As I write this I have to admit to having partaken in
alcohol. Not that excessively, ‘tis true. I have to be up at stupid o’clock
tomorrow so had to cut the evening short.
“Why might that be?” you may well ask.
Today Argyle sealed a promotion by way of a 6-1 thumping of
Newport County and to honest we might have scored 10. I suppose a last minute
winner might be better but this is pretty good.
Glory days don’t often come along to Argyle but today was
definitely one of them. I’ve been going week in week out ever since I was a kid
which is over 40 years now and I was there when we went up v Colchester in ’75,
at Wembley in ’96, versus QPR in 2004 and today. In all that time only 4
promotions (there was a couple of others in 1986 and 2002 but I couldn’t make
it to those games).
That is only the start of it though. As a club we’ve gone as
close to disappearing as any and hung on. We’ve endured 6 years in the basement
division and only hung in there by the
skin of our teeth on two occasions. Two years ago we failed in the play-offs.
Last year we failed at Wembley. There’s been nothing to celebrate in any of
those years other than our mere continuance and the disappointment has been
crushing with last year’s Wembley capitulation a particularly gutless low
despite the various calamities that had befallen us previously.
The tsunami of joy, of celebration, of relief was like a
force of nature at Home Park today: tangible; irrepressible. There was a vibrancy,
an energy that simply must not be allowed to dissipate. We must build on this.
It cannot be seen as an end to itself because, magnificent though it was, it is
only a step on the journey.
But I don’t want to speculate about the future; I want to look
back. Today’s team, management and owners will bask in the glory but that glory
was only possible due to a level of dedication and sacrifice from a whole host
of people: those who set up the Argyle Fans’ Trust with the very real intention
of starting again from scratch somehow; the staff who went for months upaid;
players (even if they were crap – and most of them were) who signed for us
despite not knowing if they’d be paid or not – players who signed for us when
nobody else would; Peter Reid for paying a heating bill; Carl Fletcher for keeping
us up when all seemed lost; John Sheridan likewise; Vivien Pengelly (leader of
Plymouth City Council at the time) for financing James Brent’s rescue package
that allowed us to escape administration; everybody who put money into the club
by chucking coins in buckets, buying season tickets when the next season wasn’t
even likely to happen or buying merchandise they just didn’t need… Without them
there would have been no Derek Adams; no glorious 6-1 promotion game; arguably no
Argyle should never have been in this division and it should
never have taken us 6 years to get out of it. Let us never forget how we ended
up in “Division 4”; let us never take our eye off the ball and let us never allow
it to happen again.
Today has been all kinds of wonderful and we’ve quite
rightly celebrated the living daylights out of it but we must never, ever stoop
so low again. The club, the fans, the city all deserve better than this and we
should loudly, incessantly demand better.
No ifs, no buts, no excuses… this is not as good as it gets.
All this is is a necessary stage that has to be gone through. We are nowhere
near our glass ceiling, if such a thing exists at all; we must press on.