JOHN Sheridan played in more than 700 games, including World Cups and winning Wembley finals, but, for many Argyle supporters......one Second Division encounter will be remembered ahead of any other.
November 1, 2003. Home Park. Argyle v Oldham. The 42nd minute. Two combative midfielders clash. David Friio, the darling of the Devonport, and Sheridan, who, given the adulation in which Argyle’s Frenchman was – and, indeed, still is - held, was naturally cast as villain in what followed.
Sheridan put the head on Friio and was red-carded by referee Mark Warren. However, the Home Park crowd’s cheers at the enforced removal of an influential player stuck in their craw as Friio was also dismissed.
His mystified typically Gallic shrug was a tad disingenuous. Replays showed that his earlier – let us call it an “overenthusiastic” – tackle on Sheridan was a cruncher.
No Ifs Or Butts: Sheridan and Friio clash in October 2003
Memories of the incident have been stirred by Sheridan’s appointment as Argyle manager this week. The tweeters and chatterers have even suggested that his reign is already somehow tainted by his decade-ago treatment of an Argyle legend.
Said legend will have none of that, though. Speaking from his home in France this week, Friio welcomed the appointment, stressing that bygones are bygones.
“For sure,” he said. “I wish him all the best.
“I do not know him personally, but I know he’s a good manager and has done well at Oldham and Chesterfield.
“What is important is that he can get the club out of the drop zone and away from relegation; if he is as good a manager as he was a player, it will be no problem for him.
“What happened between us shows that he has a passion and a desire to do well for his team and I admire that. If he brings that passion with him, it will only be good for the club.”
He's French, He's Great:Friio played 185 times for the Pilgrims
Friio has worked for Manchester United as a scout for the last five years, and keeps a close eye on what is going on in English football and at his old club.
“I think they are suffering after what has gone on in the last year or so,” said Friio. “If the club fell out of the league, it would be disastrous.
“I think John can bring a change of direction that is maybe needed to avoid relegation.”