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.
Ryan Law has become the latest pilgrim to put pen to paper on a new deal, accepting Ryan Lowe's offer of an extension. After loan spells at Truro and Torquay, Law made his long awaited debut towards the tail end of the season. Whilst the results weren't great, he showed enough for his manager to offer him a new deal. Local lad Law said: "I've been working really hard the last year for it, so it's really good to be signed up. I've been here since I was eight, so I just want to be here for ages. It's good, compared to U18 and U23 level it's quite different because you're playing against older people who have had experience in the game. Lowe] told me on the Friday before the Gillingham game that he was going to offer a contract. It was good but I obviously still had to work hard because I wanted to play my best so I could impress the staff."
"It was a weird season. I went to Chippenham and only played three games, then the season got cancelled due to Covid. I came back to Plymouth and I wasn't really in the team much, I was on the bench a couple of times. Then Gaffer told me to go to Torquay, play some games and hopefully I could come back and play, and that happened. The aim is just to play as much as I can for the first team. I just can't wait to be back there to be playing in front of the Green Army."
Ryan Lowe spoke of his enjoyment at finally landing long time target James Wilson on a permanent transfer, also giving an update on the status of Argyle's out of contract players. Lowe said: "He was our first target, our first-choice target if you like, in that back line. I've been monitoring James for some time now. We knew in January that his contract was coming to an end so I'm pleased to have him. He's a leader, he's a good footballer, he's fast and he's been part of a defence at Ipswich that has only conceded seven goals from set pieces. He's one of many that we want to bring through the door who's had that pedigree of winning promotions. He's the grand old age of 32 but he hasn't played 500 games, he's at the 260-270 mark, which is good for us because he hasn't had a lot of minutes in his legs but he's a real leader and I'm really pleased to have him on board."
"Ollie is a youngster and he did fantastic in the last couple of games. The results weren't great, but in terms of him personally, and coming through the ranks as a schoolboy at Plymouth Argyle, he's got a big future ahead. The captain, who's ironically a good friend of James Wilson, signed his long-term contract in terms of two years. He's been fantastic on and off the pitch this season, and he deserved the two-year contract. The fans were absolutely made up with the signing, and so was I. The minute we spoke with his agent, there was only one place he wanted to sign, and that was Plymouth Argyle."
"The contract offers have gone out. We've spoken to Lawsy and he will be done next week, he's committed. I am speaking with Danny tomorrow, and then I will speak to Conor probably on Monday. They know what we're about, we don't have to sell anything to these players. They have all won promotion with us from League Two, they know what I'm about as a manager, they know what the football club's about now, so we won't put pressure on them. We'll give them a little bit of time, and then we will sit down and discuss some further things."
Wilson himself added: "I'm really excited to be here. The manager sets up the team the right way, the way I like to play. Obviously it's a massive club, it's a massive draw with the fans and everything. Every time I've played here it's been a really good experience. It was frustrating. A lot of the time last season because the manager had a massive squad and wanted to play a rotation system, play a lot of teams and formations, so it was frustrating but the games I did play, I really enjoyed. I think I read the game pretty well. I think I can look after people around me; I like doing that. I'm pretty quick as well, even though my age might not suggest it, so hopefully those factors can help us have a good season. Last year started really well for Argyle and I think if they had that experience at the back it might have been a different story. I think Ryan Lowe's got lots of talented players here, hopefully with a bit more experience we can push on a bit. I think a mix is important as well though, you want young hungry players around you so hopefully we can get the balance right.
"One of my good mates is here, Joe Edwards, so that was definitely a factor [for signing]. He said it's a great club, he loves it here and his family are really happy here. He said the supporters are great when they're in the door, he said it's always a great atmosphere here and everything about the club, he says, is run the right way so that's a massive draw. I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone. I can't wait to get started."
Experienced defender James Wilson has been confirmed as Ryan Lowe's first signing of the summer. The 32 year old Welsh centre-back will join Argyle upon expiry of his contract at Ipswich Town, where he won the club's 20/21 Player of the Season award.
Argyle's captain and player of the year Joe Edwards has signed a new two year deal at Home Park. Following another impressive season, Edwards has extended his stay at Argyle until the end of the 22/23 campaign. The man himself spoke of a special bond with the green army: "I'm delighted, I've built a really special bond with everyone here. It's great news for myself and my family. It's been a tough year, on and off the pitch, but we put in some strong performances at both home and away games. We're looking forward to a bit of normality and building friendships with the boys and fans. The fans are next to none, they're brilliant and we look forward to having them back. Part of the football club is having them here; they're travelling all over the country with us. It's great to hear that so many season tickets have been renewed already. It was sad to not have fans here when we got promoted, as I've heard about unbelievable promotion days when they are here. Last year was tough, but when you see the pictures and videos of when they were here, it gets you even more excited to play in front of a packed house. You're coming up against big teams, and if we can put on a good show for our fans, we'll hopefully have a successful season. As for personal goals, it'll just be pushing the team up the table and compete well against everyone. Who knows where it'll take us!"
Young academy graduate Ollie Tomlinson has signed an extension to his professional contract with Argyle after making his first team league debut towards the tail end of the season. Lowe said of the young defender: "I'm delighted for Ollie, he's worked really hard and is fully deserving of an opportunity to continue his development at Argyle. He had to be patient for his chance last season but his attitude was first class, and he gave a good account of himself when he got into the team at the end of the season. It's only fair and right that we give him the chance to keep pushing and improving at the club, and we look forward to seeing what he can do in the year ahead."
Argyle have announced they will overhaul their floodlight system this summer as the club prepare to welcome fans back to Home Park. Argyle's Head of Facilities and Supporter Services, John Spreadbridge explained: "We are aware that our floodlights are not of the standard required to match the ambition of the football club, and that our lux level were not sufficient. The Board agreed that it would be most efficient to invest in new infrastructure to bring the stadium's lux levels to Championship standard, with the potential to adapt to Premier League with small adjustments."
Argyle's retained list was announced shortly after the culmination of the season, with all bar 5 of the out of contract players released. Promotion winners Will Aimson, Scott Wootton and Byron Moore are the most noteworthy departures. Jack Ruddy, Ben Reeves, Lewis MacLeod, Frank Nouble, Jarvis Cleal, Rubin Wilson and Klaidi Lolos will also be leaving as Gary Sawyer and Luke McCormick step into other roles. Joe Edwards, Conor Grant, Danny Mayor, Ollie Tomlinson and Ryan Law have been offered the chance to stay with Argyle. Ryan Lowe said, after the Gillingham loss, of the need for a summer of regenerating: "We did more than enough not to lose it; we did more than enough to score. I thought we were fantastic, I thought we played some good stuff, we had some good chances. There were some good spells. We didn't track a man for their first goal, which was disappointing, but I thought our lads dealt with Gillingham's physical presence quite well. We had the youth team lads to give them some minutes. We knew what the game was going to be, it was a test for a lot of them lads. I thought Ollie Tomlinson was different class, Lawsy, again, and we got Finley Craske on the pitch as well. People will move on, people will stay. They all know now; they've all had their discussions. They've tried all season. Not one day throughout the season have any of my players, especially in training, not given their all. We've had some ups and downs, but I've said the challenge next season is to get better again, and that's certainly what it'll be.
"We thank the players for all their hard work and their efforts but for me to take Plymouth Argyle to the next level, we need people who can do their jobs. We know where we're at, we know what we've got to spend, we'll go and spend it wisely. It'll be a busy six weeks from now until we're back in pre-season bringing in a group of players, forming a squad that we feel is capable of being in a higher position in the league. Next season is going to be massive for us. We'll make sure we recruit the right people to wear the Argyle badge with pride because that is what I want next season."
"We need the fans, we want them, we've missed them. Fair play to a lot of football clubs up and down the country because they've kept going. We've been through a terrible pandemic and football has survived and football clubs are hopefully still surviving as well, and long may that continue."
Joe Edwards reflected on the reaction to Kelland Watts' nasty injury and of Argyle's season as a whole, expressing mixed feelings about the 18th place finish. Edwards said: "It's not a nice situation when you see your teammate lying on the floor like that. We hope he's okay, we're hearing positive things from the hospital – our main focus is that he's okay and he recovers fully. It's a tough situation, you realise that footy's insignificant when things like that happen. I thought we dealt with it really well. We had a young team starting anyway, and you look on the bench and it's even younger. We didn't have a lot of options, Tyrese filled in brilliantly, and Ollie next to him was fantastic. I said to Ollie 'you're now the main man in centre-half', and he was fantastic. I thought he was brilliant the whole game and dealt with their threat really well – it was probably a nice challenge for him. We stayed in League One, which is the goal, and what we set out to achieve. We wanted to do better than we did. You have to look and reflect, we now have the summer to do so. There were ups and downs, probably more so in this season than any other with the challenges that we've faced, but there's always stuff you can do better. At the end of the day, we stayed in this league. We've had a lot of young lads coming through from the Academy which is fantastic. We're still learning, we've been a learning group the whole year. It's one of them, you always want to do better, and we'll work on that. It has been a very intense few months, so it'll be nice to just come away and relax a little bit, as much as you can relax with twins at home! It will be fantastic to spend some time with the family and come back fresh and raring to go."
Argyle ended the season in a flat fashion with a dull 1-0 loss at Gillingham. Kelland Watts had to be stretchered off injured after a collision in the first 30 seconds of the game and the hosts scored shortly after the restart. Luke McCormick came on for his 350th and likely final appearance for Argyle whilst Ollie Tomlinson made his first start. Argyle: M Cooper (McCormick), Edwards, Tomlinson, Watts(Moore (Jephcott)), Law, Fornah, Reeves, Camara, Mayor(Craske), Hardie, Ennis (Lolos). Subs: Pursall, Mitchell.
Argyle have announced plans for their 2021/22 season tickets, in the hope that stadiums will finally be back to full capacity. Full details can be found on the club's official site but Argyle's flagship pledge is a 20% discount to all renewing supporters. CEO Andrew Parkinson said: "On behalf of everyone at the club, I cannot express enough how grateful we are to the Green Army for their support during the coronavirus pandemic. Our ticketing offer reflects our gratitude to our loyal supporters, who have gone above and beyond to ensure that the club is in the strongest possible position for when fans return. We are extremely hopeful that such an occasion is not far away. By offering a 20% discount to our renewing supporters, we recognise their commitment to the club, while striking a balance with our long-term aim of becoming a financially sustainable Championship-level outfit. For 21/22, we have introduced our Pandemic Promise, meaning that supporters can be confident they will not be disadvantaged by committing their support to the club."
Argyle legend and club captain Gary Sawyer has retired from football following an injury sustained in the Checkatrade Trophy from which he was never quite able to recover. Sawyer will take up a new non-playing role at Home Park as a club ambassador, which includes elements of coaching in the Pilgrims' new-look and ambitious Academy set-up, outreach work with the Argyle Community Trust, and specific club duties both on matchdays and throughout the week. He said of the decision: "I had got to a point in my career where I just wanted to be back in Plymouth – I'd felt it for years before, but it was really serious that I wanted to do that. I know, like anyone in football, if you sit there and wait for things to happen, they never seem to happen. It was something that I wanted to do for my career. The gaffer, Andrew Parkinson and Neil Dewsnip spoke to me and saw where my head was lying with it. I'd always said that it would be perfect to roll from playing football to working at the football club – I feel like I have a lot to offer the football club having been through every rung of it. It was something that I was really interested in, and that's what makes having to retire easier – it gives me a new focus, new drive, and I get to work for the club I've supported and played for. I'll go into an ambassador role for the club, that will be really interesting – it keeps me around the boys and the fans. I like being involved in those sorts of things, and I always felt that would be the ideal job for me – knowing what the club means to people, it means the same to me. When we played Newport on that Monday, the whistle blows and everyone comes running on the pitch – it's just this amazing feeling. I've never felt anything like that – all the sacrifices to get to that point, it just makes everything worth it. That would be the biggest stand-out moment for me."
"In an ideal world, I would've loved us to have got promoted and played my last game in front of everyone in the stand. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work like that. This isn't the way I'd want to do it – especially with no fans in the ground and I can't say goodbye, but I have to look forward, being given the opportunity to work in the club. The fans are the reason I wanted to sign back at the football club. We're so well supported and it's such a great place to be. Fans have always been amazing with me, on and off the pitch. I could never ask for more from them, and I'll miss having that. I've had an amazing and long career. I'm 36 in July. I haven't left anything out there – I've tried to achieve everything I could achieve. It's hard when someone tells you that you can't do your dream job anymore. I'm gutted, it does hurt, but it's important I make the right decision."
Ryan Lowe bemoaned Argyle's lack of cutting edge in the loss to Sunderland, bemoaning it as 'tough to take'. He also explained his decision to bring Luke McCormick off the bench late in the game. Lowe outlined: I felt we were always in the game – first half was 50/50, they had a few more shots than us, but well in it. We felt that, at 1-1, we worked our way into it. I thought their goal could be avoided, and I thought when we got back in the game we looked like we could go on again. The effort was there, certainly, we made some good runs off the back of them, in the second half I thought Danny was coming down the left quite positive – but ultimately when you go down to ten men it's hard, isn't it, and then the ref gives a dubious penalty, which is tough to take. When you go down to 10 men against a team like Sunderland you're always going to struggle a little bit, but I felt we held our own with two banks of four and one striker. To be done by a dubious decision, which seems to be outside the box, gives them the momentum. You're always going to find it difficult to come back from 2-1 with 10 men. We've been done by a couple of decisions."
"Luke probably won't have the opportunity to play many more games for Argyle. He's on 349 appearances, and I want to make sure he gets 350 and bows out with another appearance because he deserves it. It's been planned for weeks.
"Young Ollie's been thrown in at the deep end and I felt he held his own. I'm pleased for the boy, he won a fair few headers and passed the ball nicely. He's still got a long way to go, he's only a youngster, but it was a proud moment for him and one he should relish. It was always in our thoughts to give him some minutes.
"Sam Woods has gone back, he's going to be out for a few weeks with his hamstring, so he's gone back to Crystal Palace. We thank Sam for his efforts while he was here. Adam Lewis has gone back to Liverpool because his ankle ligaments have swollen right up – we thank Adam for his efforts too."
Conor Grant also felt the red card was the deciding factor in the game, adding: "I thought in spells we played well, but ultimately I think the sending off killed us a little bit. A bit of a dubious penalty decision, in my opinion - I think the contact was just outside the box from what I could see. In the end it was the third goal and the counterattack, even after we gave everything. Once we went down to 10 men it was about staying in good shape, limiting their attacks and limiting their creativeness. I thought we did that quite well, and then you're undone by the penalty decision, it upsets you. It's kind of summed our season up. Again, there's a lot of frustration, we got ourselves back in a decent position at 1-1 and the result went against us again. We're so hit and miss at the minute, and obviously we're frustrated for the fans because they expect more."
Argyle's home campaign ended with a loss, 3-1 at home to play off chasing Sunderland. The game was even for much of it with Joe Edwards cancelling out a Mackems opener in the second half. At this point however, the game turned with Jerome Opoku getting a second yellow card and Argyle reduced to ten. Sunderland went 2-1 up courtesy of a questionable penalty and added their third after stalwart keeper Luke McCormick was bought on to replace Mike Cooper. Youngster Ollie Tomlinson came off the bench to make his debut for the greens. Argyle. M Cooper (McCormick), Edwards, Opoku, Watts, Law, Fornah, Grant, Camara (Reeves), Hardie (Lolos), Ennis (Tomlinson). Subs: Craske, Moore, Jephcott.
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