PAUL Wotton is continuing his lifelong association with Argyle.
Paul, 36, will go into his 18th season as a Pilgrims player when the 2014-15 season kicks off on August 9 after agreeing a new one-year contract that – like his current deal – includes some coaching responsibilities.
Wottsy said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be extending my career in the city where I was born with the club I have supported all my life.
“I can’t think of a better situation for me next year than combining playing and coaching. I am not stupid enough to think I am going to be playing every game: from Day One, the manager has been first class with me – if he wants me to play, I’m ready, and I will be contributing in other ways. It’s a win-win situation, really.
“I am so excited about next season already, as excited as I was when I was a 17-year-old going into my first season. I am really happy.”
Argyle manager John Sheridan said: “Wottsy knows the club inside out and I think he’s got something to give. His playing days are coming towards an end – he knows that – but he’s got experience and know-how and I think I am making the right decision by keeping him as a player plus getting him involved in the coaching side.
“He’s got his A Licence and I think there is something there for him. I trust him and think it will be good for us. He’s played for Plymouth nearly all his life; everyone respects him; and his desire for the club to do well is a big plus.”
Wottsy’s place in Argyle legend was secure even before his outing at Portsmouth on the final day of last season drew him level on the club’s all-time appearances list with the legendary Sammy Black, whose mark of 491 games between 1924-38 has been surpassed only once by the 998 Pilgrims that have played before or since.
One of the most outstanding captains in Pilgrims’ history after rising through the youth ranks to make his professional debut in 1995, he became an inspirational leader and cult hero in his home city.
After initially starting his career as a centre-back, he made the transition into central midfield, building a reputation for his trademark powerful free-kicks and penalties, and posting a remarkable record from the spot.
As club captain for the 2001-02 season, he played every second of Argyle’s Third Division title triumph and was named in the PFA Division 3 Team of the Year. He was the fans’ Player of the Year in 2002-03 and again in 2004-05, when he was also the club’s top goalscorer.
He remained faithful to Argyle despite losing his place in the starting line-up twice to Hasney Aljofree during the 2003-04 season when the Pilgrims won the Division 2 title, and went on to lift his second trophy as skipper.
After a testimonial season in 2005-06, when he was an ever-present and again finished the season as top scorer, he suffered a knee-ligament injury in December 2007 and did not return to the first team for 14 months. He went on to make just eight more appearances before he was released after 14 dedicated seasons and joined Southampton.
Wottsy made a remarkable return to Home Park during the 2011-12 season and played a large part in Argyle’s fight for Football League survival, proving that he still had the passion and ability that was a hallmark of his first spell.
At the start of last season, manager John Sheridan picked him for the starting 11 for the opening fixture, away at Southend United. However, he broke a rib following an accidental clash with goalkeeper Luke McCormick, which kept him out for the early stages of the season.
He bounced back after Christmas, helping to kickstart the Pilgrims’ ultimately just unsuccessful play-off push when he was recalled for the three-victories-in-a-week against Dagenham & Redbridge, Fleetwood and Morecambe.