I am sure many others feel as though a limb has been removed by not being able to get their daily fix of normal PASOTI matters. Desperate times call for desperate measures and I thought the post about 'favourite players when we were sixteen' was a novel and ingenious way of ‘keeping the ball in the air’ for a while.
With that in mind I was thinking about garnishing views on a subject that has fascinated me since I first started following Argyle in the 60s. At the time I thought that it only applied to Argyle but my awareness of, and familiarity with, fans of other clubs over the years has led me to conclude it is universal. I am referring to the ‘Marmite’ or scapegoat player. This is the one (or two!) in a team that gets unbelievable ‘stick’ from a significant section of the crowd but seems to be supported and encouraged by others. The 'Marmite’ players - you either love ‘em or loath ‘em.
I must make it abundantly clear that I am not looking to the negative here - there have, for some, been quite enough ‘worst player’, ‘worst team’ etc etc polls. This is not what I am suggesting. We all have our views on the usual suspects over the years who seemed to be just picking up a payslip without any sign of appreciating the privilege that it is to play for our Club. These are not the players I am referring to.
No, the type of player in the ‘Marmite’ category can be described as totally committed when playing for Argyle, a loyal, wholehearted trier but who, for some, can never do anything right. Whether it is a perceived lack of experience, technique, talent or end product, this player will produce an audible groan every time he gets the ball and a total barracking should a pass go astray, a tackle missed or a shot wide of the target. Being a sucker for the underdog I tend to ‘champion’ these players, taking the view that they are clearly giving 100% even if things aren’t coming off for them. I fully accept, however, that other views are available and other criteria, apart from 'doing your best’, come into play when people rate their Argyle players.
I have a whole list of my own relating to these players, ever since the 60s, but may I start the ball rolling by suggesting Conor Hourihane?