The only way is upBy: Jim | July 24th, 2009
Hello, hello, I’m back, I’m back, as a matter of fact I’m back. Dodgy provenance but the right sentiment. And (closes eyes, crosses fingers and touches wood) that might just apply to PAFC as well. In the wake of last season’s survival (more a stumble over the line than a Houdini act), some significant changes have been happening at Home Park. Here’s a summary:
i) Japanese/American consortium assume majority shareholding in the club. Sir Roy gardner appointed chairman, with Paul Stapleton remaining on the Board. Director Phill Gill leaves. Internal restructuring means the position of CEO is abolished, with current incumbent Michael Dunford leaving as of 31 July;
ii) New Board rumoured to begin development of the South Stand at the end of the 2009/10 season;
iii) Argyle sign striker Bradley Wright-Phillips from Southampton, Icelandic midfielder Kari Arnason and Carl Fletcher, with Zoltan Szelesi currently on trial. Rumoured targets include Rangers duo Alan Gow and Charlie Adam and (less likely) David James. Jermaine Easter (MK Dons, £200,000) an Graham Stack (Hibs, we had to pay them) have both left the club.
I hesitate to use the phrase, but the green shoots of recovery could be around the corner. Word on the street seems to be that Argyle’s pre-season has been considerably better than last year’s, with Steve MacLean, Jim Paterson and Rory Fallon standing out. I’ll be better able to judge after Wednesday, when i get my first sight of the Argyle (in the new kit – ugh) 09/10 edition in their friendly against Hearts. Jason Puncheon has returned from his loan at MK Dons apparently up for the challenge and the whisper is that rather more football is being played than hitherto. That’s not a criticism of Sturrock, incidentally: we played a fair amount of pass and move stuff last year. What happened over and over again was that as soon as we went behind, panic set in, confidence was lost and we resorted to the lump-and-jump, usually without any tangible success.
Gow and Adam would be useful signings (my suspicion is we may get one but not both). I think we are still shy a centre-back, especially if Doumbe (MK Dons) and Timar (Blackpool) make their rumoured moves. But the squad is starting to shape up. And while we cant compete with some of the silly money being thrown around at the moment, we might just be gelling a team together that could, at least, keep its head above water.
A full pre-season preview to follow: for now, sit back and enjoy the ride!