Sunday, 31 October 2010

Trick or Treat

Oldham 4 - 2 Plymouth Argyle

What to make of the game that saw Argyle play for 50 minutes with 9 men, 85 ish with 10 and only let in 4 goals, 2 in added time after being 2-1 up. A plucky brave performance or a relegation zone producing result due to a poorly disciplined team? I really don't know. The Oldham fans must have felt it was a worthy performance as they applauded the Greens off the pitch, and not may teams would have continued on the attack after losing only one man, which is a testament to Reid's tactics at the time. It certainly will divide the Green Army further; how many key games will they look back on and say 'if only'?

Friday, 29 October 2010

Little and large works out for Plymouth

The Pilgrims ended their run of three games without a win with their 2-1 win over Huddersfield last weekend. The stars of the show for Plymouth was the little and large combination up front, with Rory Fallon and Bradley Wright-Phillips linking for both goals that gave Peter Reid's team a much needed win against their fellow promotion seekers.

Fallon, making only his second appearance of the season after a hernia operation, headed the ball into the path of his strike partner Wright-Phillips to open the scoring for the Green Army in the 16th minute. The Terriers grabbed an equaliser through Anthony Pilkington three minutes later.

Plymouth's winner was a carbon copy of their first, a long ball forward was again nodded on by Fallon allowing Wright-Phillips to slot home his seventh goal of the season. Peter Reid's men hung on for the all important win, taking them up to 17th in the League One table on 16 points.

After a disappointing start to their first season back in the third tier of English football, the Green Army will be hoping this win is the springboard for their side to start climbing the league in their attempt to bounce back into the Championship at the first time of asking. The football odds suggest this is still a possibility.
This Plymouth squad is very capable of if not winning this league then at least finishing second. Apart from perhaps Southampton, no other club in this league have a squad who can really match Reid's and the manager will need to carry on winning if he is to match the preseason expectations.

The quality of the squad is evident up front and if Fallon and Wright-Phillips can keep linking up and producing goals for their side then the Andy Gray tips suggest the Pilgrims will soon be challenging those promotion places.

With Brighton looking to be the side everyone will be chasing this season, Plymouth will be one of a number of sides hunting that second place position. They will need to carry the form shown against Huddersfield on into their next match this weekend when they travel up to 13th place Oldham.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

FA Cup Round 1

Plymouth Argyle v Swindon Town
6 November

Can't really expect anything now we're back in this round of the Cup, possibly an actual win though!

Spark of Hope

Plymouth Argyle 2 - 0 Huddersfield Town

Well who would have thought that would happen? A six-time changed team by Reid beat a top half team; although Argyle have a habit of getting results against the hard teams and falling to the weaker ones, as well as being the only winning Westcountry side this weekend. (And I must admit now that I was in two minds cos I've got a big bet on with a mate that Huddersfield will be higher in the table than Southampton come Christmas Day. Guess who won as well yesterday.) Wright-Philips was the hero of the hour, netting twice after pairing up with Fallon who headed Button's long punts to his striker partner. Although Fallon was unlucky not to get on the score sheet himself when his goal was written off by ref Russell. Shame that Town had to reply almost straight from the restart of Wright-Phillip's first goal to equalise, although that is another Argyle speciality. However, it's a welcome shock to some of the Green Army, especially as the win came at home, and as always it's good to enjoy the win.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Argyle set to be sustainable

Despite Plymouth's poor start to the season leaving them just one point away above the relegation places, executive director Keith Todd has suggested that things will soon be looking up for the club.

Having given his full backing to manager Peter Reid, a man who he believes has done an excellent job so far in difficult circumstances, Todd has now claimed Plymouth will be able to reduce their high wage bill at the end of the season.

This would allow the manager to rebuild the squad and mould it into one that is sustainable in terms of cost, but also capable of lifting the side out of League One and on the road to the long journey back up the divisions, something the football betting suggests they won't be doing this term.

However, in the short term, Argyle and the club's fans need to focus on turning their season around and ensuring they do not spend too long hanging around the drop zone into League Two.

If Plymouth can do the very least expected of them by their passionate fans and achieve mid-table security sooner rather than later, the club has a manager who can guide them to bigger and better things, as long as he is given a fair spell of time in charge.

In the meantime, Argyle fans need to hope that England win the right to host the 2018 World Cup so the club can carry out its plans to build a new stadium.
Meanwhile, some people are now making Middlesbrough betting tips to slide down into League One next season.

The side had started the Championship as one of the favourites for promotion, but they have failed to shine under Gordon Strachan.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Dull Green

Notts County 2 - 0 Plymouth Argyle

Nothing to report here. Bad defending, poor play, players out of position, no attack, one shot in goal (from Parret who apart from this one event has gone from Spurs newbie to inept chicken in just a few games), a very uncomfortable game. Reid says he's disappointed with the result, the Green Army are furious.

The Wrong Noises?

A couple of articles appeared in the Plymouth Herald this week that make potentially worrying reading.

1. The non-investment from Japan

Argyle's biggest shareholder Kagami, Japanese multi-millionare has failed to invest anything in the last 15 months since he took majority of shares, save the initial share investment.

Although he is under no obligation really to, anyone can invest a lump sum of shares at the start and sit on it/them until they bring a return.

Keith Todd says that he would have anticipated more anticipation than that which has been forthcoming, however the purported £1million loan was never offered in the first place. The only thing that has happened is the "making [of] some introductions to some of their wider relationships"

In the same interview, Keith Todd answered questions regarding the club's finanical situation, in particularly administration, where by the alluded to the fact that the club's income is down ("It's no secret we got relegated and lost the best part of £3 million of income from TV rights. We have also got a squad size that is very large, [...] one thing about the football business is it's a fixed-cost base and a variable income stream. So that puts lots of pressures onto the financial position of any club.") and that the board do not believe administration is the right path to take, though it's not ruled out completely.

This really only confirms what we know already regarding the loss of income. However the board's determination not to go into administration is a good things surely? Even though they haven't ruled it out entirely, it's better to battle against that go with the flow. But, again, as known is the commitment t the Home Park/Central park development, this is what is suspected by many as taking the forefront of all dealings.

2. The selling club

Nothing's changed. Come the end of their contracts, players will be sold off to balance the books, although Todd has only alluded to out of contract players (ie the summer transfer window).

However, there is the January window yet to come and if the club are still desperate, then it can be guaranteed that some of the family silver will leave come the new year.

3. Home Park/Central Park development

As mentioned in Todd's interview, the HP/CP development is of high priority. Todd states that the conformation of the England 2018 bid would help to "clear a lot of air", although Argyle would have to wait until 2013 to find out if it was actually a host city. Todd has been in discussion with AEG over the management of the stadium, which could be sold to Plymouth Argyle Holdings Ltd. The application has yet to go before Plymouth City Council even though it was announced a few months ago, caused local consternation and allowed PCC to publish their own, more subtle, plan for Home Park.

Even so, the World Cup bid is the lynch-pin to all this, not once did Todd mention what would happen if England fail the bid, and if Plymouth then fail their bid. Neither has the prospect of what may happen if Argyle are relegated again, fail to be promoted or if club income does not improve.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Plymouth looking for a springboard

Following last season's disappointing relegation to League One after a six year stint in England's second tier of English football, Plymouth Argyle are desperate for a swift return to the Championship.

On the face of it, The Mariners' plight appears to be something of a desperate one. A 23rd place finish last season followed by a disappointing start this term might suggest that this is a club on the slide, and the news of the planned sale of their stadium, Home Park, to property investors will do little to allay these fears. However, the truth may not be quite so bleak, even if the football tips don't offer much solace.

The Plymouth board are hopeful that the sale of the ground will "significantly enhance" their ability to raise the funding for the £50 million proposed stadium development, which they need if it is to be a 2018 World Cup venue. With Plymouth on the official list of potential host cities, the stadium will need to have its capacity increased to create other leisure facilities around the ground, including a 5,000-seater arena and conferencing space.

In terms of experience and motivation, they couldn't wish for a better manager to see them through these trying times. In Peter Reid they have a manager with both Premiership and international pedigree, having previously been in charge at Sunderland, Manchester City and Leeds, as well as coaching the Thai national team.

Although results this season have been disappointing, Reid knows that a league campaign is a marathon, not a sprint. In fact, had Charlton not scored a slightly fortunate last-minute equaliser at the weekend, Plymouth would find themselves safely nestled in mid-table, nicely poised behind the clubs in the play-off positions.

Their squad is certainly strong enough to be eyeing promotion this season with a number internationals plying their trade at the club. Currently on the books are Carl Fletcher of Wales, Kari Arnason of Iceland, Joe Mason of the Republic of Ireland, Onismor Bhasera of Zimbabwe and Rory Fallon - the Kiwi who represented his country at this summer's World Cup.

Fallon's return to fitness following a spell on the sidelines through injury will be great news, and to have him back and partnering in-form striker, Bradley Wright-Phillips, will serve as a much needed boost. The club's position is not hopeless, just look at the Leeds United betting, they were in League One last season and are pushing for the Premier League this season.

Hopefully for Plymouth, the voyage back up the leagues will start this season - preferably with three points against Notts County this weekend.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Not a Loss at Home

Plymouth Argyle 2 - 2 Charlton Athletic

Well it wasn't a loss, especially considering the odds against a win - home game and a win the previous match. But even so it's 2 points lost rather than 1 gained as there's not a lot to be said that hasn't been said before - defence, performance, match fitness, loss of concentration after conceding... the usual. The things that never change. The reason for relegation, the loss of crowds. The Argyle mentality?

Saturday, 9 October 2010

The train now standing on Platform 2

Following on from last year's travel deal with First Great Western, the Supporters' Special Train Fares scheme has been extended.

The "Plymouth Argyle Fans Fare" (which needs to be asked for specifically) is valid for return journeys on High Sped Train journeys for £6.00 in Devon and Cornwall, or £10 from Taunton. Those travelling from Torbay can get a local train for £5.00.

The tickets are only available on FGW HSTs that stop at the following stations:

Southbound Route

Tiverton Parkway
Exeter St Davids
Newton Abbot

Northbound Route
St Erth
St Austell

Gloss or Matt?

3rd round of Johnstone's Paint Trophy draw:

Northern Section

Carlisle United v Crewe Alexandra
Rotherham United v Huddersfield Town
Bury v Accrington Stanley / Stockport County (TBC)
Sheffield Wednesday v Hartlepool United

Southern Section

Swindon Town v Brentford
Plymouth Argyle v Exeter City
Southend United v Charlton Athletic
Wycombe Wanderers v Bristol Rovers

To be played in the week commencing 8th November.

A banana skin or a good draw? Certainly a few years ago it would have been classified as a good local derby draw.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

The Taxman Commeth?

Plymouth Argyle have allegedly denied that HMRC are seeking to issue another winding up order to the club. This revelation comes following the well publicised winding up order at the beginning of the year, meaning a possible two occassions when the club has incurred severe debt to HMRC (or even not paid off the original debt in the first place).

Ever since the first order there have been rumours that the club is on the brink of administration, and the possibility of a second only adds fuel to the fire. The New World order was meant to be a brand new dawn for the club following the careful-careful Stapleton years that kept the club in the black at the expense of the players, but now we're still not seeing investment in football but property development and the World Cup. Back in April 2009 I asked whether the NWO was the right move as change is not always what you'd hope it to be. So far those who were cautious appear to have been proved right.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Progressive Paint

Cheltenham 0 - 2 Plymouth Argyle [JPT]

Blimey, Argyle have progressed through a round of a cup competition. Ignoring the bye in the first round of course. The Greens were on the road to League 2 Cheltenham to book their place in the quarter finals of the southern division of the JPT. Reid had made 6 changes to his league team and thus the performance on the pitch bore a certain sheen with MacLean and Noone netting the ball in each half. But then again surely it's little task to beat a team in lower divisions, but as Argyle, and many other team, have proved before it's not that simple. The other problem is the divorce of thinking between cup and league games, performances seldom cross competitions; Argyle are not 'too big' to lose the JPT neither are they 'too small' not to.

The area quarters will be played week commencing 8th November, with the draw being made this Saturday.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Norman Stanley?

Fletcher: I'm too famous to sit on a jury
Judge: Have you any convictions or mental health problems?
Fletcher: Yes Sir, I play for Plymouth Argyle

Who'd have Thought it?

Plymouth Argyle 0 - 1 Hartlepool United

Well who would have guessed that? A win away and an immediate loss at home. Where have we seen all this before? Hmm? As much as Tuesday was history repeating over years, today was history repeating over weeks. Fortress Home Park, where we can rely on Argyle to pick up points amid an intimidating atmosphere have long gone, and so have the crowds, passion and excitement. Even if there were only 70 opposition fans, there was a gate of around 7,000 hardy people who probably once again turned up on the back of a win with a little optimism that had been extinguished in familiar style. How many will return after their second let down in as many weeks?

The sign on the Devonport End we all should know should now be altered to read: