Plymouth Argyle 1 (Easter 84) - 2 West Bromwich Albion (Bednar 9, Bednar 43)

What a way to welcome back one of Argyle's most influential managers, my going on holiday and only returning to play 10 minutes of a 90 minutes football match. "To the football team 2-0" rang out from the Baggies fans and should have hit home.

So here we are again; it seems that the life of an Argyle fan is to be permanently on the negative - and if something good happens, don't expect it to last for long. That's not how any "supporter" should be like, positivity and optimism should be the order of the day, not it's hard to think that way all the times.

Paul Sturrock returned to Home Park to witness a 2-0 defeat for most of the game, with Argyle only scoring a consolation goal in the last 10 minutes. Though Luggy didn't participate in the management of the game he astutely decreed that we 'never turned up', and that was evident for all to see. Albion outplayed and outclassed Argyle both on and off the pitch with Baggies supporters outsinging Pilgrims for most of the match.

It was no surprise that Albion netted the ball twice (and it could have so easily been more) as they tore open Argyle's defence and easily beat keeper Romain Larrieu. The only consolation came in the second half when Argyle began to get a look in and forced play into their penalty box, ending in a surprise first goal from Jermaine Easter. The Greens had left it too late to make a come back. It was never mean to be that way.

With the games coming thick and fast, Sturrock will be properly installed in the dugout for Saturday, and accounting for West Brom being a very strong Championship side (we probably would have lost it anyway), the match against Scunthorpe will have all eyes on the new manager and if he works his magic once more.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

More fixture changed

Leicester City v Plymouth Argyle, Saturday 9 February will now kick off at 5.20 pm due to the match being shown live in Sky Sports.

Breacker off

Holloway's backroom staff - Breacker, Bulpin and Penrice - have now left Home Park, leaving Crudgington (with Summerfield) in charge for tonight's game as Sturrock wants to watch the game from the stands.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

He's come back home, He's come back home...

has Sturrock.

Paul Sturrock has been officially reappointed as manager of Plymouth Argyle. Following Holloway's departure last week, Plymouth Argyle have quickly secured former manager Paul Sturrock, and his backroom staff - Kevin Summerfield and John Blackley.

At 1 o'clock today Paul Sturrock was officially installed as Holloway's predecessor having departed Plymouth in 2004 to manager then Premiership club Southampton. Paul has since managed Sheffield Wednesday, promoting them to the Championship before being sacked and joining Swindon Town. Since Holloway's departure last week it has been on the cards that Surrock will return to Home Park.

Sturrock has said that he is very excited about the players he has inherited and will not be tampering with the squad and its set up. He is ready to face the challenges ahead - including the out of contract players but has said he will not be managing the team verses West Bromwich tomorrow in order that he can get to know the players styles better.

Holloway bemoaned the lack of ambition and finance of the current board, however Stapleton is confident that we will still be able to hold our own in the division and Sturrock is now a vital part of this having been here before and knows the club and what it can and cannot do. Sturrock has been quoted as saying that "we have unfinished business" and Stapleton is very excited by that.

Sturrock has always been a firm favourite amongst Argyle supporters, and although there is a saying that you should never go back, Argyle have turned the clock back 3 years, hopefully Sturrock will once again rise to the challenges and work his magic once again.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Blunted Blades

Sheffield United 0 - 1 Plymouth Argyle (Halmosi 23)

Sheffield United crestManagerless Argyle could have used the excuse of Holloway's departure to put in a poor performance, after all they haven't seen their overall coaches all week, with Bulpin and Crudgie in charge. However rather than wallow in self-pity, they came out all guns blazing and put in a great performance showing no affect from the week's events and caretaker manager Breacker kept the same starting XI, save for Doumbe in place of suspended Timar.

In spite of the home team lively members, Argyle put in a good performance and scored the first (and ultimately only) goal on 23 minutes when Halmosi directed Ebanks-Blakes pass past Kenny. Argyle had the chance to score several more, with a few one-on-ones with the Blades' keeper, but in true Argyle style the strikers couldn't find the net, hitting the woodwork several times. Larrieu, despite some poor kicking, was kept busy as the defence let the Blades come close, but they defended the set pieces well and kept the Steel City players out of the net. Indeed Sheffield should have scored several times too, including one (thankfully) off-side goal in the first half. Argyle started to creak after the break, but held out to take all three points from the damp north.

So far it seems that the sudden departure of Holloway has not affected the team badly, though they must be feeling unsettled as to what the future holds. The sooner someone - possibly Sturrock - is appointed the quicker things can settle down again. The win puts Argyle 4th in the league, and it will take a lot to maintain such a position.

Friday, 23 November 2007

So what happens now?

Another suitcase in another hall.

And it's Holloway's after being revealed yesterday as Leicester's new manager.

What happens now?
Where do we go from here?
Where [are we] going to?
You'll get by you always have before.

Pertinent words from Tim Rice and the musical Evita. What does happen now? In the short term we have a game with Breaker as acting manager, but he'll probably leave soon. Like Breacker the rest of Ollie's staff will probably follow him up to Leicester soon, most probably along with some of our players. Where does that leave us?

Ollie has seen fit to put the blame firmly on the door of the board for being tightfisted, for allowing all his best players to leave by not providing the financial backing - and hinted that Argyle will not keep hold of the players whose contracts are ending this year. Additionally he has blamed supporters for not turning up to matches, for booing at games and for making comments about his management. And for everyone connected with the club for not being as ambitious as he was or as Leicester is (basically stating that Argyle will never get to the Premier League because no one wants it).

Therefore, what becomes of the board? There has already been unrest about the perceived lack of spending power, ambition and direction of the board. When the dust settles, will the spotlight be turned upon them for their (so called inadequacies)? Does anyone at Argyle really want to push "Onwards and Upwards" or is it just a farce - Argyle will never get to the "promised land" and is just lucky to be where they are at the moment? Look at how long the so called phase 2 of Home Park has rumbled on with no progress and no direction.

There are a lot of questions to be answered, but will there be anyone willing to address them?

The song obvious ends with "Don't ask anymore" as Eva gets her big break, will it be the same for Argyle, will everyone live happily ever after, or "don't ask anymore" because you'll never get an answer?

Thursday, 22 November 2007


Black Wednesday for football and feelings are running high amongst England and Argyle fans.

Holloway's apparent dumping of the city and team he claims to have been in his blood have stirred very bad feelings amongst the Green Army. There have so far been only calls against Holloway and his treatment of fans in light of the (untrue?) statements he has made about loyalty, the city and the club. Many supporters feel they've been lied to and duped by a man they had trusted, who they believed in, who they supported in his goal of reaching the Premiership, and has been the mouth-piece of the club. This week all that has gone to be left by a bad taste. Once again the tight-lipped-ness of those at Home Park has done nothing to assist fans in their quest for knowledge of what is happening, although the board are not meeting until tomorrow to discuss the future.

In the coming days blame is going to be flying around the fan base - is it Holloway's greed for more money (for wages and players)? Is it the board's lack of ambition or lack of support financially? Is it the fans' fault for not turning up each week? And let's face it Holloway has been more than vocal on that subject - and still people have accepted the criticism from him.

As Peter Jones (ex vice chairman) said on BBC Radio Devon "It's Groundhog Day". The club have been here before 4 times in 4 years - nothing changes, nothing's news. And at a time when Argyle had started (again) to look towards the Premiership, will the only Premiership within reach be the Blue Square?

To compound frustrations more, England are out of Euro2008 after failing to win against Croatia last night. There are a lot of people who are hacked off with the state of English football at the moment. And to be honest, it's all something we knew was coming.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Holloway Resigned

Following speculation by Sky Sports, it has been confirmed that Ian Holloway has resigned as manager of Plymouth Argyle to be effective from this Friday

Plymouth Herald
BBC Sport
Official Club statement

Holloway to Resign

According to Sky Sports News


Holloway to Leicester.

Monday brought mysterious and concerning to the Green Army that Ian Holloway is to leave Plymouth Argyle and join Leicester City before this Saturday's matches. The BBC broke the news on Monday morning, and set in motion a chain of bewilderment amongst fans and sports editors alike as claim and counter-claim were released. And still nobody knows exactly what is happening, compounded by the lack of information from Home Park. Even celebrity Greens follower Gordon Sparks has been unable to gather information from the directors in Plymouth.

The chain of events started when Leicester fans claimed that Mandaric wants Holloway to manage Leicester from this Saturday's match verses Bristol City, this was leaked to the BBC reported that Holloway was potentially leaving Argyle which subsequently spread to Sky Sports. Argyle released an official statement that Holloway has not been approached and will not be leaving - they will not speculate on speculation. At the same time Leicester said that Mandaric will not be approaching Holloway. Today, Mandaric has requested permission to talk to Holloway and a compensation package is being worked out to around £230,000. Holloway has also hinted that he is unwilling to leave Plymouth especially when you consider that he has just moved home.

Are the cracks started to to appear in Argyle's sinking ship. Without communication from Home Park and a clear guidance from the top, fans are speculating what is happening and what would happening. Some are calling for Paul Sturrock to return to Home Park and listing other managers available.

This situation is very worrying for fans, compounded by the lack of information (which is no new thing) coming from Home Park. If Holloway does leave, why? When he has stated that he loves the club and wants to go far. Is the lack of funds (the potential salary increase he would get at Leicester is at least double is current earnings), general organisation and apathy of supporters finally got to him?

Whatever happens, this is a very bad time for unsettlement in the team - having a two week break from a return to winning form generally means the football suffers, but such a situation with management on top of a big game will only create negativity.

Time will tell.

Try and follow the story at:
Official Website
BBC Sport
Plymouth Herald
PAFC Talk forum
PASOTI forum

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

What, Again?

The Herald have been reporting (here and here)that there has been yet another incident on Union Street involving an Argyle player. Alledgedly Ebanks-Blake has been involved in a fracas with a door supervisor in the early hours outside a Plymouth nightclub.

this previous post after Seip's similar incident, I questioned the discipline at Home Park. Hopefully this is not going to spiral, but should we ask why are such things happening?

Sunday, 11 November 2007


Plymouth Argyle 3 (Martin 27, Connolly 47, Norris 49) - 0 Norwich City

"If you can't beat Norwich, then who can you beat?"

Norwich City crestGoing into the Norwich game on the back of 2 defeats and a last minute draw, many were optimistic for a win against bottom of the league Norwich, and they weren't let down. Argyle, who had got over the mental block of steam-rolling lower placed clubs off the pitch, did exactly that. Though Norwich weren't without their own nail-biting moments, hitting the crossbar and post to almost claim 2 goals.

Holloway made just one change to the starting XI from Colchester, swapping back Halmosi and Adbou, with Larrieu remaining in goal. Argyle started strongly and maintained steady pressure on the canaries who were playing tidy football and managed to break through the Argyle defence but thankfully were unable to find the net. Argyle's first goal came, surprisingly, from a corner which was deflected off their defender and steered in by Martin. Norwich started to creak and stagger through the remainder of the half.

Like against Wednesday, most people missed goals because they hadn't returned from half time. Barely minutes after people had sat down at kick off did Connolly net the ball to make it 2-0. 3 minutes later before the dust had settled it was 3-0 thanks to Norris's second goal of the season (and second in two games) from 10 yards. Argyle then took their feet of the pedal and Norwich took advantage to step up their game, so instead of expending little energy seeing out the game, Argyle had to work to maintain their lead. That lead should have increased to 4-0 with a header from Timar, save for the Lyndhurst's linesman's flag held aloft for offside.

Following a depressing few weeks it was good to see some excellent flowing and at sometimes nifty football being played at Home Park, ending in a deserved win.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Awaydays #9 - Colchester United

The ValleyThe club: Colchester United (The U's), Layer Road

The ground: Do you laugh or cry at Layer Road? The club are moving to a new stadium come the end of the season, and it's not hard to see why. At only 6,000 odd capacity, Layer Road has had its time as a ground in the Championship. A ground right out of the good ol days, Layer Road could not be redeveloped even if it was possible, the ground is so small you'll make friends quite quickly. The ground is a mishmash of loads of different bits of stand designs plonked together around the pitch - but the best but is - they still have terracing! (and it's covered). The away terrace is very narrow and the rake is slight, so no matter where you stand you get a poor view.

The facilities and food: Unisex toilets!! Need I say more? The aways stand backs straight onto the road and the toilets have been squeezed into a small space below, they are so small and both sexes' toilets are in the same room. Portaloos are available near the turnstiles for those who are nervous and need privacy. There's a small refreshments kiosk, obviously nor serving alcohol, but with the usual range of food. The pie tasted awful. 2/10

The stewarding/police: Not bad, though quite overzealous with the Greens on Screen photographer. There were a lot of police around, but didn't seem conspicuous. 7/10

The travelling: Very 6-7 hours from Plymouth by road, but seems longer - maybe cause of the M25. Colchester is just off the A12 but the coach took a very circuitous route into the ground. 5/10

The surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): Not much. There's only 1 pub really - the Dury Inn - and sometimes they don't let away fans in. If they do you are segregated into a separate bar. 2/10

The home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): The best fans so far, they sang very loudly and passionately throughout (is this because they still have terraces?). 10/10

Total score: 29/60

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
Layer Road (Colchester) - 32
Stoke City (Britannia Stadium) - 28
Torquay United (Plainmoor) - 27

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Between us and U's

Colchester United 1 (Lisbie 56) - 1 Plymouth Argyle (Norris 88)

A much better performance from the Sheffield and Preston games, but Argyle could only salvage a point at Layer Road.

colchester crestFor the midweek fixture Holloway made two significant changes to the squad, with Larrieu between the sticks and Abdou in midfield for Halmosi whilst Norris went right and Martin on the left. Colchester have been undefeated at home and have always scored, and last night was no different. Following a nervous 10 minutes when Colchester was all guns blazing, Argyle settled into a good routine that saw Larrieu seldomly challenged around his goal, whilst their keeper was made to work for his wages. The first half saw Colchester and Argyle force several corners but the delivery of both teams was poor that they came to nothing. Colchester came close to taking the lead in the 38th minute but the no one could direct the low shot into the net, followed by another couple of wide attempts.

The second half got off to a poor start when Argyle let Colchester's Yeates through to shoot, which was blocked by Larrieu but followed up my Lisbie. If Argyle could find the net more often, were able to deliver corners properly and didn't lose possession easily then they could have been several goals up, but it took until the 88th minute for Norris to knock in a cross from Ebanks-Blake. Halmosi came close with a free kick on the 67th minute after being fouled but Gerken tipped it over the bar.

A performance when we should have deserved more, as always. If Argyle weren't Argyle, they'd be dynamite.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Same old Argyle

Plymouth Argyle 1 (Ebanks-Blake 47 pen) - 2 Sheffield Wednesday (Sodje 50, O'Brien 55)

Same old Argyle.

There, I've said it.
In a scaving article recently, the official website gave a dressing down to anyone who ever used the phrase 'same old Argyle' (Read it here). It criticised anyone who criticised the club's performance and stated that fans should be happy because of how far the club has come since the dark days. No one is disputing that fact that Argyle have done well for themselves, but you cannot go on living in the past. Football is a 'here and now' business (yes, a business!) and supporters should be able to express their feelings no matter from where we have come. Yesterday has caused major rumblings amongst the Green Army, for a second game in a row it seemed like the players failed to turn up and Argyle's unbeaten run at home came to a shuddering halt.

For a second game in a row, no one turned up - players and supporters alike. From the second half of the Preston game, the Green Army has lost interest in the game, and this continued at home, the atmosphere within Home Park was virtually non existent, save for the Wednesday fans. Whose fault is it? Whatever, it is a self-perpetuating problem: poor play = poor support = poorer play = poorer support. If players want fans to lift them, the fans want players to produce something to lift them (look at what happened for 3 minutes following Ebanks's penalty and the Owls' equaliser). There was no spark from either side, supporters are very disenfranchised at the moment - the news of players wanting out, speculation about who and Buzsaky's departure has again cemented realisation that it is just the 'same old Argyle' with nothing to get excited about. Notice how many people left the game within 15 minutes of full time; you get the usual early leavers, but not on that scale.

"A bad day at the office" was how Holloway described the game, but was it really just a one off? It seems clear that the squad is not all there - injuries and behind the scenes workings, and soon suspensions, taking there toll. Holloway stuck with the same XI against Preston which paid dividend with a fairly good first half, but nothing exciting to write home about. After the break the game turned and Argyle were on the up, 3 points in the bag, thanks to Ebanks-Blake's superbly handled penalty on the 47th minute. But what happened? 3 minutes later Wednesday equalise through a soft goal caused by poor defending. Then Argyle rolled over and died, for another 5 minutes later they do exactly the same with the Wendies scoring their winning goal. Holloway looked as if he ran out of ideas, as he left it late to bring on his substitutes, all 3 within 10 minutes of each other. If Argyle were able to finish then they might have been able to get the point, but out of the chances they created 'same old Argyle' threw them all away. The crowd started to vote with their feet as they started to head for the door.

Save for a few players, there was not much going on on the pitch the last two games, and with 2 months to go before anything can change, Holloway needs to shake the squad to its foundations. Next week we have Norwich at home - a disillusioned team at the bottom of the league - a game that should be won, or will it be 'same old Argyle' - dragon slayer but cannot say boo to a goose?