Magnificent Sevens

WITH the arrival of Daniel Nardiello at Home Park, HADEN TYE and TOM SLEEMAN look at seven Pilgrims who have worn the No. 7 shirt with distinction

Tommy Grozier (1928-1935) 
TOMMY joined Argyle from Scottish side Rutherglen Glencairn as a 25-year-old in 1928 after being signed by fellow Scotsman Robert Jack. Primarily a forward, he enjoyed a seven-year stay at Home Park before retiring in 1935, aged 33. He made 223 appearances for the Pilgrims, registering a return of 59 goals in the process, most notably scoring four times in a 6-1 win over Crystal Palace in December 1929. Grozier was handed his debut in February 1928, when the Pilgrims overcame Brentford 1-0 at home. He finished second-top goalscorer for the club on two occasions, scoring 15 league goals in the 1930-31 season and 13 two seasons later. He finished behind club record scorer Sammy Black on both occasions. The pair featured together 207 times for Argyle. Tommy’s last game for the Greens would end in defeat however as they lost 2-0 away at Bury in October 1935 after which he retired.

Gordon Astall (1948-53)
GORDON was born in Bolton and was playing amateur football for Southampton before he signed for Argyle in 1947. His league debut came in February 1948 against Luton Town, the first of the 188 Argyle appearances. Gordon was a right-winger and scored 42 goals, helping the Pilgrims win Division 3 (South) in 1952 before moving to Birmingham City in 1953 for £14,000, shortly after Alex Govan’s switch from Argyle to St Andrews. Astall played for Birmingham for eight years, and managed two England appearances in 1956, scoring on his debut against Finland and playing against Germany six days later.

Tommy Grozier and Gordon Astall

Colin Randell (1973-1977 & 1979-1982)
DESPITE becoming a professional at Coventry City, Colin did not make his debut until he joined Argyle in 1973. He helped the Pilgrims reach the League Cup semi-final in 1974 and promotion to the Second Division followed the next season. He followed Bobby Saxton to Exeter for a couple of seasons, and then came back again when Saxton was appointed Argyle manager. Overall in his time at Argyle, Colin made 249 appearances for the Pilgrims and scored 17 goals. Randell was a versatile defender or midfielder and went on to play for Blackburn after Argyle, once again under Saxton. 

Kevin Hodges (1978-1992)
BETWEEN Kevin Hodges’ first and last Argyle appearance, 10 different managers took the reins at Home Park, and that is without counting the caretaker managerial duo of Gordon Nisbet and Alan Gillett, or Martin Harvey’s two temporary spells in charge – 14 years passed by, also. Kevin is Argyle’s top appearance maker, recording 586 starts for the Greens and 34 appearances from the bench. After his spell at Argyle, Kevin moved to Torquay, where he spent five years playing before he became the manager for two years. In 1998, Kevin returned to Home Park and spent two years in charge of the Pilgrims. After several years away in various coaching roles, Kevin came back to work at Argyle where he is currently responsible for managing the academy.

Colin Randell and Kevin Hodges

Martin Barlow (1989-2001)
MARTIN was an Argyle apprentice, who spent 12 years at Home Park. ‘Chopsy’, as he was known, played on the right or in the centre of midfield, featuring in his first Argyle game in 1989 and his last in 2001. Martin won promotion with Argyle via the Endsleigh Third Division play-offs at Wembley in 1996, and in 1998 he shared Argyle’s Player of the Season award with Carlo Corazzin. After his time at Argyle, Martin went on to play a season at Exeter City, before retiring in 2003 at Telford United.

David Norris (2002-2008)
‘CHUCK’, as he was nicknamed, spent six years as Argyle’s number seven. Signed from Bolton Wanderers after a successful loan spell, Norris went on to make 243 appearances for Argyle, scoring 28 goals. Chuck played 42 games in the promotion season of 2003-04, and maintained his place in Argyle’s first team for four years of Championship football, winning Argyle’s Player of the Season award in 2005-06. He was a consistent and energetic central-midfielder, that was ever present in Argyle’s side until his spell at Home Park ended in January 2008, when Ipswich Town signed him for £2.25m, a club record sale at the time. 

Martin Barlow and David Norris

Lewis Alessandra (2013-2015)
‘LEWI’ was signed by John Sheridan in June 2013 with the pair having previously worked together at Oldham, where Shez had given Lewi his first team debut. Lewi managed to make just under 70 appearances for the Latics, scoring eight goals, before going on to sign for Morecambe in 2011 after Oldham decided not to renew his contract. He made just over 80 appearances for Morecambe, scoring nine goals, whilst playing in a number of positions over two seasons. Morecambe offered Lewi a new contract, which he initially agreed to sign but then changed his mind to sign for Argyle. Sheridan initially played Lewis as a right-midfielder, later moving him forward to play as a striker with Reuben Reid. Lewi had a successful two years at Argyle, finishing as the club’s second-leading goal scorer in both seasons, with a total of 37 goals for the Pilgrims.