Plymouth Argyle Football Club is a professional football club based in the city of Plymouth, Devon, England. The club competes in League One, the third tier of the English football league system, following promotion from League Two in the 2016–17 season. It is one of two clubs in Devon currently competing in the Football League, the other being Exeter City, Argyle's local rivals.

Since becoming professional in 1903, the club has won five Football League titles (one Division Two and two Division Three), five Southern League titles and one Western League title. The 2009–10 season was the club's 42nd in the second tier of English football. The team set the record for most championships won in the third tier, having finished first in the Third Division South twice, the Third Division once and the Second Division once.

The club takes its nickname, "The Pilgrims", from an English religious group that left Plymouth for the New World in 1620. The club crest features the Mayflower, the ship that carried the pilgrims to Massachusetts. The club have predominantly played in dark green and white throughout their history, with a few exceptions in the late 1960s and early 1970s when white was the colour of choice. The city of Plymouth is the largest in England never to have hosted top-flight football. They are the most southerly and westerly League club in England.

History

Stadium

Home Park is the 37th biggest stadium in England.

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 ground is situated in Central Park, very near to the residential area of Peverell. Towards the end of the 2005–06 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, the club, having failed to persuade the UK authorities[3] of the case for retaining a standing terrace, decided to add 3,500 temporary seats to the Mayflower enclosure,[4] dropping the capacity to just under 20,000 from 20,922 (an exact figure is not yet available). In December 2009 it was announced that the stadium was to be one of 12 chosen to host matches during the World Cup 2018, should England's bid be successful.[5] The then Argyle chairman Paul Stapleton stated that work on a new South Stand at Home Park would start in 2010. However, England failed to be chosen for the 2018 tournament, and Plymouth Argyle entered administration in March 2011. After selling the stadium back to the council on 14 October 2011 for £1.6 million,[6] this project was in serious doubt.

The club was then taken over by local business owner James Brent, who submitted fresh plans to build a new Mayflower Grandstand with a 5,000 seating capacity, and an associated leisure complex. The plans include an ice rink with 1,500 spectator seats, a 10 screen cinema complex with an iMax screen, a 120 bedroom hotel and 4,200m sq retail units. Planning permission for the project was granted on 15 August 2013. The development was due to commence in September 2013, with demolition of the old stand planned for late October 2013 after the Portsmouth home match. As of June 2015 the plans have been withdrawn, though planning permission still remains.

The family section of the stadium was moved from block 1 of the Devonport End to the 'Zoo corner' between the Lyndhurst Stand and the Barn Park End, with a kids activities zone in the concourse.[22]

In January 2017, director Simon Hallett invested £5,000,000 into the club, along with all other directors exchanging previous loans into equity, with the intention on using the money for renovating the Mayflower Grandstand. No immediate timeframe was put on the renovations, but chairman James Brent indicated work is planned to start in 2018, finishing in 2020 ahead of the Plymouth 2020 Mayflower celebrations.[23]

Later that month, temporary seating was once again put in place on the Grandstand, this time as a one-off for an FA Cup 3rd round replay vs Liverpool.[24] The seating was kept in place for the next home match, a League 2 game vs Devon rivals Exeter City, but tickets were not on sale to the general public. Shortly after this game, the seating was removed.[25]

Rivalries

The club's traditional rivals are fellow Devon sides Exeter City and Torquay United; other rivalries exist with Bristol City, Bristol Rovers and Portsmouth. The rivalry with Portsmouth was heightened in May 2016, when the two teams met in the League 2 play off semi final, of which Argyle prevailed. The play-offs have also sprung up a mutual disliking of Wycombe Wanderers, after the 2014–15 play off loss.[7]

Although the rivalry with Exeter City has been blunted for a while due to a difference in divisions, Argyle's relegation into League One, coupled with Exeter City's survival, reignited the tensions. 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.[8]

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 2014.

Players

Current squad

As of 9 October 2017[9]

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

No.PositionPlayer
1GKRobbert te Loeke
2DFGary Miller
3DFGary Sawyer (vice-captain)
4DFYann Songo'o
5DFRyan Edwards
6MFJamie Ness
7MFAntoni Sarcevic
8MFLionel Ainsworth
9FWNadir Çiftçi (on loan from Celtic)
10MFGraham Carey
11MFRúben Lameiras
13FWNathan Blissett
14FWJake Jervis
15DFSonny Bradley
16MFJoel Grant
No.PositionPlayer
17DFAaron Taylor-Sinclair
18DFOscar Threlkeld
19FWRyan Taylor
20DFJakub Sokolík
21MFGregg Wylde
23GKLuke McCormick (captain)
24MFDavid Fox
25GKKyle Letheren
26DFJordan Bentley
27FWAlex Fletcher
28DFCallum Rose (on loan at Dorchester Town)
31GKMichael Cooper
32MFToumani Diagouraga
33MFCameron Sangster

Retired numbers

Reserves and Development squad

The club's reserve team, up to the end of the 2010–11 season, played in the Football Combination. The club also entered a team in the South Western League, but withdrew from that competition after one season in 2007. The club confirmed their withdrawal from the Football Combination on 27 June, alongside 18 other Football League clubs. The club will now arrange reserve fixtures on dates of their choice, rather than follow a fixture list.[48] Argyle had earlier withdrawn from the Combination in mid-season in 1981–82, for financial reasons.

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.

For the 2015–16 season, Argyle entered a team into the South West Peninsula League Division One West, with matches played at Seale-Hayne, dubbed 'Hodges Park' after club legend Kevin Hodges, outside Newton Abbot.[27] The side consists mainly of U-18 players, but occasionally includes senior players who are not getting first team football or who are returning from injury.[12]

After applying for promotion and finishing 2nd behind Mousehole, the reserves side were promoted to the Premier Division for the 2016–17 season. The team started playing their games at the home of the Devon FA, Coach Road, in Newton Abbot[13] and finished 6th in 2016–17.

As of 9 October 2017[28]

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

No.PositionPlayer
31GKMichael Cooper
39GKMax Childs
DFHarry Downing
DFElliott Crawford
DFHarry Hodges
DFRyan Law
DFAaron Taylor
33MFCameron Sangster
MFTom Purrington
No.PositionPlayer
MFMichael Peck
MFMatt Ward
MFDan Rooney
MFRio Garside
MFAdam Randell
FWAlex Battle
FWLuke Jephcott
FWBilly Craske
FWAaron Goulty

Player of the Year

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.[3]

1GKJim Furnell
2DFGordon Nisbet
3DFJack Chisholm
4DFGraham Coughlan
5DFColin Sullivan
6MFKevin Hodges
7MFJohnny Williams
8MFGarry Nelson
9FWTommy Tynan
10FWPaul Mariner
11MFSammy Black

Manager: Paul Sturrock

World Cup players

The following players were chosen to represent their country at the FIFA World Cup while contracted to Plymouth Argyle.

Club officials

Boardroom positions

PositionNameNationality
Chairman:James Brent English
Vice-Chairman:Simon Hallett English[3]
Chief Executive:Martyn Starnes English
Director:Richard Holliday English
Director:Tony Wrathall English
Director:John Morgan English

[3]

Club officials

PositionName
Head of Operations:John Back
Club Secretary:Zac Newton
Executive PA:Sue Vallins
Head of Communications:Rick Cowdery
Commercial Operations Manager:James Greenacre

[3]

Coaching positions

First Team

PositionNameNationality
Manager:Derek Adams Scottish
Assistant Manager:Craig Brewster Scottish
First Team Coach:Paul Wotton English
Goalkeeping Coach:Rhys Wilmot Welsh
Head Physio:Paul Atkinson English
Physiotherapist:Vicki Hannaford English
Kitman:Neil Lunnon English
Chief Scout:Greg Strong English
Football Analyst:Matt Neil English

Youth Team/Academy

PositionNameNationality
Academy Director:Kevin Hodges English
Academy Manager:Phil Stokes English
Head of Academy Coaching:Kevin Nancekivell English
Professional Development Phase Coach 17–21:Shaun Taylor English
Professional Development Phase Coach 17–21:Dan Thompson English
Academy Goalkeeping Coach:Rhys Wilmot Welsh
Academy Physiotherapist:Tom Hunter English
Youth Administrator:Pete Bellamy English

Managerial history

Honours

Plymouth Argyle's list of honours include the following.[3]

HonourNumberYears
League
Football League Second Division Champions12003–04
Football League Third Division Champions21958–59, 2001–02
Football League Third Division Runners-up21974–75, 1985–86
Football League Two Runners-up12016–17
Football League Third Division South Champions21929–30, 1951–52
Football League Third Division South Runners-up61921–22, 1922–23, 1923–24, 1924–25, 1925–26, 1926–27
Football League Third Division Play-off Winners11995–96
Southern Football League Champions11912–13
Southern Football League Runners-up21907–08, 1911–12
Western Football League Champions11904–05
Western Football League B Runners-up11906–07
South West Regional League Champions11939–40
Domestic Cups
FA Cup Semi-finalist11983–84
FA Cup Quarter-finalist12006–07
Football League Cup Semi-finalist21964–65, 1973–74

Records

Club records

Seasons

Most appearances

#NameArgyle careerAppearancesGoals
1 Hodges, KevinKevin Hodges1978–199262087
2= Black, SammySammy Black1924–1938491184
2= Wotton, PaulPaul Wotton1995–2008
2012–2015
49166
4 Craig, FredFred Craig1912–1915
1919–1930
4675
5 Williams, JohnnyJohnny Williams1955–196644855
6= Hore, JohnnyJohnny Hore1965–197544117
6= Jones, PatPat Jones1947–19584412
8 Evans, MichaelMichael Evans1990–1997
2001–2006
43281
9 Leslie, JackJack Leslie1921–1934401136
10 Russell, MosesMoses Russell1914–1915
1919–1930
4006

Most goals

#NameArgyle careerGoalsAppearancesGoal/game ratio
1 Black, SammySammy Black1924–19381844912.668
2 Carter, WilfWilf Carter1957–19641482751.858
3 Tynan, TommyTommy Tynan1983–1985
1986–1990
1453102.137
4 Leslie, JackJack Leslie1921–19341364012.948
5 Tadman, MauriceMaurice Tadman1947–19551122532.258
6 Vidler, JackJack Vidler1929–19391032562.485
7 Burch, FredFred Burch1906–1915922392.597
8 Hodges, KevinKevin Hodges1978–1992876207.126
9 Bowden, RayRay Bowden1927–1933851531.800
10= Dews, GeorgeGeorge Dews1947–1955812713.345
10= Mickey Evans1990–1997
2001–2006
814325.333
12 Bickle, MikeMike Bickle1965–1971711792.521

Sponsorship

The club's current sportswear manufacturer is Puma.[3] The club's main sponsor is Ginsters.[3] Shirt sponsorship was not introduced by the club until 1983.[3] 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. Between 2002 and 2011 the club was sponsored by Cornish pasty-makers Ginsters.[3] In 2011 with the club still in administration, local timber merchant WH Bond Timber sponsored Argyle's kits at first for the 2011–12 season and until the end of the 2013–14 season. Local construction access company LTC Group87 then sponsored Argyle from the start of the 2014–15 season, having their LTC Powered Access branch's logo on the shirts. Cornwall-based company Ginsters then came back for a second spell as main sponsor in the 2016–17 season.[3]

PeriodSportswearSponsor
1975–1976UmbroNone
1976–1978Pilgrim
1978–1980Bukta
1980–1982Adidas
1982–1983Pilgrim
1983–1984Beacon Electrical
1984–1986Ivor Jones Insurance
1986–1987National & Provincial
1987–1990UmbroSunday Independent
1990–1992Ribero
1992–1996AdmiralRotolok
1996–1998Super League
1998–1999ErreaEvening Herald
1999–2002Patrick
2002–2003Ginsters
2003–2005TFG
2005–2009Puma
2009–2011Adidas
2011–2014PumaWH Bond Timber
2014–2016LTC Powered Access
2016 – PresentGinsters

See also