In the life of a Plymouth Argyle fan, things never seem to be especially positive for long. In recent years, whilst there have been positive vibes on and off the pitch, they never seem to last for an especially long time. Perhaps that’s why, just over two weeks after the arrival of new manager Ryan Lowe, people are already hitting panic stations.
Maybe in this scenario people are right to be concerned somewhat. That is, the concern could be voiced without the needless added drama and aspersions on his managerial abilities just because he hasn’t pulled rabbits out of hats thus far. Albeit there is far more fun in complaining than there is in contentment. One area of legitimate worry is our friendly schedule.
Thus far, Argyle only have four pre-season games scheduled and all of these are against non-league sides. Newly promoted to the National League side Torquay are the best of these teams, albeit still some way off the level of opposition Argyle will face throughout the season. Truro, Plymouth Parkway and Tavistock make up the rest of the games, and are – with the greatest of respects – unlikely to prepare Argyle well for the season ahead. Such games are little more than ceremonial pieces used for clubs in the city and surrounding areas to bring in a few quid and advertise themselves to local football fans.
You would assume that there must be something in the pipeline because otherwise cancelling Argyle’s planned visit to the Netherlands would not make any sense. Perhaps it was seen by the new management team as a waste of time and resources that could be better spent elsewhere? Whatever the case, we had better hope that alternative plans (and good ones at that) are in place and ready to be confirmed soon.
This is just the match preparation for the season, too. There’s plenty of concerns right now about the playing squad, with a large number of ‘professionals’ at the club made up of young players who are very early in to their footballing careers or more experienced pros who have not impressed in their time at the club so far, such as Scott Wootton and Calum Dyson. The current squad is not up to scratch, and while it will obviously have a number of boosts in the next few weeks, good players seem to be finding new clubs all over the place right now and the pool of possible players is ever diminishing.
This doesn’t even factor in the fact that talisman Graham Carey has left the club. Furthermore, Ruben Lameiras seems certain to having missed Lowe’s deadline to him by what feels like about four months, and chief goalscorer Freddie Ladapo is surrounded by constant talk about joining League 1 clubs for a fee of around £500,000. A questionable squad that has lost key members already is not a fantastic start with pre-season training edging closer each day.
Plenty of cause for concern then it’s fair to say. Am I worried? In a word, no. Everything the board have done so far since Adams left the club has been calm, calculated and has resulted in a positive outcome. I arguably trust Ryan Lowe more than my entire family already, so I would be lying if I said that I was worried. There are situations and issues that need to be addressed but you can bet your bottom dollar that those figures at the club are doing their upmost to ensure Argyle end up in the best possible position to start the season in the right way.
Keep the faith, people.