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 Colin Murray: Only second coming would compare to Pilgrims’ progress

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Join date : 2011-12-11
Age : 69
Location : plymouth

PostSubject: Colin Murray: Only second coming would compare to Pilgrims’ progress   Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:41 am

METRO

IF I had written a column in December forecasting the second coming of Jesus, then I am pretty sure Metro bosses would have wanted a word with me…specifically, ‘security!’

That’s why, around about the same time as newly promoted Plymouth Argyle were languishing at the foot of League One, I did not predict that they would occupy a play-off spot around three months later.

Before Christmas, odds on the above two events happening were similar. However, while a certain dude did not rise again, the Pilgrims certainly did.

In fact, one could argue there has not been such a remarkable turn around in fortunes since that of Billy Ray Valentine in the movie Trading Places.

Argyle won a single league game in August, none in September, then racked up another solitary victory in October. In fact, they’d not endured such a tough spell, results wise, since the invention of Velcro, Tupperware and the Frisbee.

Without being a proper fan of the club, it is hard to categorically sum up what changed but they certainly struggled with a catalogue of injuries. New signing Jamie Ness and Ryan Taylor are worth mentioning but, astonishingly, by December they were on to their eighth goalkeeper! Printing names on No.1 shirts alone nearly bankrupted them!

Also, they seemed to approach the early stages of the season like a WWE Royal Rumble with players seeing red in four home matches in a row.

A false position? Maybe, but every team has to cope with the ups and downs that come with each campaign.

So, it is best to look at what didn’t change and that’s the manager, Derek Adams. He took over in 2015, fresh from a brilliant first phase of his managerial career at Ross County, and has breathed new life into a club that has too often been kept from flatlining by a staggeringly loyal and well-travelled fanbase.

In fact, looking through their fan forum this week, even at its worst I could not find frenzied calls for blood on the carpet. And rightly so. I did find a post from Olaf entitled, ‘Ever The Optimist’ in which he listed the odds of Argyle staying up, finishing top half and ending up in the top six. He fancied the first two but, in terms of the latter, he stated ‘not even I’m that mad!’. Olaf, you ****ed up.

Player wise, Graham Carey is the centre of their universe. Whether it is banging them in, setting them up, or working back, he is the heartbeat of a real team effort. An absolute focal point. I have been delighted to see the recent form of Antoni Sarcevic, arguably their best man over the last month or so. I watched him several times at Chester, a key player as they captured back-to-back promotions at the turn of the decade.

Regardless, Argyle fans know their heroes better than I, so I will leave it to them to separate Matthews from Lameiras, and Vyner from Songo’o.

Put simply, since the start of December, their 40 points from a possible 51 are more than any other side in the division over this period.

Whether they complete the fairytale or not, Plymouth Argyle are competing with Accrington Stanley for the metaphorical EFL glass slipper come May. Nine games left to write their own ending, including a huge match tomorrow away to Charlton Athletic, who find themselves five points adrift of the play-offs and looking for a new manager. I can’t get into that. That’s a (long) column for another day!

So, please forgive me for not mentioning Plymouth Argyle’s Cinderella season earlier. I’ve definitely learnt my lesson. And on that note, 11.34am on May 26, just outside the Bullring in Birmingham. Beard, white robe, about 5ft 6in. Look out for him. You heard it here first.
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