ARGYLE captain Gary Sawyer has drawn the curtain on another chapter of his Home Park career as the Pilgrims bid farewell to the old dressing-rooms and press on with the re-development plans.
From this week, the first-team squad have no longer been able to use the changing-rooms that have seen hundreds of Pilgrims, and many world stars, get kitted out for a game.
Pele, George Best, Bobby Charlton, Stanley Matthews, Jimmy Greaves, Denis Law, Gordon Banks, Danny Blanchflower, Bobby Moore, Tafari Moore and many more all dressed and showered in rooms which are soon to make way for banqueting and hospitality facilities.
Gary has been privy to the inner sanctum for many years, coming through the ranks at Home Park as a youngster before graduating to the first team which he now skippers.
Despite having had some memorable moments within those walls, he sees their disappearance as a hugely positive indication of the club’s progression.
He said: “It’s the end of an era in some ways; I have spent the majority of my career in that dressing room.
“When we got turfed out the other day, and that’s the end of it, it’s quite a big thing, but the club is heading in the right direction.
“The stand is something that everyone has wanted to be done for years. We just need to put up with a bit of here, there and everywhere until that happens, but it’s not for long and it’s very welcomed in the city, I would have thought, to have the stand re-done.”
The here, there and everywhere currently sees the players changing daily at Plymouth Albion’s Brickfields and shuttling to and fro Home Park for training and meals.
From next week, they will be in temporary changing-rooms outside the Theatre of Greens, on the corner of the Devonport end and Lyndhurst Road side, from where they will also emerge for home matches for the foreseeable future.
Argyle manager Derek Adams is grateful to Albion for coming to the aid of their sporting neighbours.
“They have been very accommodating,” he said. “They have helped us out when we have been struggling to find somewhere to change. We have got to obviously thank them.
"We are doing the best we can. The temporary facility will hopefully be ready for next week and we will be in it before the Doncaster game.
"We are going to be there for a good while and it is going to be different for us. We are going to be coming out of a different entrance, and it will be interesting.”
That Doncaster match might bring a little lump to the throat of the man leading out his team-mates from the top end of the ground, having previously been the final captain to emerge at the head of his colleagues from the old tunnel.
Gary said: “It is weird when you walk out for the last time, probably more so for me than anyone else, but it is the end of an era.
“I have had some good times in that dressing-room, some hard times and some good times.
“It’s part of football unfortunately – sad to see it go, but with the club wanting to go where it wants to go in this day in age of football, it’s right that the stand gets done and we move on to bigger and better things."