IF 26-year-old David Ijaha becomes as a success for Argyle in the EFL, his will not be the first story of its kind.
Fifty years ago this week, Argyle sold Tony Book to Manchester City. Prior to signing for the Pilgrims, Book spent all of his career in non-league football, but at the age of 28, came to Home Park. By the time he left for Maine Road, two years later, he had played 93 games for the Greens. He would go to win numerous domestic and international honours with City, retiring at the age of 40.
If Ijaha can follow in Book’s footsteps to fulfil his potential, honed in lower league football and become a major success for the Pilgrims, it will be alright in our book.
You cannot help but have the words ‘Jamie’ and ‘Vardy’ spring to mind when hearing the story of Ijaha. He started out at Chelsea as a twelve to sixteen year old, later moving on to play at Wolverhampton as an apprentice, but then stopped playing football all together for two years.
David said: “When you’re young and you don’t get anything, you just kind of lose your head a little bit so. I didn’t get anything after that and it was a mate who got me back into it from the non league scene, it’s been a long journey.”
That is an understatement. Since getting back into football, David has played for St Albans and Tonbridge, among others, including his most recent club Whitehawk, where Craig Brewster was once a coach.
“Brew knows a few managers I signed under,” said David. “He watched me play a year ago and he told me he tried to sign me a year ago, so when my contract finished last season he called me down and asked for a trial - and here I am today.”
“I see it as a second chance.
“I know what I’ve got to do - get my head down and work.
“One day I will leave Plymouth; if its in six month, a year, two year, I know I can leave knowing I have done my all.
“I’m 26 - I’m not young - so after years burn you start to think is it really going to happen?
“It’s actually funny because at the end of last season I was thinking it wasn’t going to happen, then I got a phone call - and here I am now.”