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?

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