One, Two, Three, Four, I Declare A Thumb WarBy: Jim | October 26th, 2009
Following last Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Ipswich Town, Argyle skipper Carl Fletcher has launched an astonishing attack on Argyle’s board, claiming the decision to allow Marcel Seip to play for Blackpool against Argyle, his parent club, made the club seem “Mickey Mouse” You can read the story in more detail here : suffice to say that it is encouraging to see the Argyle players more united than they have been for a while. The photo which aroused Fletcher’s ire, of Kim Stapleton (wife of Argyle vice-chairman Paul Stapleton and mother of Lucy, who is married to Seip) giving a thumbs-up sign to Marcel following his team’s victory over Argyle a week ago, has apparently been pinned up in the Argyle dressing room and has been the subject of much anger among the squad – to say nothing of the fanbase – and it was that picture which prompted Fletcher and the rest of the squad to run to the touchline underneath the directors’ box and raise their own thumbs at Mrs Stapleton and Mrs Seip in celebration of Argyle’s opening goal on Saturday.
In another astonishing development, Lucy Seip has taken it upon herself to criticise the players’ gesture on Saturday in a blog post here Her laudable desire to defend her man, her ma and her pa notwithstanding, Lucy’s whiny comments stick in my craw and, I suspect, the craw of many other Argyle fans too. The decision to allow Marcel to play against us was controversial, to say the least. If Kim and Lucy wanted to support him, they should have done so from the *Blackpool box. As they were part of the Argyle contingent, the least they could have done was sit on their hands, regardless of their relationship to Seip.
As the post goes on, it descends into wilder and wilder conspiracy theory. Lucy is aggrieved that people don’t appreciate the hours Paul puts into PAFC. I suspect Lucy doesn’t appreciate the sacrifices thousands of Plymouthians and Cornish make following Argyle week in, week out: those fans who don’t get to sit in the directors’ box, or join the players on the coach, or enjoy corporate hospitality as normative at football. Those fans who have to sit on cramped official coaches, or beg lifts to away games. Those fans who, because of Mr Stapleton’s inability to take a decision – several decisions- briskly enough, have seen a side with genuine Premiership potential frittered away into relegation near-certainties. And because the nasty players are being mean, all of a sudden Lucy thinks its not fair.
The bottom line is, Seip is a good player – a good one, not a great one – who was below par for much of last season and all of this (we’ve let considerably fewer goals in since he’s been out of the side this term). This is not the first time he has openly defied the manager – and while Luggy remains the manager what he says goes. Lucy and Kim should decide where their loyalties lie – and if that means and end to their cosy meal ticket off the back of PAFC season-ticket holders, so much the better.
In the meantime, now that the gloom at Argyle’s consistent ability to shoot themselves in the foot has lifted, it was very encouraging to see Mariner animated and active on the touchline. Sturrock aside, I was probably the closest person physically to him in the ground on Saturday and he never stopped yelling, criticising and encouraging. (It was also PM encouraging the fans not to throw the ball back too quickly, by the way, which caused Mr Keane’s snarking in the post-match press conference.) That said, his comments today about no more signings clearly indicate that we are in for a long old haul. As if we didn’t know it already.