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.
Tickets for Argyle's two pre-season friendlies at Home Park against Swansea City and Yeovil Town are now on sale. The matches will be played on the 27th and 30th July, respectively.
Argyle have confirmed the 6th addition of the summer close-season with the signing of 23 year old Kelvin Mellor, formerly of Crewe Alexander. Mellor was released by Crewe this summer after 6 professional seasons with the club. He is primarily a right-back but can also play at centre-back and central midfield. He was a part of the Crewe side that won promotion out of this league in 2011/12 and he puts pen to paper on a two year contract.
In other news, the club have confirmed that the old Mayflower stand will in fact be open for the start of next season. The club did not initially sell tickets for the Mayflower due to the belief that work would soon commence on Higher Home Park. It has since been confirmed however that work on HHP will not start until the end of September at the very earliest and thus the club have opened up the opportunity to buy season tickets and matchday tickets in the grandstand for at least the first six home matches.
Argyle's Easter Saturday 2015 match at home to Burton Albion has been moved forward 24 hours to Good Friday. The kick-off is still scheduled for 3pm.
Conor Hourihane has revealed his desire to play at the highest level possible was the motivation behind his move from Plymouth Argyle to Barnsley. The Irish midfielder signed a three-year contract with the League One outfit after completing a £200,000 transfer. Hourihane said: "It was a very difficult decision for me to leave. I have had three very fine years at Plymouth. It's a fantastic club with fantastic fans and it's a fantastic place to live. But I'm a very ambitious lad and a club like Barnsley, who have played in the very top tier of English football and are hoping to get promoted straight back to the Championship, appealed to me a lot. They showed a great amount of interest in me, which is a confidence booster for myself, and it was an opportunity I didn't want to turn down. I felt it was the right decision for me at the right time to take a step up in league and push for that promotion they are looking for."
Argyle issued a statement after Hourihane's transfer was finalised in which they stated that he had been 'unwilling' to sign a contract extension. Hourihane said: "I made them aware I wasn't going to sign a new contract. I spent three years down there and I enjoyed it a lot but this opportunity came along and it fit the bill for me. I could have walked away for free the following summer so, taking that into consideration, the club said I could go. I'm really pleased with the way it was dealt with. They were very fair with me."
Hourihane was also grateful to the Green Army for their support for him, and the team, over the past three seasons. He said: "They have stuck with us through thick and thin, and especially when we have been to away games so far up north and we have taken 1,000 to 1,200 fans. It speaks volumes about them. I'm very thankful for the support they have shown me and I just wish them all the best for the future. I hope they get back to where they belong."
Argyle Captain, Conor Hourihane has joined Barnsley for an undisclosed fee. The 23-year-old has agreed to join Danny Wilson's League 1 outfit after spending three seasons at Argyle, for whom he made 142 appearances, scoring 16 goals.
The Plymouth Argyle Board offered the following statement.
"It is with disappointment that we have to announce the transfer of Conor Hourihane to Barnsley. Conor has become an important member of the squad in the three years he has been with Argyle and he played a pivotal role in the club's improved performances last season. It was hoped and intended that Conor would continue as club captain next season and lead the team towards a successful promotion push. However, when the interest from Barnsley became apparent, the player expressed his wish to achieve his ambition to play at a higher level and make the move to Yorkshire.
"We rejected two previous approaches from Barnsley before they came forward with an offer that represented a considerable improvement on their previous bids and one which we could accept, albeit with some reluctance. Our decision was made on the basis that Conor only had 12 months remaining on his contract and he was unwilling to sign an extension. Given his age, that would have enabled him to leave the Club without compensation in a year's time.
"The agreement with Barnsley provides for a comprehensive series of add-ons which should produce additional revenue in the future as well as a basic transfer fee which is to be paid on the player's registration with Barnsley. The Board at Argyle will provide John Sheridan with the necessary support to recruit a suitable replacement.
"Everyone at Argyle would like to thank Conor for his services and wish him well for his future career. He will always be a welcome visitor to Home Park."
Peter Hartley has spoken about his excitement in joining the Pilgrims. "I was obviously delighted to make the move," he said. "It's a massive club; look at the stadium, look at the city." The 26 year old centre-back has penned a two-year contract at Home Park following his departure from Stevenage at the end of last season. With Argyle's manager John Sheridan saying on numerous occasions last season that he wanted talkers on the pitch, the fact that, even by his own reckoning, Hartley is a vocal player, must have been a big factor before making the signing. "I spoke to the manager a couple of weeks ago now and I was taken in by his desire to want to go places with this club," he said. "When he said he wanted me to jump on board, I couldn't wait. I understand the manager loves his football and is very passionate, so it'll suit me right down to the ground. The club definitely doesn't deserve to be where it is and I hope I can contribute to the rise of the football club in the near future."
With Neal Trotman and Maxime Blanchard both leaving Home Park in June, defensive players were very much a priority for John Sheridan, and Peter definitely fits the bill. Not only has he played at a higher level, he has also captained his boyhood club on a number of occasions, backing up the claim that he is a co-ordinator, as well as a talker. "I'm a centre-half who is quite vocal, so I think I could suit the manager down to the ground," he said. "That is one of my strengths; I'm a good organizer, on and off the pitch. Even when I am not captain, I see myself as a good organiser. I like to say I wear the armband without wearing it. It could benefit people if you've got an organiser around you; it makes everyone's job easier."
Hartley's first taste of League 2 action at Home Park for Hartley will Devon Expressway Derby, when Exeter City travel down the A38 on August 16th, and the former Hartlepool man is relishing the clash – which come days before previous club Stevenage visit Home Park. He said: "It'll be a cracking atmosphere - what a way to start the season. If you get the win first game of the season against Cambridge and then you come home and play Exeter, the place will be buzzing."
Hartley joins Lee Cox, Deane Smalley, Reuben Reid and fellow defender Carl McHugh as Argyle's new boys this season and he is itching to get the pre-season started. "It'll be nice to get to meet the boys," he said. "We've had a long break now, so you get all excited, like a little kid, and getting the hard work out the way is going to be good."
Experienced central defender Peter Hartley has become the latest addition to the Argyle squad. The 26-year-old signed a two-year deal today to become the summer's fourth new face at Home Park. The Sunderland youth-team graduate played 38 times for Stevenage last season after a five-figure August transfer from home-town club Hartlepool, for whom he played nearly 200 times, scoring ten goals. Hartley said: "Obviously, it's a long way away, but it's an opportunity for me to play for a club that shouldn't be where it is and is definitely going places. Having spoken to the gaffer and important people in my family, I felt it was the right thing to do."
Argyle have rejected a bid from Barnsley for Conor Hourihane, but the Yorkshire club are expected to make another offer. With 12 months left on Hourihane's contract, John Sheridan has stressed that he does not want to lose his captain, but he could not rule it out. Sheridan said: "He's a player I don't want to lose. It was a ridiculous bid. I want Conor to stay and I don't want to think about anything else. Hopefully he will be with us when we get back for pre-season, and hopefully he will be my captain next season. That's all I'm thinking about at this moment in time."
Sheridan continued: "I would never stand in anyone's way if someone came in with a bid where we feel it's worth it. I always say to my players 'you don't want to be playing in League Two, you want to prove yourself and play higher'. But we want to keep our best players, and he's one of my best players. If a bid comes in where you have really got to think about the money, you look at it in a different manner. It would have to be a good offer. At this moment in time, I'm not even thinking about it. He's someone I don't want to lose."
Ex-Pilgrim Luke Young, released at the end of last season, has signed a two-year deal with Torquay United.
It has been confirmed that Argyle's Capital One Cup game against Leyton Orient will take place at Home Park on Tuesday 12th August at 19:45.
With today's announcement of the 2014/15 fixture list, Argyle can continue preparations for the upcoming season. Argyle are opening and closing the season with games against some of the the division's new boys. The season opens with a trip to Cambridge United on the 9th of August, to meet the team promoted from the Skrill Premier through the play-offs. Two games later - after a tasty opening home game against Devon rivals Exeter City - Argyle will host Stevenage for their first ever clash. The final weeks of the season will see Argyle meet three of the sides relegated from League 1 last season. The season will conclude on the 2nd of May at Shrewsbury Town, preceded in the weeks prior by a home game with Tranmere Rovers and a long trip to Carlisle United.
Derby or no derby, Argyle manager John Sheridan is determined that his Pilgrims start out as they mean to go on next season. The 99th meeting between Argyle and Exeter City is the first home match in the forthcoming season. The Pilgrims will be able to include new signings Deane Smalley, Lee Cox and Carl McHugh against a team that did the double over the Pilgrims in 2013-14, and Sheridan said: "They'll feel really spoiled – 13-14,000 passionate supporters for their first home match and a brilliant atmosphere. I think it's a great game for us – a home game, a potential full-house. Hopefully, we can get a better result against them than we did last season."
Beating Exeter is always important for the Green Army in itself, but Sheridan is targeting three points to fire up a Pilgrims' campaign that he has already said needs to end in at least a top-seven finish. "It's important we get off to a good start," he said. "Every game will be tough next season. I think teams will be evenly matched again, like they were last year. There are some really good games to look forward to; there are some very good teams in the division. It will be a very competitive league again. If we can get off to a good start, it gives everyone confidence, which is very important, and putting together some results breeds more confidence. We have got to improve on last season; if we want to do that, we will have to do our best to hit the ground running."
Argyle have been drawn at home to Leyton Orient in the first round of the 2012/14 Carling Cup. The match against the O's will be played at Home Park on the week commencing the 11th of August, most likely Tuesday the 12th. The Orient squad includes former Argyle full-back Gary Sawyer who left Argyle in 2010.
Argyle have announced their 4th signing of the summer close-season with the capture of Irishman Carl McHugh on a two year contract. McHugh left League One side Bradford at the end of last season having been involved in both their promotion of 2012/13 and their run to the final of the Carling Cup in that same season. McHugh has represented his country at most youth levels up to under-21 and can play at both centre-back and left-back.
Argyle have announced their away kit for the coming season and they have opted for a kit of yellow shirts, yellow shorts and yellow socks. It will carry the logos of both Argyle's shirt sponsor, LTC and their shirt provider, Puma. It is a colour that Argyle have worn twice in the last 10 years for their away kit: the 2007/8 season which was one of the highest finishes in the club's history and the 2012/13 season which was the single lowest finish in the club's history. Details of when and how fans will be able to purchase replica shirts are to be confirmed.
Young Argyle defender Jamie Richards has today joined Linfield FC in Northern Ireland on a loan deal until the January transfer window. 19 year old Richards made just one appearance for Argyle last season, on the opening day at Southend. At Linfield, he will link up with his former Argyle teammate Warren Feeney who is now their manager.
In other news, Argyle has been voted the best club to visit from the perspective of an away fan out of not just the 24 League Two clubs but the whole 92 Premier League and Football League teams. The survey was undertaken by the Football Supporters Federation which asked supporters to rate stadiums on such factors as food and drink, safety, transport, and view of the pitch.
An Argyle spokesperson said: "We are very pleased that supporters enjoyed visiting Home Park last season. It is a remarkable endorsement of the hard work of Argyle staff to be voted the best away-day experience by travelling fans when, for a majority of them, it is their longest journey of the season. Our match-day operation is part of the reason we have been named SkyBet League 2 Family Club of the Year for the last two seasons, and we will continue to strive to provide the best for all fans, home and away."
John Sheridan is pleased with the permenant signing of Reuben Reid and believes there is much more to come from last season's player of the year. "After the season he had last season, it's definitely a boost for us," said Sheridan. "You always want to keep your best players, so I'm glad he's here. He wanted to stay here. He's happy here. He worked hard last season to get 21 goals, which is a great achievement. Hopefully he can carry on doing that. That's the reason we've offered him the contract – we believe he can do that. He added things to his game that we got out of him last season. Hopefully, we will keep on improving him. If he works hard, his ability will take care of itself. I have always said that, if you score your goals, people will notice you."
Sheridan has hailed Reid's signing as a coup. "I knew other clubs would be watching him. But he made it clear he wanted to stay here; he's happy with the people who are working with him. It's a coup for us, and for him to want to stay with us was also good. I'm very pleased to keep him. He adds to what we've got. In the forward areas, we are looking very strong. We've brought Deane Smalley in – he did really well for me when I had him before. He can play right wing, down the middle, anywhere across the front, really, and he's got an aerial threat, as well. He'll be really good player. Marvin Morgan coming back will be like a new player; Jason Banton, again; Lewi Alessandra; and young Matt Lecointe."
The news that Argyle fans have been waiting for has finally arrived today with the permanent signing of Reuben Reid on a two-year contract. 25 year-old Reid who has had three previous spells at Argyle either under contract or on loan was one of John Sheridan's primary targets this summer following his impressive 21 goal haul for the greens last season. Argyle have remained confident throughout the summer that Reid will sign in spite of some interest from other clubs and that confidence has now been vindicated.
In other news, two players have left the club today. It has been confirmed that Durrell Berry who joined Argyle in 2011 and has played over 100 games for Argyle scoring one goal will not be staying on next season. Berry was offered a contract when the retained list came out in May but he has not come to an agreement with the club. Berry's departure leaves Conor Hourihane as the last player signed by Peter Reid remaining at Argyle. The other departing player is Andres Gurrieri. Gurrieri joined at the start of the 2012/13 season and thus enjoyed two whole seasons with the pilgrims. Like Berry, he was offered a new deal but did not ultimately accept. Similarly, Gurrieri's departure means that Paul Wotton is the last player signed by Carl Fletcher to be remaining at the club.
Last week, LTC Powered Access were announced as Argyle's new shirt sponsors and today they have come up with an unusual initiative for the coming season's kit design. They have allowed Argyle fans the chance to vote between a choice of two potential kit designs, which each incorporate the company logo in a slightly different colour and format. Fans can vote for their preferred option on the LTC website.
Ben Purrington has been rewarded for a magnificent breakthrough season by signing an extension to his current contract, which will tie him to the club until at least the summer of 2016.
Purrington, who turned 18 in May, made his senior debut in Argyle's 3-2 Boxing Day win over Oxford United to much acclaim from the Green Army and, importantly, manager John Sheridan. He would go on to make 12 starts in an impressive debut season, as well as making two substitutes appearances. From one of those cameos from the bench, Ben notched his first goal for the club; a vital equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Port Vale, with Argyle having been 2-0 down to the League 1 outfit.
Argyle have now confirmed the signing of Nathan Thomas, who has accepted an offer of a one-year deal to remain at Home Park. The winger, who learned his trade with Newcastle and Sunderland, made 12 appearances in 2013-14 - 10 from the bench - involving several valuable contributions to goals.
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