A Round-up of Argyle News
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Greens on Screen's Daily Diary is a compilation of Argyle news, with help from these and other Argyle-related sites.
On This Day:
Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Assistant manager Steven Schumacher spoke of difficulty adapting to the 'new normal' as Argyle remain effected by social distancing rules. Schumacher revealed his new daily routine: "Like everybody else, I'm frustrated – although I am, of course, supportive of the decision to postpone the season. There are things we need to sort out in the country before we start worrying about football. We are a bit gutted that we had to postpone when the team were in such a good place. I'm just missing everybody really, going into work, seeing everyone, doing what we love. Now, my routine consists of doing The Body Coach PE sessions with my little boy, having a penalty shoot-out at about 11 o'clock, a game of football in the garden at about 3 o'clock, and doing a bit of work in between! I won't be alone in that. There'll be people up and down the country, in every line of work, doing the same."
"The family are all good, parents back in Liverpool are missing us – but the FaceTime and family calls have helped. The kids are a little bit young; they don't understand it all, totally, but they understand that, at this moment in time, we're restricted in what we can do. We can go for a walk around the park, but they can't go on any of the slides – which they can't get their head around at the moment! That's life for everyone, isn't it? Everyone's feeling the pinch."
"I feel more sorry for the fans than us. It's their life, it's how they socialise. Everybody must be missing it a great deal. I think a lot of work needs to be done on making sure that people are OK. This will have longer lasting implications on everyone's mental health. Without the release of football, it could be a big issue."
Steven Schumacher has spoken of a baptism of fire for himself and Ryan Lowe into football management. A chaotic season at Bury was followed by the pandemic disrupting events at Argyle. The number two explained: "Ryan and I laugh about this all the time. Everybody knows, and we've spoken a lot about the circumstances we were working on last season. We had a group of players that weren't getting paid but were performing to outstanding levels. We could have written a book on some of the stuff that happened last year. This year, we're at a club that's stable, a fantastic club to work for, and we said how we were really looking forward to a normal summer – getting to the end of the season, hopefully being successful, and relaxing – but now this has all happened. We are immensely grateful to Simon Hallett, Jane Hallett, the Board and everyone else for the way that the club is run. We had a meeting with Andrew Parkinson and Zac Newton and our philosophy is about honesty and openness. At this moment in time, Simon has said that he's committed to paying all wages until the end of June, and that's fantastic to hear. It gives you that little bit of reassurance as an employee. Whatever the Board, Simon and Jane can do to help anybody, you know that they will. They are good people, first and foremost, and they run very successful businesses and a very, very good football club. We had a Zoom call with all the players last week, and we checked in," said Schuey. "We are just trying to keep them as up to date as we can. Most of them seem to be in a good place, keeping themselves ticking over. It's important that they don't burn out, so for some players we've actually used this as a rest period – so that when we return to the training pitch everyone's ready and raring to go."
"We're governed by the lockdown rules, the same as other industries. Whenever we can get the players back into the building, that's what we will do. Whether it is in twos, or fours, to maintain social distancing, we'll be able to do that. Once we get all of the players back, we'll only have a short period of time before we're due to start the games, so we're going to have to be spot on. We will need to make sure we get the best out of every single day so that when the first game does start, we're as physically and tactically prepared as we can be."
Despite the enforced suspension of footballing activities due to the corona virus pandemic, Neil Dewsnip revealed that Argyle's staff are still working hard behind the scenes to ensure the right analytics are in place for recruitment going forward. He said: "There's a number of things going on at different levels. We have brought a new data analytics approach in-house. We're doing work with two companies; Opta provide us with a lot of team and individual data which we can track and identify possible Argyle players from, and, secondly, a little bit more specific, we work with a company called 21st Club. They help us with a model for identifying future target players. I don't want to give too many secrets away, but that is moving along nicely. They have got a massive database of players from not just Great Britain, but all over Europe. With that in mind, they can identify players for us that, under normal circumstances, we may not be aware of. We have a few names already, based on our work so far. We had been watching one or two before the lockdown, and we will pick it all up again with other targets as and when we restart the season."
"Our playing style is a big part of our model. We are looking at players who we believe will fit into our style of play – and that's agreed between Ryan, myself, the Board and the coaching staff. I would like to think that the supporters have enjoyed the style we have played with this season and have been entertained. It's a feel-good factor, and we want to keep identifying players who can do that – and keep doing it a little bit better. Our style of play is very much about high tempo, excitement, and goals. We intend to do that through being a possession-based team, and when we haven't got the ball we want to get it back as quickly as we can. It's a very simplistic overview of our style, of course, but it's about entertainment."
"We have key performance indicators for each position. I won't go into that in too much detail, but these indicators point us in a direction. But, we don't sign players from the data – the data allows us to go and watch players. We need to know that they're good characters, that they can be part of a South West environment, and that they'll fit the style. There are so many factors which go into deciding whether to go for a player. I must stress that most clubs, especially ones at the levels this club aspires to get to, are heavily involved in data analytics already. We are at the start of a journey, really, and we're developing our model."
Director of Football Neil Dewsnip spoke of the surreal experience of working during the coronavirus lockdown and explained how Argyle as a club are managing the situation. He said: "I think it's the most peculiar period of my career, without a doubt. If you're a football coach, player, or anything, really, it's obviously about games. It's about the emotion of winning, losing, drawing. Whether we're staff, players, or spectators, to lack that emotional connection to football right now is really strange."
"We felt that the momentum was very much with us, and then it got taken away. That said, the frustration is balanced out, very strongly, with the common sense of knowing that people are in real difficulties, and we have to make sure that we come out the other side of this virus as safe as possible."
"Pretty much every day I'm in contact with either Zac Newton or Andrew Parkinson, if not both of them. They made myself and Ryan aware that furloughing might be a possibility, to forewarn us. It then became clear that it was the right thing to do for the football club."
"We felt that it should be a united, 'One Argyle' approach If the staff needed to be furloughed, we felt that it was appropriate that as many of the football staff could be furloughed at the same time, rather than dribs and drabs. Obviously myself, Ryan, Schuey and, in the Academy, Phil Stokes have remained active to make sure that the footballing side of the club can operate as and when it was needed to. I feel that the club has handled this difficult period with clarity and transparency – both internally and externally. That's credit, ultimately, to Andrew and Zac, who have communicated in advance, ensuring that staff and players were forewarned. Nothing has come as too much of a surprise as and when these things have kicked in. We are absolutely behind the decisions to have football wait," Neil continued. We need to protect each other, and make sure we come out of this period as strong as possible. When that happens, we just need to make sure that we're ready."
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