A Round-up of Argyle News
Argyle News Sites:
Greens on Screen's Daily Diary is a compilation of Argyle news, with help from these and other Argyle-related sites.
On This Day:
Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Argyle's away kit has been revealed with a mixture of citrus green and black on the shirt, black alone on the shorts and pure citrus on the socks.
Gary Sawyer has signed a new Argyle contract. The left-back, who has played 178 times for the Greens, has renewed ahead of Argyle's first season back in League One.
Two days short of a year after leaving Argyle, Gregg Wylde has returned to Home Park. The 26-year-old Scottish winger has rejoined the Pilgrims following a season in League One with Millwall and Northampton Town, who he played for on loan from the Lions. Wylde's first spell in Argyle's promotion near-miss in 2015/16 earned him the move to League One.
Argyle's final new signing of the day and eight of the summer is former Doncaster left-back Aaron Taylor-Sinclair Taylor-Sinclair missed the majority of Doncaster's promotion to League One last season through injury but was a major player for them in 2015/16.
On This Day:
1921: Maurice Tadman, another Home Park hero, was born in Sittingbourne. Signed from Charlton for £4,000, Tadman achieved a remarkable 112 goals in 253 games between 1947 & 1955, one of a very select band to have broken the Argyle scoring century.
2006: Paul Stapleton announced the appointment of Ian Holloway as the club's new manager.
Dutch goalkeeper Robbert te Loeke has become the latest new signing to put pen to paper for Argyle in the 2017 close season period. The 28 year old has spent a season in the Dutch second division and notably played against Argyle in a pre-season friendly while the Pilgrims were on a visit to the Netherlands in 2010 under Peter Reid's management. The match ended 3-3, with Argyle's goals coming from Craig Noone and Joe Mason.
On This Day:
1906: Harry Roberts was born in Crofton. Roberts was another of the pre-war favourites at Home Park, playing 257 games in the 1930s, and unusually for a fullback, scoring 21 goals (mostly penalties). His hard, no-nonsense style endeared him to the fans, with one of his best performances (so the story goes) being when he had enough alcohol in his system to fail a modern breathalyser test.
2000: Chris Hargreaves moved on to Northampton after 91 appearances and 7 goals in his 2 years at Home Park.
Newbie Joel Grant believes that his Devon Expressway switch to Argyle from Exeter will benefit his international ambitions. The 29-year-old put his involvement with the Jamaican national side on hold last season to aid the Grecians' ultimately unsuccessful League Two promotion push. He now says, however: "It's a League One football club who I believe have the potential to go higher and have been higher, so I know how big a club it is and, speaking to the manager, I feel it's a good opportunity for myself. I like to call myself 'an attacking player' I wouldn't label myself 'a winger' one likes to try to exploit the back four, and create and score goals. It's been a long journey, a good one, for me. I'm here now and, like I say, I feel it is a club that can get back up to the Championship, and I have been working to get back to the Championship again and maybe even the Premier League. I never see age as a problem and I think, as long as you are prepared to work hard, anything is possible.
"I'm still on the roster. That's another reason for getting to the Championship, because you have international breaks. It's more to do with myself that I haven't been involved of late because I felt it was only right to concentrate on trying to get Exeter promotion, but I still love to play for my country and I want to be involved. My new mission is to get Plymouth into the Championship so I can go on the breaks.
"Wherever you are, you always try to give your best for your team and, generally, you do get a bond. I am thankful for Exeter I enjoyed my time there and I'm about to start a new challenge, which I'm really looking forward to."
The 2017/18 Argyle home kit has been revealed. The predominantly Green kit contains more white than in recent years with white on the shoulders and on a single stripe stylised in PUMA branding.
On This Day:
1998: Carlo Corazzin moved to Northampton after 81 appearances (24 goals) in his 2 years at Home Park.
Argyle have made a surprising 5th signing of the summer- in the shape of Jamaican international attacker Joel Grant. The 29 year old London born forward joins from Devon rivals Exeter City, weeks after their defeat to Blackpool in the play off final.
Former Scotland under-21 midfielder Jamie Ness has become Derek Adams latest signing after his release from Scunthorpe at the end of last season. Ness plays in the centre of midfield and began his career at Rangers.
Martyn Starnes has admitted that Argyle's start to the season is far from ideal with two long away matches over the Christmas period. Starnes said: "I think there are some positives and negatives from the fixture list. It's good to have a fixture like Charlton as our first home match. I think that will be a cracking game. We are probably a bit disappointed with the holiday fixtures. At Christmas we have got back-to-back away games against MK Dons and Blackpool. We have got Blackpool on December 30 and then to have to come home and play on January 1 against Walsall is pretty difficult. Then at Easter, similarly, we have got Southend at home but then have to go to Scunthorpe, which is one of our longest trips of the season. Again, that's pretty difficult when it comes to travelling and planning your training programme, and all that sort of thing.
"The other slight disappointment is that we are away in the first game and away in the last game. I don't think the fans are going to be too happy about having to go to Gillingham for a 5.30pm kick-off on May 5. But we have got to play everybody twice and I know that the fixture process is a really difficult one. There are a lot of northern-based sides in this division and it's not easy to keep the fixtures sensible in terms of timing and travelling."
The full Argyle fixture list has been released and can be found on the club's official website. The Pilgrims open the campaign away to Peterborough United and are also on the road on both Boxing Day and the season's final match.
Alex Fletcher has become the latest graduate of the Argyle Academy to progress to the Pilgrims first-team squad. Forward Alex, who turned 18 in February, joins defenders Jordan Bentley and Callum Rose in making the step up from the apprentice ranks to Derek Adams' senior squad. Two more of his contemporaries Dan Rooney and Aaron Taylor have accepted offers of a professional development contract for the new campaign
Simon Hallett has admitted that Argyle will not immediately be able to fund the second phase of the grandstand redevelopment- but said that it would nonetheless be cheaper than phase one for which the funding is already accounted. Hallett said: "The £5m budget is for stage one, stage two will be when we can afford it. The amount to do it will be probably less than £1m, so a fraction of phase one," he told a fans' forum in Launceston last week. The main thing is to extend the grandstand roof and to fill in the corners. We need to be able to take short of a million quid away from other priorities.
"And there are plenty of priorities for spending: the first team, training facilities, repair and maintenance, which, frankly, needs some catch-up work. We'll do it when we can afford it, but it will always be a bit of a struggle to be able to afford it. Having said that, it doesn't bother me that much. I know there's an obsession with a capacity over 20,000, but we were 9,500 (on average) last year, current ground capacity is roughly 16,000, phase one takes it to 18,000, phase two will take it to over 20,000, maybe between 21,000 and 22,000 if we can have standing.
"We want to be able to fill the corners in a way that fills capacity and gives fans the standing room they want, but until we get clearance from the EFL we're not going to be able to do that. The ground looks better with the corners filled in, but we don't want to fill them in with expensive seating and rip them out when standing becomes available. Having a delay is a good thing, not a bad thing.
"Every time you get cash in from unexpected sources there are claims on that cash, particularly at Argyle where there have been many years of not having enough money for basic investment in facilities to keep the fan experience at the level the fans, quite rightly, demand. Fans' demands of an experience at a football ground are higher than they were 50 years ago, quite rightly. Argyle is not yet able to deliver the experience fans deserve, so as we get more fans there will be investment in the fan experience. This grandstand is partly the fan experience and partly an investment in generating more revenues to invest in the first team and fan experience, but there will always be claims and we had the wonderful thing with Liverpool this year. That money went very quickly. We spent money on Harper's Park, maintenance, here and there. It goes very quickly, trust me."
Argyle will play Bristol City in the Carabao Cup. The Pilgrims will travel to Ashton Gate in the first round of the competition, formerly known as the EFL Cup or Capital One Cup. The tie will take place in the week beginning August 7. The Robins, managed by Lee Johnson, came 17th in the Sky Bet Championship last season. Their squad contains former Argyle loanees Arnie Garita, Bobby Reid and Joe Bryan.
Newbie Ryan Edwards has spoke about how he is ready to make the big step up to League One football with Argyle after his developmental years in League Two with Morecambe. He said: "I've played a lot in League Two and I think I'm ready for the next step which will be playing in League One with Plymouth for the next chapter of my career. It's a higher division than I've been playing in. It's time to move on and take on the next challenge at the higher level which I am sure that I can do. It's a nice compliment if someone is willing to sign you, never mind pay money for you. For them just to want you, especially a club like Plymouth is great. I've been on holiday of late checking my phone seeing if anyone has got in touch. Thankfully now it's all been done and now I can do my bit getting back fit for the pre-season which is in just over two weeks.
"I like everything. I like defending, I like playing, I like passing. It's the modern game you have got to be able to do everything. You'll see centre-halves who can do one thing and not the other; they've got to be able to do both. You've got to be able to start attacks off; you've got to be strong and defend crosses; win your headers; I'd like to think I've got all that. Obviously I'm not perfect. I'll hopefully still improve at Plymouth and help them to not just stay in the league but kick on again."
CEO Martyn Starnes has responded to 'speculation' about the future of manager Derek Adams. Adams has been linked in Scottish media with a move to Aberdeen following Derek McInnes' decision to take up the Sunderland job. Starnes defiantly said: "It isn't surprising for a successful manager to be linked to vacant positions. Derek is only 12 months into a four-year contract and we believe he will take Argyle to further success during that period."
Ryan Edwards has become Argyle's third summer signing. The 23-year-old centre-back comes to Home Park after a compensation fee was agreed between Argyle and Morecambe. Ryan comes highly-rated by his former club, having won Player of the Season awards voted for by supporters and fellow pros last season.
Argyle have answered a serious of frequently asked question regarding the club's new grandstand. Full answers can be found on the club's website. However, notable inclusions are the facts that the club are still pushing for safe standing and would hope to incorporate it in the second phase of redevelopment assuming the legislation is in place at that time. They hope Stage 1 to be complete by the end of the 2018/19 season with Stage 2 to be undertaken at an undefined future date.
Ruben Lameiras has said that he has a point to prove going back into League One after a spell of mixed fortunes with Coventry in which he both got relegated and won the checkatrade trophy. He said: "I was keen to get back into League One and show people what I can do. It was a different experience. I went out of my comfort zone, so to speak, and experienced a new league; new people; new lifestyle; a new way of thinking; a new way of playing. So it was a learning-curve for me.
"I know Hiram, who was here, and Dean Parrett, also, so I knew the club. It's a great club and I'm excited to be here."
Argyle have signed Portuguese free agent Ruben Lameiras. Most recently with Coventry City, the 22-year-old is an attacking midfielder, with the ability to play on the flanks, or behind the forward line. Lameiras is the second signing of the close season.
Plymouth Argyle have a great opportunity to build their fanbase after their promotion into League One, according to club director and marketing expert Peter Jones, following the news that there has been a substantial rise in season ticket sales for the 2017/18 campaign, compared to the same stage last summer. Jones said: "I grew up in Plymouth and I know it quite well. I think this promotion was particularly important. Instinctively, Plymothians see Argyle either as a Championship or League One side. They see it as a club that operates in the second and third levels of English football. They don't see it as a top level side, which is understandable, because the club has never been there, but nor do they see it as a fourth level side. I don't think a lot of people would necessarily always say it, but they have discounted Argyle in League Two because it was the old fourth division. We have got out of that now. We are away and we have got back into our natural habitat, although, of course, we want more. So, as a result of that, I think we have got a fantastic opportunity to firstly bring people back, and secondly to attract new people.
"There is tremendous growth in regional pride now. The city has made such strides over the last five or six years and it continues to do so. There are all sorts of reasons for that, but there is more pride in Plymouth, and now with Argyle out of League Two there is a chance for there to be more pride in the club. I think that's a great opportunity. I think the season was amazing, particularly in the context of what had happened last summer with the disappointment of the play-off final frankly not going to plan. The manager reorganised the squad and after losing the first three games the team were so relentless for the whole season, which was quite marvellous. People haven't really said very much about the fact that we won the promotion by 10 points. This wasn't going up by goal difference or waiting until the last game. I think that is a great achievement, I really do, and it bodes well for next season."
New signing Lionel Ainsworth admitted that former Pilgrim Carl McHugh is partially to thank for his decision to join the greens. He consulted with the ex-Argyle defensive utility man before heading down south, explaining: "I had a bit of chat with him over what was happening and he couldn't talk highly enough of the club, which is brilliant. I am looking forward to getting started. It's a massive club that I'm joining. I am happy to be part of that and looking forward to the next season. It was probably one of the best things that happened to me as a youngster, getting released," he said. "I just worked hard and, within the blink of an eye, I got a move to Watford, which was a blessing. It was a great learning-curve. What I'll bring is pace, a bit of trickery; I can go left or right. The main thing is to play to everybody's strengths, not just mine. I've got to play to other people's strengths, to suit them. Hopefully I can bring some goals and assist in a lot of goals, as I have done in previous years. If we can keep that momentum, you never know what can happen. I'm sure the manager is going to bring some top players to the club. The club deserves it and the fans deserve it."
James Brent has rejected claims that Argyle's new grandstand is 'penny-pinching'. Brent argued that the club are getting high quality new facilities without bankrupting the finances: "If the view that spending £5 million is penny pinching then that is what we are doing. We are going to be actually spending more than that £5 million because as part of the detail surveys, we found that the roof of the stadium needs replacing. The board have agreed that we would provide a new roof on top of the £5 million budget that has been committed. But it is a very substantial amount of money. Would we rather have £50 million rather than £5 million? Of course we would and we would then spend that wisely. But this will deliver a first class facility that we can all be proud of.
"I think the rationale for the new grandstand was first to improve the match day experience of existing supporters. Secondly, was to provide a better quality offer for new supporters, particularly targeting women. It would be great to see more women coming to watch our games, we have about 16 per cent of our supporters as women at the moment. We want to see that and the number of young families increase. The third reason is to generate additional match day revenue so we would be very disappointed if we didn't attract additional supporters to the club through the new facility.
"The disabled facilities will remain as they are until we build stage two. Stage two does need it to be taken down. But what we will be doing, and we have done this in consultation with Plymouth Argyle's Disabled Supporters Association, we have spread the wheelchair and other disabled seating around just beneath the corporate hospitality level at the top of the lower tier. So disabled supporters will be able to watch the match from different locations from within the Grandstand."
Argyle have completed their first summer signing of the season bringing in Lionel Ainsworth from Motherwell on a free transfer. Motherwell offered Ainsworth the chance to remain at the club but the 29-year-old winger who can play on the left side or the right elected to join the Pilgrims instead.
This weekend, Argyle unveiled full details of the new plan to renovate the grandstand to fans in a consultation day at Home Park's tribute lounge, where fans can come along and view the early plans as well as making their feelings known. Details of the plans filtered online. Notable features include the fact of a second stage to be completed at a later stage to the first one, which would involve the corners between the grandstand and the Devonport and Barn Park ends respectively being filled in. The plans involve no amendments to the stand's roof or pillars but they do include the stadium's iconic facade being redesigned as the entrance to the new club shop. There will also be a supporters bar and new corporate and hospitality features.
James Brent has said that a focus should be on getting better female representation in the Plymouth Argyle boardroom to get a better diversity of opinion. Brent said: : "There is a view in football, which I think is really bad, that directors bring cheque books. What we actually need more of is bringing smarts and bringing life experiences outside of football. We do have an issue in the boardroom at the moment that we are white, middle-aged and 100 per cent male, so we do need to address that. This is not about political correctness. There is incredibly powerful academic evidence that diverse boards perform much better than single-sex boards in particular. It works both ways. If you have a purely female board then they under-perform a mixed board as well, so we need to improve that. I think 16 per cent of our regular fans are women and we need to get that up. We want to be a family club. We love the tribalism of football but I don't have an aspiration for a rugby club-type environment where fans mix on the terraces. That's not what football is about for me, but we do want to attract more women and we want to attract more young families to sustain and grow the club as we go forward."
Derek Adams has paid credit to the Green Army and the role they can play in Argyle's recruitment drive as he looks to bring players into the club this summer. He said: "The supporter base is huge and to play in front of that every week is beneficial to a footballer. It creates a feelgood factor. "League One is a very good standard and I think the history of the football club is a big thing as well. We have seen younger players that have done well here get the opportunity to move on, as Curtis Nelson and Ben Purrington have over the last season.\"We had the FA Cup games against Liverpool, we have played at Wembley and we have been able to get promotion so it's a football club which is going forward. You see when the games are on television, and so many people do, how good the crowds are and players are very receptive to that.\"We know that finance is a big thing nowadays. It's a big problem for the game. It's very difficult to compete but we will do our best to do that."
James Brent has revealed the benefit of new director Simon Hallett's presence on the board- that of providing a constant challenge to himself as chairman and majority owner. Brent detailed his contributions: "They have been a real breath of fresh air and I think Simon has brought the personal challenge that I was probably lacking a little bit. He turns around very frequently and says 'Why on earth are you suggesting we do that? Explain yourself. Justify it', and so on. That is really good for me personally. People thrive on constructive challenge. I think the first two years were very much about survival. It was a really tough period, not just on the pitch but off it. For the last three years it has all been about progression. Simon, Jane and John's involvement has not only been a financial one, in terms of accelerating things, but they have come in and said 'Why can't we do even better? It's not a challenge to my authority. It's how do they help me as chairman, and how do they help the wider board get better than we have previously been? That's what we are about."
Argyle's full pre-season training schedule has been published and is as follows: Saturday, July 8 v Plymouth Parkway A, Saturday, July 8 v Saltash United A, Tuesday, July 11 v Tiverton Town A , Wednesday, July 12 v Buckland Athletic A, Tuesday, July 18 v Torquay United A , Friday, July 21 v Cardiff City H, Tuesday, July 25 v FC Emmen A, Friday, July 28 v FC Twente XI A
Derek Adams admitted that Argyle would not be able to match the budgets of some of their League One rivals next season but stated that what they lacked in funds would be more than made up for in team spirit. The manager said: "There are a lot of big clubs in League One, and a lot of big budgets as well. We are obviously not going to manage to compete in terms of that. What we are going to try to do is get a good team spirit, as we have done over the last couple of seasons, and be organised. That can you take a long way."
Adams also said that he will be spending the next few weekends on scouting missions as he seeks to fill Argyle's squad with new signings to replace the 12 who departed at the end of the season. He said: "I will be at three games over the weekend Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Scotland and in England. Next week will be the same because we have got to try to recruit for next season. With us getting promoted as early as we have done, it has given me that extra advantage of being able to go to more games.
"The difficulty was last season that I was going into a play-off final where some people would get offered contracts and some people wouldn't. I couldn't upset the squad at that moment in time, so that was a very difficult situation to be in. We then had to find out which league we were going to be in, and then we only had a month to go until we were back in pre-season training. I did make a few signings while I was away on holiday, and that's the nature of football management.
"We have to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We can't switch our phone off because we have to try to move forward on a daily basis. You have got to be on hand to deal with any situation. As a manager you can't go on holiday and throw your phone away for two weeks. It's impossible.
"We have got a database in place and now we just have to start to find out about recruiting new players, and if they are going to be possible or not. The difficulty in this situation is that you are not going to get every player that you want to go for because other clubs are going to be in for them. So we have just got to have as good a list as we possibly can."
Argyle have confirmed the list of players who will be retained, offered contracts and released for next season's League One Campaign. Most notably, player of the season Sonny Bradley will be definitely remaining at the club following a trigger clause in his contract being automatically extended. The full list is as follows: Under contract: Nathan Blissett, Luke McCormick, Antoni Sarcevic, Ryan Taylor.
Out of contract, offered new contract: Graham Carey, Mark McCallum, Gary Sawyer.
Option to extend contract taken up: Sonny Bradley, David Fox, Jake Jervis, Gary Miller, Jakub Sokolik, Yann Songo'o, Oscar Threlkeld
Out of contract, released: Ryan Brunt, Nauris Bulvitis, Jack Calver, Ryan Donaldson, Vincent Dorel, David Ijaha, Ryan Lane, Billy Palfrey, Louis Rooney, Jordan Slew, Connor Smith, Jimmy Spencer, Ben Steer
Loan expired: Arnie Garita, Matt Kennedy, Craig Tanner.
Apprentices offered professional contract: Jordan Bentley, Alex Fletcher, Callum Rose.
Apprentices offered professional development contracts*: Alex Battle, Dan Rooney, Aaron Taylor.
Apprentices released: Connor McAuley, Josh Richards.
Director Simon Hallett expects Plymouth Argyle to be competitive in League One next season and possibly challenge for a play-off place. He said: "You never quite know what other teams are going to do, and you never quite know what they are going to be spending. But we are not aiming at merely surviving in League One. We are aiming at being competitive, and I think we will be competitive. I think having a chance of getting in the play-offs is competitive. That's how I would define it.
"Football is not deterministic. You can't say 'We are going to spend this much money and therefore this is what we will get'. We can say 'This is what we are going to spend and this is what we think everybody else is going to spend' and that gives us a range of outcomes. That range would include at least a chance of getting in the play-offs.
"I don't believe in momentum. I believe in building bases. We are building a base here for the next five to 10 years. This is all about the long term. If we start taking actions because we are impatient and want to have it (a return to the Championship) happen next year then we won't achieve our objective. We want to be sustainable, so I think that means maybe being patient, but we are going to be competitive next year."
Luke McCormick admitted to mixed emotions after celebrating promotion at Grimsby in spite of failing to win the division, explaining: "It was complete mixed emotions really after the game. I don't think there is a word to describe how I actually felt. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. We have given it absolutely everything this season and the main objective has been achieved.
"We are delighted we have given the fans what they have been after for so long, and that's promotion. We would have loved to have given them the title and, in the end, it has come down to the goal difference. We have given it everything, and I know that's something the fans ask for, so we can hold our heads up high.
"It's amazing how tight it was. Who would have ever guessed only a month ago that it would be Pompey winning the title? Fair play to them, they have done just enough, but we are very proud of what we have achieved, and so we should be. It will be a season that we will remember for the rest of our lives. It's on to the summer now and we will come back and have a go at League One."
Additionally, McCormick paid tribute to Derek Adams who he believes is capable of taking Argyle up into the Championship: "We have got a fantastic manager who is hungry for success. He assembled a great squad, which got us out of League Two and I think he's the man to get us out the next one as well. When that will be, we will see.
"With him at the helm the club is certainly moving in the right direction. I don't think I have ever worked so hard, or had the demands asked of me, in all my career, and I have worked for some Premier League managers the lot. He demands success and he's a winner. With someone like that steering the ship, I think there is only one direction the club is going to go.
"I'm looking forward to it already. Since we first got promoted it's just natural to think about next season and what is ahead. It's not before too long really. The club has been desperate to do it and now we have got the chance. I'm really looking forward to getting stuck into League One, and let's see what we can do. It's not on me, I don't think, to set the objectives for next season, but we have got an excellent fanbase and a good stadium. Let's just have a go. Let's not get worried about anything. Let's just have a right go at it and we will see. I think the clubs that went up from League Two last season have all done very well."
Adams himself cited the club record for away wins as something he was especially proud of when asked for his highlights of the season, saying: "Probably the club record for away wins. It's something we can look back on. Winning in the Devon Derby twice is something else, and there were the two games against Liverpool in the FA Cup. We always enjoy playing against Portsmouth. We were undefeated against them and we won twice against Doncaster. I think 32 clean sheets in the second half of 46 league games is unbelievable. We finished second on goal difference to Portsmouth, who had a very good end to the season.
"It's about progress. We have managed to move the football club onto the next level, which I wanted to do when I came here just under two years ago. So many supporters wanted it to move forward. We have had a lot of good home games and a lot of good away games as well. I just feel the support around the area has been with us, and we have given them a lot to shout about.
"From a personal point of view, I have got to thank the chairman James Brent and board of directors for allowing me to manage the football club. Taking a manager from Scotland, who had been very successful but had never managed in England, was a good decision by them, I would say. They had so many applicants for the job and it was nice for me to get the opportunity. I have also got to thank my backroom staff, including my assistant Craig Brewster and Paul Wotton, who have been with me for my last two seasons."
The city of Plymouth turned out in force, in the city centre and at Plymouth Pavilions, to celebrate its 2016-17 promotion-winning heroes. The Argyle players and staff paraded through the city, were received by Lord Mayor Pauline Murphy and members of Plymouth City Council, before greeting the Green Army from the Council House balcony. From there, it was onto a dinner reception at the Pavilions, with over 600 guests.
Derek Adams spoke philosophically about Argyle's difficult afternoon failing to secure the league title at Grimsby- and admitted he was waiting for a second goal that ultimately never came. Adams said: "We had a very difficult afternoon. We went down early in the game; we got ourselves back into it; and we just thought we were going to nick it at the end, but it just wasn't to be. We had plenty of time to try to get the second goal and we worked and worked and worked to try to get it. I thought it was going to come; I thought it was only a matter of time before we got that second goal but, unfortunately, it wasn't for us. Unfortunately for us, we weren't able to get that second goal but over the season we have had a lot of top performers, and that's why we have been promoted to League One."
Adams did not let disappointment grind him down, saying that he would be celebrating the successes of the season rather than bemoaning our failure to overcome the final hurdle: "I'm delighted. To get Plymouth Argyle promoted into League One was our main aim at the start of the season and it is a fantastic achievement for so many people at this football club. We obviously would have liked to win the title, and to lose on goal-difference is very difficult to take, but credit to Portsmouth they have been able to pip ourselves to the title. They are a very well supported football club, as well. They have put a very good run together and they deserve to be champions; they are at the top of the pile because they have scored more goals than Plymouth they haven't got more points, but have scored more goals. We've really moved the football club on. To finish second in the league, we are delighted with. We are delighted that two well supported clubs are getting promoted to League One and a lot of other League One clubs will be, as well. The players have been absolutely outstanding. We are delighted with the season we have had. At the start of the season, if we had said that we would finish in second position, we would have taken it the plan was to get promoted out of this division but, come the last game of the season, to be in the position we were, we wanted to try to win the title. We came up a few goals short.
"They never surprise me. They travel with us all over the season and they have had a lot of great days. They have supported for many years, through thick and thin, and they'll continue to do so. The supporters have waited until well after the game and it is a great day for them. They have seen us get promoted out of this division and we have all celebrated getting back to League One together.
"Monday night is going to be a terrific occasion for the football club. We've got a civic reception and then we go to the Pavilions and we'll have a good night with the staff and players, and families and supporters. We have made so many people happy this year and it's been a fantastic season. We have had the FA Cup run, going to Liverpool, but over the league season, to finish on the points total we have we have done better than we did last year and we've been able to get ourselves into the next league."
Graham Carey echoed the words of his manager, opting to focus on the positives rather than the negative: "We went in and he reminded us: we would've taken this at the start of the season, to get out of this league," said Carey."It's a tough league. It's brutal at times. We have to be happy. It was the objective at the start of the season. It was a bit bittersweet, but we have to enjoy these moments. It's not many times in your career that you can get promoted.
"The manager has come in and, honestly, his recruitment has been unbelievable," said Graham."To start with four players after the disappointment of last year; to bring in the quality he's brought in, but to bring in such a great group of boys. With the amount of travelling that we do to every away game, you need a tight-knit group and we've got that. Hopefully we can keep the main core of that. I need a holiday! I think that was my 100th game for Argyle over two seasons, which is crazy especially after last year, when we only had four weeks off. I think I need a good few weeks off.
"If you'd have given us promotion at the start of the season we'd have taken it. "It doesn't matter how you get it. It's a really difficult league to get out of. I think we have to remember that two or three weeks ago, we were nowhere near the league title. We were obviously disappointed with the game and not being able to win the league, but the bigger picture is we're out of this league, and hopefully onto bigger and better things.
"It hurts a little bit but the fans have reminded us what a great season we've had. Ten seconds after the final whistle, they were singing. Once the fans are happy, everyone's happy. You could see what it meant to them and that's all we need, really. It's been a great season, and the least you can do is applaud the fans. They've been supporting us all season, travelling up and down the country. You can see what it means to them to get promoted."
Argyle have ended the season as League Two runners-up to Portsmouth following a 1-1 draw with Grimsby Town. The home side took the lead after just 42 seconds and remained leading until half-time. Argyle brought on Jimmy Spencer in the second half who scored within a minute of coming onto the pitch but it was not enough to secure all three points. Doncaster did not overtake Argyle, losing to Hartlepool 2-1 but Portsmouth emphatically sealed the title with a 6-1 victory over Cheltenham. Argyle ended the season celebrating promotion in front of the away supporters in spite of the disappointment at failing to win the league. Argyle: McCormick, Miller, Songo'o, Bradley, Sawyer, Fox(Smith), Sarcevic, Carey, Slew(Blissett), Taylor, Kennedy(Spencer). Subs: Dorel, Sokolik, Threlkeld, Donaldson.
Regardless of the various permutations of results involving Doncaster and Portsmouth, Derek Adams is sticking to one simple fact: if Argyle win, they are champions of League Two. Adams said: "We would like to win the game and if we win the game we are champions. We know what we have to do. We've done exceptionally well, but we have one more 90 minutes to go to make it a terrific season. We just want to finish it off. We don't need to look to anyone else now. There is a likelihood that Doncaster and Portsmouth will both win their games. We will have to win at Grimsby. If we win, we take care of ourselves. We have a lot to play for on Saturday, with a lot of travelling supporters coming with us. We want to finish as champions now.
"It's a very tough league, very competitive. It has been since the start of the season. To say, with the resources that we have, we'd be in this position, we'd be delighted to have gained promotion to League One and we have a game on Saturday where if we win we become league champions. That's a terrific season. Last season we probably didn't expect to be in the position we were. It was something we were working towards; I had just come in in June. We were able to move the squad about; we didn't have as a big a squad last year as we have this year to cover injuries and suspensions. We've done very well, home and away to put us in this excellent position with a game to go."
Gary Sawyer hopes that Argyle's relentless away form will be able to see them home with the League Two trophy in hand on Saturday, saying: "We've fought hard for that. We've had a lot of tough games and come through some decent tough games to win. We've given ourselves an unbelievable chance; we know it's in our hands and we know what we've got to do. We've always wanted to win the league but our first aim was to get promoted; we couldn't look at winning the league until we got promoted. We've done well since that and Donny have fallen off it a little bit they've been up there all year and it's tough to carry on doing that. We've given ourselves a chance to end the season the way we want to. Us and Portsmouth got promoted the same day; Donny the week before. It's been a tight run between the three of us. It's been good that it was the three of us and there hasn't really been a fourth that has threatened. Both of them, like us, will be looking to try and nick this on the last day to cap the season off. We've been relentless away from home this year," said Gary. "At this level, it is effectively pretty much the same game every week, really it doesn't tend to differ too much. There has been no let-off. It's been 100mph from start to finish, which happens if you are going to get promoted. Saturday will be massive for the boys. To be able to get on the coach after the game, knowing there are no more games left and you've got a trophy at the front of the bus that's what everyone is playing for and that's what we all want."
Sawyer finally added that he believes that the crushing disappointment of losing at Wembley last year contributed to Argyle's strength of resolve that saw them over the line this time round: "Wembley is an unbelievable place to go and play but, if you don't get the right result, it's not a place that you want to be at. It happened and it made us stronger, so it's helped in the long run. It's been the aim for the club for a while now, to get back into a better league, and we've managed to do that this year. To finally do it after the heartbreak of last year I think it means that little bit more. If you'd told us that when we were sat on the pitch at Wembley, you would have snapped everyone's hand off to be able to do it this way one more game and hopefully we can put the cherry on top. We got ourselves in a really good position last year and, if you look at our points tally, if we'd done that this year, we'd have been promoted this year as well. We did really well last year but unfortunately just fell short at the end, which was a hard one to take, but the boys this year have been fantastic, all through the season. To get ourselves in the position we are now is amazing, really. Mentally, it's not easy because you are forever looking over your shoulder but, because we weren't the top team, you have got someone to chase and it helped having Donny out in front of us. We had someone to kick on to whereas, when you're out by yourself at the top, it can be a little bit harder, I think. It's been mentally hard this year; every season is, but it's tough at the top; it's been a tough season, a long season, but one we've enjoyed and one, thankfully, we've managed to take over the line. To have promotion in the bag is a lovely feeling and to take it to the last day is a massive occasion for everyone at the club. It's all on us. We've got to win. I think Donny and Portsmouth will win their games, but we know, if we win ours, we get it, so it's a massive incentive for us. Grimsby, when they were down here, were a good side. They are not playing for anything which means they will be relaxed; it might be a little bit nervy for us because we know what's on the line at the end of the day. We'll go there with the same game-plan that we have all year, that has got us promoted.."
Derek Adams admitted that he was not shocked to see that Doncaster's game at Hartlepool was selected for Sky TV showing rather than Argyle's match at Grimsby, explaining: "The last game of the season and we have still got a title to play for," summarised Argyle manager Derek Adams. "We are now in pole position, with a win taking us to win the title. We have put ourselves in a fantastic position. I didn't think our game would be on. I thought it would be Doncaster v Hartlepool because there's one team that can win the championship and one team that can either be relegated or not be relegated. There is going to be a huge contingent going to the game. We have been well supported throughout the season.
Our home attendances have increased over the last two years by over 29% - that's excellent progress at home. Away from home, the amount of travelling that the Green Army has to do, the amount of money spent they have certainly had a lot of good times. We've got to go there and win. We know a draw is not good enough; a 1-0 win is good enough. We will win the league if we win the game on Saturday. We have put ourselves in a position where we have gone ahead of Doncaster; Portsmouth have put a very good run together; there are three teams in it on the last game of the season. Portsmouth are going to win at home to Cheltenham. They have done really well and Cheltenham have been able to get themselves safe; Portsmouth will win that game. Doncaster against Hartlepool is difficult to call because there is a lot riding on that game for both sides. If Newport score early in their game, it could swing in Doncaster's favour."
Sonny Bradley's message going into the game at Grimsby that will make or break Argyle's title hopes is clear: 'one more push.' The defender said: "For some reason, I've always felt that, going to Grimsby, it would be in our hands. In December/January time, I said we only wanted to win the title and that's always been our attitude. We haven't taken out foot off the gas and it's on now. It's in our hands; we have just got to make sure we do everything right this week and then go and get the win at Grimsby. Everyone will be fit and everyone will be looking forward to it. We'll try to get the three points and get back down the M1 with the league title.
"All of a sudden, we were thinking: 'We can win it. We've had a couple of setbacks, but we've always played with the attitude that we can go on and win it, and we have put ourselves in a great position now. One more shift to go, now. All the boys are fully fit and we'll be leaving everything out on the pitch at Grimsby; if we do that, we will win the league title."
Bradley also said of his winning of the player of the season award: "From my view, four or five of the boys could easily have been stood in my position, winning player of the year. I'm delighted to win the awards, but ultimately the main prize is promotion. Now we can take it one step further and win the league."
Finally, he gave his assessment of the win against Crewe on Saturday and the strength of character that Argyle needed to get over the line: "The Crewe centre-halves weren't the biggest or the strongest, and you could see Ryan getting a bit of success. I was sat next to Bliss on the bench thinking 'We could do with you today'. We recognised that Ryan was getting a bit of success up top, being a big, strong boy, and I think the manager has thought 'Let's go with Bliss, as well'. I got the instructions: 'Let's go direct; let's get the ball up to them.' It's a great switch-up from the gaffer and we ended up scoring two good goals.
"The finish from Ryan from Gary's assist he'll tell you he meant it, but I can assure you I have never seen him do that before. It was a bit of a slice, but it was a great finish from Ryan. Then Bliss you can guarantee, with him on the pitch, he's going to get a chance similar to that. I think he had one about five minutes before that when it got saved wonderfully by their 'keeper; it got flicked over the bar. He was in a great position; it was a great goal and we've gone on to win the game. Everybody has chipped in; everyone has worked hard this season. I was really delighted for Bliss because he never complains or moans; he gets on with it. I think he has been unlucky at times not to get a chance. He hasn't got as many chances as I think that he has deserved, but every time has been called upon, he has put a real shift in."
A second promotion as a Plymouth Argyle first team regular, and a third while he has been at the club, has meant a lot to goalkeeper and captain Luke McCormick. In fact he has gone as far as to say that it is his best yet: "It's difficult to compare the promotions. I'm very lucky to have been part of the last two. I think when you get older, you learn to appreciate these things a little bit more. It's very hard to put into words. The first two promotions were so close together. By the time the second one came around we were still quite high from the first. But, with this one, the club has had a big gap and been through some difficult times as well. I think this caps the other two easily, to be fair.
"We didn't start the season as well as we would have liked. "But you could see with the players that we kept, and the quality the manager was able to bring in, we were always quite confident. It was about being a bit patient and we knew that we would come good. We have been able to put together a consistency that has seen us being in the top three and fortunately this time we have been able to get over the line.
"I think we are suited to playing away from home, when you consider the sort of personnel that we have within the squad. We have got pace, we have got creativity and we have got good defensive ability. As we have said before many a time this season it gives us a base to then go and attack. We seem to enjoy teams coming onto us a little bit, frustrating them, and then being able to counter attack. It's credit to the management and the lads that we broken the club record in terms of away wins because it's not easy considering the travelling we do."
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