A Round-up of Argyle News
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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 officially came out of administration at 12.27pm today and the Football League released a statement which read: The Board of The Football League has agreed to transfer Plymouth Argyle's share in The Football League to Green Pilgrim Limited, a company owned by local businessman James Brent. The Board's decision brings an end to the club's period in administration. Football League Chairman, Greg Clarke, said: "I would like to welcome James Brent to The Football League and thank him for the efforts he has made to help save Plymouth Argyle Football Club. It is important to place on record that his takeover proposals have required a significant leap of faith by the Board, which it has agreed to take in order to preserve the future of professional football in Plymouth. In seasons ahead, The League will closely scrutinise the financial affairs of the club to ensure that the promises made to the Board are kept. I would like to pay a particular tribute to the staff and players of Plymouth Argyle. For many months they have worked without pay and without any certainty that they would receive money owed to them or even have a job in future. Without their collective resilience there would not be a professional football club in Plymouth today. I would also like to thank Plymouth City Council. By agreeing to purchase Home Park they have ensured that the Pilgrims can continue making an important contribution to people living in the local community. Finally, I would like to thank Plymouth supporters for their patience and continued support of their club. Hopefully, this will be the start of a better future for Plymouth Argyle."
Jared Sims received praise for his performance against Cheltenham Town from Carl Fletcher. He said: "Jared did really well, especially in the first half. He floats into some lovely pockets. He has got a real natural ability to find certain areas. It was a bit harder for him in the second half and we changed him with Vas. Vas came on with his pace and caused a bit more of a threat for us." It took a superb save to push a fierce shot from Isaac Vassell onto a post in the 79th minute, shortly before Cheltenham equalised. Fletcher said: "I thought it was in, to be honest. The 'keeper has pulled out a magnificent save." Matt Lecointe had to drop out of Argyle's starting line-up less than an hour before kick-off because of a hip injury, which meant Jamie Griffiths had to be pressed into service as a stand-in striker. Fletcher said: "He felt it late on Friday evening, so we had to see in the warm-up what he was like and it was no good. That's just another one thrown in for us to deal with, which isn't ideal, but that's football. Griff is a midfielder and he played up front for us. He's good in the air and worked his socks off. I think, looking at him, you probably don't realise he's only 19." Meanwhile, with the takeover of Argyle now agreed, the ban on the club making signings is set to be lifted by the Football League, which would allow them to extend the loan of Ben Gibson. Fletcher, when asked about that possibility, said: "I'm not sure. We will see this week."
Simon Walton is convinced Argyle can turn around their fortunes and start climbing the table and believes it is only a matter of time before they begin to pick up points on a regular basis. He said: “To lose the game in the way that we did after the performance and the effort we put in is demoralising. I think 99 per cent of the people in this ground would say we deserved at least a draw, so you have got to take the positives out of every situation. We are a young team and we are still learning. Everyone is gutted in the changing room, but we won’t be too downhearted. There are quite a few positives to take, so hopefully we can take them into the next game.” Cheltenham's winning goal came after his initial shot was superbly saved by Romain Larrieu. Larrieu was on as a substitute for Jake Cole, who had taken a blow to a hip earlier in the second half and could not continue playing. Walton said: “When things go against you, like they have here, it’s impossible not to feel sorry for yourself and hard done by. But we are learning, and we are trying to do the right things. It’s just a matter of time now before everything starts to click. Even with us being short of a few players, we were more than a match for a team who are in the top six. It’s no good dwelling on it. We will pick ourselves up and go again. That’s all you can do.” Jamie Griffiths was sent off by the referee after a challenge in the 85th minute but Walton did not attach any blame on him for the defeat. He said: “I thought Griff was brilliant. He gave their back four a real run around. He can be proud of his performance and nobody will feel any resentment for what he did. There is not an ounce of malice in him. He has done an honest job for the team and was trying to win the ball back. It was a little bit naive, but we have all done those things when we were young. We will do our best to pick him up because he’s a great lad and has put a shift in. He was distraught after the game, but we all were. We are such a close-knit group. We have been through such a lot that we feel it together. Griff is only here on loan but he has put his heart and soul into it since he has been here. We all felt for him, and we were proud of the performance and effort he put in. So he has got nothing to be ashamed of in my eyes.” Walton thought Argyle should also have been awarded a spot kick for a challenge on Isaac Vassell. He said: “The ball broke to Youngy and Vas was running across the pitch and has near enough had the shirt ripped off his back. In my opinion, that was more of a penalty than the one they got. But it’s the same again, when things go against you they really do go against you. Things will turn for us and we will get that bit of luck that we thoroughly deserve. Hopefully, it will come soon.”
Carl Fletcher could not contain his anger and disappointment after Argyle’s defeat at Cheltenham Town on Saturday. Jamie Griffiths was sent off for serious foul play and Cheltenham scored the decisive goal shortly afterwards, in the third minute of stoppage time. Whilst not naming referee Jon Moss, Fletcher was clearly upset with him. He said: “I think in this stadium today there was a man who was here to work and didn’t do his job properly. I’m not any naming names, you make your own assumptions who you think I’m talking about, but in my view, I feel it’s disappointing that someone doesn’t do their job properly and we have to take the brunt of it. The FA talk about ‘respect’ campaigns, but I think respect has to work both ways. It’s disappointing that doesn’t happen.” Fletcher admitted he was trying to choose his words carefully, to avoid disciplinary action from the FA. He said: “If I say anything bad, they are going to fine me. What can I do? I have got lads in there who are on the floor. They worked their socks off. They worked hard all week, and they have had someone take away three points from them. Every game means a lot to them. They want to win every one. But you can only control so much. When you have got someone else who’s not doing their job properly, it’s not acceptable.” Griffiths became the fourth Argyle player to be sent off this season. Usually a midfielder, he led the attack after Matt Lecointe dropped out because of a hip injury. Fletcher was pleased with the way Griffiths played, especially considering he only found out at short notice about his new role. He said: “Griff isn’t a striker, but he has worked really hard and he’s in tears in the changing room. He’s only a young lad and he has come here and wants to do well for the team and the club. It means a lot to him, and it means a lot to all of us.” Jake Cole suffered a hip injury in the second half, when trying to deal with a free-kick. He tried to continue playing after treatment, but could not do so and was replaced by Romain Larrieu. “He got a bad bang on his hip, and it just seized up completely,” added Fletcher. “He’s still struggling in the changing room now, so we will see.”
Jared Sims had a moment of glory taken away from him during the defeat by Cheltenham yesterday. Sims was credited with the game's opening goal, the first in his career, before the Press Association reported it as an own goal by Steve Elliott. Carl Fletcher said: "I'm sure, if certain people have their way, they will probably take that off him, which will be another kick in the teeth. Jared did really well. He floats into some lovely pockets. He's got a real natural ability to find certain areas." Sims was replaced by Isaac Vassell, who came close to giving Argyle what Fletcher felt would have been an unassailable 2-0 lead. "The second half was a bit harder for Jared" said Fletcher. "We changed it and Vas came on with his pace and caused a bit more of a threat for us. I thought his shot was in, to be honest. The 'keeper's pulled out a magnificent save. I think that would have been game over." Sims was the youngest starter in a team that averaged less than 22 years old, with Fletcher himself, returning after a six-game absence, the oldest. "It was nice to be out there," he said. "It was just disappointing not to get the win. Like we do every game, we wanted to give something to the fans and it was a shame we couldn't do that."
Argyle have been draw against Southern League Premier Division Stourbridge at Home Park in the First Round of the FA Cup with Budweiser. The tie will be played on the weekend of November 12th-13th.
The Argyle youth team drew 1-1 in the Football League Youth Alliance Cup at Torquay United yesterday, the goal scored by Dan Hart. Argyle: Walton.C, Hart, Bradley, Pearce, Purrington, Knight, Elcock, Allen, Clarvis, Gallagher, Harvey. Subs - Bentley, Wheatley, Gostling (not used - Walton.R).
Argyle lost 2-1 at Cheltenham Town, the goal coming from a Steve Elliott own goal after 26 minutes. Argyle: Cole, Berry, Nelson, Bhasera Gibson, Fletcher, Walton, Young, Hourihane, Griffiths, Sims. Subs - Larrieu, Vassell, (not used – Soukouna, Williams, Copp) Attendance - 4,026.
The long-awaited takeover of Argyle was agreed yesterday in a deal that will save the football club and safeguard its future. James Brent’s Akkeron Group chief will assume ownership of Argyle though a new firm, Green Pilgrim Limited, along with land south of Home Park. Plymouth City Council will buy the stadium for £1.6million, and lease it back to the club. Peter Ridsdale, is to be named the club's chairman of football operations on a contract running until May, with Brent remaining as chairman of the board, the rest of which will be filled at a later date. A sale and purchase agreement was yet to be finalised last night, and the takeover is still dependent on Football League approval. However, it is understood that should be a formality. Brent said: "There are no issues outstanding that we know about. Clearly I am delighted, and, quite rightly so, the first thing on the agenda is to pay the staff. Hopefully, this is the start of a bright new chapter in the club's history." Asked about Ridsdale's appointment, he said that his focus would be on bringing in new loan players, of which there are some in the pipeline, to help the squad. "I hope the retention of his services will turn out to be good news, in that it provides stability," Brent said. Carl Fletcher revealed ‘a sense of relief’ has swept around Home Park after the long-awaited takeover of Argyle was completed. He said: "It's very pleasing. Getting everything across the line is a big relief for everyone. We have been waiting for this day for a long time and we have been through some real tough times along the way. It's disappointing it has taken so long to get it sorted out but, thankfully, it has been now."
Carl Fletcher does not expect to see a host of new players heading for Home Park this season, following yesterday’s takeover agreement. It is expected there will be a tight control on spending under James Brent’s stewardship and when asked what sort of owner he thought Brent would be, Fletcher said: “Who knows? Time will tell, but he and his people have worked hard to get this over the line, and we have to be thankful for that. I think the club will be run as a business, which is probably where it all went wrong in the first place. I’m pretty sure we won’t be signing a lot of new players all of a sudden, which I think is a good thing. We need to keep that spirit and togetherness among the players, the staff and the fans, which has got us through this experience. We can use it as we try to rebuild the club.”
Argyle will look into taking the train to away games more often in the future, after travelling by rail to the game at Cheltenham today. Carl Fletcher said: "It should be good for everyone to travel up and have a real good time on the train. If the club can build a relationship with First Great Western it will be beneficial to the team in the future. We do a lot of travelling because of the location we are in, and obviously being on the road so long and going so many miles you are invariably going to hit traffic. At least with the train you know the times you are going to leave and the times you are going to get there are pretty much nailed on. I think it's something we would look to use in the future, if they want to give us a train for free, that would be ideal. And a free first class carriage would be doubly ideal! You have to pick the right areas to go to, with the train stations and stuff, but if there is a good relationship then it would be lovely. I think the club needs more of that really, to get involved with other businesses in the community. It's a case of 'you scratch our back, we will scratch yours.' That's the way the community should be. In these hard times financially for everyone, it would be better for people to help one another out."
Carl Fletcher was taking the Argyle squad for training yesterday when they received confirmation that James Brent's takeover had been agreed. "We had heard in the morning all the paperwork had been signed, so that was positive," he said. "Then Peter Ridsdale came over to the training ground to tell us it had all been agreed. It was nice to hear from the horse's mouth, so to speak. It's a big boost for everyone. We will all be getting on the internet now and booking our holidays!" Argyle entered administration at the start of March and Fletcher admitted there had been times when he feared the club would not survive the process. He said: "I was worried about the people involved and whether they would be able to get through it. It's down to the players and staff, and what they have done, that has kept the club going. Brent came to the rescue after a bid from Bishop International Limited, fronted by Kevin Heaney, collapsed. Fletcher said: "It was very disappointing. The first few times it happened you could accept it, but after the 20th time it was hard to take. We got to the stage where, as a group of people, we didn't believe anything we were being told. But the main thing is that the club has got through it now and it's a real good day. It's a new start."
James Brent has said it was ‘a privilege’ to take the reins at Argyle after he concluded his takeover deal yesterday. He said: "Hopefully this is the start of a bright new chapter in the club's history. This is a great club. This is not a natural League Two club and people know it will be going back to something better. I and my family feel incredibly privileged to be custodians of the club on behalf of the fans. What we hope we can do, with the support of the fans, is move things forward to a happier place. This is a rebirth of one of the oldest clubs in the league. It's an old club but with a new beginning. This is a really exciting future." Peter Ridsdale, who will become chairman of football operations, said overseeing the rescue of Argyle was the hardest job he had ever done. "It's most important day in the club's history," he said. "It's sad to say that's true but there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that this club was on the verge of going out of business, not because of the lack of support, but because of mismanagement. I don't think anybody realised just what a long and torturous road it would be and how much we'd have to rely on the good will of the staff, the players, the fans and the community at large. The supporters have been absolutely unbelievable, and it's for them we all do this job. It was a bit like being stuck on a roller-coaster with no brakes. This wasn't a job I could walk away from, because I knew that if I did the club would fold. It's been absolutely mentally exhausting. The challenge now is how we move the club forward. I'll do all I can to make sure that, together, we'll take this football club back up the leagues, starting with securing our future in the Football League. There's no reason why a club of this size and of this supporter base can't get back into the Championship. I'll be on the phone over the weekend to the clubs where we've identified players who we think are available." Brent, a former banker and founder of the multi-million-pound Akkeron Group, which owns hotels, the Saltrock surfwear brand and agricultural assets, plans to return the club to a stable financial footing. He said he would not be splashing out on big transfer fees, but would seek organic growth by making sensible additions to a squad which, although propping up the League, is full of promising young players. Brent said: "We've been very clear from the outset that this is not a sugar daddy situation. We will provide the club with the financial support that it needs to make it back to a level where it can perform. The budget is set at a level that we thought will give us a good League Two team. We don't have provision in there for large up-front premiums but everyone tells me that if you pay a fair wage in League Two you'll build a good team." Plymouth City Council are spending £1.6million on buying the stadium itself, and will get a slice of the profits from development beside it. Brent said he had no firm plans to build, but is eyeing leisure and sports facilities. "We've got a regeneration business and we looked at the Higher Home Park site right from the outset," he said. "The view that I've taken is there is a very sensible Area Action Plan that limits what we can do there, and we will comply with that." Supporters' passion could be repaid as Brent seeks outside investment in Argyle. He said: "The people who deserve most credit in all this are the staff, and they should rightly get their full wages on Monday. If the staff, the players and the supporters had not done what they'd done this club would have folded. It's been absolutely their victory. I'm very enthusiastic to see fan involvement and enthusiastic, properly structured, to see fan investment. We'll start discussions with the Trust sooner rather than later, depending on how long it takes to complete and what the enthusiasm for it is. In principal, subject to it being a good investment, I am very enthusiastic about it. This club should not have survived. It should have been liquidated months ago, but Argyle is a club of people who are passionate. They have been absolutely insistent that their club will never die and no one deserves more credit than Chris Webb and Ian Newell."
Carl Fletcher paid tribute to the Argyle office workers and to the supporters groups like the Fans' Trust and the Green Taverners, who have helped players and staff financially. "There have been so many people that have helped, not only the players, but the staff," he said, "raising money to get people through this tough time. From the players' point of view, we can't thank them enough. Without the people that have been working for nothing, and the fans that have been raising money for us and doing things for us, we wouldn't be sitting here today. The players and the management team owe a lot to those people. We are forever in your debt and will do everything we can to give back what we can to you, the fans, and the football club."
Argyle had to be saved from liquidation because its loyal fans deserved no less, according to Peter Ridsdale. He said: "When you go to places like Oxford and Dagenham & Redbridge, and you realise that a high-proportion of the fans in the stadium are Argyle supporters, you realise why this club had to be saved. The supporters are absolutely unbelievable and it is for them that we are all doing this job and they deserve success. I would like to thank them for the way they have supported the club through the last few months, which have been very difficult, which is why it is going to be a real privilege to work with them, with Carl, to give them something to cheer about. It's not to long ago we were in the Championship and there's no reason whatsoever why a club of this size and particularly with the supporter-base shouldn't be back in the Championship, sooner rather than later." Ridsdale’s new role was announced by James Brent at a Press conference at Home Park on Friday, where he said: "This is a rebirth of one of the oldest clubs in the league. It will have a new management team in place, led by Peter Ridsdale. Peter will be Chairman of Football Operations and, working with Carl and Romain, will move the club forward to huge success. We have been very clear from the outset that this is not a sugar daddy operation. There is no ambition to just chuck money at the club, but this is a big club, it has the ability to perform and we will provide the club with the financial support that it needs to move back to the level at which it should perform. I'd like to thank Peter, who has had an incredibly challenging task. I think he has wondered who he has been working for at times, and why he's doing it probably at time. But he stuck by it and he has brought the club through a horrible period to what I hope is a new beginning." Speaking about his previous role as consultant to the Administrators, Ridsdale said: "My job was to help keep the club alive, with the staff. Despite the hiccups along the way, my original suggestion of the best owner of this football club, which I recommended on day one, was James Brent, and I am delighted that he turned out to be the individual who is now taking the club forward. I am delighted that James has asked me if I would work with him, given the football experience can hopefully bring to bear here in Plymouth. I am very excited about that opportunity and I will do all I can to make sure that together we take this football club back up the leagues, starting with securing our future in the Football League." Ridsdale also paid tribute to financial consultant David Jones and football administrator Jason Turner, who have been working at the club during the last seven months. He added: "Without David and Jason, as well as the rest of the management staff, we wouldn't have got this deal over the table, so I am delighted to thank them, that's a very personal 'thank you'."
Argyle was nearly 90% of the way to disappearing before being rescued from oblivion, according to James Brent. He said: "This club, in my view, had at one point, between a 10-20% chance of surviving and for a club to start with a 10-20% chance of surviving and survive requires a huge amount of effort from a number of people. The people who deserve most credit in all this are the staff at the club, who went through madness, loyalty, whatever. To have been through what they've been through to keep this club going has been quite extraordinary. The fans haven't sat back. They have been absolutely insistent that their club will never die, and they have stood behind that. We are, pray God, at the end of this chapter, which has been horrendous for the club, the staff and the fans, and we are hopefully at the beginning of a new chapter which will be certainly less horrendous and hopefully really quite exciting. This is not the end, it feels like the end of a very long road, it's the beginning of another chapter for Plymouth Argyle Football Club. I and my family feel incredibly privileged to be custodians of the club on behalf of the fans. I am very excited by the opportunity to see success, both in the boardroom and, more importantly, on the pitch. It has been a very, very challenging time for Carl, both as captain and now as manager, and what we hope we can do with the support of the fans is move things forward to a new, happier, place. The message from me tonight is two-fold: one is a sincere thanks to all those people who have given up so much of their time, who have accepted such depravation to keep this football club alive, and to bring it to the start of a new chapter. Secondly, to say 'This is a really exciting future.' It's an old club with a new beginning and the ability to move back up to a position that it should hold."
The takeover of Argyle by James Brent has been approved. Brent's Akkeron Group has come to an agreement with administrators over fees owed to them. "I am delighted that this morning we have agreed a deal that will see Plymouth Argyle Football Club coming out of administration," administrator Brendan Guilfoyle said. "We have been assured that Akkeron will complete the purchase today. Like many other parties both ourselves and Walker Morris have waived a significant amount in fees to ensure the survival of the club. I would like to thank everyone for their patience and continued support during complex negotiations to save the club."
A dispute over administration fees is threatening to force Argyle out of business. Home Park staff have to decide whether to accept another wage deferral today, as administrators seek a further week to wrap up the deal. They say they cannot seek the Football League's final stamp of approval until they receive further financial details from James Brent's team, as well as written agreements that all parties owed cash have agreed terms. But Brent has stated that only three former players were yet to sign documents, and were expected to do so today. "The club and staff should suffer no more," he said. "If the staff ask us to carry on and not pull out we will not pull out, but we will not allow further value to be taken out of the club." Brent confirmed he had offered £400,000 for the costs of the administration process, plus possible future payments. But the fees involved, which stem from four months of work on a failed rival bid, are above £1.2million and it is thought administrators may have run up further costs through club creditors. Brent added: "I recognise the level of losses that the joint administrators will suffer if they proceed with the transaction, but believe that these losses will be higher again if they do not. Let today be the last page of a dreadful chapter in the club's history and tomorrow the first page of a bright new beginning." If staff do not agree to deferrals, the takeover must go through by the end of today, otherwise, P&A may threaten liquidation to avoid assuming legal liability for the wage bill, an outcome creditors would be unlikely to accept. They could ask a court to appoint new administrators to complete the deal in a bid to safeguard money owed. Brendan Guilfoyle described Brent's statement that, other than administrators' fees and expenses, the deal was agreed as ‘premature and in parts inaccurate’. He said: "We've asked the staff for more waivers because we don't believe we'll have the Football League agreement by today. We want to help Plymouth Argyle as well, but negotiations are ongoing and it would be ill-advised to say fees are the only outstanding issue. It's always been my aim to rescue the club, but the level of pain we're being asked to take seems to us to be disproportionate." Both parties released statements yesterday:
The Akkeron group statement read: Akkeron provides the following update in relation to the potential acquisition by Akkeron Leisure Limited ('ALL'), GP's parent company, of the assets and undertaking of PAFC: Other than the sale and purchase agreement ('SPA') to be entered into between ALL, PAFC and the Joint Administrators, all non-employee related agreements have been agreed. ALL understands that the SPA is agreed in relation to all matters other than the Joint Administrators' fees and expenses. Oon Tuesday 25th October 2011, GP made a best and final offer to the Joint Administrators for settlement of their and their advisers fees and expenses. All agreements required from non-playing staff (current and previous) to complete the acquisition have been received, as have all those required from current players. A small number of agreements need to be signed by previous players for the deal to proceed. Akkeron has been assured that these deeds are in the process of being signed and hopes that they will be received today. Akkeron understands that the waiver/deferral agreements entered into between the Joint Administrators and current employees, expire tomorrow, 28th October 2011. James Brent, Chairman of Akkeron said: 'My colleagues (current and prospective), advisers and many, many other parties have worked tirelessly to rescue PAFC. They have my sincere thanks. The combination of the dire financial position that the Joint Administrators found the Club in and the protracted administration has created many losers and no winners. I recognise the level of losses that the Joint Administrators will suffer if they proceed with the transaction, but believe that these losses will be higher again if they do not. ALL will not improve on the terms of its best and final offer. I call on the Joint Administrators to follow the example set by PAFC's employees (current and past) and creditors (unsecured and secured) and accept their losses and allow the Club to move forward. Please let today be the last page of a dreadful chapter in the Club's history and tomorrow the first page of a bright new beginning'.
The P&A Partnership re Plymouth Argyle Football Company Limited (in administration) statement read: Commenting on a media statement from the Akkeron Group LLP Brendan Guilfoyle from The P&A Partnership and joint administrator of Plymouth Argyle Football Company Limited (in administration) said: “We are still in negotiations and therefore disappointed that Akkeron has issued this statement, which is both premature and in parts inaccurate. In the negotiations the two professional firms involved have more than demonstrated their willingness to write off costs in order to save the club.”
Carl Fletcher fears Argyle's attempts to extend the loan of Ben Gibson could be hit by the continuing delay over the takeover of the club. Gibson’s initial three-month loan ends after the game at Cheltenham Town tomorrow and Fletcher is unsure whether it can be extended because the Football League have put a block on any signings while Argyle's players and staff continue not to be paid. He said: "I don't think we can do anything until the takeover. We will see. I'm not too sure about the paperwork side of it. I don't know whether because he is already here it might be okay." It had been expected James Brent's takeover would be completed this week, but it has still to be finalised. Fletcher said: "It's the same as always. You get told one thing and then something else happens. We are used to it now. When people tell us stuff we don't believe them anyway. Sometimes people say 'it will be done tomorrow' and other times they say 'it will be done next week.' It doesn't have any bearing on us. We will believe them when the money is in the bank. Time is the issue, and we hope it is done sooner rather than later. We can only wait, that's all we can do." Fletcher hopes his team can put the defeat at Oxford United behind them when they take on Cheltenham. He said: "Obviously, we have looked back at the DVD and we didn't do too bad for 70-odd minutes. We were good in possession, and at certain times we were good defensively. Five-one probably wasn't a true reflection on the whole 90 minutes, but that's football. Sometimes you get beaten like that when you don't deserve it. You only have to look at Man United at the weekend, getting six put past them by Man City. It's not a crisis by any means. Like any game, you take the good and bad out of it and work on it. We are a young group and you don't want them to read too much into it. I have played in games where we have pretty much dominated and come off losing 5-0. Sometimes you have just got to accept it and get on with it."
Argyle are waiting on the fitness of Luke Daley and Warren Feeney ahead of their trip to Cheltenham Town tomorrow. Daley has missed the last three matches due to a thigh injury and Feeney sat out against Oxford United on Tuesday because of a groin problem. Carl Fletcher replied ‘still waiting’ when asked whether Daley or Feeney would be available for the game and would not put a percentage on the chances of them playing. "I'm not a physio," he said. Fletcher did not report any other injuries, and would not be drawn on whether he would be in the team, or among the substitutes. He said: "Before every game we look at the squad we have got and pick the team which we think can best get us a result." Pressed on whether his presence in the side would improve those chances, he replied: "We will decide about that and then we will see on Saturday." Onismor Bhasera, meanwhile, has suffered no adverse reaction to making his comeback from a long-term knee injury and Fletcher added: "We are keeping an eye on him every day to make sure he comes through things with flying colours. So far he has done that."
Cheltenham Town had won four consecutive matches in League Two until they lost to Crewe Alexandra on Tuesday, which saw them drop from third to sixth in the table. Carl Fletcher said: "It's going to be a tough game. Cheltenham are doing well. They lost the other night but before that they were on a good run. It's a challenge for us. We have got a squad of people who want to do well and every game is a challenge. It's exciting for us to go there and try to do well for everyone involved."
Argyle’s increasing yellow card count is not a cause for concern for Carl Fletcher. The team have had 37 bookings, in addition to three players being sent-off, so far this season. Conor Hourihane was suspended for the defeat at Oxford United on Tuesday and Will Atkinson will miss the game at Cheltenham, also because of a one-match ban after being booked five times this season. And another three players, Durrell Berry, Ladji Soukouna and Simon Walton, are only one more yellow card away from suffering a suspension. Fletcher said: "It would be more of an issue for me if they were for dissent. But for tackles then I haven't got a problem with them at all. I would rather them get booked for a tackle than not make a tackle. You can get booked these days for the silliest things, or you can get sent-off for the silliest things. It is difficult, but I wouldn't want any of my lads to go into a game worrying about getting a yellow card. I have played in games where you think 'if I get a yellow card today, I'm going to miss a big game next week' and it's not a nice way to go out and play on a Saturday. You have just got to deal with it, it makes it more exciting!"
Carl Fletcher has not ruled out a return to playing duty for Argyle but has reiterated that he does not believe his absence from the team is having a detrimental effect. "One individual doesn't make a team," he said. "Like I have said before in interviews, you have got to think about things as a whole and there are a lot of things you have got to look into in making decisions. In terms of the outcome against Oxford I don't think it made any difference at all, to be honest. For the future of the club, and for the future of the players out there, I think there is no harm in the young lads playing." Fletcher did not accept his presence on the pitch would have benefited the young players who lined up for on Tuesday. "You can only learn by doing things yourself," he added. "If you are a baby and your Mum feeds you until you are 18 you don't know how to feed yourself, do you? At the end of the day, you have to do things for yourself, and experience the good things and the bad things. Football throws that up week-in, week-out. You probably find out more about yourself, and about others, from the bad than the good. If I had ruled out not playing at all I wouldn't be sub because then someone else is not getting experience for me standing in their way. We are trying to do right for what we believe in and what we are trying to achieve, not just over one night or one week, but putting things in place for years to come. We look at every game with different ideas which we think will benefit us, and everyone as a whole. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, but that's the way it is." Argyle are four points adrift at the bottom of League Two after 15 games, and Fletcher said: "We are not stupid. We knew what the situation was when we came into it. We had the choice not to take it. Hopefully the takeover of the club will go through this week and it might open a few doors for us. At the minute, all you can do is deal with the cards you are dealt. It has been like that for 10 months, so it's not any different to us really." Argyle drew level at 1-1 against Oxford when Simon Walton scored from the penalty spot in the 55th minute but had it not been for some good goalkeeping from Jake Cole, the eventual 5-1 defeat could have been even more emphatic. Fletcher said: "I think everyone who plays this game is competitive and I'm no different. For 67 minutes we were okay. We went one-down in the first half, but I was really pleased with the way the players reacted. They didn't panic. Oxford had a lot of possession, but you would expect that away from home and with the experienced players they have got. We tinkered about with a few little bits at half-time to make it easier for us, and we didn't really look under too much pressure. We got our rewards with the penalty, so that was pleasing. Unfortunately, after that we lost the second goal and I think our reaction probably wasn't as good as it was after the first one." When asked where he thought it went wrong for Argyle at that stage of the game Fletcher replied: "I have got a few ideas. We discussed it with the players in the changing room, but I like to keep that in-house. It's a learning experience for the players and for myself in terms of management." Argyle were without Warren Feeney and Luke Daley against Oxford because of injuries but Fletcher believes both have a chance of being available for the visit to Cheltenham Town on Saturday.
The takeover of Argyle is getting closer, but is unlikely to be completed today. James Brent has stated he is ready to sign on the dotted line and buy the club but his terms must be agreed by everybody owed money, and several ex-players are yet to return their documents. Home Park workers have deferred their October salaries until tomorrow, after which liability for the six-figure bill will fall at the administrators' feet. They are unlikely to be willing to foot that, meaning failure to tie up the deal by the end of the week could yet force the club to fold. Brent admitted: "We have no contingency plan beyond Friday. We have been doing, and for the rest of the week will continue to do, everything we can to make it happen. We've been ready to sign every single document for a matter of days now but we can't complete until that last document is signed and returned. I can't give assurances but I am hopeful it will be signed over the next 48 hours." Of the players yet to agree terms, only one is involved in a wrangle over his contract, which has a year still to run. Another has required translation of the documents through lawyers in Eastern Europe and another is currently serving a prison sentence. Former players now on the books of Scottish and English clubs are understood to be querying the terms. An issue over Argyle's £500,000 pitch must also be resolved before Football League chiefs have the final say.
The takeover of Argyle could not be finalised last night, as another staff pay-day appears set to pass by. James Brent and his legal team worked into the night in a bid to finalise the deal but agreements are still not in place with some former players over the repayment of their unpaid wages. Brent also remains in a stand-off with administrators over their fees, with the costs of the process reaching around £1.2million. October salaries are due today and Brent was keen to complete the takeover by last night so it would be possible to pay the staff in full. However, the Football League must see all relevant documents before approving a deal, and some are still outstanding. All current employees have agreed to accept their unpaid wages over a five-year period as part of the takeover and Peter Reid and Tony Campbell have now agreed terms. But newspaper reports suggest five players no longer at the club are yet to sign. Brent, who was involved in discussions over administrators' fees yesterday, said: "There are still a small handful out there but we hope they aren't going to be an issue. We want to pay the staff and we are ready to go subject to a few documents that are still out there."
Carl Fletcher named himself as a substitute at Oxford last night, but did not come on to try and influence the game as his young side lost 5-1. That, he explained afterwards, was for the benefit of his inexperienced team. "How am I going to change the game in a 5-1 defeat?" he said. "Am I a striker? Am I a winger? I'm not going to change the game at all. One individual doesn't make a team. You have got to think about things as a whole, not just as an individual, you have got to think about the whole spectrum. There are lots of things you have to look into in making decisions and, in terms of the outcome, I don't think it would have made a big difference. I don't think it would have made any difference at all, to be honest, so for the future of the club and the future of the players out there, there's no harm in the young lads playing. I think they acquitted themselves well and did as well as the next man. It doesn't make any difference. You can only learn by doing things yourself. If your mum feeds you until you are 18, you don't know how to feed yourself. You have to do things for yourself. You have to experience the good things and the bad things - football throws that up, week in week out. That's what the learning-curve is all about. You probably find out more about yourself and about others in the bad stuff than you do in the good stuff." When asked if he was likely to play again, Fletcher replied: "If I'd ruled out playing at all, then I wouldn't be sub. It's just that someone else is not getting experience for me standing in their way. It's about what's right for what we believe in and what we are trying to achieve, not just over one night or over one week, but putting things in place for years to come. If you have a player who's not playing and hasn't been playing for three years because I decide to play myself, what's that going to do when I do retire and we've still got that player? Nothing at all."
Argyle lost 5-1 at Oxford United, the goal scored by Simon Walton after 55 minutes. Argyle: Cole, Berry, Nelson, Gibson, Williams, Walton, Young, Atkinson, Griffiths, Sims, Lecointe. Subs - Vassell, Soukouna, Bhasera (not used – Larrieu, Fletcher) Attendance - 7,802.
Argyle have ‘two or three options’ as to how to replace the suspended Conor Hourihane for the game at Oxford United tonight, according to Carl Fletcher. Luke Young is one of them, along with apprentice Jordan Copp. Fletcher is another possibility, but he has not been involved in any games since he was appointed caretaker manager last month. He said: "Whoever plays will deserve their place in the team. We have known about Youngy for a couple of years, and maybe he hasn't got the chance he deserved. He's a top quality footballer and I would never have any doubts, whatsoever, about playing him. He has been pushing for a starting position in the first team for a long time now. The same with Coppy. All the young lads who have come up and are training with us have done really well. I'm pleased with the way they are applying themselves, and the way they are taking it into the reserve games they are playing. I'm a strong believer that if you do well consistently in training, and things like that, then you deserve your place in the team. At times you are not going to get that chance, because if the team are doing well then it's hard to break in. But if you keep working hard and doing the right things then the opportunities will come along." Fletcher has put his managerial duties ahead of playing since taking charge of the first team so it would be a surprise were he to start against Oxford. Fletcher said: "Me and Ro decide on what's best for the team. Unless we suddenly signed Lionel Messi and played him, I don't think any individual could change the outcome of a game for us dramatically. It's all about the team and the squad at this club, because we are small and we are all together." Argyle have been boosted by the return to fitness of Onismor Bhasera and Fletcher has not ruled out the possibility of playing him against Oxford. He said: "I think if you ask Bas, he would tell you he could start. Obviously, he only came on for the last few minutes on Saturday, and he only had 55 in a not-too-difficult game last week, but Bas is one of those players who is naturally quite fit anyway. We have spoken to him and he feels he's fully recovered from his injury, which I think is probably the main thing. So I wouldn't have any problem with throwing him on." Argyle have doubts over the fitness of Luke Daley and Ladjie Soukouna for the trip to Oxford. Daley has missed the last two matches because of a groin injury, while Soukouna limped out of the game against Swindon.
Argyle have been putting in a lot of hours on the training ground to try to improve their defensive play and Ben Gibson believes their efforts are starting to pay off. He said: "We were devastated about the result on Saturday. We definitely thought we deserved something out of the game. We felt confident going into the game. We have had a good run of form and we wanted to build on it, but it wasn't to be. But there were a lot of positives we could take from the game, such as the performance throughout the team. Defensively, we looked a lot more solid up until the goal, which was great play. We have been leaking goals, and it's something we have been working on. We feel we are gradually improving, and we showed that on Saturday. Going forward we were a threat from set-pieces and there were a few near misses, but, as I say, it just wasn't meant to be." Argyle have conceded 26 goals in their 14 league games, including seven since Carl Fletcher took over, who has put a priority on improving that record. Gibson said: "Every day in training we are getting balls pumped into us, as it is on a Saturday. We are working together as a unit, defensively and with the midfield as well, with two banks of four. It's something we are addressing because it's common knowledge we have leaked a lot of goals this season. We feel we are getting there. We thought we were solid in the game against Dagenham, bar their goals from two set-pieces, which were individual mistakes. On Saturday we were beaten by a great passing goal, but the performance is something we can look to build on and take positives from." Gibson admitted that Argyle, under Fletcher, have adapted their style of play. He added: "What we wanted to do at the start of the season was pass, pass, pass. But what we were doing wasn't working and we have looked at other methods, and the way we have changed has obviously been for the better looking at results. We believe we are going the right way about things. We will pass when we have got comfortable possession, but when we have got to play safe we have got to pump the ball long." Argyle are away tonight to Oxford United, who are unbeaten in their six home league games this season, but Gibson was in optimistic mood ahead of the game. He said: "We will go into the game feeling confident we are well capable of getting three points."
Argyle staff and fans were still in limbo last night after a deal to buy the football club remained stalled. Over the weekend one of the last remaining obstacles to a takeover was removed when former chief operating officer Tony Campbell agreed to a deal over wages owed, but Peter Reid is reported to be still holding out. James Brent said yesterday: "If it doesn't happen by Wednesday my understanding is that either the administrators become liable to pay the staff, or the staff agree to a further deferral. They haven't been paid for ten months and I am certainly not asking them for another deferral waiver. They have done as much as can be asked of them. I don't think the staff should be asked to take the burden past Wednesday. It's incumbent on the professionals to get things sorted out." Brent said he understood that Campbell had agreed to sign. "If he has signed, I'm sure I and the rest of the club are very grateful to him," he added. Most of the staff and players have agreed to wait for up to five years to get what they are owed. A dispute over administrators' fees is also holding up agreement. The P&A Partnership said earlier that there was a £220,000 gap between what Brent is offering to pay and what they are willing to accept. Brent said: "We will make our position absolutely clear to them rather than putting out a press release. That needs to be sorted out before completion." Campbell issued a statement saying: "I can confirm that I will now be signing the agreement letter. I do so despite the fact that I still have serious concerns about the way the whole sale and purchase process has been conducted and how the staff and players have been treated and intimidated throughout the last nine months." He said supporters group, the Green Taverners, had been: "absolutely fantastic in their support of the staff and I have the utmost respect for the work they have done. As such I feel that compromising my own moral position on this issue is inconsequential in comparison to the contribution that they have made and continue to make on behalf of the club." said Campbell. Chris Webb, of the Fans' Trust, welcomed Campbell's decision. He said: "That makes me feel more optimistic. We thank Tony Campbell for doing the right thing and putting the club before his personal considerations. We can only hope that Peter Reid does the same."
Ben Gibson is keen to extend his loan spell at Argyle, which is due to end after the away game against Cheltenham Town on Saturday. Gibson, who will hold talks with Carl Fletcher later this week, said: "At times I have found it frustrating, being out of the team because of injury. I played a lot at the start of the season when things weren't going well, and I feel like I have just now started to settle. I have come through a phase where I was disrupted by injury, or sat on the bench for a couple of games. I'm really enjoying it, and it's something I would like to keep going. I think we will sit down with Fletch this week and discuss where we go from here, and we will do what's best for both parties. But I would love to stay here and carry on my experience, and hopefully help Plymouth climb the table, as we feel like we will do." Gibson admitted it had not been easy for him to acclimatise to the demands of life in League Two, but he believes he is getting there now. He said: "I think, to be honest, it takes time for anyone coming from academy football into the Football League to adjust. You have got people playing for the win bonus to pay for their mortgage. It's real football. Despite the situation here, you would be surprised about how upbeat the staff and the players have been throughout. We have got a real close knit group, and that's another reason I would like to extend my time here. They are a good bunch of lads and we are very supportive of each other. It's something we know we will get through together."
Simon King has had his loan spell with Argyle ended prematurely by an ankle injury. The second month of his loan would have ended after the game with Morecambe on November 5th, but his injury will not have healed by then, so the decision was taken that he would return to Gillingham, who continued to pay his wages while he was at Argyle. Carl Fletcher said: "Simon King has gone back to Gillingham. It's disappointing for us and for him. He put in some good performances for us but, unfortunately, that's the way football goes with injuries. He wasn't going to be ready by the time the final game of his loan came around, so it makes sense for him to be back at home rather than living away." Argyle cannot add any new recruits until the club are finally out of administration and paying their existing players and staff properly again. Fletcher said: "We are quite lucky that in the squad we have got a lot of good players who can play quite a few positions. So, in terms of covering areas, we aren't too stretched. Obviously, in an ideal situation, you would have certain people playing in their right positions. But if a couple of people have to do a job in a different area for a game, we have got the players who are more than capable of doing that."
Carl Fletcher was disappointed but not despondent after Argyle's defeat by Swindon Town on Saturday. He said: "I don't think we deserved to lose it. On another day we could have won it. But I was really pleased with the lads' performance and their application. Looking back, I think it was probably the best performance of the season, from start to finish. Both me and Ro were really pleased with the way they took on the things we are trying to instil into them." Curtis Nelson had two on-target attempts blocked by opposing players inside the first 20 minutes against Swindon and Simon Walton also had a strike blocked in the 59th minute. Fletcher said: "We had a few half-chances. They had a couple of blocks early doors. On another day they could have gone in and it could have been a different story. Their guy did fantastically well to block the one from Walts. That's football. Sometimes you don't get out of it what you deserve. Give credit to Swindon for the goal they scored. It was an excellent passage of play, and something you probably wouldn't see too much of in League Two, or League One to be honest. From our point of view, performance-wise it was really pleasing for us and really encouraging, but we are disappointed with the defeat. All the lads have taken everything on board and are trying to do what we want them to do. That's all we can ask. Hopefully, as time goes on things will get better and better. Like I say to the lads during the week, if you put in the performances then the results will follow. They have performed well, but didn't get the result. But if we keep putting in good performances like that we won't have too much to worry about in the results department." Argyle are four points adrift at the bottom of League Two but Fletcher insisted he was paying no attention to the table. He said: "It doesn't matter what other people do. If we win all of our remaining games I'm sure we will be alright." Argyle have picked up seven of their eight points since Fletcher was appointed as caretaker manager, and he added: "When we took over it was a difficult position to come into. Confidence was low and there were no wins. It's not a matter of one day changes and it's suddenly all rosy again. You have got to build over time. Obviously, getting good results breeds confidence, but so does getting good performances. I'm just disappointed for the lads they didn't get something out of it for their efforts. We didn't deserve to lose." Argyle were again without Luke Daley and Simon King because of injuries and when asked whether they would be available for the trip to Oxford United tomorrow, Fletcher would only say: ‘we will see’. Ladji Soukouna was substituted in the second half against Swindon because of injury and will be assessed by the club's medical staff before the game against Oxford.
Carl Fletcher described his team's performance against Swindon Town as their best of the season despite the defeat, and Warren Feeney summed up the emotions of the players after the final whistle. He said: "The boys are gutted. The gaffer said it was probably the best we've played all season. Sometimes the luck goes for you, we had two in the first-half cleared off the line, but it was a sucker punch. We knew they were dangerous on the break but we've got to hold our hands up because you probably won't see a better goal passing-wise all season. If you look at the last couple of games we have struggled in the second-half, but obviously the momentum was there in the first-half. I don't think we really have lost the game because they weren't really in the game themselves, but we knew they'd get a chance so it's just disappointing. Griff had a header as soon as he came on and the 'keeper made a great save and one of their players made a great block from Simon Walton, and if one of those goes in I think we would've gone on to win it." Feeney was full of praise for Fletcher and Romain Larrieu, saying their refreshing approach has gone down well with the rest of the squad. He said: "There have been a lot of things he's wanted us to work on and take into a Saturday. At the end of the day, different managers have different ideas, and since Fletch has took over he still has a joke and a laugh, but he gets his points across what he wants us to do. He seems to have given the boys a bit more hunger out there, so that's good and obviously he's only 31 and was playing up until about five weeks ago so he is learning himself and it's new to him as well. But I think what they've done so far they can be proud of and so can other people. I think he's doing well and I'm sure they'll want the job permanently. I'm sure the boys would want that as well. There are two big games coming up against two of the top seven. Obviously Fletch has come in, I've knew him for years since we were at Bournemouth and know that he wants to win, he's brought his own ideas and to be fair they've been spot on." Meanwhile, the ongoing takeover saga is still yet to be resolved, but Feeney is hopeful it will only be a matter of days until his manager is able to recruit some players. He added: "I wish it would hurry up! We were told Friday and obviously these things don't get settled, so we're hoping now it's going to be Monday, but you can't really think about it until it's done. The quicker it's done the better, because I'm sure they'll want to bring in players. We want to get up that table and you can't have enough players in your squad. As you've seen today, we've got a few young boys in and it's great for them to be playing League football but I'm sure the gaffer will want to bring in a few as well."
Argyle will be without Conor Hourihane when they take on Oxford United on Tuesday as he has now received five yellow cards this season, meaning he will serve an automatic one-game suspension. "It's a shame for Conor," said Carl Fletcher, "because, since we took over he's done really well and epitomised the rest of the squad with his attitude and with his work-rate. The suspension will be out of the way on Tuesday and he'll be available on Saturday. It's a chance for someone else to come in and do well." Hourihane was booked on Saturday for handball when he tried to block a cross into the penalty area. Fletcher thought it was a poor decision by the referee, and said: "In this day and age, it seems that if you concede a foul you have got to be booked. It's a joke really. Bookings for bad challenges are fair enough. But you don't need to book people for every foul they commit."
Onismor Bhasera made his long-awaited comeback after injury in the defeat by Swindon Town yesterday. Carl Fletcher said: "In an ideal world, we'd like to give him a run when we are winning but Baz is one of those players who can make things happen and, in the last few minutes when we needed something, he might just have created something. We'd like to bring him on a little bit longer in a little bit more easy situation, but needs must, we have got tiny squad and you have to make do. I am pleased with the squad we have got here. All the players here would do anything for this club. Every game they go out, they are working their socks off, trying to do well for themselves and the club. Maybe in past years it was case of 'I'm not doing that because I don't fancy it' or something like that. But you can see that the players want it and want to do well for everyone and for one another, which is nice."
The Argyle youth team lost 3-0 to Exeter City at Haye Road yesterday. Argyle: Walton.C, Hart, Bentley, Pearce, Purrington, Sims, Elcock, Copp, Harper-Penman, Gallagher, Clarvis. Subs - Gostling, Vickers (not used - Jewell, Knight, Walton.R).
Argyle lost 1-0 to Swindon Town at Home Park. Argyle: Cole, Berry, Nelson, Gibson, Williams, Walton, Hourihane, Soukouna, Atkinson, Feeney, Lecointe. Subs - Vassell, Griffiths, Bhasera (not used – Larrieu, Young) Attendance - 6,872.
Conor Hourihane has said it is important Argyle take full advantage of their recent good form in order to move up the table. He also thought his goal at Victoria Road last week had been 'well overdue'. "For the last few weeks I've been saying to myself if I could chip in with a few goals it would add another dimension to my game," Hourihane said. "Obviously, to play well for the team is foremost, but now I've got a good goal hopefully there'll be a few more to come, which will be a nice little bonus." Hourihane played down his individual effort and claimed confidence had increased considerably since the appointment of Carl Fletcher as manager. "It's completely changed. Since Fletch has come in all the lads have been buzzing," he said. "The place is so much more professional. Fletch has got everyone in gear every day and training 100 per cent. He's a great person as well as a good manager and I've got a lot of respect for him. It has been brilliant for us. I think you can see that in the energy on the pitch, the work ethic and we're scoring a lot more goals as well. We've got three hard games inside a week, which will be tough. But it's important we keep our little run going. If we can get some points from these games, I'm sure we can move to where we need to be.It looks like we've turned the corner and as we showed last week against Dagenham, we fought on and got a deserved winner in the end
Carl Fletcher has no injury concerns ahead of tomorrow's game with Swindon Town. Simon King and Luke Daley have recovered from the ankle and thigh problems which forced them out of last weekend's win at Dagenham & Redbridge but Fletcher declined to say whether either would return to the starting line-up. Although Argyle are still bottom of the table, their position looks a lot healthier than it did a few weeks ago. Fletcher said: "I've not looked at it, all we can do is what we can control. I just want to go out and win as many games as we can and work out the league table later on in the year." Argyle beat Swindon home and away in last season, although Fletcher feels that will have little bearing on tomorrow's result. "They've obviously had a new manager in at the start of the year and a lot of changes and were relegated with us," he said. "It's going to be a tough match. We've watched DVDs of them and they are a good side with some good players and they're like a lot of teams in this division that we've got to beat. We've got to be right at it tomorrow to have any chance of beating them. But we're looking forward to it, it's another game and it's kind of a local derby, being only three hours away! So it should be a good atmosphere and be an enjoyable game. In fact, Ro and me went to see them play against Exeter City a few weeks ago in the Johnstone Paint Trophy and they had a good win there. And Swindon will be looking at coming here on the back of a good win at Accrington full of confidence and looking to get another good result. So, obviously, we've got to be prepared for that like we would any game. Prepare right and try to do things in a positive way. I'd like to win away from home as well as at home, that's the ideal scenario. We go into every game trying to win whether it's at home or away. Obviously, there are different dangers that you have to prepare for in every team that you face."
Only two people and a dispute over fees stand in the way of James Brent’s Argyle takeover, according to newspaper reports. Brent was hoping to rescue the club from administration by the end of today, but the deal now appears unlikely to go through this week, with discussions continuing late into last night. Reports suggest that Peter Reid and Tony Campbell are yet to agree the terms of Brent's takeover package and, until they do, the club could be forced out of business. There is also a £220,000 difference between what Brent is offering administrators and what they are willing to accept, despite lengthy talks between the two parties' lawyers last night. Reid declined to comment last night, saying he did not want to discuss the ‘private matter’ but it is understood he is one of two people yet to sign the agreement amid disputes over severance terms. The other is Campbell, who is in a dispute over around £6,000 left on his contract when he was made redundant. He said: "I am more than happy to sign the agreement which will see the money owed repaid to me over the next five years, however I reserve the right to contest the amount offered. I was informed that this was not acceptable and that I either sign the letter waiving all rights to the disputed amount or James Brent will pull out of the deal and the club will go in to liquidation. I responded by stating I had no wish to see the club harmed in any way and as such I was prepared to sign the agreement to allow the sale to proceed and that we could address my outstanding wages as a separate issue at a later date by agreement with all parties." Campbell added that he did not want to hold the deal up, but felt ‘bullied and intimidated’ into signing papers. He added: "I have no wish to delay the takeover of the football club and urge James Brent on behalf of all supporters to proceed with the purchase as quickly as possible. I am more than happy to sign any agreement that allows the sale to be concluded and for my own personal circumstances to be addressed afterwards."
Carl Fletcher says his form does not merit a place in the Argyle team at the moment. "The way the lads have been, the way they've trained, I wouldn't have merited a place," he said. "They've done so well, they've done what we've asked of them and they've followed it to the letter. The players out there and the people in the squad have earned their shirts."
The following statement was released by The P&A Partnership re Plymouth Argyle Football Company Limited (in administration) yesterday: The joint administrators of Plymouth Argyle Football Company Limited (in administration) say that they are optimistic that the sale of the football club to Akkeron Group can be completed soon. Brendan Guilfoyle, joint administrator of the P&A Partnership said: "We are pleased that most major agreements have been reached, including Plymouth City Council voting in favour of buying the stadium. Despite media speculation about professional fees, The P&A Partnership and its solicitors Walker Morris have always said they are happy to accept 50 per cent of their fees. We see no reason why the deal cannot be completed."
Carl Fletcher wants Argyle fans to view tomorrow's game with Swindon Town as the start of a 'new dawn' for the club, whether or not the takeover has been completed in time. He said: "If the takeover goes through before Saturday's game, then that's ideal, as any money raised from the game will go straight back into the club, which will be good for everyone. It's just a matter now of getting over the line, a new dawn, so to speak. Hopefully, fingers crossed, everything will go through smoothly. As I've said all along, the fans have been fantastic. They know the troubles we've been through and I know the players, staff and everyone are so honoured the fans come and watch us every week. We try and do our best for them and ourselves every week. It would be great if a few more decided to come down because, hopefully, the club will be in new hands."
James Brent has called on all parties to pull together with the aim of completing his takeover of Argyle tomorrow. Talks were due to continue today in a bid to reach agreement with some former employees, and Brent said: "We are doing everything in our power to complete tomorrow and to pay staff as soon as possible. We're working flat out at the moment. If it were a normal corporate deal people would just work through the night and it would be there. The challenge here is we have all these people and contracts, and each one requires an individual conversation to work it through." All past and present employees owed wages must sign up to a five-year repayment plan if the club is to survive. Around 230 have agreed, but over a dozen are yet to respond. Discussions were ongoing today with several who are unhappy with their settlements. Brent must also strike a deal over administrators' fees before any sale and purchase agreement can be signed. He said he had been ‘absolutely clear’ on his offer, which was originally agreed in March and then reaffirmed when administrators, having spent a costly four months on a failed rival takeover deal, returned to his bid last month. Administrators have control over the proceeds of gate receipts from Saturday's match against Swindon Town but, if a deal can be finalised by tomorrow, staff are set to be paid full October salaries. "It's very important that everyone works hard to ensure that we can complete documents today and complete the transaction tomorrow," Brent added. "My colleagues and advisors and I will do everything we can do to achieve that, as I know the staff of the club will do." The final hurdle in the takeover would be gaining approval from the Football League. Detailed and fruitful discussions have taken place with the governing body this week. Brent said: "We are working on the hope and expectation that we will be approved by the completion date."
The Cornish Pirates have confirmed that they have held talks with Argyle over the possibility of a ground-share at Home Park next season in the event of the club winning promotion to the Premiership. The club have been keen to stress that no deal has been agreed and that the move is solely dependant on Cornwall Council giving the green light to the Stadium for Cornwall development at Truro when they meet next month. Talks between both clubs took place during the summer and it is believed that representatives from both sides met again in Plymouth at the beginning of the month. Peter Ridsdale said: "The deal that was mooted would have seen the club sub-lease the ground to the Pirates for a maximum of six games. We said we would look at it. They were offering us a fantastic deal."
Onismor Bhasera's return from injury has been hailed as like 'having a new player' by Carl Fletcher. Bhasera was a surprise inclusion in the Argyle squad which played at Dartmouth last night and played for an hour in the Devon Bowl tie. "It's just great to have Baz back in an Argyle shirt again," said Fletcher. "Because of our financial situation, we've not been able to strengthen what is essentially a young team with experienced players. Baz has been working hard to keep himself in shape since he had the op in March, but I don't know how match-fit he is. He's raring to get going, obviously, but I'm taking a softly, softly approach with him and don't want to rush him back too soon. Let's put it this way, he's way off yet being available for Swindon on Saturday."
Argyle won 2-1 in the Devon St. Luke's Bowl tie at Dartmouth last night, both goals scored by Luke Young. Argyle: Walton, Hart, Bradley, Pearce, Bhasera, Sims, Young, Copp, Vassell, Harper-Penman, Clarvis. Subs – Bentley, Perrington, Gallagher (not used - Elecock, Walton.R).
Plymouth City Council have agreed to buy back Home Park in a decision that paves the way for Argyle's survival. Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the £1.6million purchase and James Brent's takeover could now be completed by the end of the week. The deal will see the council lease the ground back to the club for £135,000 a year. Argyle will get to keep its car park, with the authority also pocketing half of the profits of any development. Council leader Vivien Pengelly said: "The football club makes a major contribution to the health of the city. If a city has a successful football club the city rides on its success. This proposal has not been put forward with any emotion but as a hard-headed commercial deal that will give the club a new future and preserve the economic benefit it brings to the city." And opposition Labour group leader Tudor Evans said buying Home Park was ‘absolutely the right thing to do’. "Argyle runs through this place like the letters on a stick of rock," he said. "It's not a franchise, it's a heartbeat." Pengelly got a standing ovation from the floor as she added: "This deal is only one piece of the jigsaw. We've done our bit, now it's over to the other people to do their bit." Each staff member owed wages must agree to Brent's five-year repayment package if the Football League is to approve the deal and the club is to survive. Reports suggest that at least four individuals remain in negotiations. They include two players no longer at the club, another high-profile former employee and one figure linked to the discredited former board of directors. Peter Ridsdale said: "This decision shows how important a vibrant club is to a city like Plymouth. But there are a few people who are sadly letting their personal positions get in the way of letting us tie this up. They have to be reasonable." Brent praised the council for its ‘enthusiastic support’ to his plans. "We now need to conclude the transaction," he added. "Unfortunately that is not going to be a victimless exercise. People are going to have to work with us, and quickly, because if they don't there will be further cost to the club's staff."
Plymouth City Council could agree to buy back Home Park today in a £1.6million deal to help rescue the club. Councillors are due to vote on the proposal at 4.30pm, after a Cabinet meeting where the ruling Conservative group is expected to give the thumbs-up. It is thought there is cross-party support for the plans, put forward by council leader Vivien Pengelly, which would save Argyle from folding and also protect over £10million the club brings into the city's economy each year. Pengelly said: "We indicated that we were prepared to consider buying the freehold to support the future of professional football here as we believe it contributes to the city's economy and protects the city's land interests as well as the city's wider strategic objectives. However, we need to make sure that any arrangement we agree to benefits the city and is based on sound commercial terms." A report by council officers that was to be put before councillors this afternoon confirms the taxpayer would foot the £1.6million bill to buy the stadium, plus stamp duty land tax of around £81,000. But the city would earn an annual £135,000 through a 30-year lease to the club. And Argyle's rent would rise by 150 per cent if the club reach the Championship, and quadruple if it got to the Premier League. As part of the deal, the club would be given the option of buying back Home Park every five years, for a price 12 times the then rent. If the ground's South Stand is redeveloped, a prospect James Brent is not ruling out, rent would rise by 10 per cent. The deal, if agreed, would also hand the club land at Higher Home Park, currently its car park, offices and club shop, and remove covenants that prohibit non-footballing development there. That would give the Akkeron Group scope to build in line with the council's Area Action Plan, which identifies the area as suitable for leisure and sports-related development. The club would, however, have to hand over half of the profits to the local authority. Brent has not yet discussed development plans, but is likely to consider the prospect of a hotel. The district valuer's price-tag on the Higher Home Park plot, which the council currently has an option of buying for £1, is £425,000, taking the total cost of the deal to just over £2million. "This deal represents good commercial value for the council, ensures the continuation of the football and supports the council's wider strategic objectives," Pengelly added. "We are the 14th biggest city in the country and have ambitions to expand. Thousands of visitors come here every season to the matches. Families spend money in the city centre and in our shops before watching the game."
Onismor Bhasera will continue his comeback from injury tonight as part of the Argyle team facing Dartmouth in the Devon St Luke's Bowl.
Simon Walton believes Argyle's recent run of improved results is proof that the team are capable of moving up the table. "Definitely, I believe that, but I've said all along that we've always had it in us," he said. "We're not the finished article by any means, but I'm sure everybody can see the improvements that we're making. But we've got it in us, in as much as we can be hard to play against, although at times we certainly don't help ourselves." Walton scored from the penalty spot for the second successive week as Argyle again threw away a two-goal lead. He said: "We showed a bit of character there having got pegged back and the main thing is we learnt from the previous Saturday. We didn't panic and I don't think they had any real chances after the equaliser, but it shouldn't have got to that stage. We learnt a lesson and came back from it and finished stronger and I think if anybody was going to win the game it was going to be us. And I'm just delighted for everybody. Our team spirit has never been in question, we may have our odd disagreement but one thing you get from this set of lads is we're in it together. There's not that many of us, but we're close knit and the win meant a lot to everybody. And I'm pleased as punch for everyone, especially the fans who travelled, it was nice to get the win that's for sure."
Conor Hourihane has hailed the impact made on the team by caretaker manager Carl Fletcher. "It has been brilliant," he said. "It is definitely more organised and more professional. It is even little things like he has made us get suits to wear at home games. You just feel much more professional, and much more like a footballer. He has been terrific, he really has." Hourihane added: "All League Two games are tough, but this win will lift us all. Spirits are going to be high so, hopefully, we can go on a little run and get up the table." Hourihane scored his first goal for Argyle in the win at Dagenham, a spectacular 20-yard volley. Hourihane said: "The ball came down and I just hit it. Luckily, it went in. It's probably the best goal I will ever score. I actually thought it was going to hit the post and come back out the way I was looking at it. But, all of a sudden, it just turned and hit the inside of the post and went in." Hourihane had suffered a head wound shortly before half-time, when he was struck by the arm of an opposing player. He had to temporarily leave the action to have three staples put in the back of his head but was back within a matter of minutes. Hourihane admitted it had been a 'rollercoaster of a game' after Argyle were pegged back at 2-2 before scoring their third goal in stoppage time. He said: "Young Vas came on, looked lively, got us a penalty and Walts put it away well. It was great. The fans were terrific again. They come in numbers to every game. We are bottom of the Football League and look how many was there. I don't reckon you will get as many away fans even in League One I reckon. They were brilliant."
Simon Walton believes Matt Lecointe can make an important contribution to Argyle this season, but that the physical demands on him will have to be considered. He said: "I have had a few phone calls about him. He's doing well, but he has got to keep going. I try to give him a little bit of advice. I have been in his shoes. With the gaffer and Ro getting hold of him, he's in the right hands. Hopefully, he can get a run of games under his belt, but as a 16-year-old you don't particularly need too much of a run of games, as I found out. Used in the right way, he's going to be a massive help to us this season."
A lot of the plaudits from the win at Dagenham went to Matt Lecointe, but Carl Fletcher was quick to praise Isaac Vassell's contribution to the game. The youngster came on as an 84th-minute substitute for Warren Feeney and made an impact by earning the penalty that won the match. Fletcher, explaining the decision to throw him on, said: "By design, Vas is a winger, really, but he's got pace to burn. I felt, in the second half, we didn't keep the ball well enough but when we were under the cosh a little bit, I thought, just to ease the pressure, if we're going to be putting balls in the area, then he's going to cause defenders problem. No matter what level you're at, whether it's League 2, non-league, or the Premier League, pace always causes problems and he did that, and it was nice that he turned out to win the penalty."
Carl Fletcher was thrilled with the endeavour of his young team at Dagenham on Saturday. He said: “We had a dodgy second half in parts. We will watch the DVD and see where we can improve. Obviously, we lost a two-goal lead last Saturday and have done the same again, so there is room for improvement. But I’m pleased to get the three points. I’m delighted for the lads because they worked their socks off. To be fair, they have worked their socks off since we came into the job. They deserved the three points, just for their effort alone.” Fletcher admitted it would have been disappointing had Argyle not won after, again, taking a 2-0 lead.He said: “No two games are the same. You have to look at every one individually. We will take the positives and negatives out of it, but we are delighted with the win. With the goal coming in the last couple of minutes, the adrenalin is going and you are excited.” Simon Walton’s winning penalty came after a foul on Isaac Vassell, but referee Chris Sarginson only awarded the spot kick on the advice of one of his assistants. Sarginson had also waved away strong penalty appeals in the 80th minute when Matt Lecointe was pulled back by centre-back Scott Doe. Fletcher thought the foul on Lecointe had been more blatant than the one on Vassell. “I think he made up for the one he missed,” he added. “I’m just glad we got one, at the end of the day. Credit to Walts, he had one penalty last Saturday and stuck that in the top corner. And he put this one away with real good quality. At times we do some good things, and at times we do some things. But the work-rate they put in was second to none.” Fletcher has completed a three-match suspension, but did not play himself against Dagenham. He said: “It’s not about whether I will play or I’m a sub. Me and Ro don’t make decisions on impulse. “We think about things and talk it through, and see what’s best for everyone as a whole.” Fletcher opted to change tactics for the game, switching from a 4-1-4-1 formation to 4-4-2. That saw Warren Feeney and Lecointe paired in attack. Fletcher said: “Both Matty and Feeno have played up front on their own and I think it was nice for them to have someone close to them. We had a game plan and had done our work all week, and I’m just delighted the lads have got their rewards. They should enjoy it because Dagenham is a tough place to come to.”
Carl Fletcher is worried Matt Lecointe could be sold by the club's administrators. Lecointe could leave outside of the transfer window because he is an apprentice, as was the case when Jack Stephens moved to Southampton in March, but Fletcher firmly believes it would not be in the best interests of Lecointe, who will be 17 later this month. Fletcher was asked in his post-match press conference whether he wanted to issue a ‘hands-off’ warning to clubs about Lecointe, and he said: "A hands-off warning from me doesn't mean anything if someone like the administrator is trying to sell him behind your back. It's a big worry. For Matty as a person and as a player, I think the best place for him is here. I think if someone is trying to change that to get something in their pocket, then that's disappointing. At the end of the day, they don't give a stuff about Matt Lecointe. All they care about is the money. From our point of view, we want him to be here, but we haven't got any clout with what the administrators do."
Peter Ridsdale does not foresee any further hold-ups to the proposed takeover of Argyle. James Brent could be in control of the club later this week and possibly as soon as Wednesday. Plymouth City Council is expected to vote to buy Home Park tomorrow and lease it back to Argyle, a key component of Brent's deal. And Ridsdale is confident the club's football creditors, past and present players and staff, will accept a repayment plan on their unpaid wages. The only other hurdle to be cleared is a wrangle between Brent and Argyle's administrators, but Ridsdale believes that will be resolved. The administrators have racked up fees of more than £750,000 and Brent is only prepared to pay them around half of that total. Ridsdale was in confident mood when he addressed a supporters meeting in Dagenham on Saturday. "Hopefully, on Tuesday we will get the green light from the council," he said. "If we get that, all the key historic creditors are sorted out, and the arrangement with the stadium will have been sorted. The only thing then standing in the way of getting this club out of administration, and the Football League share back, is to get the football creditor debt sorted out. That is the ex-players, the current players and staff, and the ex-staff. We won't have any problem, in my opinion, with the current staff or players. We are having some interesting debates with some of the ex-players or ex-members of staff. I don't believe any of those people will put this club and its future at risk. However tough they think they are going to negotiate, I have no doubt that as long as we get through Tuesday with the council, we will get this thing over the line."
Life at Home Park has not always been fun for Simon Walton, but since Carl Fletcher became caretaker-manager, things appear to be very much on the up for the midfielder, who is now team captain and joint leading scorer. His second penalty in successive games came in injury-time of the 3-2 victory at Dagenham & Redbridge, and Walton said: "It's Roy of the Rovers stuff: last minute, 2-2, to score the winning penalty is an unbelievable feeling." Walton was happy to share that feeling, after the penalty and at the end of a game that was watched by nearly 450 members of the Green Army. "The goal was for everybody, as you could tell at the end in the celebrations," he said."I think everybody took the penalty with me today. When we win, we win as a team; when we lose, we lose as a team, and this was for everybody: the staff; the players who were on the bench; the players who weren't on the bench; the physio; the kit man; the fans. Everybody won that game today. Everyone deserved it. It was well deserved and something we have got to aim for every week now. We appreciate the support we get from everybody, as I am sure everybody appreciates the effort we put in week in, week out. If we keep that tight-knit spirit going, we will go a long way." Argyle looked comfortable building a 2-0 lead, courtesy of debut goals from Matt Lecointe and Conor Hourihane, but again let their opponents back into the game. Walton said: "We learnt a harsh lesson last week and I think it would have been easy to get sucked in to that 'Oh no -here we go again' feeling. We were poor for the first 20 minutes but we learnt our lesson from last week and got a foothold in the game, and, if anyone was going to win it at the end, we were. I don't think anybody will complain with the result today. We deserved it for the fighting spirit and work-rate that we put in. The changing-room is a different place when you win. It was nice."
Simon Walton scored the winner at Dagenham yesterday, but that would not have been possible without the opening goal from Matt Lecointe. The 16-year-old became the club's youngest ever away goalscorer and Carl Fletcher believes his constant involvement with the first-team can only aid his development. He said: "Matt's a young lad. He works hard and he's here to learn his trade. He's in and around the first team, like a lot of young lads are. We've got four that train every day with us now. So every day is a new experience for them and they're learning and what better way than to play first-team games week in, week out?" Although Lecointe's goal was the icing on the cake, Fletcher was especially pleased with the build up. He said: "We did well with the build up to create the opportunity for Matty and he took his goal very well, but we see that every day so we know what he can do. But whether it's Matty or it's Vas or Youngy, or the two lads who missed out today, we have no problem throwing them in because we know they're all capable. We're a very young side. Three of the back four are 20 and under but, at the end of the day, they've all worked well and want to do things the right way. We've got good players in the squad, some good lads coming through, and, with the players still so young, it's looking bright for the future."
The Argyle youth team drew 1-1 at Bristol Rovers yesterday, the goal scored by Jed Harper-Penman. Argyle: Walton, Bradley, Bentley, Pearce, Purrington, Elcock, Hart, Allen, Clarvis, Gallagher, Harper-Penman. Subs - Rooney, Gostling, Wheatley
Argyle won 3-2 at Dagenham & Redbridge, the goals scored by Matt Lecointe after 20 minutes, Conor Hourihane (52) and Simon Walton (93). Argyle: Cole, Berry, Nelson, Gibson, Williams, Walton, Hourihane, Soukouna, Atkinson, Feeney, Lecointe. Subs - Vassell (not used – Larrieu, Griffiths, Young, Fletcher) Attendance - 2,025.
Argyle’s administrator Brendan Guilfoyle has withdrawn a threat to walk away from the club. Yesterday, Guilfoyle stated, hundreds of emails, including suggestions of violence and threats to unleash a computer virus, flooded the firm's accounts. He said: "I think this was an orchestrated campaign to push us into a corner. But we are not trigger-happy. If they really are going to stop what they're doing then of course we're not going to resign. What we've concluded with Mr Brent is that we'll get all the essentials in place and then sit down and talk about costs." He added that bills such as VAT, match day expenses, utilities, player accommodation and insurance meant there was no cash to pay staff. That is despite employees being told to expect around 12 per cent of their September salaries taken from gate receipts from Argyle's match against Accrington Stanley last week.
Four points from his first three games in charge of Argyle is not a bad return for Carl Fletcher, but the 2-2 draw with Accrington was a disappointment after being 2-0 up at half-time against ten men. "It's frustrating," admitted Fletcher, "but that's part and parcel of football. We still got a point, so it's not all doom and gloom, but, from our point it was disappointing, because there was an opportunity for three points. As a whole, as a team, as a group, we didn't do ourselves justice. We spoke about things and looked at things to improve on and, if the situation arises again, how we can do things better. It's a learning-curve. It's a learning-curve for me and Ro on the side; it's a learning-curve for the players. As long as you learn from your mistakes and take the experience on board."
Matt Lecointe has had to be fast-tracked to the first team sooner than would have been ideal, Carl Fletcher has admitted. Fletcher said: "In this day and age, if people see a 16-year-old has played in the first team, whether they have seen him or not, they automatically think he's a great player. Matty has got good potential and he's a nice lad. In an ideal world, he wouldn't have played last week because he's still young and still developing. We would like to feed him in little bits at a time, and if we had more strikers it would have been easier to do that. Matty and all the young lads know if they do well there could be an opportunity in the first team to progress their career. You can't beat going out there on a Saturday at three o'clock, playing in a first team game to get experience, rather than going somewhere else and playing in the reserves for the next three or four years." Fletcher also had a word of warning for all of the young hopefuls in Argyle's apprentice ranks. He said: "There are a lot of players here with good potential, but I have seen so many players through my career who have had good potential and then you never hear from them again."
The following statement was released by The P&A Partnership re Plymouth Argyle Football Company Limited (in administration), yesterday: The joint administrators of Plymouth Argyle Football Company Limited (in administration) warned today (October 14) that they are considering resigning from office. Brendan Guilfoyle said "Our main priority is to get a deal over the line to save the club's future but the current campaign being directed at The P&A Partnership by some fans is hampering negotiations. Unless protestors desist it is highly likely that the Joint Administrators will take steps to resign from office on Monday. Not only is the campaign disrupting our business and taking our focus off the job in hand, we are also deeply concerned about the associated risk to the wellbeing and personal safety of The P&A Partnership staff. No business or its employees should be subject to such foul, abusive and threatening emails. If we have to withdraw then the company's former directors will have to resolve the current issues and we anticipate that HM Revenue and Customs would take immediate steps to wind up the club." Guilfoyle continued: "It is not appropriate to go into detail, but negotiations with Akkeron Group are ongoing. However, I can say that the amount they are prepared to contribute to the administration costs is currently unacceptable. The reason we can't pay the wages is that we simply don't have the surplus after deducting the costs we have to pay for running the club. These include VAT, match day expenses, utilities and maintenance costs, player accommodation and travel, insurance premiums and ancillary professional fees i.e. valuers and the PFA's solicitors. To be clear, neither the P&A Partnership nor Walker Morris are seeking payment in full. We are agreeable to accepting a lesser figure to facilitate the sale of the club but not at the level currently offered by Akkeron Group. From the outset of the administration Plymouth City Council made it clear that they wanted the administrators to find a private sector solution to the club's financial difficulties. It is for this reason that the joint administrators pursued a sale of the business and asset of the company to a consortium represented by Kevin Heaney as far as they possibly could. It was only when Kevin Heaney, and others, formally withdrew their interest that the Joint Administrators could provide PCC with an assurance that no private sector solution was available. Also, I should stress that the offer made by Akkeron Group in March was, at that stage, unacceptable to the company's creditors. It is regrettable that we are in this position, but given the level of contribution we are seeking from the Akkeron Group we consider that the gap is bridgeable and could be negotiated or obtained in an alternative way. I would personally urge fans to end their disruptive action and please let all parties negotiate the best possible outcome they can to save their football club."
Carl Fletcher is giving no clues away about whether he will return to playing action for Argyle, having completed a three-match suspension for being sent-off at Southend United on September 17th. He said: "You have just got to look at everything as a whole, both personally and for the team. We have been working on things and thinking about things all week." Fletcher has found the role of caretaker manager a demanding and time-consuming one, but that has not put him off it. He said: "I think both me and Ro have really enjoyed the challenge. There are lots of ups and downs. This is the fourth week and it feels like the fourth month already! The days are so busy, and you do get a lot done. Being out there and working with the lads is enjoyable. It was nice after the first week to get the win, but we are obviously looking to build on that and get some more because nothing beats the winning feeling." Fletcher admitted it would be difficult for him and Larrieu to play in the same side while they were in charge of the first team. He added: "If we both played then there would be literally no-one on the sideline. So it's not just a case of whether we play or whether we don't play. It's the whole bigger picture and everything that goes with it. We are very high on making sure everything is done right, and everyone is professional in what they do. That would count to myself and Ro as well. If we feel we can't do one of our jobs properly, because the other gets in the way, then that's something we have to look at and try to deal with. I have got a good squad of players in there. It's not just a case of whether I will play or not, or Ro plays or not. It's whether we are good enough to play in the team." Argyle last won an away game when they travelled to Dagenham and Redbridge at Easter, but Fletcher does not believe that result will have any influence on the match tomorrow. He said: "Season to season teams change so much. I think they have sold a few players, and obviously our team has changed. We know it's going to be a tough afternoon for us and we have got to be right at it, and well prepared and organised for the challenge ahead. The manager there has brought them up through the divisions and done really well. They are a good, well-organised team and we need to be at our best to compete with them."
Simon Walton believes Argyle are well prepared for their visit to Dagenham and Redbridge tomorrow. He said: "It's a tough place to go. We all know what to expect and, hopefully, we can deal with it and get another win. We were up there not so long ago, and I can't see the conditions being any worse than they were that day. We have done a bit of work on what to expect so we are well prepared and we are in pretty confident mood going into it. We keep saying it's early in the season but, sooner or later, it's not going to be that early. This is a game we are looking to win, but we look to win every game we go into. We are capable of getting three points." Walton scored his first goal of the season in Argyle's draw against Accrington Stanley last Saturday, the goal coming from the penalty spot, after Matt Lecointe had his shirt pulled. However, despite Argyle leading 2-0 at half-time, and with Accrington one player short after the dismissal of Sean Hessey, the visitors fought back to draw level. It was the first penalty the team had been awarded this season, and Walton admitted he had been confident about taking it. He said: "That's seven out of seven I think I have got now, so long may it continue. We were overdue one. Another one tomorrow would be nice. A few people have asked why I didn't take one at Exeter, in the penalty shoot-out, but we didn't get that far. I was next." Walton revealed he put his name forward to take penalties at the start of the season, but had to wait until the game against Accrington to get his first chance. He added: "I did ask Matty if he wanted it, but he kindly declined."
James Brent is keen to hang on to Matt Lecointe. Brent has no intention of seeing the youngster sold before his Argyle takeover is complete and stated he may have to reduce his offer for the club if a snap sale of Lecointe goes ahead. Lecointe has been linked in a national newspaper to Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United and further reports suggest Chelsea and Crystal Palace have been looking at the striker in recent days. Both clubs are thought to have been in contact with agent Jamie Hart, who has been acting as an independent advisor to administrator Brendan Guilfoyle. The interest in Lecointe appears to coincide with a wrangle over administrators' fees. Any sale ahead of Brent's deal being rubber-stamped would give administrators control over where the proceeds go. However, half of the revenues from unbudgeted player sales after the takeover will go to Argyle's staff, to help pay off their backdated wages. "It is not obvious to me why we would want to sell a good player prior to the transaction closing," Brent said. "No approach has been made to us seeking agreement to sell any further players. In accordance with normal protocol, we would expect to receive such requests before any player being sold. If we agreed to that request we would do so on agreement of a pound-for-pound reduction in purchase price. I certainly couldn't say we would consider such a request in any case." The P&A Partnership have racked up fees of more than £700,000 since being appointed when Argyle plunged into administration. They are yet to agree a price with Brent for their handling of the club's administration.
The Football League Board yesterday discussed the proposed takeover of Argyle and issued the following statement: ‘The Football League Board today received an update regarding the proposal from James Brent to take over Plymouth Argyle. The Board raised a number of queries over the details of the proposal and will continue to work with Mr Brent to resolve the outstanding issues. The Board will reconsider the matter as soon as the issues have been addressed, which could occur before the next Football League Board meeting’.
Staff and players at Argyle are being denied part of their wages because of a wrangle over administrators' fees, according to reports. Workers had been told to expect a slice of the takings from each of the recent home matches and after the season's largest attendance for last Saturday's 125th anniversary celebrations against Accrington Stanley, staff were hoping for around 12 per cent of their monthly pay. However, administrators The P&A Partnership are yet to release it as they continue to negotiate their own fees with James Brent, who has offered a six-figure sum for the firm's services, but that is understood to be well below the £700,000-plus so far racked up. His offer was made in March, before months of fruitless talks with rival bidder Bishop International Limited. Brent said: "We have agreed that we are happy to pay, and/or for The P&A Partnership to take out of the business, an amount in fees and costs that runs to several hundred thousand pounds. This limit was agreed in March and re-affirmed at the beginning of September. Upon completion we will comply with our agreement. We will not pay additional amounts to the detriment of employees and/or the club." Brendan Guilfoyle was unavailable for comment but the company is understood to be assessing its liabilities, which include sizable fees to solicitors Walker Morris, who have worked throughout the administration process.
Peter Ridsdale has called reports linking Matt Lecointe with a move to the Premier League as 'just newspaper talk'. He said: "We never know who scouts are looking at and have had no offers for Matt. Until such time a club stick their head above the parapet, it is just newspaper talk. At the end of the day I'd like to see scouts looking at our players every week, because it means we must be doing something right with our youth development, which is very positive."
Players at Argyle have been presented with a repayment plan for their unpaid wages and Carl Fletcher said: "Getting to this point has taken so long. It could have been done in May if it had been done properly. We are getting down to the nitty gritty of sums and figures now. Hopefully, it's drawing to a conclusion." All football creditors must agree to James Brent's repayment plan for the takeover to proceed and Fletcher added: "It kind of comes down to each individual now and, fingers crossed, everything will get sorted out sooner rather than later. Some people are still here and some people are at other places. So it's a case of getting in contact with them all and, hopefully, everything gets done to everyone's satisfaction. I'm sure it might be easier for some people than for others."
Conor Hourihane came on as a 66th minute substitute for the Republic of Ireland under-21s in their 4-1 win in Liechtenstein last night
Warren Feeney was a 65th minute replacement for Northern Ireland in the 3-0 defeat to Italy in their final Euro 2012 qualifier last night.
Matt Lecointe is attracting the interest of several Premier League clubs, according to national newspaper reports. Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United are all said to be showing an interest in the striker.
A young Argyle side drew 1-1 in a friendly at Buckland Athletic, the goal scored by Jed Harper-Penman. Argyle: Walton, Bradley, Richards, Pearce, Clarvis, Sims, Young, Copp, Harper-Penman, Trialist, Harvey. Subs – Hart, Purrington, Allen, Elcock, Gallagher (not used - Walton.R).
Akkeron Group has made its final offer to staff and players to settle their unpaid wage bills. In a statement released today, Akkeron said that staff and players would receive an amount up-front, a monthly payment and a final settlement. Furthermore, 50% of any unbudgeted money (such as from the sale of players) would go towards paying off outstanding amounts.
The statement reads: "Following discussions with current and former staff and players (or their representatives), Akkeron Group LLP (‘Akkeron’) has today advised them of the best and final offer made by Green Pilgrim Limited for the payment of arrears of pay incurred by PAFC.
"The payments (which are conditional on completion of the transaction) comprise an amount up-front, a monthly payment and the balance owed (if any) after an agreed period. These minimum payments will be accelerated by 50% of the aggregate of any specified unbudgeted income (for example from player sales, unbudgeted cup matches, promotion fees etc) plus budgeted income in excess of that assumed.
"The proposal has the support of the Professional Footballers’ Association (so far as it relates to players) and applies to players and staff in proportion to the amounts owing to them."
Peter Ridsdale, Argyle's acting chairman, said: “We are pleased that today’s announcement brings us one step closer to exiting administration, thus enabling us to start paying our players and staff properly and rebuilding the Club. I would ask all those affected to support the proposals as quickly as possible so that we can move forward. The proposal in my view is materially better for everyone involved than the alternative of liquidation.” James Brent, chairman of Akkeron said: “The selfless approach of staff and players is what has kept this football club alive on life support. While we would clearly have liked to offer faster payment of PAFC’s debts to employees, the proposal is the best the Company can safely offer. I hope that the payments can be accelerated through the receipt of unbudgeted income. I hope also that the current and previous employees will accept these proposals. While risks to a rescue remain this will be an important step forward in avoiding liquidation.” The proposals for players and previous players will be managed by the Professional Footballers’ Association, and the arrangements for staff by PAFC. Foot Anstey in Plymouth has been engaged (at Akkeron’s cost) to provide legal advice to any current or previous employee who requires it. The players and previous players will be advised by the PFA and its lawyers.
Conor Hourihane has praised the support of the Green Army during the club's darkest days. Hourihane said: "The fans have been terrific. Even though the club has never been so low, the crowd are still coming in. I'm looking forward to when we are back on our feet because, by the looks of it, it's going to be even better. Imagine what it would be like when the takeover is done and if we can start pushing up the league. It's definitely something to look forward to. There are a great bunch of lads here. They just want to play football and are trying to put what's happening off the pitch to one side. Hopefully, by the sounds of it, everything will go through in the next 10 days and we can look forward."
Conor Hourihane has linked up with the Republic of Ireland under-21s squad for their 2013 European Championship qualifier away to Liechtenstein tonight. Plymouth-born former Argyle striker Joe Mason, now at Cardiff City, is also in the Irish squad. Hourihane is scheduled to return to training with the Pilgrims on Thursday, ahead of Saturday's trip to Dagenham and Redbridge. Meanwhile, Warren Feeney is in the Northern Ireland squad for their last Euro 2012 qualifier, away to Group C winners Italy in Pescara tonight. Northern Ireland cannot make it into the finals in Poland and Ukraine next summer after losing 2-1 to Estonia in Belfast on Friday. Feeney was a second half substitute in the defeat by Estonia. It was his 45th appearance for Northern Ireland, and his third since signing for Argyle from Oldham in August.
Ladjie Soukouna is being closely monitored by the club's medical staff because of a leg injury. He only trained for the first time last week on Friday, ahead of the game against Accrington. Manager Carl Fletcher said: "He has been struggling with tendonitis in his leg. It's something we have got to monitor day to day almost." Meanwhile, three players, midfield pair Will Atkinson and Conor Hourihane, and right-back Durrell Berry, have received four yellow cards this season, just one short of a one-match ban.
Carl Fletcher has promised Argyle that will learn the lessons of the 2-2 draw against Accrington Stanley on Saturday. Fletcher said: "It does feel a little bit like a defeat. It was a game of two halves and all that. Half-time probably came at a bad time for us. It's a learning curve, both for the players and for me and Ro on the sideline. I think as long as you learn from these things it's not too bad. You have got to get on with it and take it on the chin. It's a point at home, but we are obviously disappointed it's not three." Fletcher would not be drawn on why he thought Argyle had been unable to defend their 2-0 half-time lead. He said: "What I say to the people in the changing room stays in there. I think it's important to look at things with a clear head, and kind of stand back from it and not let your emotions get hold of you. Otherwise, sometimes you will say something that's totally wrong, or something you regret. We will let it settle down and I will watch the DVD tomorrow and see what we could have done better." The manager added: "I think you have got to give credit to Accrington. They came out for the second half and really gave us a lot of problems. To be honest, we are probably lucky to get the point. They had a lot of chances and we had a lot of last-ditch defending. But a point is a point at the end of the day. We will look at it, have a discussion today and then move on for the next one." Speaking of conceding from set pieces, he said: "It's disappointing from our point of view, and it's something we have spoken about among the team. But you don't want the players ending up like nervous wrecks and worrying about it too much. So we are putting in the practice on the training pitch and it should become second nature to us."
Plymouth Argyle has announced the death of its club chaplain, Revd John Rowland. Revd Rowland had been one of two club chaplains since the retirement of Jeff Howden earlier this year. On its website, the club said: "Although his ministry at Argyle was brief, he brought a freshness and enthusiasm to the role which we know touched many of the Argyle players and staff. He will be remembered with much fondness." Revd Rowland, who was attending a Sporting Chaplains' Conference at Lilleshall when he died suddenly last week, was the Anglican minister for the parish of Buckfastleigh, incorporating St Luke's and Holy Trinity Churches, Buckfastleigh, and St George the Martyr, Dean Prior. A tribute will be paid at the next home game, against Swindon Town on Saturday 22nd October.
After the sell-out of the commemorative match programme on Saturday, Argyle will order a reprint if there is sufficient demand.
Tom Hitchcock, who signed on a three-month deal in the summer, will return to Blackburn Rovers this week following the expiry of his loan. Carl Fletcher said: "We thank him for all the hard work he's put in over the three months. Hopefully, while he's been down here he's learned a few things, and it will further his career when he goes back to Blackburn."
Argyle's under-18s lost 3-0 to Swansea City in the Football League Youth Alliance Cup at Sketty Park, Swansea yesterday. Argyle: Walton, Hart, Bradley, Pearce, Purrington, Allen, Elcock, Harvey, Harper-Penman, Gallagher, Clarvis. Subs: Bentley, Wheatley, Gostling.
Argyle drew 2-2 at home to Accrington Stanley this afternoon, in a game that marked the 125th anniversary of the club. Simon Walton and Ladjie Soukouna scored the goals. Argyle: Cole, Berry, Nelson, King, Williams, Walton, Daley, Soukouna, Hourihane, Atkinson, LeCointe. Subs - Griffiths (not used – Larrieu, Gibson, Young, Hitchcock). Attendance - 8,013.
Plymouth City Council have postponed a special Cabinet meeting, which was to have taken place on Monday to decide whether to buy the club’s stadium. A council spokeswoman said: “Given the complex legal and commercial issues surrounding the proposal, more time is needed to gather and consider information. Vivien Pengelly, the council leader, recently confirmed the council would consider buying the freehold in order to ensure the survival of the club. If this were to happen it would have to be on a commercial basis. The council will get a rental income from it and council taxpayers’ money would not be used to support the club.” She added that any purchase would be subject to “all necessary due diligence”. Cllr Pengelly said: “We are committed to supporting Argyle as we believe it is vital to protect the land and vital for a city of this size to have a professional and well-supported football club. It reinforces the city as a major regional centre for sport, contributes towards the city’s wider economy and is an important part of the city’s fabric. Clearly we need to make sure we have all the necessary information in front of us before we take any decision. Unfortunately at the moment we do not have all the information. This decision needs to be on a sound commercial basis that helps the wider city as a whole. As there are commercially sensitive discussions going on at the moment, we are not able to say any more and are not in a position to do interviews.” Detailed Cabinet discussions over any Argyle proposal have been deferred to Tuesday 18th October, and will then be put before the full council on a date yet to be confirmed, but likely to be soon afterwards.
Speaking of the Council's delay, James Brent said: “The earliest we could have realistically completed it by is Friday, because we won’t close until the council is fully approved. We have clearly been briefed by the council about the delay but there are plenty of other aspects of the deal that could hold it up." Argyle’s staff and players have not yet been asked to agree the terms under which they will receive their unpaid wages. The delay in the takeover means they will again be asked to sign waivers next week, protecting Argyle’s administrators from assuming liability for the payroll on Friday. However, Mr Brent has pledged to pay all current staff and players their full October salaries on completion of the deal. A target date of Friday 21st October is now being set. The Football League’s board will meet on Thursday to discuss the proposed takeover. They will be unable to formally approve the deal however, as documents including the Home Park lease agreement must be studied.
Argyle celebrate their 125th anniversary tomorrow and they hope to mark the milestone by beating Accrington Stanley. But, as caretaker manager Carl Fletcher freely admitted, the club almost did not survive long enough to see their special birthday. Fletcher said: "It's a big milestone, and a few months ago we probably thought we wouldn't get here. It will be a good day. There is a lot going on behind the scenes and we are trying to get as many people through the gate as we can. That is reflected in the pricing. It's £12.50 for adults and £1.25 for under-18s. Hopefully, people will come and celebrate the fact Plymouth Argyle have been around for so long." Argyle officials are hoping for another noisy, vibrant atmosphere inside Home Park tomorrow, with the turn-out boosted by 'Fans Re-United Re-Visited'. Fletcher admitted the fans would have a "massive role" to play as the Pilgrims strive for their second win of 2011/12. He said: "There were 6,000 for the last home game against Macclesfield, and it sounded like 10,000. I have played out there when there have been big crowds and a lot of noise and it's definitely a boost. But, on our side of it, we have spoken to the players and we feel it's our responsibility to get the crowd going as well. We need both parties involved. When the fans here sing and shout, it's a fantastic atmosphere." Fletcher admitted it would be perfect timing were a successful buy-out of Argyle by Brent to follow the club's 125th birthday. He said: "From what I hear, the takeover is within touching distance so, fingers crossed. It would be nice if it coincided with the whole 125th anniversary celebrations. Hopefully, loads of people can come down. There are no Premier League or Championship games, so it's an ideal time. It would be nice if it all came together in the next week or so and finally got sorted out.
Argyle's limited attacking options will be further depleted tomorrow by the absence of Warren Feeney, who is away on international duty with Northern Ireland. One option will be Luke Daley, who has played as a striker in the past, but Carl Fletcher might also consider 18-year-old loanee Tom Hitchcock and 16-year-old apprentice Matt Lecointe. The manager said: "Feeno works hard every week for us. He's an experienced player. He's 30 now. We have got a small squad anyway, but it's an opportunity for someone else to come in. It's up to the 11 players in the team to keep their shirts, and it's up to the ones that haven't been playing to try to get the shirts off them. It's not about doing it once every two weeks, or a couple of times here and there. It has got to be every day. It's down to the people in the team to keep their starting position."
Efforts to bring in Millwall's Darren Purse on loan have been blocked by the Football League, who are not prepared to register any new signings while the club's existing players are not being paid. However Carl Fletcher is hopeful that loan signings will be possible soon. He said: "We were due a couple of players in this week but it got blocked by the Football League. We were told that in administration you were allowed 20 players in their squad. We had 18 so we had two more spots to fill. Everything was organised and ready to go, and then it was stopped at the last minute. It's obviously disappointing from our point of view, but there are opportunities for players to go out there and stake a claim to stay in the team for the future."
James Brent has a team of more than a dozen people dealing with legal papers as he closes in on a rescue deal and says he is working "at 1,000mph" to complete his takeover by next Friday. No late bids have been received by administrators, despite ongoing interest from three rival parties. It is hoped the Football League's board will give the takeover its all-important go-ahead when members meet a week from today. Akkeron Group founder Brent said: "We are in the documentation phase now; there are numerous drafts of numerous documents going back and forth between various lawyers. All those discussions have been constructive and people are being very helpful as we move, hopefully, to a successful conclusion. We are going at 1,000mph to get to completion. The earliest physical date is Friday week, but it is challenging due to the logistics of each of the documents." Staff and players, many of whom are no longer at Home Park, are owed around £3.2million after sacrificing their wages for most of the year to keep the club afloat. They must individually accept Brent's offer to pay back 100 per cent of that money – some up front and the rest over five years – for the Pilgrims to be brought out of administration. Plymouth City Council's Cabinet will meet on Monday to consider buying Home Park as part of the rescue. "I feel very strongly that the proposed deal with the Council is right for it and its rate-payers," Brent said. "I would hope that the Council shares that view, and I have no reason to doubt they will."
Peter Ridsdale has no regrets about appointing Carl Fletcher as manager, and said there were no plans for Fletcher to be replaced in his role after the proposed takeover of the club is completed. Ridsdale explained he was not in a position to offer the 31-year-old the post permanently while the Pilgrims are in administration. "Whatever Carl is called, he's the manager of this football club," Ridsdale said. "Whether he got a one-month contract or a 20-year contract, the one thing I can guarantee is if he wins football matches he will stay in his job and if he loses football matches he will go the way of his predecessor. That's football for you. What I have said to Carl in no uncertain terms, and I have done it with the full knowledge of James Brent, is his job is there for as long as he's successful in doing it. I do not anticipate, on the completion of the takeover, a change in manager at all. It's Carl's to keep as long as he wins football matches." Ridsdale was not discouraged by the result at Crawley, or the performance. He said: "I think the commitment we saw from the players in both games was outstanding. Sometimes what the supporters see is the tip of an iceberg. What I see is what goes on behind the scenes. I have been more impressed than I could ever have anticipated with the way in which the two of them have gone about their job. If anybody deserves to succeed as a football manager, certainly Carl does, and Ro assisting him. They have been putting all their energy – thoughtful energy – into making sure we turn around the current position in the league."
Argyle have been fined £1,000 by the Football Association after accepting a charge of failing to control their players in the game against Southend United at Roots Hall on September 17th. Carl Fletcher was sent-off for violent conduct after angrily confronting Southend midfielder Michael Timlin. Players from both sides ran to the scene of the incident, and there was much pushing and shoving before the match officials restored order.
The Argyle youth team beat Yeovil 4-1 in the Football League Youth Alliance Cup at Haye Road, Elburton yesterday, the goals coming from apprentices Matt Lecointe (2) and Jared Sims, and from schoolboy Sam Gallagher. The win was even more impressive because seven first choice players were injured or unavailable, with the line-up including four schoolboys at the start and seven at the end. Argyle: Walton, Hart, Pearce, Purrington, Clarvis, Sims, Allen, Harvey, Harper-Penman, Lecointe, Gallagher. Subs: Jewell, Gostling, Wheatley.
Acting chairman Peter Ridsdale says he expects the club to be sold to James Brent within the next week. "Certainly our eye is on trying to do it sometime next week," he said. "There's a buzz of anticipation and excitement that hopefully we can see the finishing line. People have wanted this day to come for many months now and I think that day is very close. We're all working very hard to answer all the questions for the Football League and Professional Footballers' Association to make sure we're in a position to do it as soon as possible. If I'm here to hand over the keys to the door to James Brent when he walks in I'll see it as job well done and I'll be very proud to have played a very small part, because really it was the community and the staff and players that carried us through."
Argyle are trying to complete two loan signings before their game against Accrington Stanley at Home Park on Saturday. One of the targets is believed to be a striker and the other a centre-back. Peter Ridsdale said: "We have two more spots in a 20-man squad to fill, and Carl and I have been working on that since the game against Crawley. I would be disappointed if we hadn't got at least one, if not two new faces in the team for Saturday." Ridsdale added: "What we have to do, as soon as we get out of administration, is to add quality to what we have already got in the squad to make sure we are competing further up the table as the weeks go on. We know where we are, and we know what we have to do. Whoever owns this club needs to put in the football expertise to make sure the season finishes with Argyle well up the table, rather than at the bottom of it." Football League clubs can only have a maximum of five loan players in their matchday squad of 16. Argyle already have five loan signings on their books – striker Tom Hitchcock, midfield duo Will Atkinson, Jamie Griffiths, and defenders Ben Gibson and Simon King. Griffiths and King have both recently extended their stays until November 5th.
Argyle's administrators have racked up fees of more than £700,000 in the last 6 months, according to the P&A Partnership's six-monthly progress report. Meanwhile staff and players at Home Park have gone largely unpaid this year, with James Brent's takeover held up by over four months as former preferred bidder Bishop International Limited failed to seal a deal. Administrators' average hourly rate of £267.54 in April has risen to £279.21 in the period up to September 3rd. A further £1.4million has been spent since their appointment, including £150,000 on 'office holder fees', £66,739 on 'professional fees' and £50,500 on 'consultancy fees', thought to have been paid to three people, including acting club chairman Peter Ridsdale. The review also reveals that a Government department has been handed a report on the conduct of the Pilgrims' former directors. It says: "As required by the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 the Joint Administrators have submitted a report on the conduct of the directors of the company. This report has been lodged with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills but its contents are to remain confidential."
Former director Phill Gill is understood to have pulled out of a last-ditch attempt to facilitate an offer for the club, following pressure from supporters. Fellow ex-directors Paul Stapleton and Tony Wrathall have vehemently denied any part in the plans, both publicly backing the Akkeron Group's bid. Kevin Heaney, the Cornwall-based developer leading Bishop International Limited, has also denied involvement and claimed once more he is out of the race. Argyle Fans' Trust chair Chris Webb said: "We welcome the fact that some individuals have seen sense and are allowing the rescue of the club to proceed."
A consortium headed by London businessman Paul Buttivant was understood to be poised to table a refreshed, improved offer last night. He told The Herald his investors would need just seven days to complete a deal. But legal representatives are working hard on the Akkeron Group's offer ahead of a Football League board meeting next Thursday, October 13, where his takeover could be formally approved.
Onismor Bhasera is nearing the end of his recovery from a torn cruciate knee ligament, sustained at Hartlepool United on March 12. Manager Carl Fletcher said: "He went to see his consultant last week, to make sure everything was on track, and he was given the green light to step things up in training. We are taking it day by day with him. We have got to be careful with him because he has had a bad injury. But, fingers crossed, he will be available to play again towards the end of October. I see Bas every day, and he seems fine. He has been doing his work in the gym."
Reports suggest that ex-directors Paul Stapleton, Phill Gill and Tony Wrathall, assisted by Kevin Heaney, have made a last-minute attempt to protect their substantial mortgage liabilities, which could derail James Brent’s takeover of the Pilgrims. But Mr Stapleton said today: “I can categorically state that I am not a member of any consortium nor any bid for the club and never have been. Wherever I have been asked to help by the administrator or Peter Ridsdale I have done so to the best of my ability to ensure Plymouth Argyle survives. The sooner the takeover is completed the better.” Mr Gill, who left the Home Park boardroom in 2008, is reported to have met with representatives of Argyle’s administrators three times last week. He also held discussions with lead administrator Brendan Guilfoyle over the weekend. Mr Gill is also understood to have spoken with controversial former Pilgrims chairman Dan McCauley in relation to a potential swoop for the club. A source close to the administration process warned: “There is no time left for any other bid. If anybody else comes in at this stage, they are not going to be able to complete in time and the club will be liquidated by the end of the month.” Argyle Fans’ Trust chairman Chris Webb has written to the quartet, pleading with them to step aside and allow a deal to save Argyle to be closed by James Brent. Mr Webb said: “If we have to call for protests then we will make sure they are loud, forceful and passionate. We have placed the ball firmly in the courts of Stapleton, Wrathall, Heaney and Gill. Nothing less than open support for the James Brent bid will see fans’ anger and frustrations grow.”
Plymouth city councillors will discuss a proposal to purchase Home Park at next Monday's cabinet committee meeting in the Council House. A council spokeswoman has said: "The council recently confirmed that it would consider the purchase of Home Park in order to help ensure the survival of the club. If this were to happen, it would have to be on a commercial basis – i.e. the council will get a rental income from it and council tax payers' money would not be used to support the club. Clearly a proposal such as this would need to be subject to due diligence checks and approval by the full council. We believe it is important economically for a city of this size to have a professional and well-supported football club. It keeps Plymouth on the national stage and encourages people to visit the city. Through its community work, the club also plays a crucial part in improving the health and wellbeing of people who live here and this should not be ignored. We are not in a position to discuss further details as negotiations need to take place." The cabinet committee meeting will take place next Monday from 9am.
Carl Fletcher has extended Jamie Griffiths' loan spell up to the match with Morecambe on November 5. Fletcher said: "Jamie's attitude since he's been here has been great and he's worked hard every day. He is a good person to have around the place and hopefully he can push for a position in the starting line-up."
After his dream start as Argyle's caretaker manager, Carl Fletcher admitted it was "back down to earth" in the wake of the Pilgrims' 2-0 defeat at Crawley Town yesterday. He said: "I am just gutted for the lads because they have given everything today, and worked their socks off. We always knew it was going to be a tough game, coming here. Crawley are tipped for promotion, a good side, and well organised. After conceding early doors, it was an uphill struggle. Goals change games. It's easy to lose your head then and lose shape but I thought we did okay for the rest of the first-half and could have perhaps got a couple of goals if things had fallen a bit better for us. I was pleased with the way they reacted; they didn't get too worried, and stuck to the game-plan. Towards the end, we were 2-0 down and we were trying, so you lose a bit of shape. There are a few areas that we've just got to be better in so we'll work on them again. We'll look back on the DVD and find the positives. You've got to tell the players the good and the bad; it's a balance."
Having been in the job for just over a week, Fletcher again conceded that he and Romain Larrieu were both learning but hinted at his philosophy for the coming weeks and beyond. "Both me and Ro knew that it wasn't going to change overnight," he said. "It was a bonus last week with the win but it's a tough job and we're learning everyday. From our point of few, we need to get all the little things right and then all the big things will follow. We are trying to put the foundations in for the longer term." Despite Argyle's perilous league position, Fletcher remains confident of turning it around. "I have not looked at the league table all season," he said."It is not hard to count one win and a draw. It is a long hard season and it doesn't take long to turn around - it's only a couple of wins here and there."
The Argyle youth team beat AFC Bournemouth 2-1 in the Football League Youth Alliance at Castle Gate, Bournemouth yesterday, the goals scored by Dan Hart and Tyler Harvey. Argyle: Walton, Hart, Pearce, Purrington, Clarvis, Harvey, Elcock, Sims, Wheatley, Gallagher, Harper-Penman. Subs: Moorhead, Vickers.
The Football League Youth Alliance Cup campaign begins this week with a home first round group match against Yeovil Town at Elburton Villa's Haye Road ground on Wednesday afternoon, kick-off 2pm. For the first round of the competition, the 29 clubs in the South of England have been split into five regional groups - Bristol Rovers, Swansea City, Torquay United and Exeter City are the other clubs in Argyle's group.
Argyle lost 2-0 at Crawley Town. Argyle: Cole, Berry, Nelson, King, Williams, Walton, Daley, Soukouna, Hourihane, Atkinson, Feeney. Subs - Hitchcock, LeCointe, Griffiths (not used – Larrieu, Young). Attendance - 3,175.
A series of special events is being arranged to celebrate Argyle's 125th anniversary next weekend. The club is teaming up with the Argyle Fans' Trust and the Green Taverners, and full details will be announced at a joint media call at Home Park on Monday. The club will be sending out party invites to fans from Premier League and Championship clubs, who will have the weekend off because of their players' international commitments. Peter Ridsdale said: "We hope that, with the support of the Argyle Fans' Trust and the Green Taverners, we can create a real party atmosphere for our 125th anniversary game. We're not in a position to give too much away, but we have tried to make it easier for fans to come and celebrate our party, as well as getting behind Carl Fletcher and the lads, by setting special 125 ticket prices. I hope they will respond by coming out in numbers to get behind Carl, Romain and the team – not to mention the Home Park staff, who, along with the players, stand to gain financially from a big party crowd. I know how much everyone was uplifted by the wonderful support when we beat Macclesfield, and it would be super in so many ways to see that bettered when we entertain Accrington. We will also be keeping our promise we made to Argyle 125 Founder Members when they bought their season tickets, and printing the names of each and every one of them in The Pilgrim matchday programme. It should be an unmissable event all round for all Argyle fans."
Robbie Williams has hailed the impact already made by caretaker manager Carl Fletcher and acting first team coach Romain Larrieu. Williams revealed a lot of hard work had been put in by the players on the training ground since Fletcher and Larrieu took over, but he thought it would lead to improved results. Williams said: "It was a massive relief for everyone to get that first win of the season. We had a new lift last Saturday with Fletch and Ro taking over. Everybody was buzzing and knew their jobs, and it went well. They have both been around a while and they know what the game is about. It just fitted into place as soon as they came in." Williams continued: "You have got to know what you are doing when you get onto the park. Fletch and Ro are drilling it into us day-in day-out, and it's working so far. It has been tough, but Fletch knows what playing is all about so he knows when to rest and when to put the work in. At the minute it's working, but let's not get carried away."
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