Thursday, May 19, 2016


It's been a while since I felt any affection at all towards football.

Let's face it: as businesses go it is about as amoral and corrupt as it is possible to be from the very top all the way down to the grassiest of roots.

Far too many clubs exploit all sorts of financial loopholes with the plethora of clubs spending well beyond their means and then hitting admin to wipe the debt out at the expense of their creditors. It might be legal; it might be commonly acepted business practice; no matter it stinks.

Perhaps worst of all is the Man Utd/Glazer-stylee leveraged buy out where a new owner buys a club using income the club itself generates... God alone knows how they get away with it or sleep at night because it is completely without shame.

For all of that I have kept going to games (home ones mostly anyway) and it is a struggle to know why beyond it being an excuse to see mates and have a beer. The last few years have been a horrid, relentless, attritional spiral into near oblivion with barely a glimmer of joy along the way but I have barely missed a (home) game.

Last season was better and we began to look like a team with some talent again but even that ended horribly with the Wycombe play-off debacle no matter how remarkable, but still inadequate, the Bob Marley mini-comeback was.

Which brings us to this season and this season has been horribly disappointing as well. Make no mistake we should have been promoted weeks before the end of the season like Northampton were. It should have been us and them neck-and-neck balls-out all the way to the finishing post but no. When it mattered we just bloody crumbled.

And now we are here with Wembley and Wimbledon looming large on the horizon and a pair of simply sensational games against Portsmouth fresh in the memory. Those two Pompey games reminded me of what it was all about; of why it is that I fell in love with watching Argyle as a kid all those years ago:

Mariner & Rafferty and a vast, massive, chaotic Tuesday night crowd v Colchester; Jim Furnell saving a Terry Venables penalty; the West Brom and Derby (x2) games in the cup run; Nelson's late equaliser at Blackpool; Godfrey scoring at Bristol Rovers to set in sequence the most remarkable run of results I ever knew; being out-played by Derby for 45 mins before doing 'em good 'n' proper 4-1 in the end; walloping Leeds 6-3; Stewart Evans inspiring mayhem as we beat Man City 3-2 after being 2 down; McGregor's hat-trick in a 4-0 win at Torquay; Colchester (again) vanquished in the play-offs; Darlo at Wembley; virtually every moment of the two Sturrock promotion campaigns but especially that match v QPR and the "you'll never play here again" night v Exeter; fantastic away wins under Holloway at Palace (which remains, I think, the best I ever saw us play) and Charlton and Sheff Utd (sort of...) but that was pretty much where it stopped dead.

Since then there's been next to nothing to enjoy, to cherish but it was those occasions that make and keep a new generation of fans. It is those occasions that de-Plasticise if you like and hopefully Wembley will grab the soul of a few Plastics and never let go.

And then they won't be Plastics any more.

And lets face it we all started somewhere; we were all Plastic once.