Football: Fan's Eye View No 225 - Plymouth Argyle

`A battle, not for control of a business, but for the heart of my club'

Plymouth Argyle. A unique name. A unique club with an unfortunately uninspiring list of achievements. But it has been, for 32 years, part of my soul and being, as it was my father's and is my son's.

To me and many in Plymouth, Home Park has been the focus of a substantial part of our lives. The sad decline in the local economy is now reflected in the fortunes of the club and the structure of the ground. A place big enough for Manchester United to play when their own ground was closed and where Jimmy Greaves played his first game for Spurs now attracts fewer than 5,000 to watch our journeymen in green battling for survival in an atmosphere of bitter resentment.

The current chairman is Dan McCauley, millionaire, owner of an engineering company, once the white knight riding in to control a mediocre club with potential. He arrived in 1992, as we were nudging the top division. Since then, we have dropped two divisions, won a Wembley play-off to return from the basement to the current Second Division, had at least six managers and caretakers and spent (by his estimation) about pounds 3m. Now he has put the club up for sale, and he wants his money back.

This is a man who, rather than attend the recent home game with Watford, went instead to Torquay v Exeter, having recently admitted he holds shares in one of those clubs and had been approached for help by the other. A man who has blamed every fan who does not turn up at the turnstile for financial difficulties which emanate from his own questionable business decisions, such as the recruitment of Peter Shilton as player-manager at a salary reputedly higher than any manager outside the top division.

Shilton's two years in charge resulted in flowing football - and relegation. Staff and directors came and went until we seemed to function as a one- man show in the style of Boris Yeltsin, whom McCauley resembles physically.

Now, not having received the adulation which he thinks he deserves, he has turned on the fans, accusing them of giving up on the club which he will support financially only until the end of the season. Each low attendance results in the disposal of staff. Last week office and ground staff, then a crop of promising players.

One local newspaper, banned from the ground because of negative comments about him, has exhorted all fans to attend today's home match with Walsall to counter McCauley's claims. Ironically, potentially the largest crowd of the season, with its associated boost in income, may not all be granted entry as, because minor improvements required to the public address system have not been made, the ground capacity has been reduced. Many wishing to express their support may have to do so from outside.

Unfortunately, McCauley will not be there to see them, having declared he will not set foot inside the ground again.

One man to take up the challenge to replace him at the helm is a former Argyle favourite, Tommy Tynan, now pulling pints a pasty's throw from the ground. He is fronting an attempt to take over, with a degree of power to be given back to the fans.

It is a battle which must be won. A battle, not for control of a business, but for the heart of my club, part of my very existence. Take out the heart and there is nothing left. I don't know if I can live with that. I hope that Mr McCauley can live with himself.

Barrie Davis is co-editor of PASOTI, the Plymouth Argyle supporters' Internet site: www.argyle.org.uk

News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
football
Life and Style
food + drink
News
video
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

EYFS Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education require an ex...

Year 3 Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Year 3 primary supply teacher ne...

SEN Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply special educational ne...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home