Thanks to Dave Rowntree for many of the player images after 1984.
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Born: 18 November 1974
Came from: Livingston Went to: Sheffield Wednesday
First game: 11 August 2001 Last game: 08 May 2005
Appearances: 193 (193/0) Goals: 26
Coughlan spent four highly successful years at Home Park, forming a partnership with Paul Wotton in the centre of Argyle's defence that was the best for many years. An ever-present member of the Division Three title-winning team and top goalscorer during that season, a remarkable achievement for a defender, he was named in the PFA Division Three team of the year in 2001-02 and was also the club's player of the year. Two years later he was named the Division Two player of the year as Argyle again won the title. He was also named in the Argyle team of the century.
Having started his career in his native Ireland with Cherry Orchard and Bray Wanderers he moved to Blackburn Rovers but struggled to break into the first team. After loan spells with Swindon Town and Livingston, he moved to the latter on a permanent basis. Despite becoming a key part of the team during his two years there, Coughlan was surprisingly allowed to move to Home Park on a free transfer. Four seasons later, when told he did not fit in to Bobby Williamson's plans, he joined Paul Sturrock at Sheffield Wednesday and played regularly, again winning a player of the year award, until a change of management led to a loan move to Burnley.
After Wednesday released him in the summer of 2007, Coughlan spent a year at Rotherham United and then signed for Shrewsbury Town, being virtually ever-present for both. In 2009 he nearly returned to Argyle in a coaching capacity but chose to carry on his playing career at Shrewsbury. In 2010 he joined forces with Sturrock again at Southend United, combining player and assistant manager duties. Despite Luggy’s departure in 2013, ‘Cocko’ stayed on at Roots Hall as first team coach under new manager Phil Brown.
If you can add to this profile, perhaps with special memories, a favourite story or the results of your original research, please contribute here.
From John Lloyd in Yiewsley, Uxbridge on 15/10/2013 ...
If you look up the word "uncompromising" in the Oxford English Dictionary, you may very well find a picture of Graham Coughlan there to illustrate it.
As Paul Sturrock continued his rebuild at Home Park in the summer of 2001, he knew that he had to start at the back. He had his keeper and one of his centre backs - Romain Larrieu and Paul Wotton. So he went back to Scotland to sign Livingston's captain - Graham Coughlan, or "Cocko" as we would come to call him.
I met him at a pre-season social organised by PACSA - as he nursed an orange juice, I made a throwaway remark that maybe we might ... More
From Sam Down in Southampton on 27/11/2013 ...
Graham Coughlan - not only one of the most legendary centre-backs in our history but also a fantastic man too. Players are people and it's natural that some aren't always in the mood to stop for a chat but this was never true of Cocko - wherever he was he'd always have time for a friendly word with me (a young kid at the time) and my dad who was taking me to football. He got to recognise us from our regular trips to away games and to the Devonshire Health Club's swimming pool and always went out of his way to be friendly to a young fan. Two incidents sum him up - at the age of 11, due to ... More
From Andrew Chapman in Leeds on 27/11/2013 ...
Just to echo Sam's entry in particular and whilst they do say 'you should never meet your heroes', well frankly sometimes you should. I always looked up to players on the pitch and this obviously starts in one's youth when they are men and you are, well, not! They're bigger than you, giants on many levels. Despite heading inexorably past my 30s as the 2000s were upon us, I still 'looked up' to players and 'Cocko' was a giant amongst giants - a colossus on the pitch. In an end-of-season event celebrating the magnificent 2001-02 Div3 championship-winning season I got some players' autographs on ... More
APPEARANCE DETAILS [reselect competitions]
The details below reflect appearances in all first-team competitions.
We're grateful to Andy Chapman, Paul Roberts, Steve Rhodes and Mark Lovell for their help in writing GoS-DB's player pen-pictures, and to the PAFC Media Team and Colin Parsons for their help with photos. Thanks also to staff at the National Football Museum, the Scottish Football Museum and ScotlandsPeople for their valuable assistance.
The following publications have been particularly valuable in the research of pen-pictures: Plymouth Argyle, A Complete Record 1903-1989 (Brian Knight, ISBN 0-907969-40-2); Plymouth Argyle, 101 Golden Greats (Andy Riddle, ISBN 1-874287-47-3); Football League Players' Records 1888-1939 (Michael Joyce, ISBN 1-899468-67-6); Football League Players' Records 1946-1988 (Barry Hugman, ISBN 1-85443-020-3) and Plymouth Argyle Football Club Handbooks.
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