Coca Cola Football League One
Final Points: 42 (52-10) Position: 23
Player of the Year: Carl Fletcher
Young Player: Curtis Nelson
THE SEASON IN PICTURES
A selection of 100 photos from nearly 5,000 in the season's match pages, telling the story of the season.
After last seasonís drop from the Championship there was a confident air at Home Park as the new campaign approached. A new manager with extensive experience and a new state-of-the art pitch suggested an entertaining season ahead, not to mention the promise of a bright future after Home Parkís selection as a FIFA 2018 World Cup Host City, assuming that England would win the bid (but of course they would). An opening day win at promotion favourites Southampton added to the optimism, but indifferent form soon set in, and with three red cards in the first six matches, and an astonishing ten more to come, the prospect of a difficult season became all too apparent.
But 2010-11 was all about the story off the pitch. By September, rumours of a boardroom split and a lack of working capital were rife, and when Peter Ridsdale was spotted as a guest in the directorsí box, speculation grew. He was soon appointed as an unpaid advisor to the board and within a month the rumours were confirmed. In a dreadful first week of December, the club admitted it was unable to pay its players; Englandís World Cup bid was rejected; and HM Revenue and Customs submitted its third petition of 2010 to wind-up Plymouth Argyle Football Club because of unpaid VAT and PAYE bills. The club managed a two-month stay of execution at the High Court, but by Christmas, Sir Roy Gardner had resigned as chairman, Keith Todd stood down from his executive director role, and with Paul Stapleton in an acting chairman capacity, Ridsdale was effectively in charge. The inevitable fire sale began on the first day of the January transfer window and by the end of the month, every realisable penny had been squeezed out of the playing assets, including the division's top scorer, Bradley Wright-Phillips. It was enough to keep HMRC at armís length, but when long-promised Japanese investment failed to materialise, the inevitable came to pass. In February the club was docked ten points after announcing its intention to appoint an administrator. A week later, with the acting chairman back from a holiday in Dubai, the administrators were called in; the final act of the old board.
Under the day-to-day control of the team of administrators, assisted by Ridsdale, it wasnít until April that the clubís true debt of £17.7 million to some 250 creditors was revealed. New owners, if they could be found, would have to pledge up to £5 million just to keep the club afloat, and existing unsecured creditors were faced with accepting a 99.3% reduction of the many more millions owed to them. With liquidation the only alternative, a company voluntary arrangement was agreed, formalising the almost total loss to be borne by the unsecured creditors. Brendan Guilfoyle, Lead Administrator, also announced that a mystery group had been chosen as preferred bidders for the club. Meanwhile, the ten-point deduction was enough to seal the teamís fate. A brave fight-back in the final weeks was not enough and for the first time ever, Argyle were relegated twice in successive seasons.
If there was any silver lining on the seasonís dark clouds, it was the spirit of team, staff and fans. Peter Reid paid bills from his own pocket; players went without wages for much of the second half of the season and the backroom staff Ė true heroes Ė soldiered on for five months without pay. Loyal fans responded: Pasoti members and the newly formed Green Taverners worked together to raise magnificent sums to help the staff in their time of need. And just as important for the future: The Argyle Fans Trust, founded in December, grew to 1,000 strong within its first few months.
So ended the season of 2010-11 and the most worrying sequence of events in the clubís 125-year history. It started so brightly but after a shocking six months, itís impossible to predict where this story will end.
Arrivals: (came & went in italics) David Button, Conor Clifford, Lee Molyneux, Dean Parrett, Rory Patterson, Anton Peterlin, Stephane Zubar
Youth debuts: Jed Harper-Penman, Curtis Nelson, Matt Rickard, Jack Stephens, Luke Young
Departures: (came & went in italics) Chris Barker, Ashley Barnes, David Button, Chris Clark, Conor Clifford, George Donnelly, Karl Duguid, Rory Fallon, Alan Gow, Reda Johnson, Ryan Leonard, Steve MacLean, Lee Molyneux, Craig Noone, Dean Parrett, Jim Paterson, Anton Peterlin, Matt Rickard, Marcel Seip, Jack Stephens, Luke Summerfield, Krisztian Timar, Bradley Wright-Phillips.
Click on the icons below for photos, commentary clips
and full match details of the games against
1-Southampton (A), 9-Swindon (A), 19-Exeter (H), 22-Bristol Rov (A), 26-MK Dons (A),
34-Sheffield Wed (A), 42-Dagenham & Red (A) and 46-Leyton Orient (H).
Football League One 2010-11
starting appearance appearing substitute goals cautioned sent off
Click on name
for pen picture
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