If you want to insult an Argyle fan – then get on the Internet.
Burnley and Brentford fans, who would benefit if Argyle slip up again, have already been doing just that as the Greens prepare themselves for a do-or-die mission to Turf Moor on Saturday.
The psychological warfare isn’t just going on out there on the pitch, it’s being relayed from website to website.
Not that it bothers one of the founders of the Argyle fans’ website, David Gadd.
He won’t be going to the relegation dogfight up north.
“My nerves couldn’t stand it,” admitted Gadd, 30. “What I would really like is to fall asleep on Friday night and not wake up until Monday morning, when it’s all over.”
The Burnley mob are already upping the tempo before the game – and “spying” on the Argyle website to get news of the team.
Gadd, a researcher and Internet stats officer with the University of Plymouth, said: “The purpose of our website is to keep our fans updated about what’s going on at the club.
“We’ve got people all over the world who like to keep in touch and we want to help them feel part of Argyle.
“There’s a bunch from Canada who call us up, especially during matches when they want to know what the score is.
“It’s for Plymouth fans, but inevitably, you get people from Burnley and Brentford visitng the site and they leave messages saying that we’re going down.
Gadd admits that there has been a sense of depression pervading the site with messages dealing either with the prospect of relegation or the on-off sale of the club by chairman Dan McCauley.
He said: “Just lately, there has been a lot of stuff going through it lately, left by people who want to know what’s going on.
“A lot of it has been from people who have been worried about relegation.
“It’s a place where people can put their point of view – but it’s also something you can have a bit of fun with.”
The Plymouth Argyle Supporters on the Internet (PASOTI) have about 100 “hard-core” members, reckons Gadd – but the service reaches Argyle fans world-wide.
Gadd said: “We probably number between 500 and 1,000 people who visit the net, not all of them Argyle supporters.
“Some people are just interested in seeing what’s going on.”
The Internet service started about four years ago, when Gadd and a handful of like-minded enthusiasts decided they wanted to reach Argyle supporters other methods of communication couldn’t.
Originally, the net messages left for visitors included match reports and statistics.
But the Evening Herald’s venture into the electronic communications network with its own reports made that service unnecessary.
Gadd said: “The Herald’s reports have been excellent, so we tend to go more for analysis of what’s happening at the club.”
The service is sponsored by net firms Zynet from Plymouth and London-based Easynet, where the Argyle website is based.
PASOTI, who charge £10 for a life membership of their club also sponsor an Argyle player every season – the latest was teenager Lee Phillips, who is on the verge of breaking into the first team.
Argyle fans who eant to hit the net can contact PASOTI on www.argyle.org.uk
Argyle messages from the Internet:
- On the death of Argyle fan Noddy Cox, 52, one of the Greens’ most faithful supporters:
“My mate Neil has wondered if Noddy’s death is divine intervention, ie Argyle really needed him at the very last match of the season.
“It seems strange that he was taken at this vital stage.
“So the theory is that Noddy is even at this moment smiling down at us, having done (the) deal and fixed the game with a little help from above.
“My mate Neil’s suggested chant for Saturday is: “Noddy, Noddy, give us a wave.” Nice thought, eh.
“Terrible news about Noddy.
“He’ll be sorely missed and the atmosphere on Argyle’s travels will never be the same.
“It would be a fitting tribute if Argyle were to win on Saturday and stay up. If anyone from Home Park is listening, please let the players know.”
“All my mates from other clubs who’ve been to Argyle matches thought he was brilliant. There should definitely be a rendition of ‘Noddy Argyle’ at Burnley.”
“RIP Noddy. There was no truer Green than you. We all owe it to your memory to ensure we get behind the lads at Burnley on Saturday and the team owe it to your memory to give 110 per cent to ensure that if we are to go down, we go out with a bang.”
- On Saturday’s relegation clash with Burnley:
“......Earl Jean has had enormous success in the past against Burnley....a hat-trick for Rotherham at Turf Moor last season, followed by a goal for us against them in the home tie.
“To keep our spirits up... we are hoping for a Brentford defeat, an Oldham win and then Earl Jean, rising like the colossus he is to slam a couple in, in a high-scoring draw, thereby sending Burnley and Brentford to their doom.”
- On if the worst happens:
“Having witnessed yesterday’s match (Gillingham) and spent yesterday evening and today in the garden working off my dismay, I can only conclude that the only thing that is green and staying up at the moment are weeds......We are now in the inenviable position of relying on our ‘friends’ at Oldham and Bristol Rovers to do us a favour.
“Following yesterday’s game, you can’t even see Argyle scoring a goal at Burnley on Saturday. The only chance we seem to have is if a 0-0 draw will see us through. At the end of a long, tortuous season, it is not a lot to hope for.”
“I just can’t face going down next weekend. For all my assurances all year that we are going down, we are dragging it out as long as possible.....the last place I wanted to be relegated at is bloody Burnley. Well, we are going to be in a lower division than Torquay for the first time in my lifetime. It could be worse – it could be Exeter.”
- On being the eternal optimist:
“Will Brentford win at Rovers? No. Can Argyle win at Burnley? Of course we bloody can. The Fat Lady is waiting in the wings.......”
“Look on the bright side – if we win at Burnley, we’re safe. I’m not going to tempt fate and say Brentford won’t beat Rovers, but it is unlikely Rovers are flying....they’ll do the business. And so will the Greens, who may only need a draw. So I’ll say it, even if no one else will: the Greens are staying up. Or am I just being ironic?”
- On relegation not being so bad after all:
“At the end of this season, whatever happens, we face a mass exodus of players and a struggle to replace them.
“Next season will be no different under the same ownership and we will face yet another relegation battle. Having endured 30 matches and travelled 10,000 miles this season, I would rather see the club go through a total rebuilding in division three than face that all over again.”
SWITCHED ON: above, David Gadd 'talks' to people from Canada. Picture: Guy Channing.