Plymouth Argyle's crest: The initials " underneath a shield featuring a ship called the Mayflower in full sail.

How are they doing?

There has only been the one competitive meeting between FGR and The Pilgrims.  This was back in November 2019 at The New Lawn.  Plymouth came out on top with a 1-0 victory.  The return game at Home Park never took place because of the covid pandemic and Argyle were promoted that same season after spending just one campaign in League 2.

Plymouth had a great season last season, finishing 7th in League 1, missing the play-offs by a single place and by 3 points.  They will probably have been disappointed, though.  With 5 games to go, the play-offs looked assured.  But no wins in their last 5 matches (including a humiliating 5-0 defeat at home to MK Dons in their final game) meant they fell short in the end.

This campaign, Plymouth started with a 1-0 win at home to Barnsley, followed by a 2-1 defeat away to Fleetwood.  They scored a Ryan Hardie penalty in the Fleetwood game and a Finn Azaz goal to beat Barnsley.  In the Carabao Cup, Plymouth lost 2-0 at home to Peterborough.  Peterborough then arrived again in Plymouth for a League game – this time Plymouth won 2-0 with a Finn Azaz goal and a Ryan Hardie penalty.

While Rovers were suffering a postponement of the Accrington game in midweek, Plymouth travelled to Charlton and suffered something of a hammering, losing 5-1.  They were 1-0 down before losing their veteran centre back, James Wilson, to a straight red card.  Things didn’t improve!

Ones to watch

Plymouth’s Player of the Season last season was their goalkeeper, Michael Cooper.  With just 48 goals conceded over 46 matches, Plymouth’s defence was one of the least generous in League 1.  Just 22 years old, Cooper is a graduate of Plymouth’s academy.  He was also named in the League 1 team of the year last season.

Plymouth’s Young Player of the Year last season was 21 year old Adam Randell.  Randell is another product of Plymouth’s academy.  Last season was his breakthrough season, playing in 23 games, scoring once.

Plymouth have made a few signings over the summer.  The one that catches the eye is the loan signing of Finn Azaz from Aston Villa.  Azaz was on loan at Newport County last season (scoring once against FGR), so we have already seen his talent.

Keeper, Michael Cooper, is making his mark

Midfielder Adam Randell (number 20) was Young Player of the Year

Aston Villa midfielder Finn Azaz is now on loan at Plymouth

The Club

The club have played at Home Park (known as the “Theatre of Greens”) since 1901.  The stadium has a capacity of over 18,000, with an average home attendance last season of over 13,000.

The club takes its nickname, “The Pilgrims”, from the ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ who sailed on the Mayflower from Plymouth to America in 1620.  It is the Mayflower that  features on the club crest.  The club has played in green and white apart from in the late 1960s and early 1970s when they played in white.

The city of Plymouth is the largest in England with a League club that has never hosted top-flight football.  They are the most southerly and westerly League club in England and the only professional club named Argyle.  Why Argyle?  One explanation is that the club was named after the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, an army regiment with a strong football side of its own.  Other theories are closer to home!!  The Argyle Tavern, where the founder members may have met, or maybe a local street, Argyle Terrace.  Nobody’s sure!

The club has spent most of its existence bouncing between the 2nd and 3rd tiers of the EFL.  However, since 2000, they have had to endure 3 spells in the 4th tier.  An insolvency in 2010/11 came before their longest period in the 4th tier (6 seasons).

Plymouth’s 18,000 capacity Home Park

Remembering Jack

John Francis Leslie (17 August 1901 – 25 November 1988), known as Jack, was the only black professional player in England when he played for Plymouth Argyle. Joining them from Barking Town in 1921 he went on to play for Plymouth for 14 seasons.  He was an outstanding player, scoring 137 goals.

Leslie won a call-up to the national team in 1925 to play for England v Ireland in the Home Nations Championship.  However, the invitation was subsequently withdrawn.  It seems that this may have been because of belated objections to his colour by members of the FA who had been unaware of his ethnicity.  It would not be until 1978 that Viv Anderson would become the first black player to appear in an England shirt.

After hanging up his boots, Leslie worked as boot room manager at West Ham cleaning the boots of Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters.

In December 2019, the new boardroom at Home Park was named the Jack Leslie Boardroom and in 2020 crowd-funding raised £100,000 for a statue of Jack that is due to be unveiled this season.

Jack Leslie in the 1920’s …..

….. and as boot room manager at West Ham