Plymouth is the largest English city still waiting to host top-flight football – are Plymouth Argyle the team to fix that? It’s unlikely. The closest they’ve come is fourth in the second tier (1932 and 1953). But the last time they spent time at that level (as we write) was the season we won the Blue Square Premier. Since then, it’s been a case of ups and downs from League One to League Two and vice-versa. But, even after promotion to the Football League, we kept missing them to start with; not until 2014-5 did we first come up against each other.
In 2012 and 2013, Argyle were two points and one point from sliding into the Conference respectively. It would have ended a 90-year residence in the Football League – one that began back in 1920. Over the years, the Pilgrims have lifted a title of sorts on five occasions. The most recent was the Second Division (League One) in 2004. It took the club back up to the second tier for the first time since 1998.
One of the most remarkable runs that Argyle went on came during the 1920s. As one of the founder members of the Football League’s new Division Three South, the club missed out on the title in 1922 on goal average. Only first place got promotion back then. So, imagine their horror as the came second again in 1923. And 1924. Actually, they would finish second in Division Three South for six straight seasons. There was then a couple of years when someone else had a go before Argyle finally won the title and went up to Division Two.
They once got through to the FA Cup semi-finals in 1984 too, losing to Watford by a single goal. Interesting, right?
Apart from that, we’ve little to wax lyrical about. Plymouth Argyle have been forced to replace glorious highs of the Championship with the mundane lows of League Two. In football, there’s no joy in going down – unless it’s a return trip from Accrington. But the Pilgrims can at least chortle at Torquay United; the Gulls making their own journey south into the abyss of the Conference. As the folk at Tesco keep banging on, every little helps. Get on you Janners, etc.
How to get to Plymouth Argyle – Travel Information – Distance: 258 miles
It’s a long old poke to Plymouth, to paraphrase a famous insurance advert from not too long ago. Two options are available to you, both of which take around the same amount of time. However, opting to take the A303 route appears to be 20 miles shorter than the M4/M5 one. But we’ve detailed both so you can make a choice as to which suits your needs.
For this mainly motorway-based route, head south on the A1(M) and follow the counter-clockwise M25 around to Junction 15. Exit the M25 and join the westbound M4 for Slough, Reading et al for what will be an uninterrupted 98-mile stretch before you arrive in the Bristol region. It will be at this point you come to Junction 20; leave the M4 and join the southbound M5.
The M5 section of the journey is another lengthy one, at more than 89 miles before you continue ahead onto the A38 after Exeter. And it will be another 38.4 miles before you need to come off the A38, taking the A386 exit for Tavistock. At the roundabout, select the second exit, which will lead you onto the A386 for Plymouth; it’s the dual carriageway that passes over the roundabout and A38.
After more than 1 mile, you’ll be drawing alongside the stadium and a car park will be situated between Outland Road and the ground itself. This is likely to be the most convenient place to leave your car for the game. Continue past this car park until the next junction, before turning left and almost doubling back on yourself to enter.
The start and end of this route is much the same as the M4/M5 one above, but instead of exiting the M25 at Junction 15, continue along and join the southbound M3 instead (for Southampton etc). Having passed Basingstoke, leave the M3 at Junction 8 for the A303 towards Andover and Salisbury. You’ll be sticking with this for around 96 miles until you come to the A30.
Continue on the A30 for another 19 miles until you reach the M5 and the outskirts of Exeter. From here, join the M5 and continue in the same manner as you would had you come down the M4/M5 route detailed above.
As mentioned, there appears to be a reasonably-sized car park at the ground, which is located just off Outland Road. It appears that this is free but works on a first-come, first-served basis and could fill up considerably after 2pm. If you don’t arrive early enough to avoid disappointment, you may be able to seek out street parking.
Services to: LONDON PADDINGTON
Home Park isn’t particularly close to the railway station at more than 1 mile away, but the journey on foot will only take around 30-40 minutes and will take you through the park itself. Exit the station and turn right onto Station Approach Road, before turning right onto the A386 Saltash Road. This will take you under the railway and to a roundabout, where you need to cross Central Park Avenue and head up Alma Road.
Just before you come to the first homes on the right hand side of Alma Road, there is a right turning down a path, which you need to take. This will lead you into the park and continue along this same path for 0.5 miles. At what resembles a roundabout for pedestrians, continue forward. By now, the round will surely be visible already to you.
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