Plymouth Argyle Football Club
Home Park Stadium
CLUB THEME TUNE: Semper Fideles ('Always Faithful')
OFFICIAL SPONSOR OF PAFC: W H Bond
General Office (01752 562561/2/3) - open Mon-Fri 9.00am -5.00pm
Pilgrim Shop/Travel Club (01752 558292) - open Mon-Fri 9.00am - 5.00pm; Sat 9.00am-12.00pm and longer on match days.
Brief History and Club Records
'THE PILGRIMS' - were founded in 1886 and since then have floated around the lower divisions of the football league - never having enjoyed any major successes or top flight competition. Their only notable achievements to date are that they were the Division 3 South Champions in 1929-30 and again in 1951-52, Division 3 Champions in 1958 and 1959 as well as in 2002 and Division 2 winners in 2004. Argyle were also promoted via the Third Division as play off winners at Wembley in 1996. The history of the club is perhaps best summed up by the fact that they were runners up in Division 3 South for 6 seasons in a row between 1921 and 1926 - narrowly missing the only automatic promotion place.
The name 'Argyle' is unusual, but controversy surrounds how the name was adopted. Many fans believe that it stems from the name of a street in Plymouth where the original committee for the club used to meet.
Sam Rendell former club president and Argyle fan since he was a lad in the year dot always explains that the name Argyle came about when in 1886 a group of former pupils of colleges and public schools in the area took the name because they admired the footballing skills displayed by the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, then stationed in the area.
A letter from Howard Grose a founder member of the team was written in 1934, he recalled the setting up of the club. He was at Dunheved College in Launceston when he and a Mr. W. Pethybridge wanted to increase sport in the City of Plymouth. In 1886 they met with other interested parties (mainly old-boys), one name favoured was "Pickwick", fortunately it was no adopted. To quote Howard:
"I recollect holding forth on what our club should aim at achieving in the football world viz: to emulate the style of play adopted by the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders who I believe in the previous year won the Army Cup. I then explained that anyone who had watched them play would have been struck with the excellent team work shown, the fast low passing from backs to forwards, wings to centre followed by short swift shooting at the opponents' goal and we should endeavour to play on the same lines. Then someone said "Why not Plymouth Argyll? That's the name that could be applied locally." When put to a vote it was adopted almost unanimously."
The club has always been associated with the colour green, and normally plays in some combination of green, black and white.
The most goals in a season scored by any Argyle player is shared by three players from three different eras: Jack Cock scored 32 league goals in 1926/27, Wilf Carter scored 26 league and 6 FA Cup goals in 1957/58 and Tommy Tynan scored 31 league and 1 FA Cup goals in 1984/85. Wilf Carter also has his name in the record books for scoring the most goals in a single match in 1960 - five against Charlton Athletic.
Argyle's best home performance came in 1932 when they beat Millwall 8-1. Their best away performance came much more recently at the end of the promotion push in 1994 when they beat Hartlepool 8-1 on the last match of the season.
The highest league position Argyle have ever occupied at the end of a season is 4th in division 2 (now division 1) in 1931/32 and again in 1953/54. Argyle are now the largest city in the UK to have never experienced top flight football following Hull’s promotion to the Premier League in 2008.
Despite a turbulent half-decade in terms of disappointing performances, with 2 relegations and some extremely narrow avoidances of further relegations, it appears the estimations of the green army have risen and with a newly found impressive feat of finding the back of the net and at the same time keeping a solid defensive line, it's an exciting time to be a Plymouth fan once again.
Their best FA Cup performance still rests in the minds of many modern supporters, as they reached the semi-finals at Villa Park under John Hore. Argyle bowed out to a 1-0 defeat that day, but they went so close to being the first 3rd division team to reach the FA Cup final. Their best performance in the league cup came in 1964/65 and again in 1973/74 when again they fell at the penultimate hurdle of the semi-finals.
The arrival of Simon Walton from Queens Park Rangers to Home Park in 2008 set the existing club record transfer fee of 750,000 pounds. Walton’s time with the club was to prove largely unsuccessful and his record of 61 appearances, 10 goals and two relegations in four years was a microcosm of the era. The sale of Peter Halmosi to Hull for a reported 2.5 million pounds (also in 2008) broke the existing transfer out record, previously held for only a matter of months from David Norris who himself succeeded Sylvain Ebanks-Blake who only held it for a matter of weeks.
The club's record attendance is 44,526 against Huddersfield in 1934. An indication of Argyle's current support can be gauged by an average attendance last season of around 7,000 and by the 32,000 Argyle supporters who turned up for the Play Off Final at Wembley.
Argyle managers since 1903:
Frank Brettell 1903-05
Bob Jack 1905-06
Bill Fullerton 1906-07
Bob Jack 1910-38
Jack Tresadern 1938-47
Jimmy Rae 1948-55
Jack Rowley 1955-60
Neil Dougall 1961
Ellis Stuttard 1961-63
Andy Beattie 1963-64
Malcolm Allison 1964-65
Derek Ufton 1965-68
Billy Bingham 1968-70
Ellis Stuttard 1970-72
Tony Waiters 1972-77
Mike Kelly 1977-78
Malcolm Allison 1978-79
Bobby Saxton 1979-81
Bobby Moncur 1981-83
Jonny Hore 1983-84
Dave Smith 1984-88
Ken Brown 1988-90
David Kemp 1990-92
Peter Shilton 1992-95
Steve McCall 1995
Neil Warnock 1995-1997
Mick Jones 1997-1998
Kevin Hodges 1998-2000
Paul Sturrock 2000-2004
Bobby Williamson 2004-2005
Tony Pulis 2005-2006
Ian Holloway 2006-2007
Paul Sturrock 2007-2009
Paul Mariner 2009-2010
Peter Reid 2010-2011
Carl Fletcher 2011-2013
John Sheridan 2013-
From the North West: Take the M6 as far as Birmingham and then the M5 to its beginning at Exeter. Then its a further half hour down the A38 to Plymouth. Approximate journey time: 4 - 5 hours. Distance from Manchester 300 miles.
From the North East and Yorkshire: Take the M1 as far as J24 then cross the country on the M42 to Birmingham and the M5. Distance from Sheffield 300 miles.
From London: There are two routes from London, which are arguably as good as each other. The first is to take the M4 to Bristol and then the M5/A38 to Plymouth. This will take 3 to 4 hours, and is motorway driving all the way. The second is to take the A303 through Wiltshire and past Stonehenge - a road which has remarkably improved over recent years. The last bit just before Exeter is always the worst for traffic. In good traffic, this route can take 3 hours - other times as much as 5 or 6.
Getting to the ground ...is very easy. From the moment you approach Plymouth, 'Plymouth Argyle Home Park' signs are everywhere so if you get lost you only have yourself to blame. As you come down the hill towards the Plymouth boundaires, continue straight on over the flyover and then under the roundabout after the flyover. Drive on for about half a mile and then turn off the carriageway there. At Manadon roundabout , take the second turning and drive down that road for about two miles. The ground will be on your left. There is a free vast car park next to the ground, and plenty of on road parking reasonably close to the ground on all four sides of central park. The away end (Barn Park) is very large, seated and covered. The cost is usually 20 pounds for adults and you can usually get a nice Cheese n Onion pasty before the game By Rail Coming out of the station, turn right past the Taxi rank, walk down the hill under the railway bridge to Pennycomequick roundabout. Then walk up the hill in front of you and you should be able to see the ground from there. If you cut across the park, its a pleasant walk of about 2 miles. Alternatively, you can take a bus (to 'Milehouse') from the station.
By Coach You will arrive at a very run down bus station. Go up the steps to the main road above the station and ask someone where to get a bus to 'Milehouse'. If you want to walk, go all the way across the city centre towards the University and ultimately the railway station and follow directions (above) from there.
Other things to do: Local pubs around home park are OK, the closest is the Brittania though be warned this is the local supporters hangout. If you want a quiet drink, then you could try taking the A30 from Exeter and checking into some historic Dartmoor pubs on the way - though be warned this is a longer route. There are some nice pubs on the A38 as well. The best place for a quiet drink in Plymouth is the Barbican, so if you have a couple of hours get down there. Cap'n Jaspers has good, cheap nosh there as well. Union street offers a great night out for those into clubbin’ and raving. Traffic problems don't really exist in Plymouth (at least not on the scale of other cities), though you will have to wait a while to get out of the car park after the match.