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Plymouth Argyll FC

Plymouth Argyle Football Club was founded in 1886, when two friends decided the town needed a football team for local people to play in and support.

The team's first game was on 16th October 1886, when they lost 2-0 against Cornish side Caxton, but they didn’t have to wait long for a win; that came a week later against Plymouth College.

Argyle's first home pitch was in the Mount Gould area of town, while they also played at Marsh Mills before moving to their current ground Home Park [map] in 1901.

In 1903 The Pilgrims, as they are affectionately known, became a professional football club and were accepted into the Southern League for the 1903/04 season.

The club’s first professional game was a great success as they beat West Ham United 1-0 away in the Western League. Their first home game was also a glorious day for the 4,500 fans who turned out at Home Park to see their team beat Northampton Town 2-0.

Argyle did well in the Southern League, winning the championship in 1912/13 and being runners up on two other occasions.

But in 1920, Plymouth Argyle joined the Football League Division Three (South), finishing 11th in their first season under the management of Bob Jack.

The 1920s were a frustrating decade for the club as they finished runners up six times in a row. Thankfully their luck changed in the 1929/30 season when they topped the table and won promotion to Division Two.

Argyle stayed in this league for 20 years before being relegated back down to Division Three at the end of the 1949/50 season. However, they didn’t stay down for long after winning the Division Three (South) title for the second time in 1951/2.

In the mid 1950s the club was once again relegated to the third division, and it’s fair to say the 1960s were pretty disappointing for fans too, the only highlight being in 1965 when they reached the League Cup semi-final but lost against Leicester City.

Nine years later the team was back in the League Cup semi-final, but lost to Manchester City in the replay at Main Road after holding them to a 1-1 draw at Home Park.

Plymouth Argyle's best ever FA Cup run was in 1983/4, when they reached the semi-final against Watford at Villa Park. However the team lost the match in front of a 43,858 crowd.

With Dave Smith at the helm, Argyle secured a place back in Division Two in 1985/6 and goals by the legendary Tommy Tynan kept the fans coming to Home Park in the hope of promotion to the top flight. However, they never quite managed it.

In the 1990s, businessman Dan McCauley took over as chairman and he was quick to appoint former England player Peter Shilton as manager in the 1991/2 season. Unfortunately, Argyle was relegated to Division Three (which became Division Two the following season with the creation of the Premiership) at the end of the season.

Things got a lot worse for Argyle in 1994/5 when they were relegated to the bottom league, Division Three. But new boss Neil Warnock brought fresh hope to the club, which secured promotion back into Division Two the following season.

Argyle went down again at the end of the 1997/8 season, and finished 13th in the bottom division the following year – the club’s worst season ever.

However, a new board of directors was established in 2001 and work started on rebuilding the Home Park stadium. It seems this development did the team the world of good as they were promoted to Division Two at the end of the 2001/2 season, with a massive 102 points.

Things got even better in 2003/4 when The Pilgrims were crowned Division Two Champions at the end of the season, winning promotion to the newly created Coca Cola Championship.


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