Thursday, 31 January 2008

The Inevitable

Everyone knew it would eventually happen, and today it finally did - David Norris has moved on. Following weeks of speculation, Norris has transfered to Ipswich for a 7 figured sum after various approached and rebuttles. Norris has been a Pilgrim for 6 years, made 243 appearances and scored 27 goals, and is considered to be a stalwart of the first XI that will take a lot to replace.

Even though it was invenitable that Norris would move on, it could not have come at a worse time for Argyle following Holloway's departure, his reasons for doing so (selling best players), then Ebanks-Blake, Buszaky and now Norris leaving. Any waivering, and some long time, supporters will now be closely questioning whether the club is heading 'onwards and upwards'.

Official Site Article

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Running to Go Backwards

Ipswich Town 0 - 0 Plymouth Argyle

Well it could have been a defeat, it was very nearly a win. The unlukiness of being green strikes again, where by Argyle have fought a hard game and end up going down places in the league table.

Only 1 of the major players in the team was present in the squad last night, with Norris left out on purpose because of his transfer rumours. And several new players making their first full league appearances. Argyle had a perfect opportunity to take the lead and all three points when a deliberate handball - which should have resulted in a sending off too - led to MacLean missing a penalty on the hour mark, soon afterwards Fallon missed a good chance too. Not that Ipswich - who have won the last three meets at Portman Road between the sides - didn't threaten Argyle's goal. Some good goalkeeping, and good positioning on the line forbade the ball from hitting the net.

Before the game, anyone would have probably taken a point, if not expecting a loss, but when you see penalties miss you always feel cheated.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Goal, Goal and Thrice Goal

Portsmouth 2 (Diarra 34, Krancjar 45) - 1 Plymouth Argyle (Clark 5)

A psychic predicted "goal, goal and thrice goal" on Sparksy's breakfast show and she was right, though few would have thought that one would go Argyle's way.

Portsmouth CrestThe game had barely settled before new signing Clark put the ball past England keeper David James, who harbours ambitions of playing for the mighty Greens on day. If any Pilgrim had come expecting a loss, there was no doubt that the Greens would be getting something out of this game and giant-slaying was a possibility. Unfortunately it wasn't to be. Argyle made their usual mistakes, and whilst they can by and large get away with them against Championship teams, Portsmouth capitalised and scored twice. If the referee hadn't have been so wet and disregareded the penalties then maybe a draw (or a win) would have been on the cards. But unfortunately once the first had gone in, Pompey were on the up and seized every opportunity to make up for being shut out early in the game.

Southampton game

Due to the FA Cup, the Southampton away fixture on 16 February will be rescheduled.

The game has been resheduled to Tuesday 19 February, 19.45.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Signing On

Argyle have signed on two new players - Hungarian Gyórgy Sándor and Jamie Mackie from Exeter City.

Misfielder Sándor joins fellow countrymen Timar and Halmosi, but has been affected recently by a knee problem and therefore is not immediately available to play. He has played with and against Timar and Halmosi in Hungary and on the Hungarian national team.

22 year old striker Jamie Mackie joins us from Exeter after requesting a transfer and scoring 14 goals this season.

Sándor will play in the number 22 shirt whilst Mackie will wear number 25.

Sandor and Mackie

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Awaydays #14 - Turf Moor

The club: Burnley (The Clarets), Turf Moor

The ground: A nice mixture of old and new - two new stands and two originals. Nice, because of the history, though the accommodation could be spruced up a bit. The stands are separate structures with open corners and the three large ones dwarf the older,smaller stands along the side. The away end is massive, however Burnley have closed half the seating to erect a huge video screen. Unusually the players' changing rooms etc are located at the away end of the ground. The seating is wooden, but the seats are huge with ample leg room. There are a couple of roof supports along the front of the stand.7

The facilities and food: The concourse is fairly large if spartan, with one set of toilets and one snack bar which are all fairly basis affairs - a true cowshed of a structure. The food had improved massively from last year. 6/10

The stewarding/police: The stewards were very keen on people remaining seated throughout the game, even threatening eviction; however they failed to notice that one row back and one block along from the 'trouble' there were other people standing (including me), who they didn't even acknowledge. 6/10

The travelling: Bloody miles, but at least it's motorway all the way to the centre of Burnley, the ground is signed from the motorway if you look carefully enough, however as you get closer they become deceiving. The change from brown tourist signs to white backed council signed and home and away traffic is segregated. But the away traffic is sent on a wild goose chase that takes you away from the ground to nowhere, because the signs disappear. When you eventually get back to the ground you end up 300 yards from where the split took place. 3/10

The surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): The cricket club next door is perfect and welcomes away fans (in most cases), although can get crowded. It is reasonably priced and friendly. 5/10

The home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): Created a wall of noise for some of the game once Argyle had decided to give up the ghost. 6/10

Total score: 33/60

Awaydays League Table:

Barnsley (Oakwell Stadium) - 42

Blackpool (Bloomfield Road) - 38
Charlton Athletic (The Valley) - 38
Crystal Palace (Selhurts Park) - 38
Hull City (KC Stadium) - 38
Sheffield United (Bramall Lane) - 38
QPR (Loftus Road) - 36

Cardiff City (Ninian Park) - 34

Burnley (Turf Moor) -33
West Ham (Boleyn Ground) - 31
Layer Road (Colchester) - 32
Stoke City (Britannia Stadium) - 28
Torquay United (Plainmoor) - 27
Watford (Vicarage Road) - 27

Note that I was unable to go to Carrow Road.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

A Long Time Coming

Plymouth Argyle 1 (Fallon 51) - 1 Southampton (Wright-Phillips 12)

Fallon has been looking to get on the score sheet at Home Park for a year and finally achieved it in a hard-fought game verses Southampton.

once again Argyle were on the back-foot due to sloppiness, seeing themselves 1-0 down after just 12 minutes thanks to Wright-Phillips's unhindered run past McCormick. Thankfully that began to wake the Greens up as glum, blank faces stared on from the stands.

Sturrock made four changes to the team since Burnley (the official report says 'team that laid down and died - quite right, but a bit strong for an official report!) - new signing MacLean lined up alongside Fallon, Jutkiewicz was dropped to the bench along with the other new signings, Folly and Clark. Sawyer replaced Hodges and Norris, back from suspension, replaced Abdou. Apart from a poor 30 starting minutes, the team began to gel well and any memories of the team that laid down and died a week before were soon forgotten, as the Greens battled the Red and Whites even to a point where they were looking the better team.

However the Green Army had to wait 51 minutes to see the equaliser after Fallon hit a volley from 10 yards. It could have been the second goal, had the ball not been stopped dead on their line but Fallon's goal laid Southampton to siege for the rest of the half, but they held out for the point.

A much improved performance from the Greens, however yet another draw is not helping the league position, onec again Argyle are running to go backwards.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Strike In

Argyle have signed a new striker, Steve MacLean, from Cardiff City for a record fee of £500,000. MacLean has signed a 3 and a half year contract and will be ready for tomorrow's game verses Southampton. He started his career at Rangers before moving to Scunthorpe on loan, then was signed for Sheffield Wednesday by Sturrock. Unfortunately a broken leg cut short his season but when he returned he scored 13 goals in 22 appearances.

MacLean will take over shirt number 9, vacated by Ebanks-Blake.

Official Site Announcement

Steve MacLean

Thursday, 17 January 2008

The Debate: Buying and Selling

On a cold January morning, as Argyle were playing Cardiff,
the transfer window opened, and they lost nil-one.
A deal, already finished, the eve before, bore witness,
to that which would follow - Ian had bought Hayles.

So even before true time began, the board accepted his offer.
Sold off striker number one.
What more was to come?
A couple youth were sold off, and Jutkiewicz then joined us,
Times were looking gloomy, it was not much fun.

Now people weren't too worried, for Hayles near to retirin'
and come the next summer, he would surely be gone.
And a couple of young players - for whom that we'd got more,
than what we'd paid for them.
Surely the deal s were right?

You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away, know when to run.
You never count your money when you're sitting at the table.
There'll be time enough for counting, when the dealing's done.

Every fan knows that the secret to survin'
Is to knowing what to throw away, knowing what to keep.
Some dead wood did go wandrin' for prices we could not foresee.
Is the best that you could hope for is to sign players who are cheap?

As the window wore on, there came the biggest shock,
The bestest strike we had got - we went and lost.
Because we could not hold him, on the wages we were offerin'
For 1.5 million pounds, he became a Wolf.

You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away, know when to run.
You never count your money when you're sitting at the table.
There'll be time enough for counting, when the dealing's done.

You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to sell 'em
Know how to deal away, know the good one.
You'll never know what's coming, when you're sitting on the outside.
There'll be time enough for counting, when the window's done.

This song is a blatant rip off Kenny Roger's "The Gambler" (c) 1987

Wednesday, 16 January 2008


Having missed out on Aberdeen's Hart, Sturrock tugged Clark and caught him. The 26year old Scottish international versitile midfielder will wear the number 6 shirt for Argyle after signing a 3 and a half year contract.
Sturrock has likened Chris Clark to Jason Bent and has scored 9 goals in 233 appearances for Aberdeen.

Official Site Announcement

Chris Clark

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Awaydays #13 - Cardiff City

Oops, forgot all about this one...

The club: Cardiff City (The Bluebirds), Ninian Park

The ground: As they're building a new stadium you can let them off a lot. Ninian Park is a very tired looking ground with minimal facilities - including the last terracing in the Championship, which can only be a positive thing! The terracing behind the goal and divided between home and away fans is set back behind a similar sized seated area and is covered. The rake of the terrace is fairly steep therefore you can get fairly good views, except for theroofing pillars in the way. I had forgotten how uncomfortable standing can be sometimes, especially when the terrace is not quite level. The stands are 4 separate buildings of similar build and is the ground is one of few with any character left - the downside of getting a new stadium. 6

The facilities and food: The concourse is an open area between two stands, with a corrugated iron covered bar nestling under the supports for a floodlight, and a chuck-wagon style food outlet. the toilets are primitive but I found the cubicles that I thought were missing from the gents toilets at my last visit (they're in a separate section). There is a fairly good range of food and drink served, including at least three different types of pies in various flavours - shame they taste awful though. once again the bar over poured drinks at half time, and were giving away free drinks during the second half! 5/10

The stewarding/police: There was a fairly big, but low key police presence around the ground compared to normal, likewise the stewarding was high profile but minimal. 7/10

The travelling: Now the second shortest trip from Home Park, but the only one that involves going to a foreign country! The bridge tolls are now 20p dearer than last year, but the Welsh Highways agency provides travel information for fans on the motorway from just past Newport. Unfortunetly the car park is now under the new stadium, so parking is at a premium nearby. Ninian Park (or Parc Ninian) station is next to the ground, and Cardiff Central is a good walk way. 6/10

The surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): Not recommended. The Cardiff fans can sometimes get iffy about foreigners invading their pubs near the ground (and in fact any pub in Cardiff) so advice is usually to drink in the ground, or go father away. However there were several Argyle supporters in the Ninian Park pub befire and after the game without incident. Else there's not that much near by. 5/10

The home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): Cardiff have a very bad reputation, but then again it is always the actions of the reckless that tar the rest. The day passed withot incident (was everyone hungover?) and the game passed with neither side taking any initiative to sing or chant. 5/10

Total score: 34/60

Awaydays League Table:

Barnsley (Oakwell Stadium) - 42

Blackpool (Bloomfield Road) - 38
Charlton Athletic (The Valley) - 38
Crystal Palace (Selhurts Park) - 38
Hull City (KC Stadium) - 38
Sheffield United (Bramall Lane) - 38
QPR (Loftus Road) - 36

Cardiff City (Ninian Park) - 34

West Ham (Boleyn Ground) - 31
Layer Road (Colchester) - 32
Stoke City (Britannia Stadium) - 28
Torquay United (Plainmoor) - 27
Watford (Vicarage Road) - 27

Note that I was unable to go to Carrow Road.

The Curse of Turf Moor

Burnley 1 (Blake 65) - 0 Plymouth Argyle

The Burnley report says "If you need a win, call Plymouth Argyle" and how the truth really hurts. Turf Moor is more than a banana skin for the Pilgrims - it's the pit of death. Argyle have not won in Burnley for 37 years, make that 38 now, and didn't seem even remotely interested in attempting to score. If you thought that the "performance" against Cardiff was bad enough, then don't bother reading the match reviews for Burnley. Have the squad taken January off on an extended away game holiday? It was a relief that we were still 0-0 at half time, and even when we went 1-0 down, there was no impetuous to even try and equalise. Why bother turning up? What about people who got up early and spent £50 to watch 11 blokes going for a walk in the park? Suffice to say that next season, Turf Moor will be off the menu for away games.

As there was so little positive to talk about, rather than write an extended ranting match report, you can find the official site report here. Or better still read this.

Last season was the "Week of Hell", is this now the "Month of Hell"?

Friday, 11 January 2008

Another one heads out

21 year old Ryan Dickson has made his recent loan to Brentford permanent after agreeing terms

BBC Sports News

Pure Folly

Argyle have confirmed the signing of French under 21, Yohann Folly. Folly has worked with Sturrock before at Southampton and Sheffield Wednesday, and will enter straight inti first team football as number 8.

The announcement has been underwhelming for many Pilgrims fans, who are still reeling from the events of yesterday. Hopefully Folly will not live up to his name.

Official Site Announcement

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Pompey Tickets

Concentrate, it's complicated!


Adult £25
Over 60s £15
Under 16s £5


Monday 14 January from 9.00
Green Members with 8 or more away ticket stubs on a savings sheet

Wednesday 16 January from 9.00
Green Members with 4 or more away ticket stubs on a savings sheet

Friday 18 January from 9.00
All Green Members

Monday 21 January from 9.00
All White Members

Tuesday 22 January from 9.00

All Pilgrim Members

Wednesday 23 January from 9.00*

General release for people with 3 or more away ticket stubs on a savings sheet

Thursday 24 January from 9.00*
General release

*It is extremely unlikely that any tickets will go on general sale.

Tickets available from the Box Office, Box Office Phone Sales and Argyle Centre Spot.

Note: on Saturday 19 January the Box Office will only be selling Cup Tickets betwen 9.00 and 12.30

Official Site Details

Martin the Blade

Loanee Lee Martin has joined Sheffield United following the end of his loan to Argyle

Sheffield United Official Site Announcement

Pissed off


Well done Argyle.
Thank you for proving Ian Holloway correct.
Thank you for pissing off a large majority of your fans.
Thank you for selling Ebanks-Blake.

Well done Sylvain.
Thank you for proving Ian Holloway correct.
Thank you for pissing off a large majority of Argyle fans.
Thank you for jumping ship to go to Wolves.

Today Sylvain Ebanks-Blake, the 21 year old striker from Manchester United has left Argyle to join Wolverhampton Wanderers after they offered a fee in excess of £1.5million (however as part of a clause inserted into the original agreement, Manchester United will receive a proportion of the transfer money). Ebanks (allegedly) rejected talks which would have seen him become the highest player at Home Park in order to leave.

Since Sylvain joined Argyle, he has been top goal scorer. And with Hayles departing for Leicester Argyle are now very short of anybody who can find the net easily. Once again this has shown Argyle for the small club it likes to think it's not. With very little ambition. Selling off your top goal scorer is not the best way to attract anyone to your football club. And this is bound to have repercussions for the rest of the season and immediately, the transfer window.

A very bad day.

Official Site Announcement

Monday, 7 January 2008

Battle of the Ports

FA Cup round 4 draw:

Pompey v Guz*
Saturday 26 January

A Naval tie for the 4th round recreated the Battle of the Ports between Portsmouth and Plymouth. The bitter rivalry between the dockyards used to transfer onto the football pitch until the clubs went their separate ways; it threatens to be an exciting draw.

Let the games begin!

*that's Portsmouth v Plymouth Argyle

Saturday, 5 January 2008


Plymouth Argyle 3 (Abdou 23, Halmosi 26, Ebanks-Blake 58) - 2 Hull City (Windass 52, Windass 60) FAC3

Argyle are now making a habit of being in a cup longer than a teabag following a nail-biting match verses Championship rivals Hull City. In typical FA Cup play, Argyle looked much stronger and better organised than verses Cardiff for the first half at least, not least due to the changes imposed by Sturrock namely McCormick replacing Larrieu, Martin for Norris (ill), Nallis and Summerfield starting, and Doumbe for Timar (injured). The game ran mostly in first gear until the 23rd minute when a poorly struck ball from Hull following a free kick fell to Abdou who managed to steer it past the keeper. The Green Army had barely sat down before Halmosi netted the ball again straight from a free kick that was missed by Seip and thankfully Hull's guardian. By now Argyle had got into their stride and Hull had begun to wake up, culminating in a fantastic double save my McCormick on the stroke of half time.

It was Windass again who turned the game, maybe just the thought of him starting the second half scared Argyle, but they were not as spiritedly as before, and the midfield at time had nipped off for a tea break. It's no surprise then that Windass scored both of Hull's goals, but not before Halmosi set Ebanks-Blake up to make it 3-1. Even so it was Hull who looked more likely to score an equaliser than Argyle push further ahead, until Jutkiewicz shot hit the woodwork nearing the end.

So Argyle have, for the second time in as many seasons progressed beyond their first FA Cup tie and it will remain to see whether they have the legs to equal or beat their run last season. As always the argument between cup and league will rear its head; with Argyle's small (and getting smaller) squad, we shall wait and see.

The draw for the 4th round will be made on Monday at 13.30 with the match to be played on Saturady 26 January.

Thursday, 3 January 2008


Jutkiewicz for Gosling.

Plymouth Argyle have agreed to sell youngster Dan Gosling to Everton for an undisclosed fee (why is everything undisclosed this January? Why do they not want us to find out?) but speculated to be £1.5million. Gosling scored two goals during his time at Argyle in 24 first team appearances, and has played for the national side. The deal is expected to be completed this weekend.

Everton Official Site announcement

The Debate: Come on You Greens?

Warning: this article contains strong language

The Green Army have a reputation as being loyal and loud. Undoubtedly the Greens are amongst the longest travelled supporters in the country, certainly the Championship, and always get fairly good crowds away from home. But the situation at Home Park is not so rosy. Home Park was (and still sometimes is) called a fortress due to the intimidating atmosphere. However, that has changed.

The atmosphere at home and sometimes away has got flatter and flatter in recent times. Why is that? Some bemoan the lack of songs. So what songs are heard at Argyle matches these days?

There once was a time when Argyle had a wide repertoire of songs, including one for every player on the pitch, bench, and in the stands watching. Nowadays you can list the number of players with their own song on one hand:

In contrast, Argyle do have a wider collection of corporate songs:
Green and White Barmy Army (though we have three versions of this!)
Argyle, Argyle
Green Army!
Molly Malone
Westcountry la-la-la
Oh when those Greens

Argyle till I die
Que Sera Sera

Come on you Greens
We love you Argyle, we do
Stand up if you love the Greens
Hello, Hello

And it's Plymouth Argyle
Pasties and Cider
Oo-Ah it's Ambrosia

You are my Argyle

Add to that the Opposition taunting songs:
Go to Pub, Drink 10 Pints
You Dirty Northern Bastards (yes, this is a separate chant!)
Grim Northern Shithole
Keeper, what's the score?
Sit Down, Shut Up
Who the fucking hell are you?

Who are ya?
X is a Wanker
You're not Singing Anymore
Are you X in disguise
Small town in X

My Garden Shed

And the miscellaneous:
We always get Shit Refs
The Referee's a Wanker
Let's all have Disco

Which is a fair number of songs to choose from. Yes, some of the older songs have been lost such as 'I was born under the Demport End', 'Drink, drink', 'I can't read...' etc but there is still a mighty back collection, even bigger if you consider too the improvised, spontaneous and club/person-specific songs that occur. The main problem is that only a small number of these songs are sung consistently: Green and White Barmy Army being main one that is done to death, whilst the others get trotted out on fewer occasions. So if it's not the number of songs available, what is wrong? Maybe it's just as simple as people cannot be bothered to join in, learn or try out new lyrics, or are just too stupid to remember the lyrics (weak argument I know).

One question raised following the Cardiff match on New Years Day was do we spend more time taunting the opposition than supporting our own team? Certainly sometimes, more songs are sung at opposition fans than at the boys in Green. And begs the question, do you come to support the team or to berate the opposition? Certainly there are some people who spend more times facing the opposition's support than watching the match on the pitch. And this is where you get into the murky ground of what is banter, what is racism, and what is hooliganism. How many people turned up at Bristol and Cardiff games at Home Park just to have a ruck with their supporters - there is now denying that there was trouble after both games (in stark contrast with New Years day), and that Bristol were held back for 30 minutes (instead of the 10 promised) because of people lurking outside.

Following the 70s and 80s British football had to change to survive the dark years of violence, hooliganism, and disasters. The "English Disease" was globally condemned and English football suffered as a result. Sport is tribal, no matter what sport it is - rugby, cricket, tennis - but football bore the brunt of the condemnation, as poor policing and club management allowed things to spiral out of control. Even though other sports such as the normally placid cricket had their own football-esque problems, they were never as widely publicised as a clash between rival fans. Maybe that the changes imposed - tighter stewarding and policing, banning orders, ejections - coupled with all-seater stadia following the Hillsborough disaster, the so called 'prawn-sandwich brigade' of corporate hospitality to help eliminate this is the problem.

Stadia up and down the country are now near -identical sanitised affairs that prevent same-minded people (or even friends in some cases) from sitting near each other without a prior military operation before each season or game. Home Park has three distinct areas of 'more active support': Zoo Corner, the Devonport blocks 3 & 4 and the Mayflower seats next to the Barn Park End. The Devonport used to be the place to be at for atmosphere, but now it has transferred to either side of the away fans. So on the face of it, there is still evidence to back up that tribality/opposition-bating is the hold-fast of support.

Therefore, what should support look like? There is no real answer. You cannot make everyone act the same in some Stepford Wives like way, and everyone will have their own view about how you should support a team. Nevertheless, the ferociousness of the Green Army's support is probably the same as every other club in the country - sometimes good, sometimes downright awful. But everyone still has a right to express what they feel on the terraces and unfortunately if you do not agree, tough.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Advance to Shepherd's Bush

Akos Buszaky has completed his move to QPR following his two month loan to the London Club.

Akos made 105 appearances for the Greens and scored 8 goals before being put out with an injury and failing to return to first team football. Akos was loaned out by former manager Holloway after a disagreement over his wages and contract, with a view to making a permanent move. Buszaky has done well for QPR in his loan period, scoring 6 times in 13 appearances.

Official Site Announcement

Tuesday, 1 January 2008


Lukus Jutkiewicz made his debut today in the defeat at Cardiff. The striker is on loan to Argyle from Everton until the end of the season, having worked for Sturrock before at Swindon. He will have squad number 37.

This follows Barry Hayles leaving to join Holloway at Leicester.

Official Site Announcement

Go straight to Jail

Cardiff City 1 (Ledley 30) - 0 Plymouth Argyle

Do not Pass Go. Do not collect 3 points.

Cardiff crestWhat the hell was that supposed to be? Certainly not a game of professional football, more like a group of lads having a drunken kick around. Since Holloway left, when Argyle were in 4th position, we have gathered 11 points out of a potential 27 and are 6th in the league (through others' performances), we have lost the steady momentum that was gaining and are now enduring pathetic performances - which chiefly must be the result of Sturrock and his tactics and style of play. Sturrock has said that he is annoyed at the poor first half performances, yet nothing has been done to address them. Every game is getting predictable, and so are our tactics which is why teams can easily tear us apart. And it doesn't look like it's going to change. Unfortunately sometimes it comes up trumps, and why some would say stick to it, but when the game isn't working, it just gets worse. Too many times games have been an upward struggle and today we were playing up a 1 in 4 incline, with too many mistakes, too many missed passes, no cohesion and hoofball.

The number of games a week (assuming we lose against Hull on Saturday) becomes less frequent and that should allow more training time for the new and old players to become a competant unit. Hopefully, this was a bad day at the office, caused possibly by Hayles leaving. But time will out.

Happy New Year

Happy 2008