Pilgrims Regress: The Continuing Suffocation Of Plymouth Argyle

Years of trade union negotiating experience taught me the value of reading things very carefully. The English language’s propensity for nuance is part of both its charm and its devil.  But however carefully I read what has been written about and said by the main protagonists in Plymouth Argyle’s five-months in administration, I can’t escape the feeling that the language used has often seemed more misleading and plain wrong than nuanced. Most of the negotiations over Argyle’s exit from administration, for example, would make sense if Brendan Guilfoyle, the “lead” administrator of the club’s parent company, admitted that his objective was to facilitate a handover to Peter Ridsdale, the Pilgrims’ current ‘acting chairman’. The P&A Partnership, one of whose ‘partners’ is Guilfoyle, were appointed as the administrators of ‘The Plymouth Argyle Football Company Limited’ in March by a board of directors for whom Ridsdale had been working as a ‘consultant’ for three months. And Guilfoyle’s “preferred bidder” has guaranteed Ridsdale a future role at Argyle. By themselves, these are not proof that the administration process has been engineered with Ridsdale in mind, and it is, in all seriousness, difficult to believe that it has been. But many of the administrators’ actions have little other transparent justification and, at their extremes, they have re-defined parts of the English language – most notably the words “proof”, “preferred”, “agreed”, “deadline” and “influence.” Guilfoyle was...

Read More