Monday, August 17, 2015

Traditions - Argyle could do with some!

Tradition is pretty important to us football fans, isn't it?

From our little corner of Footballworld we passionately support our team but what is it that we are actually supporting?

Argyle, like most of the other clubs, was formed a long time ago to provide an outlet for our talented performers to display and test that talent against others. Along the way it also provided an entertainment spectacle for the locals to watch that talent get tested.

To that end various norms were adopted: team name; colours, location and so on. It is those that we have come to support.

But where are we now? The team is mainly composed of imports from elsewhere with a scant smattering of local talent. The backbone of the team is now provided by old sweats from anywhere we can get them who, on arrival at least, have the barest inkling of club history and no affinity for the city beyond it. Argyle, to them, is just a career move, another step on the ladder whereas to us it is far, far more than that.

For our part Argyle has gone through many evolutions. Owners, managers, players all come and go with few of them leaving any lasting impression. The club itself has changed the kit we wear many, many times: we've had predominantly green, predominantly white, stripes (both green & white and green & black), we've had green with whites sleeves and green with a band across the chest and white with a green band across the chest and that's just from memory. Before that we had halved shirts, black with green trim, green with black trim.

Even the shade of green has shifted as we have gone along. There's what I used to refer to as Argyle green, a much brighter version hidden between black stripes, a very dark green, a lighter very dark green and various other shades too. The current green is a very dark shade but even that dark green has varied considerably since Paul Sturrock's mob first wore "meadow green".

We've had white shorts, black shorts and green shorts; green or white socks (I don't recall any black ones but I wouldn't be surprised...). The club badge on the shirt has even been changed with incredible regularity and I've not even considered the myriad of away kit options: white, yellow, champagne (!), light blue, dark blue, orange, black, royal lilac or whatever the hell it is now... There's probably others.

If there is one thing, easily achievable, that I would like to see the club do it is settle upon the very basic things that label us as Argyle: shade of green, kit design, change colours and badge design.

There's been so much change over the years that there is no tradition in any meaningful sense to go back to so why not start again?

Argyle could easily petition its season ticket holders and the affiliated supporter groups could easily petition their members so let's settle on a shade of green - and stick to it. Let's set up a competition to design a new badge - and then stick to it. Let us settle on a kit template for both home and away kits and stick to it. Let's settle on change colours and stick with them.

It wouldn't be hard to achieve. It wouldn't cost much to find out. It would engage supporters and help us to feel that it is our club still/again*.

It would not win us a single point or score us a single goal. It would have as much effect on our future results as last month's horoscopes did but for all of that it is important because it goes to the heart of what it means to be a football club.

And after that we could set about using Argyle as a platform for more local talented players to perform on but that is much harder, but no less desirable, to achieve.

We should not ever lose sight of why Argyle was formed to start with or why we all decided to pin our colours to the club's mast. Settling once and for all on some core identifiers would be a reminder to us all of what it is really all about.

*Delete as appropriate