Plymouth Argyle F.C.

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Plymouth Argyle
The initials "P.A.F.C" underneath a shield featuring a ship called the Mayflower in full sail.
Full namePlymouth Argyle Football Club
Nickname(s)The Pilgrims[1]
Founded1886; 132 years ago (1886), as Argyle F.C.
GroundHome Park
OwnerSimon Hallett
ChairmanSimon Hallett
ManagerDerek Adams
LeagueLeague One
2017–18League One, 7th of 24
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Plymouth Argyle Football Club is a professional football club based in the city of Plymouth, Devon, England. The club competes in League One, the third tier of the English football league system, following promotion from League Two in the 2016–17 season. It is one of two clubs in Devon competing in the Football League, the other being Exeter City, Argyle's local rivals.

Since becoming professional in 1903, the club has won five Football League titles (one Division Two and two Division Three), five Southern League titles and one Western League title. The 2009–10 season was the club's 42nd in the second tier of English football. The team set the record for most championships won in the third tier, having finished first in the Third Division South twice, the Third Division once and the Second Division once.

The club takes its nickname, "The Pilgrims", from an English religious group that left Plymouth for the New World in 1620. The club crest features the Mayflower, the ship that carried the pilgrims to Massachusetts. The club have predominantly played in green and white throughout their history, with a few exceptions in the late 1960s and early 1970s when white was the colour of choice. A darker shade of green, described as 'Argyle green', was adopted in the 2001-02 season, and has been used ever since.[3] The city of Plymouth is the largest in England never to have hosted top-flight football. They are the most southerly and westerly League club in England.


Much speculation surrounds the origin of the name Argyle. One explanation is that the club was named after the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, an army regiment with a strong football side of its own. Another theory is given by the local geography–suggesting the name comes either from the nearby public house, The Argyle Tavern, where the founder members may have met, or from a local street Argyle Terrace.[4]

The club adopted its current name when it became fully professional in 1903.


The club was founded in 1886 as Argyle Football Club, the first match taking place on 16 October 1886.

Chart of table positions of Plymouth Argyle in the Football League

The club was disbanded 1894, before being resurrected in 1897 as one part of a general sports club, the Argyle Athletic Club.[5] The club joined the Southern League, effectively the English 3rd tier, in 1903 becoming professional in the process. Argyle won the Southern League in 1912-13, then in 1920-21 entered the Football League Third Division as a founder member along with most of the Southern League, where they finished 11th in their first season.

Between 1921–22 and 1926–27, Argyle finished second in the new Third Division South six seasons in a row, thereby missing promotion. Argyle eventually won promotion to Football League Division Two in 1929–30, when they topped the Third Division South, with attendances that season regularly reaching 20,000. Manager Bob Jack resigned in 1937, having spent a grand total of 27 years in charge of the Pilgrims.

Argyle's 20-year stay in Division Two came to an end in 1949-50 after finishing 21st, - two points short of survival. They were back in Division Two before long, after winning the Third Division South in 1951-52. The closest they ever came to playing in the Football League First Division (top tier) was in 1952–53, when they reached fourth place in the Football League Second Division, their highest finish to date. They were relegated again in 1955-56, just 3 points behind Notts County. The Pilgrim's reputation as a 'yo-yo club' continued after they won Division Three–by now a national league–in 1958-59. Argyle returned to Division Three after relegation in 1967-68.

After spending six years in Division Three, Argyle finally returned to Division Two in 1974–75, however they were back down again in 1976-77.

Since then, the team has wavered between the 2nd and 3rd tier, before being double relegated in 2010-11, directly due to insolvency as they were deducted the 10 points that they needed for survival. The club returned to the 3rd tier after finishing second in 2016-17.

On 14 August 2018 it was announced that shareholder Simon Hallett had purchased part of James Brent's stake in the club and had become the new majority shareholder and owner of the club, while former director David Felwick would return to the club as Chairman, with Brent set to step down on 31 October 2018.[6] On 10 October 2018 however it was reported that David Felwick was unable to take over as chairman, citing personal reasons, so on 1 November 2018, Hallett became both majority owner and chair of Plymouth Argyle.[7]


Outside view of the Devonport Stand

The original ground of the professional club at Home Park was destroyed by German bombers during the Blitz on Plymouth in World War II. Having been rebuilt after the war, Home Park was largely demolished as part of an extensive process of renovation, and the first phase of a new stadium built by Barrs plc was completed in May 2002. The new Devonport End was opened for the 2001 Boxing Day fixture with Torquay United. The other end, the Barn Park End, opened on the same day. The Lyndhurst stand reopened on 26 January 2002 for the game against Oxford United. Plans are currently under discussion regarding the completion of the refurbishment of the ground with the replacement of the Mayflower stand. The ground is situated in Central Park, very near to the residential area of Peverell. Towards the end of the 2005–06 Championship season, the club decided to buy the stadium for £2.7 million from Plymouth City Council, releasing the ground from a 125-year lease. This purchase was concluded in December 2006.

In the summer of 2007, the club, having failed to persuade the UK authorities[8] of the case for retaining a standing terrace, decided to add 3,500 temporary seats to the Mayflower enclosure,[9] dropping the capacity to just under 20,000 from 20,922 (an exact figure is not yet available). In December 2009 it was announced that the stadium was to be one of 12 chosen to host matches during the World Cup 2018, should England's bid be successful.[10] The then Argyle chairman Paul Stapleton stated that work on a new South Stand at Home Park would start in 2010. However, England failed to be chosen for the 2018 tournament, and Plymouth Argyle entered administration in March 2011. After selling the stadium back to the council on 14 October 2011 for £1.6 million,[11] this project was in serious doubt.

The club was then taken over by local business owner James Brent, who submitted fresh plans to build a new Mayflower Grandstand with a 5,000 seating capacity, and an associated leisure complex. The plans include an ice rink with 1,500 spectator seats, a 10 screen cinema complex with an iMax screen, a 120 bedroom hotel and 4,200m sq retail units. Planning permission for the project was granted on 15 August 2013. The development was due to commence in September 2013, with demolition of the old stand planned for late October 2013 after the Portsmouth home match. As of June 2015 the plans have been withdrawn, though planning permission still remains.

The family section of the stadium was moved from block 1 of the Devonport End to the 'Zoo corner' between the Lyndhurst Stand and the Barn Park End, with a kids activities zone in the concourse.[12]

In January 2017, director Simon Hallett invested £5,000,000 into the club, along with all other directors exchanging previous loans into equity, with the intention on using the money for renovating the Mayflower Grandstand. No immediate timeframe was put on the renovations, but chairman James Brent indicated work is planned to start in 2018, finishing in 2020 ahead of the Plymouth 2020 Mayflower celebrations.[13]

Later that month, temporary seating was once again put in place on the Grandstand, this time as a one-off for an FA Cup 3rd round replay vs Liverpool.[14] The seating was kept in place for the next home match, a League 2 game vs Devon rivals Exeter City, but tickets were not on sale to the general public. Shortly after this game, the seating was removed.[15]


The club's traditional rivals are fellow Devon sides Exeter City and Torquay United; other rivalries exist with Bristol City, Bristol Rovers, Cheltenham Town and Portsmouth. The rivalry with Portsmouth was heightened in May 2016, when the two teams met in the League 2 play off semi final, of which Argyle prevailed. The play-offs have also sprung up a mutual disliking of Wycombe Wanderers, after the 2014–15 play off loss.[16]

Although the rivalry with Exeter City has been blunted for a while due to a difference in divisions, Argyle's relegation into League One, coupled with Exeter City's survival, reignited the tensions. A distinct rivalry arose between Argyle and Luton Town after inflammatory comments made by Joe Kinnear who was manager of the Hatters during the 2001–02 promotion season, although this mutual antipathy has now somewhat abated.[citation needed] Similarly, after the departure of Ian Holloway to Leicester City in November 2007 a noticeable mutual dislike arose, culminating in Argyle's 0–1 victory at the Walkers Stadium in early February 2008 although this mutual antipathy has now similarly subsided.[17]

In the 1990s, Argyle had a rivalry with Burnley as the Clarets beat them in a Division Two (now League One) play-off semi-final in 1994, and relegated them on the last day of the season four years later. However, the rivalry has subsided over the past few years, especially after Burnley's promotion to the Premier League in 2014.


Current squad[edit]

As of 29 August 2018[18]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Matt Macey (on loan from Arsenal)
2 England DF Joe Riley
3 England DF Gary Sawyer (captain)
4 Cameroon DF Yann Songo'o
5 England DF Ryan Edwards
6 Scotland MF Jamie Ness
7 England MF Antoni Sarcevic
8 England MF David Fox (vice-captain)
9 England FW Ryan Taylor
10 Republic of Ireland MF Graham Carey
11 Portugal MF Rúben Lameiras
13 England MF Stuart O'Keefe (on loan from Cardiff City)
No. Position Player
14 Republic of Ireland DF Niall Canavan
15 England MF Conor Grant
16 Jamaica FW Joel Grant
17 England MF Lionel Ainsworth
18 England FW Calum Dyson
19 England FW Freddie Ladapo
20 Scotland MF Gregg Wylde
21 Wales GK Kyle Letheren
22 England DF Tafari Moore
23 England DF Ashley Smith-Brown
24 Scotland DF Peter Grant
25 England DF Scott Wootton

Retired numbers[edit]

Reserve Squad[edit]

The club's reserve team, up to the end of the 2010–11 season, played in the Football Combination. The club also entered a team in the South Western League, but withdrew from that competition after one season in 2007. The club confirmed their withdrawal from the Football Combination on 27 June, alongside 18 other Football League clubs. The club will now arrange reserve fixtures on dates of their choice, rather than follow a fixture list.[20] Argyle had earlier withdrawn from the Combination in mid-season in 1981–82, for financial reasons.

The reserves' honours include the Southern League Championship in 1922, 1926, 1929, 1934 and its League Cup in 1933, 1934 and 1936; 1934 was the first Southern League Double.[21]

For the 2015–16 season, Argyle entered a team into the South West Peninsula League Division One West, with matches played at Seale-Hayne, dubbed 'Hodges Park' after club legend Kevin Hodges, outside Newton Abbot.[22] The side consists mainly of U-18 players, but occasionally includes senior players who are not getting first team football or who are returning from injury.[23]

After applying for promotion and finishing 2nd behind Mousehole, the reserves side were promoted to the Premier Division for the 2016–17 season. The team started playing their games at the home of the Devon FA, Coach Road, in Newton Abbot[24] and finished 6th in 2016–17.

As of 15 May 2018[25]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
28 England DF Jordan Bentley
29 England FW Alex Fletcher
30 England DF Harry Hodges
31 England GK Michael Cooper
32 England MF Cameron Sangster
No. Position Player
33 England DF Ryan Law
34 England MF Dan Rooney
35 Wales FW Luke Jephcott
36 England FW Alex Battle


As of 15 May 2018[26][27]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Max Childs (2nd year)
2 England DF Isaac Burdon (1st year)
3 England DF Reuben Collum (1st year)
4 England MF Tom Purrington (2nd year)
5 England DF Andrew Burn (2nd year)
6 England DF Oliver Tomlinson (1st year)
7 England MF Michael Peck (2nd year)
8 England MF Adam Randell (2nd year)
No. Position Player
9 Greece FW Klaidi Lolos (2nd year)
10 England MF Rio Garside (2nd year)
11 England FW Aaron Goulty (2nd year)
12 England GK Harry Townsend (1st year)
13 England MF Jude Boyd (1st year)
14 England MF Joe Seery (1st year)
15 England FW Rubin Wilson (1st year)
16 England MF Jarvis Cleal (1st year)

Player of the Year[edit]

Noted former players[edit]

For details on former players who have a Wikipedia article, see: Category:Plymouth Argyle F.C. players.

Team of the century[edit]

For the centenary celebrations, an all-time best team of Plymouth Argyle players was chosen by fans of the club.[28]

1 England GK Jim Furnell
2 England DF Gordon Nisbet
3 England DF Jack Chisholm
4 Republic of Ireland DF Graham Coughlan
5 England DF Colin Sullivan
6 England MF Kevin Hodges
7 England MF Johnny Williams
8 England MF Garry Nelson
9 England FW Tommy Tynan
10 England FW Paul Mariner
11 Scotland MF Sammy Black

Manager: Scotland Paul Sturrock

World Cup players[edit]

The following players were chosen to represent their country at the FIFA World Cup while contracted to Plymouth Argyle.

Club officials[edit]

Boardroom positions[edit]

Position Name Nationality
Chairman: Simon Hallett England English[29]
Chief Executive: Michael Dunford England English
Director: James Brent England English
Director: Natasha Brent England English
Director: Jane Chafer England English
Director: Jo Cubbon England English
Director: Richard Holliday England English
Director: John Morgan Wales Welsh
Director: Tony Wrathall England English


Club officials[edit]

Position Name
Club Secretary: Zac Newton
Head of Commercial Operations: James Greenacre
Head of Marketing: Jamie Yabsley
Head of Communications: Rick Cowdery
Head of Operations: Jon Back
Head of Stadium & Facilities Trevor Richards
Executive PA: Sue Vallins


Coaching positions[edit]

First Team

Position Name Nationality
Manager: Derek Adams Scotland Scottish
Assistant Manager: Paul Wotton England English
First Team Coach: Kevin Nancekivell England English
Goalkeeping Coach: Rhys Wilmot Wales Welsh
Fitness Coach: Ollie Osborne England English
Head Physio: Paul Atkinson England English
Physiotherapist: Gareth Law England English
Sports Therapist: Vicki Hannaford England English
Kitman: Neil Lunnon England English
Assistant Kitman: Sean Porter-Nail England English
Chief Scout: Vacant
Football Analyst: Matt Neil England English

Youth Team/Academy

Position Name Nationality
Academy Director: Kevin Hodges England English
Academy Manager: Phil Stokes England English
Academy Centre of Excellence Manager: Alex Bressington England English
Head of Academy Coaching: Lee Hodge England English
Professional Development Phase Co-ordinator 17–21: Robbie Herrera England English
Youth Development Phase Co-ordinator 12-16 : Jamie Lowry England English
Youth Development Phase Co-ordinator 5-11 : Dan Thompson England English
Academy Goalkeeping Coach: Rhys Wilmot Wales Welsh
Academy Physiotherapist: Tom Hunter England English
Academy Sports Scientist : Alex Booth England English
Youth Administrator: Pete Bellamy England English

Managerial history[edit]


Plymouth Argyle's list of honours include the following.[32]

Honour Number Years
Football League Third Division South / Third Division / Second Division Champions (tier 3) 4 1929–30, 1951–52, 1958–59, 2003–04
Football League Third Division South / Third Division Runners-up (tier 3) 8 1921–22, 1922–23, 1923–24, 1924–25, 1925–26, 1926–27, 1974–75, 1985–86
Third Division Champions (tier 4) 1 2001–02
Football League Two Runners-up (tier 4) 1 2016–17
Football League Third Division Play-off winners (tier 4) 1 1995–96
Southern Football League Champions 1 1912–13
Southern Football League Runners-up 2 1907–08, 1911–12
Western Football League Champions 1 1904–05
Western Football League B Runners-up 1 1906–07
South West Regional League Champions 1 1939–40
Domestic Cups
FA Cup Semi-finalist 1 1983–84
Football League Cup Semi-finalist 2 1964–65, 1973–74


Club records[edit]


Most appearances[edit]

# Name Argyle career Appearances Goals
1 England Kevin Hodges 1978–1992 620 87
2= Scotland Sammy Black 1924–1938 491 184
2= England Paul Wotton 1995–2008
491 66
4 Scotland Fred Craig 1912–1915
467 5
5 England Johnny Williams 1955–1966 448 55
6= England Johnny Hore 1965–1975 441 17
6= England Pat Jones 1947–1958 441 2
8 Republic of Ireland Michael Evans 1990–1997
432 81
9 England Jack Leslie 1921–1934 401 136
10 Wales Moses Russell 1914–1915
400 6

Most goals[edit]

# Name Argyle career Goals Appearances Goal/game ratio
1 Scotland Sammy Black 1924–1938 184 491 2.668
2 England Wilf Carter 1957–1964 148 275 1.858
3 England Tommy Tynan 1983–1985
145 310 2.137
4 England Jack Leslie 1921–1934 136 401 2.948
5 England Maurice Tadman 1947–1955 112 253 2.258
6 England Jack Vidler 1929–1939 103 256 2.485
7 England Fred Burch 1906–1915 92 239 2.597
8 England Kevin Hodges 1978–1992 87 620 7.126
9 England Ray Bowden 1927–1933 85 153 1.800
10= England George Dews 1947–1955 81 271 3.345
10= Republic of Ireland Mickey Evans 1990–1997
81 432 5.333
12 England Mike Bickle 1965–1971 71 179 2.521


The club's current sportswear manufacturer is Puma.[33] The club's main sponsor is Ginsters.[34] Shirt sponsorship was not introduced by the club until 1983.[35] Beacon Electrical were the first company to have their name on the shirt of Plymouth Argyle, but it lasted just one season. Ivor Jones Insurance was the next sponsor and their agreement with the club lasted for two seasons. National & Provincial (now merged with Abbey National) were sponsors for the 1986–87 season before the club signed an agreement with the Sunday Independent which would last for five seasons. Rotolok Holdings plc became the club's major sponsor in 1992, which was owned by then Pilgrims chairman Dan McCauley. This lasted for six seasons before the club linked up with local newspaper the Evening Herald. Between 2002 and 2011 the club was sponsored by Cornish pasty-makers Ginsters.[36]

In 2011 with the club still in administration, local timber merchant WH Bond Timber sponsored Argyle's kits at first for the 2011–12 season and until the end of the 2013–14 season. Local construction access company LTC Group87 then sponsored Argyle from the start of the 2014–15 season, having their LTC Powered Access branch's logo on the shirts. Cornwall-based company Ginsters then came back for a second spell as main sponsor in the 2016–17 season.[37]

Period Sportswear Sponsor
1975–1976 Umbro None
1976–1978 Pilgrim
1978–1980 Bukta
1980–1982 Adidas
1982–1983 Pilgrim
1983–1984 Beacon Electrical
1984–1986 Ivor Jones Insurance
1986–1987 National & Provincial
1987–1990 Umbro Sunday Independent
1990–1992 Ribero
1992–1996 Admiral Rotolok
1996–1998 Super League
1998–1999 Errea Evening Herald
1999–2002 Patrick
2002–2003 Ginsters
2003–2005 TFG
2005–2009 Puma
2009–2011 Adidas
2011–2014 Puma WH Bond Timber
2014–2016 LTC Powered Access
2016 – Present Ginsters

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Plymouth Argyle". The Football League. 10 June 2011. Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  2. ^ "Home Park capacity set for 17,900 after stage one of redevelopment work is completed". The Herald (Plymouth). 31 July 2018. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Tonkin, W. S. (c. 1963). All About Argyle 1903-1963. p. 7.
  5. ^ Danes, Ryan (2009). Plymouth Argyle The Complete Record. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-85983-710-8.
  6. ^ "James Brent to Step Down". Plymouth Argyle. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  7. ^ "Simon Hallett to Become Pilgrims' Chairman". Plymouth Argyle. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  8. ^ No Standing Room | Plymouth Argyle Archived 15 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  9. ^ Sit, See and Hear | Plymouth Argyle Archived 26 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  10. ^ "Plymouth wins bid to host World Cup matches". This is Plymouth. 17 December 2009. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  11. ^ BBC News | Plymouth Argyle Home Park stadium deal agreed Retrieved on 2 November 2011,
  12. ^ "Family Zone For All". Plymouth Argyle. 16 May 2013. Archived from the original on 11 February 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  13. ^ "Board Statement – Stadium Development". Plymouth Argyle. 5 January 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  14. ^ "Plymouth Argyle to install thousands of new seats making Liverpool match biggest for nine years". The Plymouth Herald. 13 January 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  15. ^ "Plymouth Argyle explain why temporary seats at Home Park won't be used for Devon Derby". The Plymouth Herald. 9 February 2017. Archived from the original on 9 February 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  16. ^ Fanning, Evan (28 January 2008). "Portsmouth 2 Plymouth Argyle 1: James keeps Pompey's hopes afloat". The Independent (London). Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  17. ^ Fanning, Evan (11 February 2008). "Leicester City 0 Plymouth Argyle 1: Holloway mulls legal action over Plymouth comments". The Independent (London). Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  18. ^ Profile, Player. "Plymouth Argyle FC Player Profiles".
  19. ^ "Number 12". Plymouth Argyle. Retrieved 18 September 2010. Archived 28 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ "Reserve withdrawal" Archived 30 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine.. Plymouth Herald. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
  21. ^ Edwards, Leigh (1993). The Official Centenary History of the Southern League. Halesowen: Paper Plane Publishing. p. 54. ISBN 1-871872-08-1.
  22. ^ "Peninsula League approve Plymouth Argyle reserve ground switch"[permanent dead link]. Devon Live. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  23. ^ "Argyle home SWPL games at Bickleigh Barracks" Archived 26 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine.. Plymouth Herald. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  24. ^ "Plymouth Argyle reserves promotion hopes rest on finding new ground". 3 February 2016.[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ "Reserve the right".
  26. ^ Profile, Player. "Plymouth Argyle FC Player Profiles".
  27. ^ "Plymouth Argyle: A guide to the Pilgrim's 8 new apprentices for the 2018/19 season".
  28. ^ "Plymouth Argyle's Team of the Century". BBC. Archived from the original on 18 August 2004. Retrieved 18 August 2004.
  29. ^ "Q&A with Simon Hallett". Plymouth Argyle. 18 May 2016.
  30. ^ "Argyle Board of Directors". Plymouth Argyle. 22 July 2017.
  31. ^ "Club Contacts". Plymouth Argyle.
  32. ^ Achievements. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  33. ^ Adidas Agreement Archived 5 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  34. ^ "Sky's The Limit For Ginsters". Plymouth Argyle. 2 August 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  35. ^ Historical Kits. Historical Kits. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  36. ^ "Ginsters extend Plymouth Argyle sponsorship". Football Shirt Culture. 19 April 2009. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
  37. ^ "More Power to Argyle". Plymouth Argyle. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2017.

External links[edit]