Plymouth Argyle F.C.

Plymouth Argyle
The initials "P.A.F.C" underneath a shield featuring a ship called the Mayflower in full sail.
Full name Plymouth Argyle Football Club
Nickname(s) The Pilgrims, Argyle, The Green Army[1]
Founded 1886 (1886), as Argyle F.C.
Ground Home Park
Ground Capacity 17,578[1]
Owner James Brent
Chairman James Brent
Manager Derek Adams
League League Two
2015–16 League Two, 5th
Website Club home page

Plymouth Argyle Football Club is a professional association football club based in Plymouth, Devon, England. They have played in League Two, the fourth tier of the English football league system, since the 2011–12 season. They are one of two teams in Devon currently competing in the Football League, the other being Exeter City – Argyle's local rivals.

Since becoming professional in 1903, the club has won five Football League titles (one Division Two and two Division Three), five Southern League titles and one Western League title. The 2009–10 season was the club's 42nd in the second tier of English football. The team set the record for most championships won in the third tier, having finished first in the Third Division South twice, the Third Division once and the Second Division once.

The club takes its nickname, "The Pilgrims", from an English religious group that left Plymouth for the New World in 1620. The club crest features the Mayflower, the ship that carried the pilgrims to Massachusetts. The club have predominantly played in dark green and white throughout their history, with a few exceptions in the late 1960s and early 1970s when white was the colour of choice. The city of Plymouth is the largest in England never to have hosted top-flight football. They are the most southerly and westerly League club in England.



Outside view of the Devonport Stand
Main article: Home Park

Home park is the 47th biggest stadium in England.

The original ground of the professional club at Home Park was destroyed by German bombers during the Blitz on Plymouth in World War II. Having been rebuilt after the war, Home Park was largely demolished as part of an extensive process of renovation, and the first phase of a new stadium built by Barrs plc was completed in May 2002. The new Devonport End was opened for the 2001 Boxing Day fixture with Torquay United. The other end, the Barn Park End, opened on the same day. The Lyndhurst stand reopened on 26 January 2002 for the game against Oxford United. Plans are currently under discussion regarding the completion of the refurbishment of the ground with the replacement of the Mayflower stand. The ground is situated in Central Park, very near to the residential area of Peverell. Towards the end of the 2005–06 Championship season, the club decided to buy the stadium for £2.7 million from Plymouth City Council, releasing the ground from a 125-year lease. This purchase was concluded in December 2006.

In the summer of 2007, the club, having failed to persuade the UK authorities[2] of the case for retaining a standing terrace, decided to add 3,500 temporary seats to the Mayflower enclosure,[3] dropping the capacity to just under 20,000 from 20,922 (an exact figure is not yet available). In December 2009 it was announced that the stadium was to be one of 12 chosen to host matches during the World Cup 2018, should England's bid be successful.[4] The then Argyle chairman Paul Stapleton stated that work on a new South Stand at Home Park would start in 2010. However, England failed to be chosen for the 2018 tournament, and Plymouth Argyle entered administration in March 2011. After selling the stadium back to the council on 14 October 2011 for £1.6 million,[5] this project was in serious doubt.

The club was then taken over by local business owner James Brent, who submitted fresh plans to build a new Mayflower Grandstand with a 5,000 seating capacity, and an associated leisure complex. The plans include an Ice Rink with 1,500 spectator seats, 10 screen cinema complex with an iMax screen, 120 bedroom hotel, 4,200m sq retail units (A1 and A3). Planning permission for the project was granted on 15 August 2013. The development was due to commence in September 2013, with demolition of the old stand planned for late October 2013 after the Portsmouth home match. As of June 2015 the plans have been withdrawn, though planning permission still remains.


Further information: West Country derby

The club's traditional rivals are fellow Devon sides Exeter City and Torquay United; other rivalries exist with Bristol City, Bristol Rovers and Portsmouth (the Plymouth–Portsmouth game is known as the Dockyard Derby). The rivalry with Portsmouth was heightened in May 2016, when the two teams met in the League 2 play off semi final, of which Argyle prevailed. Along with Portsmouth, the play-offs have sprung up a mutual disliking of Wycombe Wanderers, after the 2014–15 play off loss.[6]

Although the rivalry with Exeter City has been blunted for a while due to a difference in divisions, Argyle's relegation into League One, coupled with Exeter City's survival, reignited the tensions. A distinct rivalry arose between Argyle and Luton Town after inflammatory comments made by Joe Kinnear who was manager of the Hatters during the 2001–02 promotion season, although this mutual antipathy has now somewhat abated. Similarly, after the departure of Ian Holloway to Leicester City in November 2007 a noticeable mutual dislike arose, culminating in Argyle's 0–1 victory at the Walkers Stadium in early February 2008 although this mutual antipathy has now similarly subsided.[7]

In the 1990s, Argyle had a rivalry with Burnley as the Clarets beat them in a Division Two (now League One) play-off semi-final in 1994, and relegated them on the last day of the season four years later. However, the rivalry has subsided over the past few years, especially after Burnley's promotion to the Premier League in 2014.


Current squad

As of 18 August 2016[8]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
2 Scotland DF Gary Miller
3 England DF Gary Sawyer (vice-captain)
4 Cameroon DF Yann Songo'o
5 Latvia DF Nauris Bulvītis
6 Republic of Ireland MF Connor Smith
7 Scotland FW David Goodwillie
8 England FW Jordan Slew
9 England FW Jimmy Spencer
10 Republic of Ireland MF Graham Carey
11 England MF Ryan Donaldson
14 England FW Jake Jervis
15 England DF Sonny Bradley
16 England DF Ben Purrington
No. Position Player
17 England FW Ryan Brunt
18 England MF Oscar Threlkeld
19 England DF Karleigh Osborne
20 Northern Ireland FW Louis Rooney
21 France GK Vincent Dorel
22 England MF David Ijaha
23 England GK Luke McCormick (captain)
24 England MF David Fox
25 Scotland GK Marc McCallum
26 Cameroon FW Paul Garita (on loan from Bristol City)
27 England MF Craig Tanner (on loan from Reading)
28 England DF Jordan Bentley
30 England FW Alex Flethcer

Retired numbers

Reserves and Development squad

The club's reserve team, up to the end of the 2010–11 season, played in the Football Combination. The club also entered a team in the South Western League, but withdrew from that competition after one season in 2007. The club confirmed their withdrawal from the Football Combination on 27 June, alongside 18 other Football League clubs. The club will now arrange reserve fixtures on dates of their choice, rather than follow a fixture list.[10] Argyle had earlier withdrawn from the Combination in mid-season in 1981–82, for financial reasons.

The reserves' honours include the Southern League Championship in 1922, 1926, 1929, 1934 and its League Cup in 1933, 1934 and 1936; 1934 was the first Southern League Double.[11]

'Development games' scheduled by the club were few and far and between, so Argyle entered a team into the South West Peninsula Football League for the 2015–16 season. Argyle's team was put into the West League, the 2nd tier of the league's pyramid, which takes up a structure like the National League, with a West/East division. Argyle's team play their games at Seale-Hayne, dubbed 'Hodges Park' after club legend Kevin Hodges, outside Newton Abbot. The side consists mainly of U-18 players, but occasionally includes first team players who are on the fringes of the starting XI.[12] The Reserves side won promotion in the South West Peninsula League Division One West in 2015–16 behind Mousehole, which earns them a place in the Premier Division for 2016–17 should they find a new ground which meets the criteria required.[13]

As of 4 July 2016[14]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
England GK Michael Cooper
England DF Jordan Bentley
England DF Owen Jones
England DF Billy Palfrey
England DF Aaron Taylor
New Zealand DF Sam Ryan
England DF Callum Rose
England MF Jack Calver
No. Position Player
England MF Cameron Sangster
England MF Ben Steer
England MF Jake Miller
England MF Dan Rooney
England MF Josh Richards
Canada FW Connor MacAuley
England FW Alex Battle
England FW Luke Jephcott

Player of the Year

Noted former players

For details on former players who have a Wikipedia article, see: Category:Plymouth Argyle F.C. players.

Team of the century

For the centenary celebrations, an all-time best team of Plymouth Argyle players was chosen by fans of the club.[15]

1 England GK Jim Furnell
2 England DF Gordon Nisbet
3 England DF Jack Chisholm
4 Republic of Ireland DF Graham Coughlan
5 England DF Colin Sullivan
6 England MF Kevin Hodges
7 England MF Johnny Williams
8 England MF Garry Nelson
9 England FW Tommy Tynan
10 England FW Paul Mariner
11 Scotland MF Sammy Black

Manager: Scotland Paul Sturrock

World Cup players

The following players were chosen to represent their country at the FIFA World Cup while contracted to Plymouth Argyle.

Club officials

Boardroom positions

Position Name Nationality
Chairman/Owner:James BrentEngland English
Chief Executive:Martyn StarnesEngland English
Director:David Felwick CBEEngland English
Director:Peter JonesEngland English
Director:Richard HollidayEngland English
Director:Tony WrathallEngland English
Director:Simon HallettUnited States American
Director:John MorganEngland English

Coaching positions

First Team

Position Name Nationality
Manager:Derek AdamsScotland Scottish
Assistant Manager:Craig BrewsterScotland Scottish
First Team Coach:Paul WottonEngland English
Goalkeeping Coach:Rhys WilmotWales Welsh
Head Physio: Paul AtkinsonEngland English
Physiotherapist: Vicki HannafordEngland English
Chief Scout: Greg StrongEngland English

Youth Team/Academy

Position Name Nationality
Academy Manager:Kevin HodgesEngland English
Head of Academy Coaching:Kevin NancekivellEngland English
Professional Development Phase Coach 17–21:Shaun TaylorEngland English
Youth Development Phase Lead Coach 5–11:Phil StokesEngland English
Academy Goalkeeping Coach: Rhys WilmotWales Welsh
Academy Physiotherapist:Tom HunterEngland English
Head of Academy Recruitment:John JamesEngland English

Managerial history


Plymouth Argyle's list of honours include the following.[16]

Honour Number Years
Football League Second Division Champions 1 2003–04
Football League Third Division Champions 2 1958–59, 2001–02
Football League Third Division Runners-up 2 1974–75, 1985–86
Football League Third Division South Champions 2 1929–30, 1951–52
Football League Third Division South Runners-up 6 1921–22, 1922–23, 1923–24, 1924–25, 1925–26, 1926–27
Football League Third Division Play-off Winners 1 1995–96
Southern Football League Champions 1 1912–13
Southern Football League Runners-up 2 1907–08, 1911–12
Western Football League Champions 1 1904–05
Western Football League B Runners-up 1 1906–07
South West Regional League Champions 1 1939–40
Domestic Cups
FA Cup Semi-finalist 1 1983–84
FA Cup Quarter-finalist 1 2006–07
Football League Cup Semi-finalist 2 1964–65, 1973–74


Club records


Most appearances

#NameArgyle careerAppearancesGoals
1 England Hodges, KevinKevin Hodges 1978–199262087
2= Scotland Black, SammySammy Black 1924–1938491184
2= England Wotton, PaulPaul Wotton 1995–2008
4 Scotland Craig, FredFred Craig 1912–1915
5 England Williams, JohnnyJohnny Williams 1955–196644855
6= England Hore, JohnnyJohnny Hore 1965–197544117
6= England Jones, PatPat Jones 1947–19584412
8 Republic of Ireland Evans, MichaelMichael Evans 1990–1997
9 England Leslie, JackJack Leslie 1921–1934401136
10 Wales Russell, MosesMoses Russell 1914–1915

Most goals

#NameArgyle careerGoalsAppearancesGoal/game ratio
1 Scotland Black, SammySammy Black 1924–19381844912.668
2 England Carter, WilfWilf Carter 1957–19641482751.858
3 England Tynan, TommyTommy Tynan 1983–1985
4 England Leslie, JackJack Leslie 1921–19341364012.948
5 England Tadman, MauriceMaurice Tadman 1947–19551122532.258
6 England Vidler, JackJack Vidler 1929–19391032562.485
7 England Burch, FredFred Burch 1906–1915922392.597
8 England Hodges, KevinKevin Hodges 1978–1992876207.126
9 England Bowden, RayRay Bowden 1927–1933851531.800
10= England Dews, GeorgeGeorge Dews 1947–1955812713.345
10= Republic of Ireland Mickey Evans 1990–1997
12 England Bickle, MikeMike Bickle 1965–1971711792.521


The club's current sportswear manufacturer is Puma, having signed a contract in 2011 to take over from Adidas.[17] The club's main sponsor is WH Bond & Sons, a company specialising in agriculture, who signed an agreement to sponsor the club in the summer of 2011 to take over from Ginsters.[18] Shirt sponsorship was not introduced by the club until 1983.[19] Beacon Electrical were the first company to have their name on the shirt of Plymouth Argyle, but it lasted just one season. Ivor Jones Insurance was the next sponsor and their agreement with the club lasted for two seasons. National & Provincial (now merged with Abbey National) were sponsors for the 1986–87 season before the club signed an agreement with the Sunday Independent which would last for five seasons. Rotolok Holdings plc became the club's major sponsor in 1992, which was owned by then Pilgrims chairman Dan McCauley. This lasted for six seasons before the club linked up with local newspaper the Evening Herald. Between 2002 and 2011 the club was sponsored by Cornish pasty-makers Ginsters.[20]

Period Sportswear Sponsor
1975–1976 Umbro None
1976–1978 Pilgrim
1978–1980 Bukta
1980–1982 Adidas
1982–1983 Pilgrim
1983–1984 Beacon Electrical
1984–1986 Ivor Jones Insurance
1986–1987 National & Provincial
1987–1990 Umbro Sunday Independent
1990–1992 Ribero
1992–1996 Admiral Rotolok
1996–1998 Super League
1998–1999 Errea Evening Herald
1999–2002 Patrick
2002–2003 Ginsters
2003–2005 TFG
2005–2009 Puma
2009–2011 Adidas
2011–2014 Puma WH Bond
2014–2016 Puma LTC Powered Access
Present Puma Ginsters

See also

References and notes

Special thanks to BBC Devon:

  1. 1 2 "Plymouth Argyle". The Football League. 10 June 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  2. No Standing Room | Plymouth Argyle. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  3. Sit, See and Hear | Plymouth Argyle . Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  4. "Plymouth wins bid to host World Cup matches". This is Plymouth. 17 December 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  5. BBC News | Plymouth Argyle Home Park stadium deal agreed Retrieved on 2 November 2011,
  6. Fanning, Evan (28 January 2008). "Portsmouth 2 Plymouth Argyle 1: James keeps Pompey's hopes afloat". The Independent (London). Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  7. Fanning, Evan (11 February 2008). "Leicester City 0 Plymouth Argyle 1: Holloway mulls legal action over Plymouth comments". The Independent (London). Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  9. "Number 12". Plymouth Argyle. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
  10. "Reserve withdrawal". Plymouth Herald. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
  11. Edwards, Leigh (1993). The Official Centenary History of the Southern League. Halesowen: Paper Plane Publishing. p. 54. ISBN 1-871872-08-1.
  12. "Argyle home SWPL games at Bickleigh Barracks". Plymouth Herald. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  15. "Plymouth Argyle's Team of the Century". BBC. Archived from the original on 18 August 2004. Retrieved 18 August 2004.
  16. Achievements. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  17. Adidas Agreement. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  18. Perfect Partners. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  19. Historical Kits. Historical Kits. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  20. "Ginsters extend Plymouth Argyle sponsorship". Football Shirt Culture. 19 April 2009. Retrieved 9 August 2015.

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