FORMER Pilgrims’ manager Tony Waiters, and his team full of Argyle legends, are reuniting at their former stomping ground, Home Park, for Saturday’s tie against Rochdale.
Waiters, who managed one of the more successful eras in Argyle history through the mid 1970s, is making a rare appearance in Plymouth, travelling from his home in Canada, for a wider reunion weekend with some of his best and brightest former players.
In many ways, Waiters was a manager ahead of his time. Like the current Argyle chief, Derek Adams, he was interested in the entire football club operation, not just the playing side. For example, the Greens’ current training ground, Harpers’ Park, was developed at the insistence of Waiters, who was heavily involved in the fundraising efforts, including running many marathons for the cause.
18 of the Greens’ playing squad from the Waiters era, which included a run to the League Cup semi-final in 1974 and a promotion the following campaign, are marking the release of the pictorial book, The Waiters Years 1972-1977, with a series of events in partnership with the Green Taverners, PASOTI and Argyle Legends.
Former Pilgrims attending the weekend include the legendary strike-force of Paul Mariner and Billy Rafferty, as well as household names like Bobby Saxton, John Delve, Jim Furnell and Johnny Hore. The former Greens will arrive at Home Park at lunchtime on Saturday, enjoying a pre-match buffet before participating in various fan and media engagements.
Waiters and Mariner will be appearing in the freshly-opened club shop between 1:15 and 1:30pm for a photo opportunity with the fans, before attending the Green Taverners’ Fans Fest ahead of the game. The entire contingent will appear at half-time for a pitch-side interview and to conduct the 50-50 draw.
After the game, the Pilgrims’ legends can be found in the Green Taverners’ Suite from 7pm for an evening’s entertainment entitled A Night to Remember: Argyle’s 1974/75 Dream Season, hosted by Argyle’s Head of Communications, Rick Cowdery. Tickets are still available, and entry is £15, which includes a pie and a pint.
Sunday will see the Waiters era squad attend the Duke of Cornwall Hotel for a sold-out four-course meal in the afternoon. The Sunday entertainment includes highlights of the club’s astonishing run to a League Cup semi-final against Manchester City, as well as moments from their 1975 promotion and a pre-season friendly against Pele’s Santos. Argyle fan and local broadcasting legend Gordon Sparks will be in attendance to interview the Greens’ former manager, as well as a few of the attending ex-players.
Welcome back to Home Park, Tony.