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Plymouth Argyle
Plymouth Argyle FC.svg
Full name Plymouth Argyle Football Club
Nickname(s) The Pilgrims, Argyle,
The Greens, Green Army.
Founded 1886 as Argyle F.C.
Ground Home Park
(Capacity: 19,500[1])
Chairman England Sir Roy Gardner
Manager England Paul Mariner
League The Championship
2008–09 The Championship, 21st
Home colours
Away colours
Current season

Plymouth Argyle Football Club (pronounced /ˈplɪməθ ˈɑrɡaɪl/), commonly known as Argyle, or by their nickname, The Pilgrims, are an English professional football club based in Central Park, Plymouth. They play in the Football League Championship, the second division of the English football league system, having joined the Football League in 1920. Since becoming professional in 1903 the club has won six Football League titles, one Southern League title and one Western League title, with their most recent success coming in 2004 when they were crowned Second Division champions. The 2009–10 season is the club's 41st in the second tier of English football.

The club takes its nickname from an English religious group that left Plymouth for the New World in 1620. The club crest features the Mayflower, the London-based ship, which carried the pilgrims to Massachusetts. Former League club Boston United are also known as the Pilgrims and feature the Mayflower on its badge; Boston was the starting point on the Pilgrims journey. Plymouth Argyle were the only club to play in a principally green home strip until 2004 when Yeovil Town gained promotion to the Football League. The city of Plymouth is currently the largest in England never to have hosted top-flight football.

They are the most southern and western League club in Britain.




Foundation, formation and the early years

Pilgrim Pete.ogv
Pilgrim Pete, club mascot, performs traditional comedic trip in front of the away fans

The club was founded in 1886 as Argyle Football Club, the first match taking place on 16 October 1886 against Caxton, a team from Cornwall and saw the Pilgrims lose 2 - 0. Later that week Argyle won for the first time - beating Dunheved College (now Launceston College) in Launceston (where many of the club's first members had been educated) 2 - 1.[2] They played several friendlies against Plymouth United, but poor performances on the pitch led to the club going out of existence in 1894 before being resurrected in 1897 as one part of a general sports club, the Argyle Athletic Club.[3] In 1898, Argyle F.C. produced its first rulebook. The club's ground was given as Marsh Mills, an area on the edge of the city of Plymouth, which still hosts sports.

Much speculation surrounds the origin of the name Argyle. One explanation is that they were named after the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, an army regiment with a strong football side of its own. Another theory is given the respective geographical placements - suggests the name comes either from the nearby public house, The Argyle Tavern, where the founder members may have met, or the local street named Argyle Terrace.[4]

The club adopted its current name when it became fully professional in 1903 joining the Southern League, under the management of Bob Jack. Argyle's first professional game was on 1 September 1903[5] against West Ham United resulting in a 2 - 0 win for Argyle with the first goal being scored by Jack Peddie. Their first home game as a fully professional club was on 5 September 1903 when they beat Northampton Town 2 - 0 in front of a crowd of 4,438. Argyle won the Southern League in 1913, then in 1920 entered the Football League Third Division as a founder member, where they finished 11th in their first season.

In the summer of 1924, a Plymouth Argyle team visited South America to play some exhibition football in Uruguay andArgentina. Argyle thrashed Uruguay 4 - 0 in their first game (Uruguay went on to win the first ever World Cup just six years later) before pulling off another shock by beating Argentina 1 - 0. They then held Argentinean giants Boca Juniors to a credible 1 - 1 draw. Moses Russell captained the side and played in all nine matches. Russell's style of play caught the attention of the Argentine press; at the end of the tour 'The Standard of Buenos Aires' commented:

"The visit of Plymouth Argyle will be best remembered by the outstanding personality and genius of Moses Russell. His effective style, precise judgement, accurate and timely clearances, powerful kicking and no less useful work with his of the most wonderful backs and one of the brainiest players ever seen on the football field."

In the match against Boca Juniors on 9 July 1924, the Boca Juniors supporters invaded the pitch after their team had scored the opening goal and carried all eleven home players shoulder high around the stadium. After a half hour delay, the referee re-started the match, but a further invasion was sparked when the referee awarded a penalty against the home side. When the match was again re-started, the Argyle players had agreed that Patsy Corcoran would take the spot-kick and miss, to prevent another pitch invasion. However, the ultra-competitive Russell was not prepared to accept this, and just before Corcoran was about to take the penalty he was pushed aside by Russell who took it himself and scored. This prompted a further pitch invasion by the Boca fans and this time the match was abandoned.

Back in England, uniquely, between 1921–22 and 1926–27, Argyle finished second in the Third Division South six seasons in a row, thereby missing promotion. Argyle eventually won promotion to Football League Division Two in 1929-30, when they topped the Third Division South, with attendances that season regularly reaching 20,000. Manager Bob Jack resigned in 1937, having spent a grand total of 27 years in charge of the Pilgrims.

The 1950s

After the Second World War Argyle's 20 year stay in Division Two came to an end in 1950 - despite the efforts of inspirational captain Jack Chisholm. However, they were back in Division Two before long, after winning the Third Division South in 1952. The closest they ever came to playing in the Football League First Division (top tier) was in 1952-53, when they reached fourth place in the Football League Second Division, their highest finish to date. In the 1954-1955 season floodlights arrived at Home Park, but in 1956 Argyle went down again. The Pilgrim's reputation as a 'yo-yo club' continued after they won Division Three - by now a national league - in 1959.

The 1960s

The 1960s started with one of the most bizarre events in Argyle's history. It came in the spring of 1963, when they went on a mini-tour of Poland - the Pilgrims were invited to play a game as a warm-up to an international cycle race. Amazingly, 100,000 saw Argyle that day - the biggest crowd ever to attend a Plymouth match.

In 1965 Argyle reached the Football League Cup semi-final, as a 2nd division team, for the first time in their history, but lost to Leicester City.

But the decade ended disappointingly as Argyle returned to Division Three after relegation in 1968.

The 1970s - Pelé Comes to Plymouth

In March 1973 a memorable moment in Argyle's history was witnessed by 37,639 people at Home Park. Argyle played a friendly match against Brazilian giants Santos FC, who at the time were one of the best teams in the world. That day Santos also had arguably the best footballer of all time in their starting line-up - Pelé. However, Argyle, then a Third Division side, shocked the world with a 3 - 2 win. The Greens were actually 3 - 0 up at one stage, but a penalty scored at the Barn Park End by Pelé helped a Santos fightback, but they were still defeated. There was a huge pitch invasion at the final whistle after a memorable win for The Pilgrims.

In 1974 - with future England striker and current manager Paul Mariner now playing for them - Argyle again reached the League Cup semi-final, this time as a Third Division side. Argyle drew the first leg against Manchester City 1 - 1, but lost the Maine Road encounter 2 - 0.

After spending six years in Division Three, Argyle finally returned to Division Two in 1974-75, under the management of Tony Waiters. This was mainly thanks to strike partners Paul Mariner and Billy Rafferty, who scored a very impressive 46 goals between them.

However, they were back down again in 1977. Although the decade did end on a high note - in 1978-79 Kevin Hodges made his Argyle debut, and he went on to play 620 games for the club - more than anyone else.

1984 Cup run

In 1984 Plymouth reached the FA Cup semi-final despite being in the Third Division. After a successful cup run in which they beat West Bromwich Albion, a top division team at the time (1 - 0 courtesy of a Tommy Tynan goal after 58 minutes), and Derby County (the first game ended 0 - 0, but Argyle won the replay 0 - 1 at the Baseball Ground), they lost 1 - 0 to Watford in the semi-final at Villa Park courtesy of a George Riley goal. However, manager John Hore was sacked the following campaign and was replaced by Dave Smith.

In 2007, Argyle got to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, but lost 1 - 0 to Watford at Home Park. In the build up to this game, many pundits and fans relived the semi-final the two teams played 23 years ago.

Success Under Smith

In 1985-86, Smith's first full season in charge, Argyle finished as runners-up in Division Three, resulting in promotion. The following season, despite being a newly-promoted team, Argyle finished a respectable 7th place in Division Two, thereby only just missing the division's new play-off zone and the chance to move to the First Division (now the Premier League). In 1988 Smith surprisingly left to take charge of Dundee United, making way for David Kemp to become manager.

The 1990s - Ups and Downs

In the 1990s a new face took over the club: Businessman Dan McCauley became chairman, and his first major decision was to sack Dave Kemp and appoint England's record cap holder Peter Shilton as player-manager in the 1991-92 season. But Shilton was unable to prevent relegation as Argyle finished 22nd in Division Two.

Ahead of the 1992-93 season, English football had a revamp. The First Division (top tier) became the Premiership, Division Two (2nd tier) became Division One, Division Three (3rd tier) was now Division Two and so on. As a result Argyle were still in Division Two, but it was now the third tier instead of the second.

In 1992-93 Argyle finished in mid-table in the third tier, but Peter Shilton's side finished 3rd the following campaign (as a result of playing some excellent football), thereby qualifying for the play-offs. But Argyle were defeated in the semi-final by Burnley, which saw the start of a fierce rivalry between the two clubs. The Pilgrims suffered even more disappointment in 1994-95 as Shilton parted company with the club, and they were eventually relegated to Division Three (4th tier) for the first time in their history. Player Steve McCall became the club's manager on a short-term deal after Shilton's departure, but at the end of the season his contract was not renewed and Neil Warnock stepped in as his successor.

Up, then down again

Warnock took Plymouth to Division Three play-off glory in his first season as manager, with the semi-final being a memorable affair. Argyle played Colchester United and were 1 - 0 down from the 1st leg, but won 3 - 1 at Home Park in the 2nd, meaning the Pilgrims were going to Wembley for the first time in their history. A header from Ronnie Mauge on 65 minutes gave Argyle a 1 - 0 win over Darlington at the national team's stadium.

But Warnock was sacked within a year as the club narrowly avoided being relegated back to the basement division. They went down a year later under Warnock's successor Mick Jones, and Jones's successor Kevin Hodges (the club's record appearance holder) lasted three years before a failure to attain promotion (or even a play off place) cost him his job. At this point Argyle were in danger of going bust, and it was the lowest point in their history. But then came Paul Sturrock...

The Sturrock revolution

The appointment of Paul Sturrock as manager in November 2000 marked a turning point in Argyle's history. He saved the club from relegation out of the Football League (they were 4th from bottom when he became manager), and finished 12th in his first season.

The following campaign proved to be the most successful in the club's history, as they went on to win the Division 3 title. Although, the season did not start well for the Greens after defeats against Shrewsbury Town (0 - 1), Watford (0 - 1, League Cup) and Rochdale (1 - 2). But Argyle's first win of 2001/02 came in style, as they came from 2 - 0 down to win 3 - 2 at Rushden & Diamonds. Argyle were then unbeaten in the league for another 19 games before losing 2 -1 at Scunthorpe United. On 17 November Plymouth faced non-league Whitby Town in the FA Cup 1st round and were held to a 1 - 1 draw, and only just beat them 3 - 2 in the replay at Home Park. Nonetheless, their excellent league form continued, and promotion was sealed with 2 games to spare as Argyle won 1 - 4 at Darlington. On the last day of the season Argyle defeated Cheltenham Town 2 - 0 to finish the season with a club and league record of 102 points to clinch the Division Three title. It also saw goalkeeper Romain Larrieu (and the team) gain a club record 28 'clean sheets' that season.

In 2002/03 They narrowly missed out on the Division Two play off, finishing two places outside it in 8th. That season started well for them, but some disappointing results against several teams near the bottom of the table saw them finish 26 points off 6th place. Plymouth's best result saw them hammer Peterborough United 6 - 1 in March.

Argyle were one of the favourites to win the Division Two title ahead of the 2003/04 season, and they proved everyone right as they earned their 2nd promotion in 3 years. In the early stages of the campaign Argyle were hanging around the mid-table spots, and things weren't looking very good for the Green Army. But a rampant run in October saw the Pilgrims leapfrog everyone and climb into 1st place. They thumped Tranmere Rovers 6 - 0 at home before a 4 - 0 win against local rivals Bristol City in the LDV Vans Trophy. Sturrock's starlets then won 5 - 1 at fellow high-flyers Port Vale, and a 3 - 1 win at Sheffield Wednesday put the Greens top. On 3 January, Argyle picked up their joint record win after beating Chesterfield 7 - 0, scoring the fastest 5 goals in English football (after just 17 minutes). But Sturrock surprisingly moved to Southampton in March 2004, meaning Kevin Summerfield briefly took charge of the club, but Bobby Williamson was appointed manager soon after. Promotion as Division Two champions was perhaps uniquely, in Plymouth's first game under the management Williamson - a 2 - 0 defeat of Queens Park Rangers in which Mickey Evans and David Friio both scored in the final 9 minutes of the game.

Plymouth in the Championship

Argyle's first game in the newly re-branded 'Championship' (2nd tier) saw them draw 0 - 0 at home to Millwall, who were FA Cup finalists the season before. Argyle's strong start continued, and they sat top of the table - their highest ever position - briefly after a 1 - 0 win at local rivals Cardiff City. But their impressive run failed to continue as a long string of defeats followed, although they did impress with a 2 - 0 win at Wigan Athletic (who eventually finished 2nd and won promotion) and a 3 - 0 success over Sheffield United. Plymouth's biggest win of 2004-05 resulted in a 5 - 1 home win against Brighton in March. The club secured survival 5 games before the end of the season with a 3 - 0 win away to Nottingham Forest, and eventually finished 17th, 5 places above the drop zone.

The 2005-06 season started with a superb 1 - 2 win at Reading (who went on to win the league with 106 points, and only lost 2 games) as striker Nick Chadwick scored in the dying moments of the game. But after that Argyle struggled, and BobbyWilliamson was sacked as manager. His assistant, Jocky Scott, became caretaker manager, but his reign started with a 2 - 0 loss at Norwich City, before gaining a 1 - 1 draw at Home Park against fellow relegation rivals Crewe Alexandra. The next game saw the Pilgrims earn only their 2nd win of the season with a 1 - 0 win over rivals Burnley, with veteran striker Mickey Evans scoring a 46th minute goal. Scott's final game in charge resulted in a 2 - 1 loss at League Two side Barnet in the 2nd round of the Carling Cup. Tony Pulis was appointed manager just a few days later, and his first game in charge was a 0 - 0 draw away at Southampton - Argyle's first point at St. Mary's for 28 years. That was followed by a 2 - 0 defeat at Sheffield United, who went on to earn promotion to the Premier League that season, and that result saw the Pilgrims slip into the relegation zone. But the turning point in Argyle's season was on 1 October and was a 2 - 1 win at home to Pulis's former club Stoke City, as Hungarian international Akos Buzsaky scored a 77th minute winner. On December 17, Nick Chadwick scored Argyle's fastest ever goal after 11 seconds against Crystal Palace, and Tony Capaldi scored another in the last few second of the game to make it 2 - 0. Many believe that these two consecutive goals are the most widely separated in any football match. But Pulis gained a reputation for being a boring manager, as most of Argyle's games ended in scoreless draws or narrow wins. Argyle's biggest win of the season was a 3 - 1 success at home to Coventry City, and that game also saw on-loan striker Vincent Pericard score a hat trick on his full debut. Some memorable results for the Green Army that season was the 2 - 0 win against high-flying Wolverhampton Wanderers and a 0 - 0 draw at Leeds United, who went on to reach the play-off final at the Millennium Stadium but lost 3 - 0 to Watford

The final game of the campaign was also the last legendary striker Mickey Evans would play for Argyle, in a home game against Ipswich Town. With the score at 1 - 1, Evans scored with a trademark header on 57 minutes to give Argyle a win and to give him the perfect send off. In total, Evans played 432 times for his home town club (in 2 spells) scoring 81 goals. The Pilgrims finished 14th that season, in the end well clear of the relegation zone.

However, Pulis was on his way out of the exit door very soon, returning to Stoke to make way for Ian Holloway to join the club.

In Summer 2006, in one of Holloway's first games in charge of the club, Argyle played a pre-season friendly against nine-time European champions Real Madrid in Austria, as both clubs were training in the country at the time. Argyle, captained by Hasney Aljofree, but up a brave fight and only lost 1 - 0, courtesy of a 75th minute penalty converted by Brazilian international Julio Baptista. Madrid were managed by the current England manager Fabio Capello and they had Ivan Helguera, Guti, Antonio Cassano, Raul Bravo, Thomas Gravesen and Javier Portillo in their starting line-up. The official Plymouth Argyle website said that it was 'a proud day for anyone with green in their heart'.

In late 2006, Viz magazine published a one-off comic strip, "The Pirates of Plymouth Argyle", depicting Plymouth Argyle as a shipload of 18th-century pirates. Several of the characters in this strip were given the names of then-current players on the real Plymouth Argyle team.

Ian Holloway's first competitive game in charge was a 1 - 1 draw at home to Wolves, with striker Barry Hayles scoring a debut goal. An impressive and memorable win at Sunderland soon followed, as the Green Army travelled the longest distance to an away game that season, and despite going 1 - 0 down after just 30 seconds, Nick Chadwick scored 9 minutes from time to give the Pilgrims a 2 - 3 win. On September 12, local rivals Cardiff City visited Home Park, and despite being 3 - 0 down after 49 minutes, Argyle came back to draw 3 - 3. Plymouth's strong start to the 2006-07 Championship campaign continued, and they were soon looking capable of qualifying for the play off. The January transfer window saw considerable activity in the transfer market with the arrival of Hungarians Krisztián Timár and Péter Halmosi (initially on loan but both signed permanently in May 2007 as part of an option to buy arrangement), the signing of Rory Fallon from Swansea City, and Kevin Gallen and Scott Sinclair on loan from QPR and Chelsea respectively. But their form dipped in the second half of the season - after they finished February in 12th place, a wide gap opened up between them and the teams in the top six, making their promotion bid more difficult than it had appeared earlier in the season. Despite this disappointment, the team made significantly better progress than in recent seasons in the FA Cup, reaching the quarter-finals. They beat league 2 Peterborough United at the 2nd attempt in the 3rd round, then a superb solo-goal from on-loan youngster Scott Sinclair (which was officially voted 'goal of the round') helped them to a 2 - 0 win at Barnet in the 4th round. They beat Championship league leaders Derby County 2 - 0 in the next, but in the quarter finals, they were drawn at home to Premier League strugglers Watford and lost out to a Hameur Bouazza strike against the run of play. After a run of five consecutive wins, Argyle finished the 2006-07 in 11th place, their highest league finish for 20 years.

Plymouth's players celebrate a goal in the 1 - 2 win at Crystal Palace in 2008, which was scored by Paul Gallagher

Before the start of the 2007-08 season, manager Ian Holloway said that Plymouth were capable of earning promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their history, and they made a good start to the new season with a 2 - 3 win at Hull City (who actully went on to win the play-offs). The club's good start continued as they stayed near the play off places for the first few months. However, on 21 November 2007 Ian Holloway controversially resigned to take charge of Leicester City.

Sturrock Returns

On 27 November 2007 Paul Sturrock resigned from Swindon Town to rejoin Plymouth Argyle. His first game back resulted in a 3 - 0 win against Scunthorpe United.

On 9 February, the Green Army went to the Walkers Stadium to face Holloway's Leicester (the game was also live on Sky Sports). To add some more 'spice' to the game, Argyle chairman Paul Stapleton accused Holloway of luring some of the club's star players away, and both sets of fans wore Holloway t-shirts, with 'Holloway is a liar' and other slogans written on some of the Argyle fans' shirts. Anti-Holloway chants could be heard from the away end constantly, and a goal from Peter Halmosi on 34 minutes gave the Pilgrims a memorable 0 - 1 win. Leicester were eventually relegated on the final day of the season, with Holloway being sacked.

That victory was followed with a good run of form for Argyle, including a 1 - 2 win away at local rivals Bristol City, with Rory Fallon scoring twice. But Argyle only won 1 of their final 7 games, meaning that they missed out on the play-offs but finished 10th - continuing the club's unprecedented record of improving their league position every season since the turn of the millennium.[6] In the FA Cup 2007-08, despite losing 2 - 1 at Fratton Park in the 4th round, Argyle had the honour of being the only team to score against Portsmouth, the eventual winners.

With many of the team's key players leaving Home Park during 2007-08, the following season promised to be a challenging one for the club. The Pilgrims began the season with a string of poor results, but a 2 - 1 win at Watford in mid-September sparked a good run of form for Argyle as Sturrock's new side began to come together. The Scottish manager celebrated his 100th win in charge of the club (from 2 spells) with a 4 - 0 thrashing of former club Sheffield Wednesday at Home Park. It was starting to look as if Argyle would put in another challenge for the play-offs, but consistency proved to be a problem. A 0 - 0 draw at struggling Southampton started an awful run for Argyle, and they finished 2008 in 15th place - now 8 points adrift of the play offs. On 3 January 2009, Argyle travelled to the recently built Emirates Stadium to play against Premiership giants Arsenal in the FA Cup 3rd round. Arsenal scored 2 quick goals after the break, but Club (now team) captain Karl Duguid scored after 53 minutes to pull one back for the Greens. But Gunners striker Robin Van Persie scored his second of the game 5 minutes from time to give Arsenal a 3 - 1 win, although it was still a memorable day out for the Green Army. Argyle's league form then plummeted throughout the early stages of the new year, and they had to wait 9 league games into 2009 to get their first win of the year - and it was an extremely important one as well, as it was a 1 - 0 success at eventual league winners Wolves. On loan Blackburn Rovers midfielder Paul Gallagher scored the only goal after just 44 seconds with a superb overhead kick. That was followed by a 2 - 1 win at home to Watford, with Gallagher scoring twice. Although Argyle couldn't keep up their revival for long as a run of 3 consecutive defeats put them in serious danger of relegation. But a late goal from defender Gary Sawyer gave them a crucial 1 - 0 win at fellow struggler's Blackpool, and that was followed by a 4 - 0 win against Coventry City (all 4 goals came in the 1st half), which looked to have secured survival. Plymouth then picked up an impressive 1 - 1 draw at Birmingham, who ended up getting promoted, but a 3 - 0 home loss against Doncaster put Argyle right back in danger of relegation. But after a 0 - 0 draw at QPR and Norwich's failure to beat Reading (2 games before the end of the season), Argyle's survival was confirmed. The club finished 21st in the league table, five points and one place clear of the relegation places - Argyle's first season where they didn't improve their league position for eight years.

At a packed press conference on 2 July 2009, Sir Roy Gardner took over the chairman's role with Keith Todd CBE, Yasuaki Kagami and George Synan appointed as board directors.[7]

Argyle scored just 5 minutes into the 2009-10 season, with Krisztian Timar heading home at Crystal Palace, but the match finished 1 - 1. A last minute own goal from Kaspars Gorkšs gave them another 1 - 1 draw at home to QPR in their next game. But Argyle then went on a run of 7 consecutive losses, despite putting in some decent performances. However, their effort was rewarded on 29 September after a 2 - 1 win at newly-promoted Peterborough United, and that was followed with another 2 - 1 success, this time against Scunthorpe United.

Legendary former player Paul Mariner was appointed the club's head coach in late October after assistant manager Kevin Summerfield was sacked. Mariner's first game on the sidelines was at home to one of his other former clubs, Ipswich Town, and resulted in a 1 - 1 draw. That was followed by a shock 0 - 1 win at promotion chasing Middlesbrough, in Gordon Strachan's first game as Boro manager, with Jamie Mackie scoring a 64th minute goal, and a 2 - 1 home win over Doncaster Rovers with goals from on-loan midfielder Alan Judge and Rory Fallon, both getting their 3rd goals of the season.

Sturrock moves upstairs, Mariner takes charge

Paul Sturrock's second stint in charge came to an end on 10 December 2009, when a press conference confirmed he was relieved of his managerial duties and has taken up a 'business-support' role, working alongside Director & Chief Executive Keith Todd. Head Coach Paul Mariner was placed in charge of team affairs. Sturrock's last game in charge was a 1 - 0 defeat at Swansea City on 8th December.

However, Mariner lost his first two games - his first fixture resulted in a 2 - 0 loss at Preston and then Argyle were defeated 1 - 0 at home to Coventry, leaving the Pilgrims bottom of the table and 6 points adrift of safety.

On boxing day Argyle were away at local rivals Cardiff City, and it was the first meeting between the sides at the new Cardiff City Stadium. Cardiff were 4th in the table at the time while Argyle were bottom, but full-back Gary Sawyer scored an 84th minute winner to give the visitors a shock 0 - 1 victory. 2 days later, Argyle thrashed relegation rivals Reading 4 - 1 at Home Park to go 2 points adrift of safety.

The Pilgim's first game of 2010 was at home to Championship league leaders Newcastle in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. The game ended 0 - 0, but Newcastle won 3 - 0 in the replay. Victor Moses found the back of the net 3 days later as Crystal Palace won 0 - 1 at Home Park after a dire Argyle performance.

However, striker Jamie Mackie scored an 82nd minute winner to give Argyle a 1 - 0 victory at home to fellow strugglers Derby in mid-week. Days later, Argyle went 0 - 1 up away at Sheffield Wednesday, another side in relegation danger, but went on to lose 2 - 1. They then undeservedly lost 0 - 1 against 2nd place West Brom, however new loan signing David Stockdale did save a late penalty to restore some pride for Argyle. But Stockdale, on loan from Fulham, was unable to save Shane Long's last-gasp spot kick at the Madejski Stadium, as The Pilgrims lost 2 - 1 at relegation rivals Reading. That result meant Argyle were 8 points off safety.

However, The Pilgrims travelled to face Barnsley in their next game, which proved to be a memorable one for the Green Army. Hugo Roberto Colace gave Barnsley the lead just before half-time, but Argyle responded well in the second period, and on 64 minutes team captain Carl Fletcher equalised with a brilliant strike just inside the box. Ten minutes later Jamie Mackie fired the visitors in front, and with 83 minutes on the clock Rory Fallon scored a spectacular lob from 35 yards out to give Argyle a 1 - 3 win at Oakwell. It was the first time Argyle came from behind to win a game since boxing day 2007, when The Greens beat QPR 2 - 1 at Home Park. It was also the first time they won by two goals or more away from home since 19 February 2008, when Argyle won 0 - 2 at Southampton. Yala Bolasie - making his Argyle debut after a season on loan at Barnet - was given the man of the match award, as his blistering pace turned the game around after he came on as a substitute for Craig Noone on 60 minutes. January signing Damien Johnson scored his first Argyle goal just days later in a 1 - 1 draw at home to Swansea, however it proved to be controversial. With the hosts trailling through Darren Pratley's 46th minute goal, they were rightfully awarded a penalty five minutes from time. Jamie Mackie took it, but it was saved Dorus de Vries, however the referee ordered it be re-taken. Johnson took it this time, but yet again de Vries was equal to it, but thankfully Johnson converted the rebound. In their next game, Craig Noone's 39th minute header cancelled out Kari Arnason's freak own goal seven minutes earlier as The Greens came from behind to get a result for the third game in a row after drawing 1 - 1 with Leicester City.

But the Greens' good run failed to continue after an unlucky 4 - 3 defeat at Sheffield United (Argyle were 3 - 0 down before coming back to 3 - 2, but then went 4 - 2 down before the game finished 4 - 3), a disappointing 1 - 1 draw at home to Preston and a dismal 2 - 0 loss at fellow strugglers QPR.

But on March 17th Argyle picked up a crucial three points with a thrilling 3 - 2 win over local rivals Bristol City. The Greens were 2 - 0 up at half-time through Chris Clark (with his first ever league goal for the club) and Bradley Wright-Phillips (with his first ever goal for the club), but two Nicky Maynard strikes made it 2 - 2. When it looked like Argyle were heading for another draw (or even a defeat), team captain Carl Fletcher struck in the first minute of injury time to give Argyle a sweet 3 - 2 win.


Outside view of the Devonport Stand

The original ground of the professional club at Home Park, was destroyed by German bombers during The Blitz on Plymouth in World War II. Having been rebuilt after the war, Home Park was largely demolished as part of an extensive process of renovation, and the first phase of a new stadium built by Barrs plc was completed in May 2002. The new Devonport End was opened for the 2001 Boxing Day fixture with Torquay United. The other end, the Barn Park End opened on the same day. The Lyndhurst stand reopened on 26 January 2002 for the game against Oxford United. Plans are currently under discussion regarding the completion of the refurbishment of the ground with the replacement of the Mayflower stand. The club is situated in Central Park, very near to the residential area of Peverell. Towards the end of the 2005/06 English Coca-Cola Championship season the club decided to buy the stadium for £2.7 million from Plymouth City Council, releasing the ground from a 125-year lease. This purchase was concluded in December 2006.

In the summer of 2007, Argyle failed to persuade the UK authorities [8] of the case for retaining a standing terrace decided to add 3,500 temporary seats to the Mayflower enclosure [9] This is likely to drop the capacity to just under 20,000 from the previous 20,922 (an exact figure is not yet available) for the 2007/08 season. Argyle chairman Paul Stapleton stated work on a new South Stand at Home Park to finally start in 2010, Although this may soon change as the World cup bid has been announced, so stadium changes may be delayed in preceedings.[10]


The club's traditional rivals are fellow Devon sides Exeter City and Torquay United, Bristol City (sometimes referred to as 'The Turnips'), Bristol Rovers and Portsmouth (the Plymouth-Portsmouth game is known as the Dockyard Derby)[11] The last competitive meeting between Argyle and Exeter was held in 2002 at Home Park in a league game which Argyle won 3 - 0. The rivalry between Argyle and their fellow Devon clubs has been blunted in recent years as Torquay and Exeter have been playing in lower divisions. Welsh sides Cardiff City and Swansea City are also seen as local rivals. A distinct rivalry arose between Argyle and Luton Town after inflammatory comments made by Joe Kinnear who was manager of The Hatters during the 2001-02 promotion season, although this mutual antipathy has now somewhat abated. Similarly, after the departure of Ian Holloway to Leicester City in November 2007 a noticeable mutual dislike arose, culminating in Argyle's 0 - 1 victory at the Walkers Stadium in early February 2008 although this mutual antipathy has now similarly subsided.[12] In the 1990s, Argyle had a rivalry with Burnley as the Clarets beat them in a Division Two (now League One) play-off semi-final in 1994, and relegated them on the last day of the season four years later. However, the rivalry has subsided over the past few years, especially after Burnley's promotion to the Premier League in 2009.


As of 16 March 2010.[13]

Current squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 France GK Romain Larrieu (Club Captain)
2 England MF Karl Duguid (Vice Captain)
4 Wales MF Carl Fletcher (Team Captain)
5 Hungary DF Krisztián Timár
6 Scotland MF Chris Clark
7 Northern Ireland MF Damien Johnson
8 England FW Jamie Mackie
10 England FW Bradley Wright-Phillips
11 Iceland DF Kári Árnason
14 New Zealand FW Rory Fallon
15 England DF Chris Barker
16 Scotland DF David McNamee
17 England MF Craig Noone
No. Position Player
18 England DF Gary Sawyer
20 England MF Luke Summerfield
21 England GK David Stockdale (on loan from Fulham)
22 Benin DF Réda Johnson
23 England DF Richard Eckersley (on loan from Burnley)
24 Austria FW Ashley Barnes
25 Republic of Ireland MF Alan Judge (on loan from Blackburn Rovers)
27 England GK Lloyd Saxton
29 England DF Bondz Ngala (on loan from West Ham)
32 Republic of Ireland FW Joe Mason
33 United States FW Kenny Cooper (on loan from 1860 Munich)
36 Democratic Republic of the Congo MF Yannick Bolasie
TBA Zimbabwe DF Onismor Bhasera

Players out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
3 Scotland MF Jim Paterson (on loan at Aberdeen)
9 Scotland FW Steve MacLean (on loan at Aberdeen)
19 Netherlands DF Marcel Seip (on loan at Sheffield United)
26 Scotland FW Alan Gow (on loan at Hibernian)
No. Position Player
28 England FW George Donnelly (on loan at Stockport County)
30 England MF Simon Walton (on loan at Crewe Alexandra)
31 Togo MF Yoann Folly (on loan at Dagenham & Redbridge)
34 England FW Liam Head (on loan at Tiverton Town)

Retired numbers

12England Club Supporters (The Green Army)


The club's reserve team play in the Combination. The club also entered a team in the South Western League, but withdrew from that competition after one season in 2007.

The reserves' honours include the Southern League Championship in 1922, 1926, 1929, 1934 and its League Cup in 1933, 1934 and 1936; 1934 was the first Southern League Double.[14]

Player of the Year

Year Winner
1966 England Johnny Newman
1967 England Norman Piper
1968 Republic of Ireland Pat Dunne
1969 England David Burnside
1970 England Derek Rickard
1971 England Jim Furnell
1972 Scotland Dave Provan
1973 England Neil Hague
1974 England Ernie Machin
1975 England Paul Mariner
1976 England Paul Mariner
1977 England Neil Ramsbottom
1978 England George Foster
1979 England Fred Binney
1980 England George Foster
1981 England David Kemp
1982 England John Sims
1983 England Gordon Nisbet
1984 England Gordon Staniforth
1985 England Tommy Tynan
1986 England Kevin Hodges
1987 England Tommy Tynan
1988 England Steve Cherry
Year Winner
1989 England Tommy Tynan
1990 England Nicky Marker
1991 England Kenny Brown
1992 Jamaica Dwight Marshall
1993 England Steve McCall
1994 England Steve McCall
1995 England Marc Edworthy
1996 England Mick Heathcote
1997 England Chris Billy
1998 England Martin Barlow
Canada Carlo Corazzin
1999 England Mick Heathcote
2000 England Paul McGregor
2001 Republic of Ireland Wayne O'Sullivan
2002 Republic of Ireland Graham Coughlan
2003 England Paul Wotton
2004 Republic of Ireland Mickey Evans
2005 England Paul Wotton
2006 England David Norris
2007 France Lilian Nalis
2008 Hungary Krisztián Timár
2009 France Romain Larrieu

Noted former players

For details on former players who have a Wikipedia article, see: Category:Plymouth Argyle F.C. players.

Team of the century

For the centenary celebrations, an all time best team of Plymouth Argyle players was chosen by fans of the club.[16]

1 England GK Jim Furnell
2 England DF Gordon Nisbet
3 England DF Jack Chisholm
4 Republic of Ireland DF Graham Coughlan
5 England DF Colin Sullivan
6 England MF Ernie Machin
7 England MF Kevin Hodges
8 England MF Johnny Williams
9 England FW Paul Mariner
10 England FW Tommy Tynan
11 Scotland MF Sammy Black &
England MF Garry Nelson

Manager: Scotland Paul Sturrock

Club officials


  • Chairman: England Sir Roy Gardner
  • Vice Chairman: England Paul Stapleton
  • Board of Directors: England Tony Wrathall, England Robert Dennerly, England Keith Todd CBE, United States George Synan, Japan Yasuaki Kagami
  • Chief Operating Officer: England Tony Campbell
  • Financial Manager: England Ollie Rayner
  • Business Support: Scotland Paul Sturrock
  • President/Ambassador: Japan Yasuhiko Okudera


  • Head Coach: England Paul Mariner
  • Assistant Head Coach: England John Carver
  • First Team Coach: Vacant
  • Goalkeeping Coach: England Geoff Crudgington
  • Chief Scout: Vacant
  • Prozone & Fitness Coach: Australia Scott Russell
  • Head Physio:England Paul Atkinson
  • Physio:England Claire Taylor
  • Youth Team Physio: Vacant
  • Head of Youth Development: England Gordon Bennett
  • Head of Youth Coaching: England Mike Pejic
  • Centre of Excellence Manager: Scotland Allan Evans
  • Youth Development Officer/Youth Scout: England John James
  • Youth Scout: England Peter Distin
  • Kit Manager: England Steve Meds

Managerial history


Plymouth Argyle's list of honours include the following.[17]

Honour Number Years
Football League Second Division Champions 1 2003–04
Football League Third Division Champions 1 1958–59
Football League Third Division Runners-up 2 1974–75, 1985–86
Football League Third Division South Champions 2 1929–30, 1951–52
Football League Third Division South Runners-up 6 1921–22, 1922–23, 1923–24, 1924–25, 1925–26, 1926–27
Football League Two Champions 1 2001–02
Football League Two Play-off Winners 1 1995–96
Southern Football League Champions 1 1912–13
Southern Football League Runners-up 2 1907–08, 1911–12
Western Football League Champions 1 1904–05
Western Football League B Runners-up 1 1906–07
South West Regional League Champions 1 1939–40
Domestic Cups
FA Cup Semi-finalist 1 1983–84
FA Cup Quarter-finalist 1 2006–07
Football League Cup Semi-finalist 2 1964–65, 1973–74


Club records

  • Fastest five goals
    • Argyle defeated Chesterfield 7–0 at Home Park to record their joint biggest win. In the process they also broke the English record for the fastest five goals scored in a professional game - after just 17 minutes. The goalscorers were: Lee Hodges (4 minutes), Tony Capaldi (11 minutes), Nathan Lowndes (12 & 17 minutes) and David Friio (16 minutes). Friio went on to complete his hat-trick, scoring in the 36th and 89th minutes. Football League Second Division, 3 January 2004.



Argyle improved their finishing position in the league every season from 2000-01 until 2007-08. This may be an English record.

The last ten years

Season Tier League League Record FA Cup League Cup Top Goalscorer Attendance
P W D L F A Pts Position Name Goals League Average
1998–99 4 Third Division 46 17 10 19 58 54 61 13th R3 R1 Dwight Marshall 12 5,322
1999–00 4 Third Division 46 16 18 12 55 51 66 12th R4 R1 Paul McGregor 16 5,371
2000–01 4 Third Division 46 15 13 18 54 61 58 12th R1 R1 Ian Stonebridge 12 4,944
2001–02 4 Third Division 46 31 9 6 71 28 102 1st R2 R1 Graham Coughlan, David Friio 11 8,788
2002–03 3 Second Division 46 17 14 15 63 52 65 8th R3 R1 Marino Keith 12 8,980
2003–04 3 Second Division 46 26 12 8 85 41 90 1st R1 R1 David Friio 15 12,654
2004–05 2 Championship 46 14 11 21 52 64 53 17th R3 R1 Paul Wotton 13 16,419
2005–06 2 Championship 46 13 17 16 39 46 56 14th R3 R2 Paul Wotton 9 13,776
2006–07 2 Championship 46 17 16 13 63 62 67 11th QF R1 Barry Hayles 14 13,011
2007–08 2 Championship 46 17 13 16 65 32 64 10th R4 R3 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake 13 13,000
2008–09 2 Championship 46 13 12 21 44 57 51 21st R3 R1 Paul Gallagher 13 11,533

Most appearances

# Name Argyle career Appearances Goals
1 England Hodges, KevinKevin Hodges 1978–1992 620 87
2 Scotland Black, SammySammy Black 1924–1938 491 184
3 Scotland Craig, FredFred Craig 1912–1915
467 5
4 England Williams, JohnnyJohnny Williams 1955–1966 448 55
5= England Hore, JohnnyJohnny Hore 1965–1975 441 17
5= England Jones, PatPat Jones 1947–1958 441 2
7 England Wotton, PaulPaul Wotton 1995–2008 438 63
8 Republic of Ireland Evans, MichaelMichael Evans 1990–1997
432 81
9 England Leslie, JackJack Leslie 1921–1934 401 136
10 Wales Russell, MosesMoses Russell 1914–1915
400 6

Most goals

# Name Argyle career Goals Appearances Goal/game ratio
1 Scotland Black, SammySammy Black 1924–1938 184 491 0.374
2 England Carter, WilfWilf Carter 1957–1964 148 275 0.538
3 England Tynan, TommyTommy Tynan 1983–1985
145 310 0.467
4 England Leslie, JackJack Leslie 1921–1934 136 401 0.339
5 England Tadman, MauriceMaurice Tadman 1947–1955 112 253 0.442
6 England Vidler, JackJack Vidler 1929–1939 103 256 0.402
7 England Burch, FredFred Burch 1906–1915 92 239 0.384
8 England Hodges, KevinKevin Hodges 1978–1992 87 620 0.140
9 England Bowden, RayRay Bowden 1927–1933 85 153 0.555
10= England Dews, GeorgeGeorge Dews 1947–1955 81 271 0.298
10= Republic of Ireland Evans, MichaelMichael Evans 1990–1997
81 432 0.187


The club's current sportswear manufacturer is Adidas, having signed an initial four-year contract in May 2009 to take over from Puma.[18] The club's main sponsor is Ginsters, who signed a new agreement in July 2009 to extend their partnership which began in 2002 until the end of the 2011–12 season.[19]

Shirt sponsorship was not introduced by the club until 1983.[20] Beacon Electrical were the first company to have their name on the shirt of Plymouth Argyle, but it lasted just one season. Ivor Jones Insurance was the next sponsor and their agreement with the club lasted for two seasons. National & Provincial (now merged with Abbey National) were sponsors for the 1986–87 season before the club signed an agreement with the Sunday Independent which would last for five seasons. Rotolok Holdings plc became the club's major sponsor in 1992, which was owned by then Pilgrims chairman Dan McCauley. This lasted for six seasons before the club linked up with local newspaper the Evening Herald. This would last until 2002 when the club accepted a deal put to them by successful local pastry firm Ginsters, which looks set to continue until at least 2012.[21]

Period Sportswear Sponsor
1975–1976 Umbro None
1976–1978 Pilgrim
1978–1980 Bukta
1980–1982 Adidas
1982–1983 Pilgrim
1983–1984 Beacon Electrical
1984–1986 Ivor Jones Insurance
1986–1987 National & Provincial
1987–1990 Umbro Sunday Independent
1990–1992 Ribero
1992–1996 Admiral Rotolok
1996–1998 Super League
1998–1999 Errea Evening Herald
1999–2002 Patrick
2002–2003 Ginsters
2003–2005 TFG
2005–2009 Puma
2009– Adidas

Famous Fans

See also

References and notes

Special thanks to BBC Devon:

  1. ^ Ground capacity
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Danes, Ryan (2009). Plymouth Argyle The Complete Record. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-85983-710-8. 
  4. ^ Tonkin, W. S. (circa 1963). All About Argyle 1903-1963. pp. 7. 
  5. ^ "First Match - First Report from WMN 1903".,,10364~421021,00.html. Retrieved 8 March 2007. 
  6. ^ "Wolves 1-0 Plymouth". Retrieved 5 May 2008. 
  7. ^ The New Chairman
  8. ^ No Standing Room | Plymouth Argyle | News | Latest News | Latest News
  9. ^ Sit, See and Hear | Plymouth Argyle | News | Latest News | Latest News
  10. ^ This is Plymouth
  11. ^ The Independent
  12. ^ The Independent
  13. ^ "First-Team Squad". Plymouth Argyle F.C..,,10364,00.html. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  14. ^ Edwards, Leigh (1993). The Official Centenary History of the Southern League. Halesowen: Paper Plane Publishing. p. 54. ISBN 1-871872-08-1. 
  15. ^ First international player
  16. ^ "Plymouth Argyle's Team of the Century". BBC. Retrieved 18 August 2004. 
  17. ^ Achievements
  18. ^ Adidas Agreement
  19. ^ Perfect Partners
  20. ^ Historical Kits
  21. ^ Ginsters
  22. ^ "Michael Foot Interview". Retrieved 1 March 2010. 
  23. ^ "SEE 0:44". Retrieved 13 Feb 2010. 

External links

History database


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