Friday, 30 March 2007

Mayflower Season tickets

As the future of the Mayflower Terrace meanders along, at least until the FA deliver their decision on its use next season in April, Argyle have issued the following advice to Mayflower season ticket holders:

Season ticket holders, if you renew your ticket before the FA's announcement. may choose a seat in block 5 of the Devonport End or blocks 17 and 18 of Zoo Corner. Should the decision to retain terracing next season be negative, you may transfer to this seat at no extra cost. You will then have priority in returning to the completed stand.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Slow news Week

The two week break for internationals has meant it's been a slow news week for Argyle with very little happening at Home Park.

The team's three day holiday in Malaga came and went without a hitch - unlike many other teams' experiences - there have been five emergency loans until the end of the season, Romain Larrieu had a very bad game when he conceeded 5 goals, and Torquay beat Argyle 1 - 0 in the Westinsure St Luke's Cup.

Then there were the internationals. Steve McClaren has been a dead man walking for a long time, and has come the closest to behing beheaded (Ok, sacked) following the shameful performance against Israel. But then a repreive as Gerrard netted 2 against Andorra last night, ending the goal drought that began last September. Everyone has an opinion on our national team, the players and the management, many of them in the negative at the moment.

However Argyle have had a brush with the internationals, with Scott Sinclair playing England U18 and 17 year old Dan Gosling being called up for England U17s. But his season is now over for England and for Argyle after sustaining a hip injury. This has always been the trouble with international duty. Not with standing the distruption it causes to the fixtures, but the squads too. There are extra games for the players to cope with, and the fall out for the managers to cope with - in this case an injured player. Many clubs with bigger squads can cope with team rotation for international games, but the smaller-squadded sides - whilst being honoured for their players to be picked - may struggle.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Loans II

Following on from previous emergency loans, Scott Laird returns to Tiverton Town for a one month loan to help the SPL side avoid relegation, and Reuban Reid and Ryan Dickson are on emergency loan to Torquay United for the rest of the season. Dickson had has already played as a loan signing with Torquay this season, whilst Reid has been at Kidderminster and Rochdale.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Atmosphere, I like a Stadium with some Atmosphere

I wrote this last October, but never got around to publishing it:

What's wrong with home crowds these days?

The highest attendance at Argyle this season so far is only 15,964 or 76.3% capacity. The average gate is only 11,788 or 56%. Or 20th out of 24 clubs.
Where has everyone gone?

There has been lost of discussion in Plymouth recently regarding the falling gates but no conclusive answer. Maybe people were put off by the Williamson/Pulis era, the 'glory hunters' from the Champions years have drifted off to Chelsea, or just that the people of Plymouth don't really give a flying...

It seems that even wins against the "bigger clubs" (eg Sunderland) don't entice people through the turnstiles. And if it wasn't for the support from the rest of Devon/Cornwall and beyond, we could all have 10 seats each.

Some people deem that it's too expensive (a ticket for the seated areas is £22 in advance and £24 on the day), which compares favourably with other CCC clubs; but does the socio-economic demographics of the South West affect people's abilities to pay?

Do people know that Argyle exists? (see
When will we be taken Seriously) The lack of exposure on TV, and on Sky Sports of all, coupled with PAFC's lack of advertising savvy, does nothing towards engraining the club into people's minds. Ok, the Evening Herald [Plymouth's local newspaper] run several pages of Argyle-related stories everyday and Ollie is doing his damned best to get the message out, but maintaining the status quo is not doing anyone any good.

Consider the knock on effects:

1 - The loss of atmosphere (at last he gets to the point!). Fewer people attending home matches means fewer people able to create a 'fortress Home Park"-type-atmosphere. It especially noticable that there is a thining in our singing squads. The Devonport have been especially quiet recently and when the crowd do sing it is in short bursts. Having said that the Barn Park end of the Mayflower and Zoo Corner are getting better.

2 - Less income and revenue from lower gates mean that the club will have less to spend on players and ground development. Argyle have done extremely well to continue operating without amassing huge debts like many other clubs, but if income declines, borrowing will have to rise and so will ticket prices and merchandising. A further rise in ticket prices will have a knock on affect with the crowd numbers.

It is a thorny issue that can be discussed till the cows come home but wil end up going round in circles, many will blame Argyle for lack of publicity and cost and others people's general apathy, but there is no easy answer. The only thing that may bring bigger crowds is success - and continued success. People are bored with consolidation and season after identical season of results. Argyle's gates were high following the double promotions and the feel-good factor that brought. But now hum-drum Championship football with a (relatively) predictatble outcome no longer appeals.

Since I wrote that, Argyle have had an FA cup run during which the gate numbers rose dramatically with each win, right up to the quarter final sell out. But typically the nexy two games saw very low gates (9 - 11 thousand). It seems that though Argyle have a big worldwide support, those who are able to get to Home Park on Saturday will be amongst the faithful (lucky, wealthy?) few.

By the way, sincerest apologies to Russ Abbot for ripping off his song, and to those who actually remember it!

Wednesday, 21 March 2007


Two Argyle players have been loaned out for the remainder of the season:

Hasney Aljofree has gone on emergency loan to League One's 5th placed Oldham Athletic. Hasney hasn't appeared in the squad for sometime due to Seip and Timar's performances.

Meanwhile Luke Summerfield has started an emergency loan at Bournemouth.

Monday, 19 March 2007

On a Break

So begins a two week fixture break, and a squad three day 'holiday' to Spain, therefore the next few weeks should be quiet for Argyle unless there's another 'incident' whilst the team are on the drink. It does seem strange timing-even though you can guarantee it has been booked for weeks-that after the recent poor performances the guys get a holiday reward. Maybe it was a Brittany Ferries 'Spain for £45' offer.

Saturday, 17 March 2007

New Away Kit

Argyle are going yellow next season, with this new away kit:

Back on Track

Plymouth Argyle 1 (Sinclair 48 ) - 0 Crystal Palace

After the upset of the last two games, Argyle were back on track for their third sucessive game in a week when Sinclair scored a cracking goal in the second half. Admittedly the match itself was fairly dull even though Holloway's scaving review of the squad's recent performance resulted in selection changes.

Although Argyle were still not on form they played much better than on Wednesday, more shape and urgency. Luke was back on form and made some great saves, decisions and kicks - he was barking orders from his line too. But why had Pulis-style hoofball come back to Home Park? Is it a survival tactic? Certainly not exciting, and the balls are too easily lost because our forwards are too short. And corners have still not been perfected - seeing as we are awarded the most corners in the league, converting at least some of them would be helpful.

It's good to feel what it's like to win again.

Friday, 16 March 2007

No No Score Draw

The Football League's latest thinking is alter the outcome of draws on league matches.
If a match is tied by full time, each team will receive 1 point towards the league table, they will then participate in a penalty shoot out for which the winner will receive 1 bonus point.
BBC News Article

The reasoning is to provide fans with more entertainment that penalties bring. And in one way it would do just that. But what about teams that have fought hard for 90 minutes to secure a draw? It would be a way of the "better" teams to climb the table, whilst the lower teams remain at the bottom, and regular penalties would lose their 'special-ness' and become less entertaining.

Once again this is interferring with the concept of the game, and too much meddling takes away the beauty of the beautiful game - look at the new Offside criteria. Hopefully this will come to nothing.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Down and Out

Plymouth Argyle 2 (Nallis 15, Ebanks-Blake 41) - 4 Barnsley (Nyatanga 20, Devaney 31, Devaney 61, Ferenczi 90)

If Ollie was depressed on Sunday, he'll be slitting his wrists tonight, along with many of the Green Army after witnessing the most inept game this season. Not surprisingly after the defeat by Watford, more than half of the supporters didn't attend tonight, and neither did half of the players.

Starting perky with Nallis's goal on 15 minutes, Barnsley responded 5 minutes later and it went down hill from there on in. Argyle had no shape, no head, no coherence. Our defence leaked, our passes went astray, our balls were hoofed, headed and lost, goal-keeping went AWOL-a sense of resignation to the fate of mid table obscurity again. The 'new dream' of wining the next 5 games has burst before it even began.

It's stupid to do but at the moment, I've already written off the Palace game on Saturday.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Sinclair Stays

Scott Sinclair has extended his loan to the maximum available this season and will be staying with the Greens until April 18.
Sinclair, who has been outstanding during his loan spell from Chelsea, has scored 3 goals in 10 appearances including that goal against Barnet.

855 MW

Anyone who listens to Argyle Live through BBC Radio Devon on 855MW should be aware that from 1 April 2007, transmissions will be unavailable for approximately 1 year on this frequency. This is so that the BBC can broadcast trials of DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) - digital medium wave. More information can be found at BBC Radio Devon's webside.
In the meantime, you will need to retune to 95.7FM or DAB

Monday, 12 March 2007

Let you down

Ian Holloway made the statement yesterday that he belives he has "let the people of Plymouth down" by failing to get through to the semi finals of the FA Cup.

No, Ian, you have made the people of Plymouth PROUD. Argyle gave it their all, and if the only way Watford could win was to have a super keeper and waste time, then theirs is a hollow victory.

Happy Birthday Ollie.

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Game Over

Plymouth Argyle 0 - 1 Watford (Bouazza 21) [FAC6]

So once again Watford dump Argyle out of the cup. To use a well worn cliché, 'plucky little Plymouth fought a good battle'. But it wasn't enough. It was a game of taking chances and finishing, Watford did, Argyle didn't - simple as. And it was only the Watford keeper, and our inability to find the back of the net that kept Watford in the lead.

But this again means that the cup is premiership only, will be won by one of the 'big four'. Where's the excitement in that?

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Less than 24 hours to go

It's finally here, FA Cup Quarter Final Weekend.

Time to get behind the lads and give it everything.

Come on you Greens!

Friday, 9 March 2007

Stadium Review #16 - Hillsborough

Ground Information: Hillsborough(Sheffield Wednesday FC) Capacity 39,814

Appearance: Aweinspiring. Built on the edge of a hill, the vast stands dwarf everything near by. The Hillsborough of the 2000s is far removed from that we saw in the 80s, though they have managed to incorporate a lot of the original stadium in the redevelopment, including the turnstiles and that tunnel in the West Stand (Leppings Lane). The stands themselves are huge, and go on forever, it is not possible to see all the seats at once. 9/10

View: Apart from the two narrow pillars of the upper tier roof in the West Stand, you have a clear, bird-like view of all the action on the pitch . 9/10

Getting there: Unlike Bramall Lane, Hillsborough is located someway to the north of the city. Therefore we went past Sheffield on the M1 and came back south through Grenoside. Although Hillsborough is huge, you cannot see the stadium as you get close. Sheffield Supertram run regular services from the centre/train station with a stop at the end of Lepping Lane 8/10

Facilities (toilets, TVs etc): (upper tier) Another club with vast toilet facilities, two sets in fact and a very big, long food bar running most of the length of the concourse. Else it is quite stark, with no TVs. 6/10

Food and Drink: The away end for some reason is 'dry' that is they do not sell alcohol, and there is no obvious reason why. Some say the prices are on the expensive side, but were still cheaper than Home Park. 5 pie filling were available, along with pasties and pizza pods, and apart from the cheese and onion they were good. 6/10

Stewarding/Police: The stewards were slightly older than you would normally expect, they did have words with some more vocal supporters standing near the back, but the ones we spoke to were friendly enough. 7/10

Surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): In the immediate area, not much at all. The nearest pubs are about 10-15 minutes away. If you took the tram, you could get into the city centre. 5/10

Home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): Very loud. The North Stand were particularly vocal throughout the game. 8/10

Total score: 58/80

Stadium League Table:
Pride Park (Derby): 65
Hillsborough (Sheffield Wednesday): 58
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
= Molineux (Wolves): 48
= Loftus Road (QPR): 46
= The Hawthorns (WBA): 46
Deepdale (Preston): 43
Ninian Park (Cardiff): 42
Roots Hall (Southend): 41
London Road (Peterbrough): 36

Travelling to Home Park on Sunday?

Details of the Park and Ride services can be found here.

Train services can be found

Bus services can be found

Please note that the usual car parking facilities will be limited on Sunday.

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

It's Grim Up North

Sheffield Wednesday 1 (MacLean 21) - 1 Plymouth Argyle (Dan Gosling 56)

Ee by 'eck it's grim up north, and even grimmer if your match is refereed by three blind officials. No one else-Sky TV, Argyle fans, players, Wednesday fans, commentators-thought the goal would stand, except for the joke of a referee and his more-of-a-joke linesman. In a re-run of QPR's goal a few weeks earlier, a blatant foul on Luke went unrecognised (uncalled, unnoticed, ignored...), and the Wednesday, unsure of what to do, put the ball in the net for a matter of yards away; the ref let it stand.

From then on, Argyle-many of whom hadn't played for a while-, and the referee lost their way. Sloppiness and over determination to equaliser crept in, and the referee decided to kill any flow by blowing for any foul in a bid to make up for his howler. A well fought equaliser came in the second half thanks to Dan Gosling and Argyle looked like they could reclaim their rightful 3 points, but couldn't find the net.

Argyle did well to come out with a point, but can rightfully feel cheated about missing out on all 3. In a time when Argyle are running to stay still, draws are not welcome.


It's FA Cup time!!!

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Coca Cola Buy a Player

I should have posted this earlier:

Purchase bottles of Coca Cola or Coke Zero to help buy your club a player. Plymouth are currently 20th in the Champioship with £2,337. Enter your code by SMS, or as your already online do it for free

Monday, 5 March 2007

Elton John, George Michael

Following the announcement and subsequent near sellout of Elton John's concert at Home Park this May, it has been announced that George Michael will be following suuit and will play Home Park as part of his June tour:
The Herald article

Whilst it is good that Argyle are now finding additional income from its stadium, this must surely further cement feeling that phase two will not be happening this summer.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

The Big Interview

Read The Times's Big Interview with Ian Holloway here.

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Return of the Snake / 2nd half shambles

Plymouth Argyle 1 (SEB penalty 40) - 1 Stoke City (Russell 55)

Tony Pulis returned to Home Park and brought his brand of football home too. In a rather dull match, Argyle managed to take the lead through Ebanks-Blakes's penalty for a foul on Halmosi, and dominated the play for most of the first half.
Then came the second half. As is becoming increasingly frustrating with Argyle leads, an equaliser seems inevitable. Argyle came out a different team, and lost any flow or shape they had had in the first 45, especially after Russell scored the equaliser. Pulis's brand of boring, slow, dive- and injury-ridden football saw out the second half. With both sides missing their chance to take the lead. Pulis didn't seem too enamoured with his return to Home Park and several condescending remarks were thrown in Ollie's direction, who has been unwell recently.

But Pulis must be doing something right, as his slow play has kept the Potters 6 points ahead of the Pilgrims. We may not be boring, but we are leaking. Once again another lead lost.

Friday, 2 March 2007

Sad News for former Players

This week has seen some sad news for former Argyle players.

Firstly, Ian Stonebridge has been forced to retire from football at the age of 25. Following many injuries, Ian has been diagnosed with Reactive Arthropathy, that affects the joints in various ways without any known cause. Ian did a great service to Argyle during his time here, and to have to retire so young with a talent will be hard for him.

Secondly, Graham Coughlan received the following devastating news about his brother:

"The search of the Grand Canal at Clondalkin, Dublin for missing Dublin teen, David White, has been temporarily suspended.
No announcement was immediately made as to how the investigation would proceed, but an internal conference of various Garda divisions, including the diving unit took place shortly after 4pm.
Yesterday, the body of Shane Coughlan, from Mill Park in Clondalkin, was found in a stretch of the canal alongside Fonthill Road."

Belfast Telegraph

This is something that no one should ever have to experience, and our thoughts are condolences are with Graham and his family.

Stadium Review #15 - Loftus Road

Ground Information: Loftus Road (Queens Park Rangers FC) Capacity 18,500

Appearance: Another clubs that has resisted the urge to demolish and redevelop, probably due to its hemmed in location. The Exterior is very 'busy' with different angles, stairways and windows, and slightly run down look, whilst inside it's very enclosed giving a 'close' feeling, which is slightly claustrophobic. All the stands are virtually identical, meaning it's quite boring. 6/10

View: From the lower tier, the front row is below pitch level. Therefore it is impossible to see any markings past the 18 yard box, and play at the other end is very far away. Whether the upper tier is better, I don't know. 5/10

Getting there: Apparently 'one of the easiest clubs to find'. Not. The ground is not signed on any roads around the area, the recommended route was from the M4 via Hanger Land and A40, which is a very roundabout route and is normally very congested. Leaving the game, not surprisingly the roads are very busy. By tube, both Shepherds Bush stations are close by. On street parking is the norm 5/10

Facilities (toilets, TVs etc): (lower tier) Again, the toilets were huge and well maintained, but there was a lack of anything else to do. A food bar is available as normal. 6/10

Food and Drink: They had run out of anything but 3 chicken and mushroom pies and some hot dogs. Very poor management. The bar is 'dry' as it is in sight of the pitch. 5/10

Stewarding/Police: The steward that had to deal with a more rowdy member of the group trying to vandalise a sign was very polite. There seemed to be a large police presence for nothing. 6/10

Surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): In London you can do anything by tube or bus. Shepherds Bush had lots of shops, and there was an away supporter-friendly pub (The Springbok) very close by. An off licence outside the main entrance is very handy to stock up. 8/10

Home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): Didn't encounter anyone directly, but during the game they woke up at the equaliser and were very bolshy. 5/10

Total score: 46/80

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
= Molineux (Wolves): 48
= Loftus Road (QPR): 46
= The Hawthorns (WBA): 46
Deepdale (Preston): 43
Ninian Park (Cardiff): 42
Roots Hall (Southend): 41
London Road (Peterbrough): 36