Plymouth Argyle (H) August 4th, 3.00pm

"There’s no discouragement
Shall make him once relent
His first avow’d intent
To be a Pilgrim"

(John Bunyan)

We welcome the Pilgrims for our opening game in the 2018/19 season, and it’s fair to say that we would normally have high hopes and expectations for the months ahead. I suppose we do, but the prime difference this time around is that the high hopes appear to be connected with avoiding relegation rather than any higher aspirations … but time will tell, as always.

Argyle’s pre-season activities have been similar to ours in a way - their first choice goalkeeper Harry Burgoyne (on loan from Dinglehampton) broke his ankle in training a week ago, so manager Derek Adams is busy sounding out Norwich City to see if Remi Matthews can be borrowed for the third time, following 26 appearances with Argyle over the past two seasons. In their pre-season friendlies Argyle had a short European tour as well as UK activity, and like ourselves the results were mixed:-

Yeovil Town 5 Plymouth Argyle 1
Bideford 0 Plymouth Argyle 3
SV Schermbeck 0 Plymouth Argyle 1 (Westfalenliga 1, which is the German 6th tier)
Feyenoord XI 2 Plymouth Argyle 1
MVV Maastricht 1 Plymouth Argyle 0

Last season Argyle were rock bottom in the League One table after 20 games, but engineered a massive turnround to finish only 3 points away from the play-offs, in 7th place. Our progress was almost a mirror image, being comfortably top half of the table in December but slipping to classic brown-trousers territory by the end. Hey ho…

Dean Keates has a week to sort out his strategy and team selection prior to this game, at the time of writing, and much of it seems to be up in the air with (in his words) 3 or possibly 4 signings still to be organised. We certainly have an excellent goalkeeper, a couple of pacy wingers and wing-backs, a promising striker who will score given the necessary service. It’s our defence and midfield where the squad appears paper-thin in places, with very little other than the undoubted class of Dobson and Chambers to catch the eye. Triallist Egert’s showing at Cheltenham was patchy, and that’s putting it kindly, because although he did have an attacking header that hit the goalpost he also gave away a couple of penalties. Thinking about it, that was the way we started last season - we seemed to be conceding penalty kicks for fun. Worrying times indeed.

Prediction? I would like to go for a repeat of last season’s fixture, which we won 2-1 (goals by Agyei and Oztumer) but at the moment my lack of confidence leads me to be satisfied with a 1-1 scoreline, with Andy Cook opening his League One account for us.


If we don’t sign the players DK wants then I think you are optimistic. I-2 is the best we can hope for.

Even if the signings do materialise, it could take weeks if not months for them to settle in. I think deano is playing a dangerous waiting game, and it could backfire on him for the start of the season, we are not going to be playing teams of kids or rushall, this is serious now and we are going to be playing some well drilled teams that have been together for a while. So with that in mind i think we will lose 0-2 .

Whilst I agree with most of what’s been said about the strength of the squad I think everyone is being way too pessimistic. I’m going for 3-1 to The Saddlers. Cook brace and a screamer from Morris.

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2-2 For me. Cook and Zeli. Draw first game up is the most hopeful result given our current threadbare first team offering.

Will have to see who signs this week. If it’s just the triallists then 0-2 defeat.

Plymouth were seriously good second half of last season and don’t think they’ve lost too many players from that run. Graham Carey is still there, he makes them tick,

First game lottery. 1-1.

Squad still has massive holes, but this is about as friendly a fixture we could have hoped for first up. I can’t see us keeping a clean sheet at all. 2-2

I think they will draw against Plymouth and then gradually pick up once Keates has sorted the defence out…put it this way,I’ve got more confidence that Keates will make a go of it (given 2yrs) than I had with Whitney.

Should be a good atmosphere from the away end at least - they’ve already sold 1,500. We’ve gone lower tier in the hopes of a bit of atmosphere with the optimism that accompanies the start of a new season …

2v2. We will come back from 2 down. Alex Taylor double!

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2-0 opening day win, Cook and Ishmail on the score sheet.

One each apiece as my old man used to say.
5231 in attendance. A. Trialist with the goal.

That was 30 years ago! I remember the Alex Taylor brace very well - he was a good player but he tailed off a bit after such a great start.

I remember going to Shrewsbury. It was pouring down, we were getting soaked behind the goal then Alex stepped up and scored a great free kick to win the game

Always thought Alex Taylor was a great player for us. Remember bumping into him and saying good luck in Summerfield Road having watched us in a friendly at the Red Lion Ground. He was on crutches at the time and -from memory- don’t think he ever got fully right for us again. Top bloke though.

That 88/89 season started so well for us then went rapidly down hill!! Seem to remember us paying fees for a few players that year, Alex Taylor, Keith Bertschin and Howard Pritchard. Walsall and transfer fees rarely get mentioned in same sentence anymore!

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Recall from memory (forgive me if I’m wrong as it was 30 years ago) that Taylor’s fee was reportedly 100k from Hamilton Accies. Quite a sum even for Walsall back then. Happy to be corrected on any of this though.

Just been trawling through the Plymouth equivalent of UTS … PASOTI (Plymouth Argyle Supporters On The Internet) … there’s 6 pages already on the thread for next Saturday’s game, with views ranging from “We only have to turn up and win at Walsall” and "Never heard of this signing Andy Cook, what are they playing at?" right through to "If we lose the first couple of games it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the season" and "Walsall fans are in absolute meltdown at the lack of signings".

Argyle are apparently a complete contrast to ourselves in that they have loads of variations available in their forecast team selection, with players vying for all positions - unlike our rather thinly populated squad.


Plymouth results since 31st December 2017…

Plymouth 1 Walsall 0
Plymouth 3 Bury 0
Doncaster 1 Plymouth 1
Plymouth 1 Wigan 3
Oldham 1 Plymouth 2
Plymouth 2 Blackburn 0
Sloppies 1 Plymouth 2
Plymouth 4 Wombles 2
Oxford 0 Plymouth 1
Plymouth 1 Bradford 0
Fleetwood 1 Plymouth 1
Plymouth 3 Bristol R 2
Charlton 2 Plymouth 0
Plymouth 4 Southend 0
Plymouth 2 Posh 1
Plymouth 0 Pompey 0
Northampton 2 Plymouth 0
Rochdale 1 Plymouth 1
Plymouth 2 Rotherham 0
Scunny 2 Plymouth 0
Gills 5 Plymouth 2

P 21 W 11 D 4 L 6

Pretty impressive.