History Boys

DEREK Adams had time for some history lessons ahead of Argyle’s trip to Fleetwood Town – as the look to make some more history of their own.

Argyle’s perfect February and six-game winning run has caught the eye, as has a remarkable rise from bottom of the league to sixth place inside three months. 

Suddenly, all eyes seem to be on Home Park, Plymouth Argyle, and its enigmatic manager. The boss, though is comfortable with this, welcoming the attention, for it must mean the club is doing something right. 

As he points out, it is not terribly long ago that the club was flirting with relegation out of League Two, and fighting for its very existence. Hovering on the edge of the League One play-off spots seemed a very long way off. 

Derek’s predecessors Carl Fletcher and John Sheridan, the latter of whom will be taking charge of his second game as Fleetwood manager when Argyle arrive on Saturday, laid the base upon which Derek has built. 

“It’s good for the city as a whole and it’s good for Argyle,” said Adams, of the increased attention. “It puts us back on the map. We did that last year by winning promotion out of League Two. We went on a great run in the FA Cup, a game that was showed all over the world against Liverpool. It is important that you get national attention, the gates are increasing and our turnover has increased again at the football club. 

“It’s very important, when people start talking about this football club the supporters come back through the gates again. The football club only last week, seven years ago came out of administration, and since it has come out of administration it has been on the front foot ever since.

“I think it’s important that we do continue our six game winning run. If you look even further back our record is outstanding over a twenty game period. 

“I’ve been ten years as a manager and nearly 500 games. From that point of view it doesn’t faze me; I always look after the football club first and foremost. I said that when I first came to the football club in Bideford and did my first press conference; I said to them what I intended to do. I have taken that out to the letter so to speak. We look after the football club so it is like your own money and your own home. 

“You want it to have drama about it; this football club is a club that want to be different and we are way down here in the South West which does make us different. We certainly have a style of play that the supporters are enjoying. 

“He (Sheridan) came in under difficult circumstances and was able to stave off relegation from the conference and at that time the football club were under a difficult spell. But the chairman, John and Carl have kept us in this division. 

“He played 3-5-2, I came in and changed it to 4-2-3-1. I had to change personal from when he was here. He had a successful season reaching the Play-Off semi finals. But we had to take in wide players to give more of an attacking threat.” 

Derek’s ascension at Argyle has drawn comparisons with another former Scottish Argyle boss, Paul Sturrock, this week named as Chief Scout for his beloved Dundee United. 

Sturrock was born in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, and grew up some 100 miles south, in Perthshire. By contrast, Derek was born in Glasgow, but spent his formative years in Ellon. 

Sturrock, in his first spell at Home Park, got Argyle promoted from the fourth tier, solidified the following season, then had Argyle on the verge of promotion again before leaving for Southampton. 

“I was brought up in Ellon and he was born there,” said Derek. “I don’t know if he stayed there that long, but I was there for nine years and went to Ellon Academy Primary school. So it Is an area that I know well. I am really thankful for the upbringing I had there. Teddy Scott who used to be the trainer at Aberdeen Football Club lived there as well so I learnt a lot at that moment in time.

“I think it is a different era to what we are in. There are similarities, he had great success at his first spell at the football club. I am sure that we want to have the same level, it is still a possibility that we can have back to back promotions that would be a fabulous season.”