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.
New defender Niall Canavan spoke about his family circumstances, revealing that a move to Home Park was long in the reckoning. He spoke of putting his personal life on hold to sign for the greens: "It's been waiting to happen for a couple of years really," Canavan said. "The gaffer was interested before I signed for Rochdale, but my wife was six months pregnant and we had to avoid it at that time and through injury and circumstances back at Rochdale, it's never really come off. As soon as I knew I wasn't going to be offered a new contract there, I was keen to try and get this over the line and get down here and enjoy what's on offer. The wife will come down as and when she can, but if it's a good partnership and it works out well for everyone, I don't see why she wouldn't come down eventually. My son is at that age where he wants to play with me all the time, but he isn't at an age where he can understand why Daddy isn't there. But as long as he can see me on a daily basis on facetime or whatever else, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. It'll just be hard for me and the wife as we obviously understand what's going on. While it's new and fresh, it's all right, there have been no tears as yet, but the test will be when she's at home and I can't really help. But we are strong enough to get through that, she is fully supportive in what I am doing and the only way to look is up.
"All I want to do is play football. I have had my injury troubles and I have not really had that full run in the side, so with a full pre-season under my belt hopefully I can hit the ground running and see where it takes us. It's early days but it is a good group of lads and they all seem very easy to get along with. They are very helpful, the boys have shown me where things are and helped out if there are any questions or anything and the boys in the hotel together are all getting on well as well. It's been a good start."
Michael Dunford is returning to Home Park as Chief Executive. Dunford, who also held the post between 2004-2009, replaces Martyn Starnes. When the opportunity arose to re-join Argyle, the decision could not have been easier. To play a role in taking the club forward, building on the solid foundations now in place, is a wonderful opportunity. The club is certainly different to the one I left in 2009 and I have been extremely impressed with the ambition shown by chairman James Brent, vice-chairman Simon Hallett and fellow Board members. I am really looking forward to building a solid working relationship with Derek Adams, who has given all our fans hope that our on-the-field fortunes will continue to improve. We are delighted that Michael is coming back home to provide executive leadership at Argyle, a club for which he clearly has genuine passion. The Board is keen to drive the club forward at pace in pursuit of success aligned to its values and we are delighted that Michael has joined to play his part in this journey. I would take the opportunity to thank Mark Lovell for his impactful leadership as interim CEO. Over his short tenure, it has become very clear that the incredible success of Argyle in the Community including being 12th in the entire English football pyramid in terms of the investment it puts into our community has been the result of no coincidence."
New boy Scott Wootton spoke about his career so far and stated his belief that his move to Argyle has 'perfect timing' as he moves forward into the new chapter of his career, saying: "It's perfect timing. It'll be nice to join in pre- season from day one, everything's all sorted now so I'm just really excited, and I'm looking forward to meeting all the lads. I played 70-80 games in the Championship, which is not bad. I wish it had gone better, I'm not going to deny that. I played a lot at right back but my best position is definitely centre back, that's where I like to play most. The reason for leaving Leeds was because I needed to go somewhere and play centre-back and I got that at Milton Keynes. Being a leader is just part of your character; some people have it some people don't. I've never been shy of saying what I feel or of trying to help the team in any way. In the past I've been given the armband, and it's something you just have to get on with.
"This is a really good stadium, obviously improvements are being made to make it even better, so that's exciting moving forward. From that game I just really remember the fans got behind the team. It was surprising to see where they were but it wasn't a surprise to see the run they went on because they played really well. To start at Manchester United, the upbringing you get and the values you get taught stand you in really good stead for the rest of your career. I couldn't have wished for a better start. I got a couple of games in the Carling Cup - Newcastle and Chelsea. Then I was lucky enough to make a substitute appearance and also start in the Champions' League group games, which is something that nobody can ever take away and I'll always look back on it with great pride."
"It's really refreshing to know the ideas that Derek Adams has got and the way that he works. He spoke really highly of the club and I had spoken to a few people who people who played here and they echoed the exact same thing. Once I had that conversation I knew that this was the place I wanted to come"
Argyle added further to their ranks today with another full-back recently of a top Premier League club. Tafari Moore has joined after being let go by Arsenal, and the right-sided 20-year-old was most recently loaned to Argyle's League One rivals Wycombe Wanderers. On his first day at his new club, he said: "It's amazing to be here. I'm really happy. I've been looking around and it looks amazing. I just can't wait to start pre-season. At the start of last pre-season, I knew what was going to happen so, in that time, I was trying to make certain moves to help me get my next move, and I ended up going out on loan which was the platform to showcase myself. This move came about a few weeks ago. I spoke to the gaffer and he told me how the team plays, what they want, that he likes me as a player. That was pretty much it. I was at QPR from Under-9s to Under-12s and then I moved to Arsenal. When I was 12 and had to make the decision, I knew Arsenal's philosophy and the way they played and I just knew it would be great for my development. I learnt a lot while I was there.
"To be honest, it wasn't until I went to League Two that the other side of the game started – I had to see how I could deal with it. Before, everything would just be on the ground; when I went to League Two, a lot of it was in the air and there were areas of my game where I thought 'I really have to work on that.' I'm glad that I've got that experience. Sometimes, I may be too energetic. I've learnt to make the right decisions when to go forward but I do like to go forward when I can."
The penultimate Argyle player to decide on whether or not he is staying at Home Park also confirmed today that he will remain at Home Park for another year. As the players returned for pre-season training, it was revealed that defensive utility player Yann Songo'o is at Home Park for another year.
Derek Adams has made his eighth signing in three weeks with the addition of centre-back Peter Grant, recently released by Falkirk, Peter's father Peter was also a professional footballer who went on to manage Norwich.
Argyle's 9th signing is another centre-back, Scott Wootton, with experience of playing for Manchester United at football's highest club level, the Champions League. Via Leeds and Rotherham, the 26-year-old is most recently of Milton Keynes.
Argyle have paid a fee for the first time this summer, to bring Manchester City left-back Ashley Smith-Brown to Home Park. Smith-Brown, who has played on loan at Hearts and Oxford previously, is 22 years old.
Two of the players yet to accept contract offers by Argyle for the upcoming season ended the uncertainty today by putting pen to paper on their first professional deals for the Pilgrims. Welsh young international Luke Jephcott is the first, saying that to be offered a contract was a dream come true. He explained: "It's a dream come true for me. I just can't wait to get back into it. It's been six weeks off and it feels a lot longer. I want to get my head down and look forward to the season ahead. If you do well in training, you know you are going to get rewarded for it. The manager has shown that he's not afraid to throw people in there. May aim for the season is to be involved more."
The second, another youth international, this time Dan Rooney of Northern Ireland, spoke about going out of loan as a route towards his progress. He said: "I am going to try my hardest to get out on loan, to get myself out there a bit more. I think going out on loan is important for a young player so we can get used to a physical environment I have had a chat with the manager about going out on loan. He says it's fine for the young players to do that. Obviously, I'd rather be playing for a team where I can get my name out there and work my way up and prove myself to this first team."
"It has been a good experience, but completely different. You are playing with people that you have never played with before - players from top clubs - and playing against international teams. You can compare yourself and what you're doing with what's out there."
Arguably Argyle's biggest contract extension yet has today been confirmed with regista midfielder David Fox signing a new deal to remain at the club, in spite of his family residing in the North West. Fox said of his decision to remain: "I have loved my two years here. I have really enjoyed the football; enjoyed working with the staff and players; and enjoyed the passion from the fans. That had a lot to do with it. When you get towards the end of your career, to be somewhere where you feel you are enjoying your football is important. When I came here two years ago, I didn't think I would end up playing as many games as I have and the challenge now is to keep my place in the side. It will not be easy, but it is a challenge I am looking forward to. It was a tough decision and one that I didn't take lightly, but I think it is the right one. I am very lucky. I have got a very supportive family, and not just my wife and children – my wife, my in-laws; they all chip in and help."
Additionally, Argyle's fixtures for the new season have been formally announced, with Argyle travelling to Walsall on the opening day and to Wimbledon on Boxing Day. The season's final game will see them host Scunthorpe. Full fixtures can be found on the club's official website.
Adding to the list of young professionals who have put pen to paper on a new deal, last season's FA Cup youth star Ryan Law today signed a professional contract. He said of the momentous occasion: "It's great; it's all I've ever wanted to do since I was 10. I think I started here when I was I was eight and this is the only club I've ever played for. I'm happy that I'm able to have this chance. It's been an experience, being on the bench. I was on the bench twice and it has been great to see how it is to be a pro."
Stalwart defender Gary Sawyer has penned another one-year-deal with Argyle and believes the squad is starting to take shape. Last season's vice-captain said: "It's a tough year to adjust when you go up a division and we didn't have a great start. But we had a great finish so – fingers-crossed – that will lead us into a good season this year. I captained the youth team; I captained the reserve team; and to get a chance to do it for the first team was a massive honour for me. I grew up here, supported the club as a kid, and all my friends support the club. The club is heading in the right direction. When I was first here, we were a Championship side – and a good Championship side. Unfortunately, the club went the way it did but it's in great hands now. The gaffer's running a tight ship and it looks like everyone's pulling in the same direction.
Adding to the ranks is youngster Cameron Sangster, who hopes to build on his two appearances for Argyle last season in the centre of midfield, who said: "I've been here since I was eight years old so to sign a professional deal with a club that I have been with that long is pretty buzzing for me. It was a good taster last season. Now I really want to kick on this season. If you put in good performances and the gaffer recognises it and you earn your opportunity to move up to the first team, you have got to take it there and then."
Breakout star of 2017/18 Alex Fletcher has signed a one year contract to remain at Argyle and has spoken of his goals to progress, saying: "I'm really looking forward to the season. Last season was a bonus for me in terms of how it went, appearance-wise. I learnt a hell of a lot last year and if I can keep on next season as I did last season, I will be really happy. I've had chats with the gaffer about going out on loan and I'm sure we'll look into that, but, this time last season I was probably in the same boat – thinking I was going to go out on loan at the beginning of the season – and I ended up being more an integral part of the first-team than I ever could have dreamed of. I think you have just got to be open-minded. At the beginning of a new season, everyone is on a new page; it's a fresh chapter for everyone. Hopefully, I get a few more appearances and continue to be more of a regular goalscorer at the highest level I can, whether that be here, which would be great, or on loan, which is probably the main option for me. To get the continuity of playing and scoring every week – as a striker, that's what I need."
Also extending his deal is Jordan Bentley, who spoke of the agony of suffering a broken leg in a fluke injury just after he had began to make good progress with the greens. He said: "I've supported this club since I was a little kid and I am playing for my dream club. It was a tough season for me last year but I'm looking forward to getting back, fit and ready to go, and having a good season. The loan wasn't as a successful as I thought it would be but I came back and was doing well – I was getting feedback from the gaffer that I had been doing better than I had been – but then it came to January and I broke my leg. For some reason, I was playing right-back. I was sent through, got forward and got a cross in, and me and Remi came together.It was no-one's fault. We could do it another 10,000 times and the same thing would happen about three times. It was just one of those things, a massive freak accident. The club has been great; the gaffer has been great; now I am looking forward to repaying the faith. It was definitely a blow but I am looking forward to putting that right; getting back in there and giving 100%; and trying to push for a first-team place."
Argyle have announced their sixth signing of the summer in the shape of Wolves goalkeeper Harry Burgoyne on a season-long-loan. The six foot four goalkeeper has been capped for the England under-21s.
Argyle's draw in the first round of the Carabao Cup is...exactly the same as last year's. Argyle will travel to Ashton Gate and will hope to make amends for the 5-0 defeat suffered there in 2017.
Argyle vice-chairman Simon Hallett has given Derek Adams a ringing endorsement as being 'the kind of excellence that we want to become part of the club's culture' as he becomes head of football as well as manager. Hallett said: "He's a football manager. He would always prefer more to less when it comes to budget. But Derek buys into the notion of a football club that is sustainable for the long-term. That's why he has signed up for the long term. I hope he will sign another five-year contract after the next five years. People look at our attendances, which are amongst the highest in the division, but other sources of income are not amongst the highest in the division. One of those is our commercial income. We have done a good job generating commercial income under the circumstances. But it's not the kind the first class offer to external people wanting to hold conferences and banquets, and so on, that we will be able to offer once the Grandstand is done. We agreed a first team budget with Derek before he signed, so he signed in full knowledge of what that budget was. I think Derek looks towards the current management of the club – and let's not forget we are hiring a new CEO – to increase revenues from all sources so that we can have more to spend on the first team. Derek not only looks at his current budget but he looks at the opportunities for increased budgets over the next few years. He is also a manager who thinks about the wider club, hence his appointment as being head of football, rather than just first team manager.
"I think that does reflect the fact that Derek, whilst he has been first team manager, has taken an active interest in the academy, in the community trust and in the wider club as a whole. One reason why we gave him a five-year contract was not just because he's a first class football manager, but because he's an example of the kind of excellence that we want to become part of the club's culture. Derek sets standards that are very demanding for his first team. He sets a terrific example for his work ethic. He's a remarkably disciplined and process-oriented person who happens to be a football manager. I'm full of admiration for that. I come from a background in financial investment where if you can get slightly more than 50 per cent of your decisions right you can have a successful business. You do that through being disciplined, through having structure and through having process, and Derek is just like that. We look upon him as setting an example throughout the club, not just on the pitch."
The legacy of 'Hodges' at Argyle has continued, with record appearance-maker Kevin Hodges' 18-year-old son Harry Hodges putting pen to paper on his first professional contract at Home Park. Harry himself said of the momentous occasion: "I've been playing with those lads for quite a few years now; we all understand how each other plays. It would be great for some of us to get some first-team experience next season – home-grown lads, through the Academy; it would be great for the club. He's helped me out a lot. He's given me advice on what to do, like any other player, but obviously, when I go home, he'll help me and I'm utterly grateful for that. He's only been my coach for the past two years, so I've had to prove myself to other people. I've been at this club since I was about nine years old so it's an unbelievable moment for me. I'm just looking forward to the new season. It's been a long process, but I'm just happy to have signed my first pro contract."
Argyle have made their fifth signing in as many days with the addition of former Everton youngster Calum Dyson. The forward becomes the second ex-Toffee to join in the greens in the current spell of incomings. He spoke of the deafening tones of the Green Army, as noticed when he played against Argyle before: "I played against Plymouth at Grimsby. Plymouth had to win and it was a good little atmosphere that day, from what I can remember the fans were brilliant. That's a six or seven hour journey, so they have a great fan base. That's what sold it to me. I've been lucky to play with a really good group of lads; we won the Under-18s and Under-23s league. Hopefully now I can start my career and show what I'm all about. I like to play as a target man, win flick-ons and I'll run all day, I like to run the channels and like any striker I like to score goals. Hopefully I can score a few for this club. Towards the end of the season I did follow the results and had the big game at Scunthorpe, that was unfortunate but hopefully next year we can push on. I think this club can go places and get to the Championship. The gaffer seems really exciting as well he's just signed a new 5-year deal and I think that shows a real statement of intent."
Argyle have launched their first fans forum event of the new season, with a chance to ask the board of directors questions at 7pm on Monday July 9th, in the Green Taverners Tent. Further details can be found on the club's official website.
Argyle have made former Shrewsbury right-back Joe Riley their fourth signing of a busy week. After being let go by the Shropshire club just after their play-off final loss to Rotherham, Riley wasted no time in putting pen to paper on a deal at Home Park. His busy few weeks was compounded by getting married in between! He said: "I found out on my wedding day actually. I had a text from my agent telling me about it. I phoned him the next day and it happened very quickly. I played a few games in the Premier League and more in the cup games. I loved going on loan to Oxford, that's probably the most I've enjoyed my football playing under Michael Appleton, who's a really good manager. He got me loving football again after a couple of years out injured. It was a great move. I went to Bury and won promotion; I remember playing at Home Park; I think we won 2-0. I had a great time; getting promoted is some achievement, then I moved to Shrewsbury."
"I'm very energetic. I like to get forward; that's the strongest part of my game. As a defender you obviously like to keep clean sheets as well and I'll be looking to come in and do that. I've remained good mates with Sarce. I hope it gives me a new lease of life; even when he first came down here he was loving it, loving his football and now his family are happy down here as well which is great to see. I spoke to him quite a lot when I found out. He's only had good things to say about the club and the place. So I can't wait to get going."
Argyle have made 25-year-old forward Freddie Ladapo their newest recruit as the stream of summer incomings begins in its full flow. The striker has been somewhat of a journeyman in recent years, having been at clubs from the Conference South right through to the Premier League with several in between. He will be hoping that under Adams, he is finally settled. Ladapo said of his nomadic career: "I had been speaking to the manager for quite some time," said Freddie. "With football you have a lot of managers call you and say this and that but when a manager has been wanting you for a while you know the interest is very real. I'm happy to be here. I only made about seven appearances for Colchester in League One. I needed more games, I needed to grow as a player. I had to drop down a few leagues. First I was at Kidderminster to try and get my name out there but it was at Grays where I really kicked on I played a lot of games, scored every week and it was fun. We had played Margate a few times and the manager saw me when he went to Crystal Palace and took me over there. It was crazy, but wonderful to make my debut at Old Trafford. This has been something that been in the back of my mind so now I think its finally the time that I come here and show what I can do. I know the league well and I know about last season. I was at the game; the win against Southend. I saw the style of the team it was very good, very entertaining and something I wanted to be a part of."
Argyle have made their second signing of the summer with the addition of former Scunthorpe and Rochdale centre-back Naill Canavan. The former Ireland youth player, now 27, bolsters Argyle's defensive options following his comeback from a long-term injury. He said himself that the move had been on the cards for some time: "I would be lying if I said I didn't keep an eye on the results last season and in particular the re-arranged fixture at Rochdale .The boys knew Plymouth were hot at the time as they had won how ever many in a row. I was really impressed that night and it only furthered my interest, I knew it was somewhere I wanted to go. The manager was interested and this is somewhere that I have always known I would like to come down to. I have been impressed with what I've seen so far. Circumstances with things at home and the family made it maybe not the best idea at one point but I'm glad to be here. Clean sheets are my job, to get in the way of stuff basically and hopefully there's many to come. I think we kept 24 clean sheets one year at Scunthorpe so that was something we were good at. I had a great time there, met so many good people and I was lucky to have had some good managers while I was there as well. I saw some good and bad times there, but more good than bad."
"It is good to have that experience of League One. It's always going to be beneficial. I've seen good and bad in this league over the years but I have had some good memories and hopefully I can create some more now. I spoke to Jamie Ness last week so I know about the training regime; he gave me a bit of a lowdown on it but from other things I've found online I know it will be tough, he's not the only one to say it! A hard pre-season only puts us in better shape for what's to come."
As one centre-back arrives, another departs, with the announcement on Twitter than fan-favourite Sonny Bradley will not be returning next season. He said, via his Twitter page: "Thank you @Only1Argyle for allowing me to represent your football club. I wore the green shirt with pride and can honestly say I gave you everything. I leave the club with only happy memories and wish you all the best next season."
Argyle have announced their first singing of the summer with midfielder Connor Grant joining on a free transfer from Everton. Grant was close to joining the club in January but the move fell through on a technicality with FA rules, deeming his appearance for Everton's Under-23s in the Checkatrade Trophy as a first-team appearance for Everton, which combined with his loan spell at Crewe, meant he could not play for us last season. Now however, it is all systems go and the 23 year old has arrived at Home Park.
Grant himself said of the move: "There was a rule which meant I wasn't allowed to play. I tried to put it past me and not think about it; that's just part of football and something I had to deal with. Now I'm here and I'm looking forward to getting started. It's the second time that I'm back and I'm delighted to be here. The manager really wanted me to be here and I'm delighted to finally be approved.
"I'm really happy that I got to spend the few days that I did here because I got to see the club, the place, see a few of the lads and I was made to feel really welcome."The Gaffer, straight away, made me feel welcome as did as the staff who have been here today and that's important to me; it's important to feel wanted and know that they're backing me and that's how to play your best football. It was a very testing time but that's part of football you have to deal with, little setbacks and I'm thankful that I'm here now. I've been on five loans now so I've got quite a bit of experience in a short time and I'm looking forward to adding to that here and finding a new home."
"I think this club is definitely on the up and they've got a really good fanbase which really helps the team. I'm really looking forward to seeing them in action at Home Park - I can't wait to get started. I'm a creative player, I like to get on the ball and make things happen. I work with half the team and I want to try and influence them in the final third as much as the defensive part- that's hopefully what I can bring. I've had a couple little breaks so now it's just a case of building up and getting ready for the season.
Argyle have had another out of contract player accept the offer on the table, this time in the form of Kyle Letheren. The back-up goalkeeper put pen to paper on another year at Home Park after a frustrating season with his spell in the side cut short by injury. He said: "I'm delighted to have agreed a new deal. I feel I was just getting settled in the team before my injury last season, and feel like I still have unfinished business at Argyle. After the success of last season, staying was a simple decision for me. I just want now to stay injury-free and fight for the number one spot."
Argyle have announced their away kit in an unusual turn towards a pattern of green and white 'quarters' on the shirt. Shorts and socks are both green. Full pictures can be seen on the club's official website.
Interim CEO Mark Lovell has spoken of the experiences gained by stepping up to the role of interim Argyle CEO following the departure of Martyn Starnes to Bristol Rovers. He also hinted that he would not be adverse to the possibility of the permanent role, saying: "About two weeks after Martyn's announcement, the club felt they needed someone to come in on an interim basis just to oversee the club during the off season. "It's a really important time in terms of schedules of work, in terms of maintenance and so on. So James Brent asked the chairman of our trustees, David Tall, if I could come on a secondment over to the football club for that interim period. The Trust is quite a large organisation so they saw it as quite a nice fit. I'm really delighted that I was asked. Martyn has been really good. I have been shadowing him for well over a month so that has been great. Everyone has been really helpful and it has been nice in terms of how it has been received. I love the job that I do with the Trust but the aspirations are that everyone wants to go up the ladder. "This is a huge football club within the south west and where it is at the moment, with ourselves being in League One and what's happening with the Grandstand, it's really exciting times. I'm honoured and privileged to be in this role."
It's a big role to fill. Martyn was one of our trustees as well. Martyn was fantastic for me over the five years that he was here. I learned a lot in a lot of areas, from financing to management, to just dealing with issues and scenarios. They are big shoes to fill, but I'm very much looking forward to it. I think everyone has got their own kind of management style and you learn off different people all the time. Hopefully, I can utilise that within the club during this interim period."
"I have certainly got aspirations of being a chief executive. I'm delighted that I was asked to come in on an interim basis. We will just take it one step at a time and see how the interim period goes, and then we will see where it ends up from there. I think the place is blessed in terms of everyone knowing their roles and expectations, so that's very helpful. It's making sure we can pull them together and guide it in the right direction."
Derek Adams indicated his pleasure at midfielder Antoni Sarcevic and striker Ryan Taylor both being so early to put pen to paper on another contract with Argyle. He said they will both be fit from their injuries for the start of pre-season: "Both of them are of a good age and they have played particularly well for us over a year and a half. "It was important that they continue to be with the football club. Ryan Taylor can score goals and Antoni Sarcevic can do likewise from midfield. Ryan Taylor has helped the team being a main striker that doesn't play outside the width of the 18-yard box, which is important in our style of play. He has not only benefited himself but he has benefited the team and the players around about him."
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