Tag: Plymouth Argyle

Pilgrim’s Progress: Plymouth’s Run To The FA Cup Semi-Finals, 30 Years On

This weekend, Sheffield United will take to the pitch at Wembley for their FA Cup semi-final against Hull City as representatives of the third tier of English football. It’s uncommon but not completely unheard of for clubs from this level to get this far in the competition, although none has ever made the final itself, with the last club to get this far being Wycombe Wanderers, in 2001. This weekend, however, marks the thirtieth anniversary of a run to the semi-finals of the FA Cup by Plymouth Argyle, a run that the club hadn’t enjoyed before and hasn’t repeated since. Manager John Hore’s team was built around a core made of a combination of experienced professionals and younger players. Striker Tommy Tynan was the talisman. Tynan had signed for Plymouth in 1983 after six successful years with Newport County, for whom he had scored sixty-six goals in one hundred and eighty-three matches over the course of the previous five years, and who he had taken as far as a narrow defeat against the East German club Carl Jeiss Zena in the quarter-finals of the European Cup Winners Cup in 1981. But this wasn’t all that this team had to offer. In Geoff Crudgington, a former England schoolboys international, Hore had a dependable goalkeeper who would go on to play more than three hundred matches for the club, whilst Dave...

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Plymouth Argyle: James Brent – Licensed To… Do As He Wishes

Whatever Plymouth Argyle chairman and owner James Brent is, and opinions vary passionately among Pilgrims fans on that, he is no “football man.” Nor is he a “philanthropist,” “benefactor” or “particularly nice.” Brent regularly admits to mistakes in his running of the League Two club. So regularly that it was a surprise that BBC Radio Devon’s Gordon Sparks was surprised when Brent told him last month that “every day of the week I make a huge number of errors.” Just as well then that last July Brent appointed Yeovil Town ex-chief executive and, ulp, Wishbone Ash fan Martyn Starnes. Financially, though, Plymouth ought to be in knowledgeable hands with Brent the businessman, who became a merchant banker (no jokes) straight from school, and became “global head of real estate and lodging” at financial services multi-national Citigroup in 2000. Brent’s desire “to do something entrepreneurial” manifested itself in 2008 in his own business, Akkeron Group, which, he told the Financial News website in June 2011, he formed to “establish three real estate-anchored operating businesses” covering “hotels in the British Isles; urban regeneration in the south and southwest UK; and large-scale agriculture in emerging markets.” In 2009, he became Plymouth City Development Company chairman, a short-lived stewardship thanks, partly, to the new Coalition government’s distaste for such “quangos” – its closure was announced in August 2010. Brent’s role, however, established his...

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Plymouth Argyle Remain A Work In Progress

With many English and Scottish League titles already won or all-but-won, tight season-finishes have had to be sought elsewhere, such as the bottom of League Two. Wimbledon took only nine years to get back their Football League place but it might only take them two to lose it again. Barnet are attracting worldwide attention because of the bespectacled Dutchman who got them the snookers they needed to climb the table. Accrington, York, Aldershot and Torquay face possible returns to (shameless plug alert) the pages of the Non-League Paper. But Plymouth Argyle’s plight might be the saddest. Relegation from the Football League isn’t the one-way ticket it once was. All the aforementioned teams have returned. And although a ghastly seven months in administration, ending in October 2011, meant Argyle’s return to football normality was always going to take time, they summoned enough spirit to finish 21st last season. And ex-Argyle ‘consultant’ Peter Ridsdale “believed the team would stay up from the moment I appointed Carl (Fletcher, player/boss last season).” So how could prospects for 2012/13 be anything but bright? OK… rhetorical question. There were, nonetheless, genuine reasons for optimism. Argyle were bought out of administration by prominent local businessman James Brent. What he admitted lacking in football knowledge, he appeared to make up for in business acumen. And he recognised the need to entrust football progress to football people. This,...

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Plymouth Argyle And The Devil They Know

It looks as if the battle to avoid relegation from League Two is going to go to the wire. With eleven games of the season still to play, just six points separate Dagenham & Redbridge in sixteenth place in the table at Wimbledon, who sit at its foot, and in such a tense environment it could be argued that every single iota that could assist a club in avoiding the drop into the Blue Square Bet Premier – a division which is, let us not forget, considerably more difficult to escape from in an upwardly direction than it is to fall into in the first place, as a succession of former Football League clubs have found over the years – could be critical in preserving that all-important status amongst the “elite” – for the want of a better word – ninety-two clubs of English footbal. With this in mind, it is tempting to think that the newspaper reports linking Plymouth Argyle, who currently occupy one of these relegation places, to Ken Bates is little more than mischievous journalism. Plymouth Argyle Football Club has been through the mill over the last few seasons, collapsing from a place in the Championship into a lengthy administration which saw supporters protesting against not only the preferred bidder for the club at that time, Kevin Heaney (who was at the time of this a...

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New Year Tears As Carl Fletcher Leaves Plymouth Argyle

There was a certain inevitability about the departure of manager Carl Fletcher from League Two strugglers Plymouth Argyle. With only one win in the league since the twentieth of October and his team now just two points above the relegation places at the foot of the table, a defeat away to one of the few sides in the division still below them, Bristol Rovers, was always going to be likely to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for the Argyle owner James Brent, but there is still a hint of sadness about the first managerial departure of 2013. Fletcher himself showed great courage in giving an interview with the BBC soon after yesterday’s loss which is difficult for even the viewer to watch, and his departure from Home Park demonstrates the extent to which modern football is a game which has little truck with sentiment. When Fletcher took the job sixteen months ago, there were serious questions to be asked about the ongoing existence of the club. Having only just exited administration after having been in it for some considerable time already, Fletcher’s job last season was an uphill battle, to say the least. He eventually steered the club to twenty-first place in the League One table, two points above the relegation zone, but it was clear that such a close club with losing the club’s Football...

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