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Day: March 2, 2011

Plymouth Argyle Are Dying, And Nobody Seems To Care.

In this morning’s edition of The Guardian, the unsurpassable David Conn brought the wider world of football up to date with the latest situation from Plymouth Argyle, a club that have featured on the pages of this website several times over the last few months. The decline of Plymouth has been a curious one to watch from the sidelines. There has been no definitive moment of crisis, and there has been no mental image upon which we can hang upon the story. When Middlesbrough were placed into liquidation in 1986, the locked gates at Ayresome Park were a shocking visual metaphor for the state of the club at that time. As quietly as a mouse, it feels as if Plymouth Argyle are being allowed to slip away. Perhaps, though, that image is now with us. It’s not a full colour, high-resolution image taken with a digital camera, but a faded, black and white photograph. It was taken on New Years Day 1923, and features a small group of Plymouth supporters releasing a “lucky balloon” prior to an FA Cup match against Notts County. Somewhere within this pictures lies some fundamental truth about our lives as football supporters. It’s irrational, arguably superstitious, but the faces of the supporters betray a wry sense of humour at what they’re doing. It also reminds us of the continuity and heritage of what is...

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Match Of The Midweek: Everton 0-1 Reading

For all of the surprises that this season’s FA Cup competition has provided, the quarter-final draw has a wearyingly familiar look to it. Unless Leyton Orient can cause one of the greatest FA Cup shocks of all time at The Emirates Stadium tonight, seven of the clubs left in the last eight of this year’s competition will be from the Premier League, including each of the current top four. Normal service, we may reasonably assume, has been restored and the divvying up of the League and Cup between an exalted trio of clubs remains well and truly on course. The tournament may yet have a sting in its tail – Arsenal found out last Sunday that cup competitions can retain their capacity to surprise and bewilder – but it seems likely that there will be some very familiar faces at Wembley in May. And yet… Here are Reading. A mid-table Championship club, and now the only non-Premier League competition with both feet in the quarter-finals of this year’s FA Cup. They’re six points but five places from a play-off spot in the league, but last night they summoned the energy to seize the opportunity of a midweek trip to Merseyside and a win against Everton that propels them to a position in which they are now one just one match from a Wembley semi-final. It’s true that things aren’t...

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