THANKS to some connections with the club and a welcoming atmosphere, new Argyle signing Craig Tanner already feels right at home at Home Park.
The 20-year old completed his six-month loan to the Greens from Reading on Wednesday, returning to a ground that left a lasting impression on him during his two visits this year – first as an AFC Wimbledon player last season, then as part of Reading’s Under-21 side in a pre-season friendly.
“When I was also at Wimbledon, this was probably the best stadium I’ve played in,” said Craig. “The atmosphere, the pitch, and I don’t know why but I took a real liking to the tunnel. It feels nice and old-school and I actually really like walking down there.
“On the journey up to Reading I was telling the lads about the tunnel, and I was buzzing off it, to be honest! It’s the small things which amuse us.
“All the players knew that, hopefully, if you put on a good show and give a good account of yourself, you might get some interest. I think all the lads did that and, luckily enough, I was the one to get picked out.
“After the game, I heard that [Argyle] were a little bit interested, but obviously there’s a lot of things to sort out – which are normally out of my control, so I don’t pay much attention until I hear proper news.
“I got a text from my agent on Tuesday at about nine at night, saying ‘the Plymouth deal’s all done now. Get down there for tomorrow evening’, which didn’t give me a lot of time to sort things out!
“To get a chance to come here is something I’ll grasp with both hands.”
Argyle and the city of Plymouth is certainly not an unknown territory for the forward, who will get the opportunity to reunite with some of his family, as well as a former teammate, during his time at the club.
“I rang my mum and dad to let them know, and I told my nan because she’s from Plymouth,” Craig revealed. “She grew up in the Barbican so she was happy.
“I’ve got a lot family down here a well, so I let them know that I was coming here on loan, sorted some things out and started the four-hour journey. I’ve got some cousins and aunties down here who are looking forward to seeing me play for the first time – especially for the team they support.
“I know Carl McHugh really well. When he was at Reading, I actually used to hold him up in my house. We used to look after him, and I was speaking to him on the phone. It’s already made me feel settled in.”
Indeed, despite his hasty arrival, and the Pilgrims’ Sky Bet League 2 season opener against AFC Wimbledon fast approaching, Tanner has already bedded in nicely to manager Derek Adams’ setup at the Theatre of Greens.
“The manager came to meet me last night at the hotel, and made sure I got checked in,” said Craig. “I’m really excited to work with him.
“I feel settled in already. Everyone’s so friendly here so I can’t wait to get on the pitch and hopefully show the lads a bit more of what I can do.”