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ROMAIN LARRIEU

Born: 31 August 1976

Came from: Valence, France   Went to: Appointed Assistant Manager

First game: 05 December 2000   Last game: 05 May 2012

Appearances: 318 (314/4)   Goals: 0

Larrieu began his career at Montpellier as understudy to French international Bruno Martini. Moving on to ASOA Valence, he played alongside David Friio but was released following the club's relegation and then spent six months out of football. He arrived at Home Park on a one-month trial contract in December 2000 and his first-team chance came two months later, coming on as a substitute after an injury to Jon Sheffield. He impressed enough to earn a permanent contract and was Argyle's number one at the end of the season.

'Le Keeper' was one of the stars of the Division Three title win and he set a new club record of 27 clean sheets. A cruciate knee ligament injury early in the 2003-04 season saw him lose his place to Luke McCormick and the two goalkeepers battled each other for the position over the following four seasons.

Romain twice beat testicular cancer during this time and he had a spell on loan at Gillingham after recovering from his illness in 2006-07. He lost his place to McCormick after the first three games of the following season and shortly afterwards joined Yeovil Town on loan. He came back to play in a dozen games mid-way through the campaign but again faced a battle with cancer and sat out the second-half of the season.

Fully recovered, he regained his place in the team in 2008-09 and won the Player of the Season award. He was named as Argyle's club captain at the start of the following season but despite displaying his usual consistent form, lost his place in the team midway through 2009-10, following the arrival of loanee David Stockdale. However, at the end of the campaign Larrieu agreed a contract extension which would see him complete 10 years service at Home Park.

The following season saw him again sharing the goalkeeping duties with a loanee, this time David Button, but Larrieu was rewarded for his loyalty and commitment when it was confirmed that the 2011-12 campaign would be 'Le Testimonial', a year long celebration of his career with a series of fund-raising events to benefit local charities. This proved to be his final year as a player at Home Park and saw Larrieu mainly in a back-up role to Jake Cole. When Peter Reid was sacked he was named as first team player-coach under caretaker manager Carl Fletcher and this appointment was made permanent in November 2011. Towards the end of the season Larrieu announced his retirement as a player, shortly before he was confirmed as Fletcher's assistant manager.

After narrowly avoiding relegation from the Football League in 2011-12, Fletcher, Larrieu and coach Kevin Nancekivell signed one-year rolling contract extensions to stay at Home Park. However, on New Year's Day 2013, with Argyle teetering on the verge once again, Carl Fletcher was dismissed by chairman James Brent after a 2-1 defeat at Bristol Rovers. Larrieu and Nancekivell took charge of the team, but their one game at the helm did not end well - a 4-0 defeat at leaders Port Vale. Within days, John Sheridan took over, with 'Ro' and Nancekivell in supporting roles, although the new manager promoted Gary Owers from working with Argyle's u18s to first-team coach. Having successfully steered Argyle away from relegation, Sheridan then set about rebuilding the Argyle squad on and off the field. In June 2013 it was announced that Larrieu would be leaving the club, along with Nancekivell and other backroom staff.

Ro's departure ended a sterling 13-year association with the club, and his contribution was praised by both Sheridan and Brent when his departure was announced. By the end of the month he had announced his desire to return to watch Argyle with his son Aldo, using the word 'we' on multiple occasions in a local press interview - proving you can take the man out of the club but not the club out of the man.

YOUR CONTRIBUTION

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 ...

When we first saw Romain Larrieu pull on the Argyle goalkeeper shirt in the 2000-2001 season, no one would have believed that he would become quite such a legendary figure in Argyle's history. But that is what he is, and for so many reasons.

Not just for those two Championships, or those 27 clean sheets, or "that save" at Rushden, or for becoming the fourth longest serving keeper in Pilgrims history.

Those achievements were important in our collective bonding with "Le Keeper", undoubtedly. His agility, reach and positioning were outstanding, breath-taking at times. If only his kicking ...  More

From Andrew Chapman in Leeds on 25/10/2013 ...

Well, what can one say about Romain? I remember the rarity of a tracksuit-bottomed, not-hugely-convincing and slightly rusty on debut Frenchman - little did I know I was witnessing the birth of an Argyle Legend - and that IS, for once, not an overuse of an all too common overly-used word. Ro grew into one of the finest keepers this club has seen. From 'that' save at Rushden & Diamonds (remember them?!) which turned Luggy's first (we all know he had two really - sorry Bobby!) championship-winning season; to a ridiculous amount of clean sheets that same season, he was clearly destined for ...  More

From Tyler House in Saltash on 10/11/2013 ...

I first saw Ro play in 2006, quite a while after 27 clean sheets in one season, being named in a PFA Team of the Year or any saves against Rushden & Diamonds! That doesn't matter to me. I still had the pleasure of watching a fantastic goalkeeper for the final 6 years of his career and, even in his latter years, he was a fantastic shot stopper and that includes reaching into all four corners of the goal.

I loved his testimonial season, too. By this time, I knew Ro personally and had the pleasure of writing a tribute to him for the QPR 'Le Testimonial' programme and enjoying a 3-course-meal ...  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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