What happened last season?
Argyle fans are very split by what happened last season. Many are pleased to still be in the championship and would be happy just to climb a few places by the end of this season. 'Consolidation' gets bandied around a lot as though that is some major achievement. Others think last season was a bit of a 'mare'. That we shouldn't have been overawed by this league and that it's about time we lost the small-club mentality.
Many question the managerial and tactical ability of Bobby Williamson, who had his first year in charge last season. He made five major signings last summer, all from Scotland and three of them are back in Scotland already whilst the other two were far from ever-presents in the starting line-up. We started very well, and were in the top two at one point, albeit very early on. We were riding on the euphoria of winning league one the year previously. But it didn't last and we plummeted to the point where I was very concerned for our safety with ten games to go.
We took some bad beatings last season, namely conceding five at West Ham and Sunderland, with further horrible performances at Millwall and at home to Preston and Derby, among others. This made us question the commitment of the players and the quality of the management and coaching staff. We had some good times too, beating Wigan away, Sunderland at home and finally sinking Forest at the City Ground.
The jury is still very much out for me. The board has placed a lot of faith in the manager by funding six signings this summer to date, with more apparently on the way. However, the rumour going around was that he was very close to losing his job, with some board members wanting him gone…all just rumours of course.
What's going to happen next season?
As I say, six signings have arrived over the summer and Bobby has certainly decided we need some experience in the side. The most celebrated of the signings is probably Taribo West, the Nigerian international, but we have also signed Rufus Brevett, Anthony Barness from Bolton, Nuno Mendes, a Portuguese centre back, Bojan Djiodjic from Rangers and have acquired the permanent signing of Akos Buzsaky who was on loan here for a large part of last season.
How will we do? Last season I thought we should have achieved at least half way. I thought it a poor league last year, but of course we did nothing to raise the standard. It will be a tougher league this year with some good teams coming into it from both directions.
We desperately need a striker - in my mind we haven't had a good one for some years now - no-one with the ability to frighten defences. Our status at the end of the year will be down to the manager - which is what I am afraid of. I'm trying to be positive, as always, and so hope we end up somewhere near half-way. Making so many signings means that a lot will come down to how they perform and whether they settle in the backwater that is the South West and get used to the endless travelling to away games…oh to have a few more players who were just proud to pull on the green shirt of Argyle!!
As an aside, it was generally considered by most Argyle fans last season that the best player to come to Home Park was Chris Eagles, he had a stunning game.
Soundbites(from assorted census correspondents)
"Highest recorded temperature in England is 38.5 °C at Brogdale, near Faversham in Kent on 10 August 2003. The lowest recorded is -26.1 °C at Newport (Shropshire) on 10 January 1982."
"1. we're going to rip the chelski scum apart - as soon as we draw them in the cup.
2. Any away fans coming to Home Park this year: please don't look to your left. We're ashamed of it frankly.
3. Now that Delia Smith is back in our division, we can now look forward to some decent food on the terraces. Hence the chants of "who ate all the boeuf-en-croux with sturgeon caviare and saute potatoes".
"This has to be the most pointless 3 mins of my life!!!"