James Brent lays foundations for Plymouth’s dream of greater things

first_imgReuse this content Facebook Aston Villa’s Grabban and Chester pile more misery on Sunderland Share on WhatsApp Sticking with his manager, who replaced John Sheridan almost three years ago, looks an increasingly prudent decision. Yet it is one of Adams’s boldest calls that seemingly kickstarted their superb turnaround. Ruben Lameiras, once a team‑mate of Harry Kane in Tottenham’s under-21 side, was deemed an unwanted commodity and found himself on trial at Oldham the Monday before Christmas. But, five days later, he made his second league start for Plymouth against Oldham, in a 4-1 win, and the Portuguese forward has not looked back. In defence, 20-year-old Bristol City loanee Zak Vyner has excelled since arriving to fill the void left by Ryan Edwards, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer in January. Twitter Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Read more Pinterest Share via Email “It’s on everyone’s mind,” Sawyer says. “The main thing is for him to get himself back to health. Eddy has been a great part of what we have done and he is a great character in the dressing room but unfortunately he’s not with us every day at the minute while he’s getting his treatment. We have a WhatsApp group, with all of the players in it, with messages going back and forward often with Eddy, especially around game time. But because of the nature of what he’s going through, I know the lads don’t want to pepper him.”After ultimately saving Plymouth in October 2011, Brent, a former property banker, admitted he had not been to a football match for 23 years and is grateful for the wise counsel of the serial promotion‑winner Neil Warnock, whose family home is over the border in Cornwall, following his takeover. Warnock’s words of wisdom, particularly those that stressed the importance of establishing sustainability on and off the pitch in tandem, Brent says, have stuck . “He was incredibly helpful and supportive, as a total rookie chairman, when Argyle was frankly a total mess at the time,” he says. “I needed as much help as I could get.”These days, Plymouth are suddenly dreaming bigger and of a return to the Championship for the first time since 2010. Brent states he starts every season with a “hope” and an “expectation”, the latter of which has been comfortably exceeded. “Argyle will be a stronger club next season regardless of whether we got promoted or not. It’s not just about the season, it’s about continuous improvement and being better each year.” Share on Pinterest Football League blog Football League Derek Adams has overseen a remarkable recovery this season after promotion from League Two. Photograph: Dave Rowntree/PPAUK/Rex/Shutterstock League One Twitter Championship round-up: Marko Grujic fires Cardiff closer to leaders Wolves Pinpointing what has been the catalyst behind an unimaginable turnaround, helmed by the manager, Derek Adams, is the million-dollar question but a few home truths after the defeat by Fleetwood Town in October, an eighth in nine league matches, helped. “It was a case of reminding ourselves of how hard we had worked to get out of League Two,” he says. “It felt like it just snowballed from there really.”A goalkeeping injury crisis also left them stumped, with Argyle having worked their way through seven goalkeepers since September, while four red cards in seven matches that same month ensured problems mounted. They had five points from their first 12 matches.James Brent, the chairman, insists the club hierarchy’s support for Adams did not oscillate; Plymouth did not wish to bloat figures that show more than a third of managers have lost their job since the start of the season, with 11 third-tier clubs among those to change personnel. “I guess we are probably not very typical of many football club boards,” the 52-year-old says.“I know supporters were asking, on a fairly regular basis, has he got one game left or two games left? It was never a debate for the board; it was how do we support our manager to get us back on to the right road? That is the approach we will continue to take, although it won’t always make you popular with supporters all of the time. But I think the board has a very clear responsibility to do the right thing, rather than the popular thing.” Facebook Read more James Brent, centre, with the fans during Argyle’s recent win at Oxford. Photograph: Dave Rowntree/PPAUK/Rex/Shutterstock features Last Sunday marked seven years since a financially crippled Plymouth Argyle entered administration, a time when 40 full‑time staff went nine months without being paid. They were dark days in deepest Devon but, zoom in on a run of one defeat in 15 league matches over the past three months and, like Gary Sawyer, the captain, you, too, will be scrabbling to find the right adjective to describe an equally extraordinary transformation.Plymouth were bottom with 17 points from 20 matches in League One on the morning of 9 December 2017, at which point the club were 5,000-1 for promotion. However, since a last-minute victory against Gillingham at Home Park that hoisted them off the foot of the table they have climbed into the play-off places.“It’s madness really, from where we’ve come from,” says Sawyer, who is in his second spell at the club after joining as a schoolboy at the age of 13. Topics Plymouth Argyle The most unpredictable and unprecedented of promotions would bring what Brent terms “quality problems”, namely putting the pressure on the mucky, ongoing redevelopment of the 1950s grandstand at the stadium they bought back from the city council for £1.7m two years ago, described as an “old lady” by the chairman. It is set to be ready for the start of the 2019-20 season, by which point, on this form at least, anything is possible.“I think, realistically, we can support the club to get into the Championship but we can’t support the club to get into the Premier League,” Brent says. “It’s just so expensive to try to make that journey. I think the deep south-west would really benefit from having a Premier League club. But it’s not something we can do and, at some point, it would be wonderful if somebody can take over the reins and take us to that position.”Talking points• Michael Jolley arrives at Grimsby Town via Cambridge University – where he achieved an MSc in economics – New York, where he worked as a HSBC trader, and AFC Eskilstuna, the Swedish second division club. His time at the latter was the League Two club’s new head coach first managerial post, this being his second. The club enthused about stepping away from the “classic managerial merry-go-round” appointment, just as MK Dons did with Dan Micciche, but with survival at stake, there is little room for error.• Peterborough United owner, Darragh MacAnthony, has sold 50% of his stake to the Canada-based businessmen Stewart Thompson and Dr Jason Neale, who have bought shares through their company, Kelgary Sports and Entertainment. MacAnthony, who will remain as the club chairman, described it as “banner news”, adding that this business will help accelerate the club’s buy-back of their London Road stadium.• Should Ryan Sessegnon be on the plane to Russia? Too early? Maybe. Fulham’s left winger does not turn 18 until May but has shown maturity beyond his years over the past couple of seasons and has been prolific for Slavisa Jokanovic’s side this term, scoring 14 goals. “I believe he can be part of the English national team for the World Cup,” Jokanovic said. Pinterest Share on Messenger Share on Facebooklast_img

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