Cornwall Fans Forum

EARLIER this week, Argyle owner and chairman Simon Hallett, Pilgrims chief executive Andrew Parkinson, and manager Ryan Lowe visited Bodmin Town Football Club, where they answered questions from the Cornish Supporters’ Association.

Here are some of the highlights. 

Simon Hallett, on the club being at the heart of its community:

“I think Argyle is not as deeply embedded in the community as it should be. To me, a club that is successful without being loved by its community is not a successful club – it’s a successful team. It’s not about just Ryan and the first-team; it’s about Ryan and his role in the community. I want to be a successful first-team at the core of a much-loved club.”

Andrew Parkinson, on improving the Home Park experience:

“I think we have to make the offer at the club a better one than it is now, which will take a bit of time. I think it goes into the whole match-day experience: what we do for kids, what we do for a range of different people; how we engage with community on a match-day. I think the vast majority of people from Devon, Cornwall and in Plymouth, at heart, want to be an Argyle fan.”

Ryan Lowe on the Argyle players’ reaction to last season:

“I haven’t asked them what went wrong because it wasn’t my era; it was down to the old regime. I just wanted them to forget it quickly and move on, pay you guys back and pay the club back – they’ve been on good enough contracts to do that. I get people can blame managers and coaches but ultimately, I was always one that looked at myself first and they did have to look at themselves. Derek Adams was a good guy; he served the club well; I am not going to bad-mouth him at all because every time I came across him, he was a gentleman and a good guy. It can’t have just been his fault; players have to take responsibility also. It’s tough to say but I believe, now, that there were certain players that wanted to move quickly; their heads were gone, and their heart was somewhere else. The good thing for me is that all of them want to make up for it which is pleasing for me. If they didn’t, they’d be out the door, sharpish.”

Simon Hallett, on the Argyle outlook:

We are a club that is run by our values and our vision, and you can find our Vision and Values statement on our website. It talks about us wanting to be a club supported or respected by everyone in the South West, and beyond. If they’re not willing to support us, or if they support other teams in Devon, we want them to respect us and we gain their respect by being excellent in everything we do.”

Andrew Parkinson, on progressing the Pilgrims:

“We have to do everything from the bottom upwards right across the whole club; how we play football, how that’s managed, but also how the departments work, how we engage with fans; how we approach match day. It won’t happen overnight, but I think, if we always ask ourselves if we’re doing the right thing and if we are in line with our values every time we make a decision, that’s a great step forward. We have a great platform to work from.”

Ryan Lowe on his ambitions for 2019-20:

“There are 23 other teams that we are up against who want the same aim – we want to finish as high as possible. We will have a team that plays the right way as the fans will want; I’d like to think we have a competitive team to compete in League Two and see where it takes us. The lads who are here, want to be here and they want to put things right, which won’t be easy, but they will get a chance to try and put it right.”

Andrew Parkinson, on Home Park being used for more than just football games:

“We only play 30-odd games a season, and we’ve got a stadium there 365 days a year, so we have to generate revenue, and that revenue goes to the first team. On a non match-day, it’s about other events, concerts etc. We have done that a little bit in the past and it has proven to be a good venue. We can get 20-odd thousand people in Home Park and we will look to do a lot more of that.”

Ryan Lowe on travelling to away games this season:

“What we are going to do this year is we are going to train on the road. We have links with Bristol City, Aston Villa, Birmingham, Liverpool and wherever we can train. We are going to leave at 10am on Friday and then we will get as far as Bristol or Birmingham; we will stop there and train; and then we will move on to the hotel. We will do that for most away games.”

Simon Hallett, on fulfilling his promise for the club to become more financially transparent:

“I hope on, July 19, we will get something out which is comprehensible. The big thing that we won’t reveal will be Ryan’s budget. There will be a number for wages, which is including everyone at the club. We will basically give you a picture of where money has come from over the last three years, and where money has gone over the last three years, and also where we expect to be/go over the next year or so.”