In a bid to pass the dull pre-season nights, Vital Swindon will be talking football with fellow League One outfits. Kicking us off are Plymouth Argyle, a side who join us after six year stint in The Championship.
Vital Swindon: Shall we say that 2009/10 was not a kind season for Plymouth. Problems behind-the-scenes followed by relegation into League One. What happened?
Vital Plymouth: Basically Paul Sturrock was found wanting. The Championship was a league too far for him, his style of play, poor team formations and poor use of subs during matches was our downfall and we paid the price with relegation to League One.
Vital Swindon: I went to University in Plymouth between 2004-2007, moving there just after your promotion to The Championship. On September 18, 2004 I saw Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Argyle in front of 18,635 (over 20,000 were at Leeds United days before). Over the years attendances having been dropping, only 8,557 saw out your final Championship game of the season. Is this dip a case of the part-timers going back to their armchairs? Genuine discontent? Both? Or something else?
Vital Plymouth: When Argyle were first promoted to the Championship it was a novelty to play former Premier League teams like Leeds United and West Ham, that novelty soon wore off and the fans slowly started to drift away. This, coupled with some poor football played under Sturrock and discontent from fans that the club will never progress to the Premier League, meant that attendances at Home Park in recent seasons has been poor.
Vital Swindon: Do you look at Ian Holloway’s success at Blackpool and wonder what could have had he decided to stay at Home Park? (instead of heading for a brief stint at Leicester City) Or do you feel that a Premier League push was unrealistic for Holloway’s Plymouth?
Vital Plymouth: Looking back – we never had it so good but the Green Army just didn`t realise it at the time. Holloway`s departure to Leicester really hurt the club and the fans, when he left Argyle were chasing a play-off place and he had us believing that we could be promoted.
What Holloway did at Blackpool getting them promoted could so easily have been Argyle.
Vital Swindon: You took Paul Sturrock from Swindon Town in 2007. The lure of his spiritual English home was too tempting. Was the Plymouth Argyle board wrong to re-appoint Sturrock? Is Sturrock ultimately responsible for Argyle’s relegation?
Vital Plymouth: Hindsight is great. At the time the majority of fans felt that Sturrock was the right person for the job but there was a nagging doubt that he never really proved himself in the Championship. There were some fans who thought the Argyle Directors should have interviewed other candidates rather than just go for Sturrock.
Yes, Sturrock is to blame for Argyle`s demise but it should also be remembered that it was him who orchestrated two promotions so that Argyle could actually play in the Championship.
Vital Swindon: Rory Fallon is currently at the World Cup which is great for Plymouth Argyle. He was popular at Swindon Town, especially during his final six months when he was scoring goals! He’s never been prolific at Home Park – is he liked? Disliked? Or very much the proverbial ‘marmite’ player.
Vital Plymouth: Definitely a marmite player. On his day Fallon is a good number nine striker, able to hold the ball up and bring in other players but on an off day Fallon can be a liability to the team, giving away too many free-kicks and looking awkward and cumbersome.
Vital Swindon: You are currently without a manager – should former manager Paul Mariner have been given an opportunity to continue? Who do you think Argyle should appoint? Question asked prior to Reid appointment
Vital Plymouth: Well, Argyle have just appointed Peter Reid who I think is an excellent choice. He is exactly the no-nonsense type of gaffer the club needs.
Vital Swindon: So far this Summer you’ve lost Jamie Mackie to Queens Park Rangers. Is he a major loss? You do you consider as Plymouth’s most key player(s) going into the new season?
Vital Plymouth: The general feeling amongst the Green Army is that Mackie will not be missed. He is full of running and will fight a lost cause but he`s paid to score goals and didn`t deliver for Argyle, however, by playing with better players at QPR he just might realise his goal-scoring potential.
Key players is a trade secret at the moment, you`ll just have to wait and see!
Vital Swindon: Do you believe Plymouth Argyle can return to The Championship at the first attempt?
Vital Plymouth: We have the right manager so anything is possible, hopefully Reid can bring in a few of his own type of players and get the club moving upwards. Reid has said that promotion can be achieved so it promises to be an exciting season ahead.
Vital Swindon: I have to say, when I lived in Plymouth – many Argyle supporters I know said that you’d ‘never play Exeter City’ in the league again. That aside you must be looking forward to rekindling your rivalry with the Grecians?
Vital Plymouth: Exeter are not really Argyle`s traditional rivals, they just happen to be a small club in the same county as Argyle. Portsmouth are Argyle`s proper rivals, however, at least we are guaranteed six points next season!
Vital Swindon: Trips to Exeter City, Bristol Rovers, Swindon Town, Yeovil Town, Southampton and AFC Bournemouth… League One isn’t that bad is it!?!
Vital Plymouth: The Green Army travel long distances to watch Argyle play away so it will give us some respite to have some short trips next season. The downside is that the League One stadiums and away ends will be smaller and will not cater for all of the Argyle fans who usually travel to away games.
Vital Swindon: It’s early days, but who are your promotion and relegations favourites?
Vital Plymouth: The bookies are never wrong so it looks like Southampton, Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday and possibly Argyle to contend the promotion places. Exeter will finish bottom so it`s just a case of who will go down with them – I can see Yeovil and Carlisle struggling.
Thanks to Vital Plymouth editor Ian De-Lar for his time.
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