Saturday, 28 February 2009

Well Who'd have Thought It

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 - 1 Plymouth Argyle (Paul Gallagher)

What a shock - top of the league Wolves toppled by relegation headed Argyle. Who'd have considered that? What seemed a strangely fielded team by Sturrock leaving out Fallon (possible to rest for the two upcoming home games) gaining 3 points at fly away leaders' home ground. Must have been the pants.

However, a win in 17 does not a league surviver make. The other bottom teams won today meaning a jump of one place in the table but still close enough. Though we should revel in the joy and hysteria that 3 points brings we should not take our eyes off the ball. The Sturrock lovers have all ready torn into the Sturrock haters at their doubt but let's not get carried away. It's a start though, a boost in confidence, a possible corner turning moment to bring out the cliches. but it is no more than 1 win in 17 games and a fantastic result at this point in time.

Luggy's Tactics are Pants

Now at sometime there has been call for any supporter to question the manager's tactics, but now be have conclusive proof that Luggy's tactics are pants.

Aside from the late substitution and the belief that playing players constantly out of position, Luggy now believes that the best way of winning games is by donning his lucky underwear. Now nearly every supporter has matchday rituals - from walking the same root to the ground, eating the same food, going to the toilet at the same point in the game etc - likewise players probably go throgh the same ritual every week, must punch the same place on the doorframe before walking out on the pitch etc and Sturrock is no different. So Sturrock's new belief is in changing his underwear regularly and driving a different route to the training ground every day. A slight difference in opinion between doing the same thing and doing completely different things, but then the Scottish like to be different.

We'll see what works when Ebanks-Blake has scored his hattrick.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

What a Waste

Plymouth Argyle 2 (Fletcher 49, Gallagher 70) - 2 Sheffield United (Webber 63, Halford 72)

A draw after a battling game. But a battling game that twice saw Argyle take the lead and twice saw them concede within minutes. A battling game that could have seen Argyle go 8th from bottom but has in fact made them drop one place to 5th from bottom. 3 points, 1 point. But at least the Greens played better. Does that make everything alright? Does the fact it is a draw save Sturrock's head from the block for longer than if it was an outright loss? We are closer to relegation after all.

Notwithstanding that Fletcher made is debut goal making Sturrock's signing and decisions seem worthwhile - but can he keep it up? Likewise that Gallagher finally returned to some sort of form after a break. But still a bit of blame to shift to the referee, some more to United for their 'cheating' ways, and the disallowed goal by Mackie but we'll ignore that we were still a disjointed team and that Sturrock may not have made the right substitutions (again). But we'll definitely ignore Larrieu's blunder for their first as recently he has been the most consistant player on the team.

But will this herald a change in fortunes? Not bloody likely if you call that result "lucky"! Has it stopped the rot? Probably not. Woz we robbed? Maybe. However a draw at the moment is still not good enough.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Dream Team

Carl FletcherArgyle's newest loanee has signed Carl Fletcher from Harchester United for 1 month. If the rest of the squad hadn't been killed off we might have had a decent team.

Fletcher joins the Pilgrims on a month's loan from Crystal Palace. The 28 year old has captained Wales and is an experienced midfielder (which we don't really need as Argyle tend to play defence - striker and bypass the midfield with the high ball) but has been out of favour with Warnock, Luggy has been eyeing up for some time and hopes will help end the bad spell.

Football Fanzine Awards 2009

The following Argyle related nominations need your vote at the Football Fanzine Awards:

Best Championship Fanzine (Printed): Rub of the Greens
Best Football League Fanzine (Online): Greens on Screen
Best Football Blog: To be a Pilgrim
Best Editor: Blake Hall

You can cast your nominations at:

Hurry, voting closes 27 FEBRUARY!!!!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009


I spent time away from Plymouth last night and so was oblivious to any of the games last night, it was not until 12o'clock today that I discovered the score.

Plymouth Argyle 1 (Sawyer 67) - 3 Crystal Palace (Danns 20, Lee 27, Oster 43)

And all I could do was laugh. I've gone past the stage of despair and anger and just take it as the norm that every game will be a loss and that relegation if a near certainty. So there's no reason really to pay any lip service to what goes on on the pitch. In fact working it out I believe I will only see 2 more games in the flesh: Swansea and Blackpool away due to holidays, weddings, stag dos and work. By the Swansea game I expect the club's fate to be signed sealed and buried.

To many the joy has gone out of the game and we can all call those who give up not proper fans and wave good by smug in the fact that those who stay are real hardcore stalwarts. Then laugh and jeer if they come back when things improve. This is a different debate for another time but the Argyle fan "family" is very exclusive and wary of anyone who has never been through the hard times. It would seem that this exclusive group would rather they had the stadium and the team to themselves. However, Sturrock commented that last night the fans (as a whole) did not give up on the team and were upbeat for the whole 90 minutes; which is a very hard thing to do. But off the terraces the current plight, along with that of our Championship years has split and torn the support in many ways. It is very unlikely that there will ever be any harmony amongst the Green Army again.

Looking back since last year these what I used to call Match Reviews have become less and less about what happened on the pitch mainly because there's only so many words you can write about crap, a disjointed, uninspiring performance with no substance. A but like the Addick's pie last week. One thing's for certain, there's no way that the Greens will finish higher than last season. When "run by fans for fans" was dropped and replaced by "onwards and upwards" it is clear to see that not only was there a shift away from being a close run community club but a serious jinx on it too!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009


You're really in the shit when other clubs think that you're the reason they'll survive relegation.

Plymouth's plight could give City survival hope

Worrying as the bottom of the Championship table is at the moment, City's survival hopes could stand or fall by whatever happens 360 miles away from Norwich tomorrow night, if the following views are particularly widespread.

"The board are determined not to listen to the fans."

"A song to be played at the next home game - Go Now by the Moody Blues."

"The manager's bad signings are the reason we are in this pathetic mess."

"We are sinking faster than a stone.

Change the manager, get rid of all the hangers-on, sort out the highly-paid, not-bothered attitude of some of our players. Act now, please."

"Paul, it is time to say goodbye. If you wish to retain any respect of the fans and the club step down and allow the chance of a fresh face and approach to save us from the drop.

You and your backroom staff are not good enough and have lost control of the players."

All comments on the Plymouth Herald website yesterday following the Pilgrims' disastrous 2-0 defeat at Charlton.

Tomorrow night Plymouth play their game in hand over us at home to Crystal Palace, when boss Paul Sturrock is likely to be coming under even greater pressure should they fail to win.

This is a man, remember, who once effectively led Argyle to two promotions in three seasons, but a club legend would now appear to be fighting for his job as once-loyal supporters turn on him.

Okay, I might have my doubts about Norwich's managerial structure and decisions, but I know that failure will hurt them as much as it does me or any other fan.

The mood at Home Park would appear to be rather more divided, and if our survival depends on profiting from others' failures and misfortunes, then so be it.

Tomorrow also sees Barnsley visit Sheffield Wednesday while Watford host Swansea, and while you'd like to hope that both games go our way, the Tykes and Hornets would still each have two games in hand over us, so, for the moment at least, you can't see them being in the most danger of going down.

No, it's Plymouth who will be really in the thick of it if they fail to win tomorrow night. Big time.

Since beating Cardiff on November 22 to go seventh in the table they have won just once in taking seven points out of a possible 42 - four of which came against one team, Southampton.

In that same period our struggling motley band have at least managed a whole 12 from a game more.

And with a visit from the Pilgrims looming on the horizon it's now becoming apparent that the Canaries' fate will probably be sealed by the next four games at Carrow Road.

We face Burnley, Coventry, Cardiff and, perhaps most crucially on March 14, Plymouth, and, without question, we have to win at least three of those games.

I didn't go to Preston on Saturday because I just couldn't see us getting anything out of the game.

We're facing a top-four side with an impressive home record - one word, Reading, immediately sprang to mind before the kick-off.

City's fate was sealed about 20 minutes in when I tuned into Radio Norfolk and heard Chris Goreham mention something along the lines of how they had started the better at Deepdale.

No, we plainly can't win away from home.

Okay, maybe we can grind out the odd hard-earned point here and there, but in our present plight it's victories that we need, and you can't see where even one of them is going to come from on the road.

Maybe, just maybe, Blackpool, but as for the rest - QPR, Birmingham, Swansea and Ipswich - there's no real obvious source of points in there.

And Charlton on May 3 doesn't bear thinking about if we need something at The Valley.

We have to learn from the games against Southampton and Bristol City and start killing teams off at Carrow Road.

With a possible FA Cup fifth-round visit to Arsenal to look forward to the following week you would have to hope that it's the Burnley side beaten 3-0 at Watford who turn up at Carrow Road this Saturday rather than the one which drew 1-1 at Birmingham.

Fail to win at the weekend, and we then must beat in-form Cardiff.

Defeat or a draw with Coventry on March 28 and we then have to start thinking about having to beat Reading here on April 25 - a day when they could need a victory to secure promotion.

With the players we've got, as well as home advantage, we surely ought to have enough about ourselves to beat Burnley, Coventry and Plymouth.

Were that to happen, the Devon side might well be in freefall by then if the present mood around Home Park continues.

But we can't rely on that, so you have to look at home wins over Sheffield Wednesday and Watford in April as well.

Five wins would take us to 47 points, throw in an odd draw here and there and we would surely be all right, irrespective of what goes on elsewhere.

But it probably all depends on getting something from Saturday's massive home game against Burnley, and you sincerely hope that Sammy Clingan is available and certain other players emulate Lee Croft's all-action approach as we take the initiative right from the first whistle.

At least the mood at Carrow Road should be a whole lot better than the mood down at Home Park, that's for sure.

Just as Argyle are looking to Norwich to slip up to ensure survival, Norwich are looking for Argyle to do the same. It is never any good to rely just on the misfortunes of others as there is no guarantee that those misfortunes are permanent, all it takes is a few wins and draws against continued losses. You have to make your own fortunes. Unfortunately, Argyle can't at the moment.

Article by Steve Geggs, EDP24, 16 February 2009

Monday, 16 February 2009

Next up, Crystal Palace

It has been a good while since my last post on 'To be a Pilgrim' and things just seem to keep getting worse for Argyle. From my point of view Plymouth looked so low on confidence against Charlton it was plain too see. This was a tie they should have gone into expecting to win it is just not good enough when you're in the relegation scrap. To top it all off the sides around the Pilgrims seem to have got their act together and Sturrock needs to pull a win out of somewhere quickly to reignite the season.

Crystal Palace are the next opponents so I thought I'd have a quick look at their team to see if that elusive win can come from this encounter. This game really does represent a decent opportunity for Plymouth to record a first victory in the league since the 2-0 win over Southampton. Palace have lost their last four league matches and they have not been games against the top sides. Their first loss came against Bristol City, before Ipswich hammered them 4-1 and then they slipped to defeat against Charlton and Blackpool so it could be the perfect time to play Neil Warnock's floundering side. In the last month or so Palace have gone from Championship promotion contenders to mid table and fingers cross Plymouth can make it five defeats in a row for the Eagles.

Palace don 't seem to be coping to well with the loss of Ben Watson and last time out they were beaten by a Blackpool side that were reduced to ten men after just three minutes. This prompted Warnock to make a bitter statement about his players and the first half of the game at Home Park will be crucial. The way confidence is affecting both sides the team who performs best and creates the most chances in the opening 45 minutes should go on to win the match.

There are a couple of danger men in the Palace side and the big hitman Shefki Kuqi is definitely one of Palace's better players. He might not be the most attractive or skillful player to watch but his sheer size and presence make him a danger. I'm just hoping the giant Finn doesn't get to do that ridiculous belly flop goal celebration on Tuesday night.

I'm going to end this post with a couple of Championship betting picks ahead of the midweek fixtures. I quite fancy Doncaster to beat Bristol City at the Keepmoat on Tuesday and Swansea should be able to beat Watford at Vicarage Road (as long as they didn't get too tired giving Fulham the run around). That's all from me, hopefully Plymouth will have recorded a victory by my next post.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Every Man for Himself

Charlton Athletic 2 (Racon 31, Bailey 68) - 0 Plymouth Argyle

So the women and children are safely in the lifeboats while the old ship Argyle is slowly being swallowed by the league table it's time for the shout of Every Man for Himself. The Greens are now without a win in 13 games and have amassed a grand total of 7 points out of 39 with the league position dropping like a stone to just 5 points of relegation zone.

Charlton should have been an easy 3 points - every said so - the team rooted to the bottom of the table on the brink of administration managed to pull off the unthinkable and win. 2 superb goals and a missed penalty which only thanks to the best player of the team, Larrieu and his feet, was saved. Now you could blame the referee for the 1st goal which came from an unclear decision between goal kick and corner kick - orange player thought goal, red thought corner, and so did the ref, which was cleanly punted home just before the break. Then Summerfield conspired to handle the ball off the start of the second half and conceed a penalty which was magnificently handled by the keeper. This reprieve did seem to spur on the flagging clueless Pilgrims into attempting some sort of a game of football but it was never to be. Sturrock's team has never come back from being 1-0 down since his return so the prospects were dire. And so it was 2-0.

Apparently there was a 45 minute 'clearing the air' session in the changing room after the match in which Sturrock and everyone had their say (Clearing the Air is tantamount to nuspeak for Slanging match is it now?) and the board has given their vote of confidence in Sturrock. He now has everything at his disposal to change things around. Except a transfer window. Now isn't 13 games a bit long to be waiting before things started getting heavy in the dressing room? It has already been suggested that the management has lost the dressing room after the episodes with Stack and Walton, is this true and if so can it be regained?

If anything it is a gamble if he does leave or gets pushed that anyone will come in to fill his place. Summerfield Snr would be the caretaker manager and he's worse than Sturrock according to some. But would anyone be willing to come all the way down here to tread where many have trod before just to plough up the same old same old? Probably not.

On a lighter note, Charlton now sell pies. After the berrating they got for the last 2 seasons of not selling them they now have Steak or Chicken Curry flavoured pies. They were awful though.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

PROFIT and loss

The accounts of Plymouth Argyle Football Club Ltd were released today for 2007/08 showing that the Greens made a profit of approximately £1.1 million, which is not really that much but is much better than the loss normally incurred. Though remember this was for year ending May 2008, after all the sell offs of players, concerts etc. Since then, there has been a drop in attenanced - once again stated plainly by the chairman as a key factor - and a few dud signings and high wages, plus the credit crunch. Meaning that that money has probably gone already and again we are "balancing the books".

Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?

So from the first tentative steps 2 summers ago with the big guns of Elton and George, through Meatloaf and Westlife to Rod Stewart. The extra non football income of Home Park: concert venue has become a success and for once the Board have to be congratulated for their enterprise 2 years ago when they decided to open the doors to Plymouth Pavilions. There is no other way at the moment that Home Park can be used outside of Tuesdays or Saturdays apart from hospitality in the form of parties, and the concert venue is an extra string to the bow. The huge amount of work required converting the pitch and Mayflower precludes any use outside of the season, and is one reason to be thankful for 'temporary' seating. Maybe if the Redevelopment of the South Sand is ever to go ahead and so are the concerts, provision should sensibly be made.

Roddy is coming to the Greens on July 2nd, and tickets, though pricey, are now available.
Rod Stewart ticket news

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Women and Children First

Plymouth Argyle 0 - 3 Derby County (Teale 43, Hulse 46, Hulse 52)

A green tint will say we've got 2 good points from 2 difficult games, a brown tint will say we've got 7 point in 13 games. Whatever you think the good ship Argyle is taking on water faster than anyone can bail it out - if anyone is bailing out in the first place. The air of gloom that descended on Home Park is worse than any early February snow blizzard and has attacked the very core of the once family club and spread like cancer. There is no doubt that 7 points in 13 games (7/39 points - less than 1 in 5) that Argyle should really be in the shit with Southampton, Charlton and Watford. It's only by good grace that has kept the ship buoyant. However if you compare last season's overall points with this then we are following a similar pattern, albeit on a lower level.

So where does the buck stop? Firstly with Sturrock and then with Stapelton et al. Sturrock cannot manage and motivate his players on the pitch, and the board have been running the club on the breadline for years. Though it could be argues that bread rather than beef steak has worked and thus the manager has the chance to make a sumptous bread and butter pudding or bread and water. Hollowat did the former, Sturrock did the latter though with a poorer squad of players and whose fault is that - his and the boards! Oh the circular pains of it all.

Anyway, so is it time to main the lifeboats while the band play Semper Fidelis (always faithful, remember!) stoicly and the pursers rearrange the deckchairs? True fans will stay loyal to the sink like the captain when he (supposedly is meant to) go down with it, though no one should blame those who decide to jump like the rats when they see no leadership from the leadership.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Precious Pointage

Preston North End 1 - 1 Plymouth Argyle

Mid November was the last time an Argyle player found the net on the road, a drought of 2 months with no goals that was ended by Jamie Mackie on a bitterly cold Tuesday night when many other games had been postponed. The early goal was a bit of renewed hope for a win but the usual poor play saw an equaliser and resulted in Larrieu once again taking a hammering at his goal line. It was luck that Preson did not win.

So we have 2 points from 2 games, still 11 (or is it 12) games with no win, yet many people are pleased that we have at least held two traditionally bad teams for Argyle to play to draws when previously they've been losses. Yet in the whole picture 2 points is not that many, and its only the league that is holding the Greens in that 16th position, nothing of their own devising.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Waste of Time

The January transfer window is an opportunity to buy and sell players.

What has happened at Argyle?

Transfers In
David Gray On Loan From Manchester United Till End Of Season
Ashley Barnes Returns To The Club From Loan At Eastbourne
Alan Judge On Loan From Blackburn Rovers Till End Of Season

Transfers Out
Nicolas Marin Loan Ended by Mutral Consent Returns to FC Lorient
Dan Smith Season Long Loan at Eastbourne Borough
Ashley Barnes Loan Extended by a month at Eastbourne Borough
Yala Bolasie On a Months loan at Barent
Jason Puncheon Season Long Loan at MK Dons

There have been a lot of LOAN transfers and shipping outs. The renewed Rub of the Greens fanzine (still only £1), [Facebook group] had a very interesting article on this window. In that Argyle rarely actually use it for its full purpose. This January has seen loanees sign and a few full timers shipped out. Well we get the selling right, just not the buying. Wall, head, bang?

Thanks to PV1.0 for stealing the table of transfers.

We Didn't Lose!

Ipswich Town 0 - 0 Plymouth Argyle

We didn't lose! And what's more, we nearly won. Thanks to an offside goal it wasn't. Not that Ipswich didn't have many chances either, they were kept out of the game by a blinder played by Larrieu and both teams hit the woodwork. Sturrock changed the team some what, dropping much maligned Summerfield to the bench and starting Walton. Though the performance was not quality the work ethic was much improved. However it really was a case of make do and mend, which is not going to change, and when you see the same mistakes and the same tactics week after week no wonder fans are getting peed off. But if this marks the turn around then so be it, however the Preston match is in doubt because of the weather. So might be 2 games in hand, but just 4 points off the relegation zone. All it takes is the bottom three to go on a good run in the next few months and the shit will have hit the fans and made the pitch grass grow higher.