Tag: Plymouth Argyle

Pilgrim’s Regress, Part Two: Five Minutes With Sparks

What better way to continue a mini-series of articles on Plymouth Argyle than to miss a deadline. Today’s words of distinctly finite wisdom from the South-West were actually spoken four days ago and published the day before the day before yesterday. So I’m late already. It must be too much exposure to the Pilgrims’ takeover trauma. Plymouth Argyle’s lead administrator Brendan Guilfoyle of the P&A Partnership has never shied away from his publicity responsibilities (and that doesn’t always mean self-publicity). He has often been the antithesis of the “whatever you say, say nothing” school of shifty football financiers (list too long to reproduce here), which caused some consternation when he revealed to supporters in June that lawyers told him to lie about Kevin Heaney’s involvement. And BBC Radio Devon’s Gordon Sparks, a journalist popularly renowned for his staunch support of Argyle, has never shied away from asking the sort of questions of Guilfoyle that frustrated Pilgrims’ fans among his listeners have likely been shouting at the radio. He also seldom shies away from sharing their incredulity at the answers. Wednesday’s interview was headlined “Brendan Guilfoyle says takeover deal is close”, the latest in a series of interviews which included one on June 22nd headlined “Plymouth close to sale – Guilfoyle,” – a sadly all-too-accurate barometer of the progress the Pilgrims’ administrator has made over the last two months or...

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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...

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The Continuing Take-Over Woes Of Plymouth Argyle

One takeover has happened. One is due to happen by the end of the month. One is on-and-on-going. And one might not now happen at all. But however far down the takeover line Plymouth Argyle, Stockport County and Port Vale are – and even Rangers, who have nominally crossed it – none will be able to file their 2011/12 preparations under ‘ideal.’ Later this week, we’ll be looking at how the moral high ground is proving so elusive to all sides in the Port Vale affair. Next week, we’ll be looking at “Scottish entrepreneur” Craig Whyte’s hotly-contested Rangers takeover (more hotly-contested than the SPL title, some Rangers fans might think) and this June’s potential Stockport County takeover, after last June’s takeover failed to halt the Hatters slide into non-league football. But first, Mark Murphy has episode 95 – or is it 96? – of Plymouth’s saga. Plymouth has proved something of a “told you so” for some of us, as Peter Ridsdale appears on the brink of taking over the club, if not the ground or the adjoining land, which will remain in the hands of the “preferred bidder” for Argyle who are… erm… well, not even the administrator who “preferred” them seems to know, even though his latest target date for a sale is July 4th. And if you are wondering how the “lead” administrator, Brendan Guilfoyle of...

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Peter Ridsdale Reluctantly Takes Over At Plymouth

This is not a transaction that I sought or contemplated but, if it is the only route to guarantee a future for Plymouth Argyle Football Club, it is a route that I am prepared to take. After seven months of claiming that he was a mere consultant to Plymouth Argyle Football Club, of claiming that he was talking to (you guessed it) anonymous wealthy businessmen that were interested in pouring money into a League One (now League Two) club, then, a property company has been announced as the preferred bidder for the assets of the administration-struck Plymouth Argyle and that they, of all of the 6.2 billion people on this planet that they could have considered in such circumstances, have given the opportunity and, by all accounts, the funding to Peter Ridsdale to take over the football aspect of the business on their behalf. In January of 2010, on this very site, Mark Murphy wrote that, “Ridsdale had, of course, personified everything that was wrong with the football boom which straddled the millennia on the back of various club share flotations and exponentially increasing broadcast deals”. This is a man whose previous involvement at three different clubs – Leeds United, Barnsley and Cardiff City – saw all three clubs tottering on the brink of insolvency (although, in the interests of fairness, there have been plenty that have said that...

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Football’s Values: Unethical, Dishonourable or Ill-Advised?

Currently appearing in the high court are an ex-Pompey director, past owner and recent manager on various charges of tax-evasion. Charged with fraud and unfair trading practices at  court an ex-Cardiff City director and Plymouth chairman, whilst at Wrexham a consortium containing a solicitor debarred on eighteen counts attempts a take over. That’s just so far this month. Not to mention the shenanigans at Port Vale and Plymouth reported by m’colleagues elsewhere on this site. The values demonstrated by the West Ham trio of Gold, Sullivan and Brady with their ‘tactful and understanding’ management style also made interesting reading this week. One comment on Phil McNulty’s blog after the insensitive manner of the sacking of Avram Grant by this conglomerate shows the esteem in which they are held. It suggests that Sullivan’s ‘abuse of the players … is typical and it won’t be long before he gets stuck into the fans who, in his mind, never appreciate his largesse and mastery of the football business.’ I gather fans at Birmingham (what IS going on there?) nurture the same level of affection for their ex-owners. That the largesse so described is derived from the porn industry is a matter often used to deride any team they are involved with and often seems more of a joke than a moral issue. Meanwhile at Pompey in recent times we have had...

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