Sunday, 31 July 2011

Weekend Update

A few bits of bobs from the weekend...
  • The Green Taverners' Fun Day held today at Home Park was, by all accounts, a great success. Pictures are now available on Greens On Screen.
  • The Plymouth Argyle Supporter's Association London Branch (PASALB) met with Peter Ridsdale on Friday evening. A brief account of what went on can be found here. Most interesting/alarming was the Riddler's claim that Brendan Guilfoyle's boss would rather liquidate the club than reopen the process to new bidders. That seems hard to believe, seeing as Guilfoyle is now liable for the contracts that have been signed by the new players, but there you have it.
  • Images of the official kits (the ones due to arrive in September, not the interim ones that will appear from Saturday onwards) have appeared online, on the Football League website (of all places). The home kit in particular is a very smart effort, and far superior to either of the strips that Adidas produced.
  • Word on PASOTI is that Ben Gibson and Andres Gurrieri have agreed deals.
  • More trialists are expected to arrive tomorrow, according to the Riddler as reported by the Herald. One of them is sure to be A Big Bloke To Play Up Front - Ridsdale told the PASALB meeting that he's in negotiations to sign a centre-forward from a Premier League club (on a free, obviously). Apparently the player in question featured against Argyle whilst on loan in League One last season.
If you want to read all the Argyle news without clicking on a load of links, why not head over to Greens On Screens' Daily Diary?

Friday, 29 July 2011

Tavistock 1 Plymouth Argyle XI 3

An Argyle XI beat Tavistock 3-1 this evening, the goals scored by trialist Joseph Mendes, youth trialist Colin Watson and an unfortunate Tavistock player.

Lithuanian striker Nicolay Misiuk also featured for the Pilgrims. The 24-year-old, who is 6ft 4, previously played in the Lithuanian top flight with FK Tauras Taurage but is now a free agent. This website says he scored three goals in A Lyga last season. However, it also says that he's valued at £100,000.

Daily Update

Connor Hourihane has agreed to sign a two year deal with Argyle and will move to Home Park on a free transfer from Ipswich Town. The 20-year-old Irish midfielder impressed many with his performance against Truro City on Wednesday night, which he capped off by netting the winner. Hourihane will take the number 20 shirt for the coming League 2 campaign - the rest of the squad numbers are now up on the official site, although some shirts (the number 9 being a prime example) remain vacant.

As was rumoured yesterday, Brendan Guilfoyle has given the go-ahead for Argyle to register their new signings with the Football League. As Brenda would now have to assume liability for the players contracts if the club went out of business, you would think he's pretty confident that Argyle won't be liquidated any time soon. More details can be found on Meanwhile, the Herald are also reporting that Kevin Heaney has agreed to reveal the identity of his backers to the Football League, which has certainly delighted the Riddler, if no-one else. Apparently "everybody might be surprised that there's not as many people as you might think". Not really Peter, not really.

While we're on the subject of the intermable takeover saga - the word now is that the Sale and Purchase agreement, which was due to be completed on August 5th (a week today), has now been extended to August 31st. The Preferred Bidder's exclusivity, however, was meant to expire on either August 5th/12th, so it's unclear whether the Trust/Brent "Rescue Plan" bid can now talk to Guilfoyle. Judging by how the process has been run so far it seems unlikely, but you never know. The Trust ISC have released a statement on this topic, while there is a discussion thread on PASOTI here.

Intriguingly, Guilfoyle has apparently ordered his solicitors to monitor the Trust ISC's press comments after an email dispute with Trust Chair Chris Webb. You can read Chris' side of this story here.

Chief Executive in waiting David Jones has given an interview to the Herald, talking up Argyle's chances of making it back to the Championship. He doesn't give any timescale mind, nor any rough outline of how that might happen, but you can't deny it's a nice sentiment.

A couple of new transfer rumours have appeared on PASOTI. Middlesborough's 18-year-old defender Ben Gibson, nephew of Boro chairman Steve, is expected to join on loan imminently. This comes from PASOTI poster matteh, who has a good track record when it comes to these sort of things. He's also posted some details on his own Argyle website. Less encouraging is a post linking Argyle with former Hull, Leicester and Preston defender Wayne Brown. Let's just hope that one comes to nothing.

Finally, Rory Patterson has sealed his loan move to Linfield. Some of the details of what led to Patterson being threatened with dismissal by Brendan Guilfoyle have been reported by the Herald - it's a pretty shabby tale which you can read here.

If you want to read all the Argyle news without clicking on a load of links, why not head over to Greens On Screens' Daily Diary?

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Daily Update

Argyle have announced the match-day prices for the 2011-12 season. An adult ticket will cost £20 (whether you pay a week before the game or 2.55pm on a Saturday afternoon), whilst over-65s will be charged £15. Under-18s will pay £7. All of the details are on the official site.

What's more, tickets for the Shrewsbury and Millwall matches are now on sale from the Home Park box office. An adult ticket for the match against the Shrews is £17, although the box office is currently only taking cash and cheques (no credit cards). The full details are here.

In a final bit of ticket news, the club have come up with a wheeze to try and shift a few more season tickets with the 'Founders Club'. It's all to celebrate the 125th anniversary you see, and anyone who signs up for a season ticket for 2011-12 will get the chance to watch a training session, take part in an exclusive Q & A with the players and get a certificate and load of other commemorative stuff. You can find more about this once in a lifetime opportunity/marketing ploy on the official site.

Match reports are available for the Truro match on the official site and The Herald have also got an account of their failed attempts to get anything out of Kevin Heaney, who was sitting in the Director's Box. Long story short, he didn't say anything. They did, however, manage to get a picture of him looking fabulously sinister.

Peter Reid had good things to say about all four trialists that featured in last night's game, and was especially positive about the performances of midfielders Joe Holt and Conor Hourihane (who, contrary to what I wrote yesterday, appears to be available on a permanent transfer from Ipswich).

On the topic of new players, the word on PASOTI is that Brendan Guilfoyle has given the Riddler the green light to sign proper contracts with all of those who have agreed in principle to join the club. This is clearly good news, although it's not entirely clear whether the Football League have given the all-clear for Cole, Williams, Berry, Daley et al to actually play for the Pilgrims. The local press should be running this tomorrow, so hopefully we'll know more in the morning. Let's hope the FL are in a generous mood, as new Chief Executive David Jones apparently told Graham Clark (former chairman of the Fan's Trust) and Peter Ryan (current Trust secretary) that the takeover is now unlikely to be completed until August 12th. Jones is also reported to have admitted that he's yet to see any of the £5m that the deal will cost.

If you want to read all the Argyle news without clicking on a load of links, why not head over to Greens On Screens' Daily Diary?

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Plymouth Argyle 2 Truro City 1

This evening's match at Home Park finished with Argyle emerging with a 2-1 victory over a decent Truro City side. By all accounts trialist Conor Hourihane was the standout player for the home side, while Andres Gurerri had a difficult evening at right-back, deputising for the injured Durrell Berry. Hourihane would be a good aquisition, as the Greens remain short of creativity in the middle of the park.

Also, I've just stumbled upon Brendan Guilfoyle's Twitter page. I particularly enjoyed the two entries for May 15th.

Daily Update

Argyle have new shirt sponsors! WH Bond & Sons, an "agricultural-based family business", will be the Pilgrims' main sponsors for the 2011-12 season, with "Bond Timber" appearing on the front of the shirts. What's more, the Bonds family have paid for the interim 'off-the-peg' Puma kit which the Greens will wear until the 125th anniversary strip turns up at some point in September. A (fairly amateurish) illustration of the temporary kit has also been released, which looks none too shabby. The Bonds logo certainly is an improvement on the red Ginsters splodge.

There's plenty about WH Bond & Sons on the official site, including a brilliant picture of Reidy and the Riddler leaning on a pickup truck, in a pose reminiscent of something out of a Wrangler jeans advert. Basically, the deal appears a good one for a League 2 club with the added bonus that the Bonds family are staunch Argyle supporters.

The other main development from this morning's press conference was the announcement that Dave Jones has been made Chief Executive. Oddly, there's no mention of this appointment on the official site. Jones, who was previously chief financial officer at Southampton, has been working with Peter Ridsdale at Home Park since the Greens enter administration back in March.

There's a new interview with Peter Ridsdale and on Argyle World. The main point of interest is a quick glimpse of what appears to be the interim away kit, which the Riddler is shown holding up a picture of during the press conference. It's this shirt, with a black version on the Bond logo on the front. The club did say that the stand-in away kit would be a different colour to the final version, so presumably we're not having a white away kit post-September. Ridsdale's main points in the interview are:

  • It's brilliant to be focussing on a football-related matter, rather than finance. (This seems a pretty financial issue to me but, hey, what do I know?)
  • Bonds have the option of a second year if all goes well
  • He's looking forward to watching the new team - the spirit in the camp is excellent, apparently
  • Please buy a season ticket
There's also a brief interview with Chris Bond who, make no mistake, is a proper Argyle fan.

Argyle are playing there third and final pre-season friendly at Home Park this evening, against Truro City. The Pilgrims started the match with the following XI:

Jake Cole; Andre Gurreri, Stephane Zubar, Ladji Moukana, Robbie Williams; Luke Daley, Carl Fletcher (C), Conor Hourihane, Joe Holt; Tom Hitchcock, Joe Mendes.

Here's a bit on the three trialists (in bold above):
  • Conor Hourihane, a 20-year-old central midfielder, who is available on loan from Ipswich Town
  • Joe Holt is another young midfielder, who has previously made the bench for Wigan Athletic
  • Joseph Mendes, aged 20, is a French striker who scored 1 goal in 13 appearances for Grenoble in Ligue 2 last season. Grenoble ended up finishing 20th and were relegated.

With around three quarters of the match played Argyle are leading 2-1 after initially falling behind to a Les Afful goal. A deflected Carl Fletcher effort drew the Pilgrims level, however, before Hourihane made it 2-1 after linking nicely with fellow-trialist Mendes. Simon Walton, Jared Sims and Jordan Copp have all made appearances as second half substitutes. Walton is currently captaining the team, which is something you can file under "sights I thought I'd never see".

If you want to read all the Argyle news without clicking on a load of links, why not head over to Greens On Screens' Daily Diary?

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Bridport 3 Plymouth Argyle 3

A young Argyle side ended up drawing 3-3 with Bridport at St Mary's, with Matt Lecointe grabbing all three goals for the Pilgrims. That takes Lecointe's pre-season tally to six goals - it wouldn't be a shock to see the 16-year-old on the bench against Truro City tomorrow night.

The match report is now up on the official site.

Daily Update

Plenty of news in the Herald/WMN today...

There's a nice piece about St Luke's Hospice and the charity Help The Hospices on the official site. It's well worth a read, and you can find out more about St Luke's here and Help the Hospices here.

An interview with new signing Jake Cole is now available to view on Argyle World. If you don't have a subscription, the main points of interest are:

  • He's looking forward to the Shrewsbury game, where he's guaranteed a start due to Larrieu's suspension
  • Cole is a QPR supporter, and spent 14 years with the Hoops before moving to Barnet

A young Argyle team (managed by Kevin Hodges and Sean Reid) are currently playing Bridport at St Mary's Road. The latest on PASOTI is that the mighty Bridport are leading 2-1. Matt Lecointe has got the goal for the visitors. You can follow the match thread of PASOTI here.

Finally, it's been reported on PASOTI that the Riddler has called a press conference for tomorrow morning. Those in the know (Chris Webb from the Trust, Rupert Metcalf from the Morning News) reckon it's to announce a new sponsorship deal.

If you want to read all the Argyle news without clicking on a load of links, why not head over to Greens On Screens' Daily Diary?

Monday, 11 July 2011

Bondz Voyage

Bondz N’Gala left Argyle last week, moving up the road to Huish Park after sealing a free transfer to Yeovil Town. The London-born defender spent more than 14 months at Home Park and made 35 appearances for the Greens, scoring one goal. N’Gala, who had previously made a handful of league appearances whilst on loan at Weymouth, MK Dons and Scunthorpe, was again lent out by the Hammers in March 2010 as Paul Mariner sought to bolster his squad with the Pilgrims in the midst of their doomed battle against relegation from the Championship. The 20-year-old impressed while making his debut in the 2-0 victory over Ipswich at Portman Road, one of the high points of the Mariner era, and was an ever-present for the rest of the season as Argyle fought gamely throughout March and April, before finally throwing in the towel in the wake of the 2-0 home defeat to Middlesbrough on Easter Monday.

Despite the announcement that a new manager would be brought in for the following season, N’Gala was snapped up on a free transfer by the leaderless Pilgrims in May 2010, presumably on the recommendation of Paul Mariner who remained in his role as Head Coach. New boss Peter Reid chose to deploy Bondz in his less-preferred position of right-back at the start of the 2010-11 campaign, a decision that paid early dividends as a deep N’Gala cross led to the only goal in the 1-0 opening day victory over Southampton at St Mary’s.

The N’Gala-as-a-fullback experiment continued through the first month of the season as the Pilgrims made a stuttering start to their League One campaign, before a controversial dismissal during the 3-2 triumph over Sheffield Wednesday in September led to the return of the (temporarily) rehabilitated Marcel Seip at full-back, with Bondz switching back to his more natural home at centre-back. However, the partnership forged in the centre of defence with Reda Johnson was not an entirely happy one, as occasionally inspired blocks and challenges were accompanied by moments of miscommunication and frequent lapses in concentration. An early dismissal away at Oldham further blotted Bondz’s copybook, as the Pilgrims conceded two late goals to lose 4-2 after playing nearly 45 minutes with nine men.

N’Gala made a handful of appearances throughout November, December and January before reclaiming his first team spot in the midst of Argyle’s horrible winless run throughout February. Back out on the right, with Stephane Zubar and Curtis Nelson firmly established as the unpaid Pilgrims first choice centre-halves, N’Gala registered his first professional goal at Hillsborough in March, opening the scoring in the memorable 4-2 victory with a crisp left-footed drive from the edge of the penalty area. Bondz made five more appearances as the Greens finally slid to a second straight relegation before requesting permission at the end of the season to make a summer move to a club closer to home.

Memorable moments

Southampton 0, Argyle 1 – August 2010. Bondz whips in a deep cross from the right flank, Fallon nods across goal and Summers slides the ball home. One nil, three points, plenty of false hope. Hear it here at Greens on Screen.

Sheffield Wednesday 2, Argyle 4 – March 2011. N’Gala gives the Greens a perfect start to a thoroughly entertaining afternoon, netting his first professional goal with a vicious left-footed strike. Hear it here at Greens on Screen.

Dagenham & Redbridge 0, Argyle 1 – April 2011. Not named amongst the Argyle substitutes, Bondz joined Rory Fallon in the away end with the travelling Green Army.

Check out Bondz’s Argyle stats at the Greens on Screen database.