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Greatest Centre-Backs: 20-16

Green Army Vote for the Top Pilgrims

30 June 2019

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THE Greatest Pilgrims, voted for by the Green Army, lists the top 25 Argyle legends in all positions and after completing the goalkeepers and full-backs, we move on to the centre-backs.

Greatest Pilgrim Centre-Backs
Ranked No.20
Kari Arnason

One of very few Pilgrims to have played in the World Cup and European Championsips, Icelandic international Kari Arnason was a class act over two tough seasons at Home Park.

Although born in Sweden, Arnie played as a junior for Vikingur in his hometown of Reykjavik before spells back in Sweden and then Denmark. He signed for Argyle in the summer of 2009 after a successful trial with the Pilgrims.

He was comfortable in both midfield and defence, settling into the back four under manager Peter Reid. His composure and consistency was a rare highlight in two horrible years for our club, as we suffered successive relegations amid the financial turmoil of administration.

Arnie also scored one of the great goals in Argyle history, an extraordinary strike from 40 yards in a game against MK Dons. He moved to Aberdeen as it became increasingly clear the club could not afford to keep him at Home Park.

He later played for Rotherham, spells in Sweden, Cyprus and Turker. Now back in Icelandic football, Arnie was also a member of the Iceland team that famously dumped England out of Euro 2016.

Greatest Pilgrim Centre-Backs
Ranked No.19
Andy Morrison

Known as Jock during his time at Home Park, Andy Morrision typified the Green Army spirit of passion, commitment and local flavour.

Although born in Scotland, Morrison’s family moved to Plymouth when he was a child and the young defender emerged from the Home Park Academy as an outstanding prospect, making his debut as a 17 year-old in 1988.

Jock was not the biggest of defenders but a great reader of the game, and total courage in every single performance. He was the shining light in a fallow period for Argyle and his performances caught the eye of some big clubs.

A move to Premier League Blackburn came in 1993 but opportunities were limited at Ewood Park, and he moved on to Blackpool, later playing for Huddersfield and Manchester City, where he was immediately installed as club captain. He now works as manager at Connah’s Quay in Welsh football.

Greatest Pilgrim Centre-Backs
Ranked No.18
Mathias Doumbe

Frenchman Mathias Kouo-Doumbe was a tremendous defender and would be a leading contender for one of the quickest players to ever represent our club.

An under-21 international with France, Doumbe was a junior at Paris Saint Germain and then moved to Hibernian in Scotland. It was from here that manager Bobby Williamson signed him for Argyle in 2004.

MKD was happy at both centre-back and right-back in a fine period for the Pilgrims, as we became an established Championship club. Doumbe was lightening fast and that pace so often rescued the Argyle defence from threatening situations.

After 142 outings as a Pilgrim, MKD (fittingly) signed for MK Dons, staying there for four years before then making a brief switch to Northampton. Matty Doumbe: a great Pilgrim and seriously fast.

Greatest Pilgrim Centre-Backs
Ranked No.17
Bobby Saxton

Full tilt in every performance, Bobby Saxton was a classic defender of his era and one of the very best to wear the famous Green shirt.

After learning his trade in the non-league scene, Saxton earned a move to Derby County and made almost 100 appearances for Rams before switching to Home Park in 1968.

Over the next seven years, he defied a serious injury caused by a car accident to become an established Pilgrim in one of our great sides, reaching the League Cup semi-final and helping Argyle to promotion in 1975.

Saxton was completely committed to his craft and a thoroughly courageous defender. He later joined Exeter as player-manager before returning to Home Park as the boss, signing great players like Geoff Crudgington and David Kemp.

Saxton also managed Blackburn, York and Newcastle (as caretaker), plus assistant boss to Niall Quinn at Sunderland.

Greatest Pilgrim Centre-Backs
Ranked No.16
John Williams

Not to be confused with the outstanding winger from a similar era with the same name, John Williams was a tough centre-back at Home Park in the late 1950s.

Known as John ‘Cardiff’ Williams, he, unsurprisingly, came to Home Park from Cardiff City and was capped at youth level by Wales.

His career was faltering with a lack of opportunities at Cardiff when Argyle pipped Norwich to his signature in 1958. Williams ensured his place in Argyle history with some fantastic displays in the 1958-59 promotion team.

Williams was incredibly tenacious in his approach and the Green Army took him to their hearts. Although he left for Torquay United in 1961, Williams became a cult hero with a fine display against the emerging genius of Jimmy Greaves in a friendly against Tottenham.

For information on the Greatest Pilgrims, please click here.

The Greatest Pilgrims are sponsored by the Big Green Lottery. Sign up to the lottery for chances to win weekly cash prizes, a monthly prize of £500, the annual draw of £12,000 spread across ten finalists and monthly bonus prizes.

The Big Green Lottery raises valuable funds for the Argyle Academy, including the purchase of a new minibus for our young stars last year. At present, our BGL membership stands at 650 and our aim is to reach 1,000 members, which would effectively triple the quarterly donations to the Argyle Academy.

For more information, contact us on bgl@pafc.co.uk and to join the BGL, simply sign up online

Greatest Centre-Back Results So Far
16. John Williams
17. Bobby Saxton
18. Mathias Doumbe
19. Andy Morrison
20. Kari Arnason
21.Peter Hartley
22. Adam Barrett
23. Darren Purse
24. Forbes Phillipson-Masters
25. Neil Hague

Greatest Full-Back Results
1. Paul Connolly
2. Gordon Nisbet
3. Tony Capaldi
4. Gary Sawyer
5. Mark Patterson
6. David Worrell
7. Paul Williams
8. Gary Poole
9. Colin Sullivan
10. Peter Gilbert
11. Moses Russell
12. Onismor Bhasera
13. Leigh Cooper
14. John Hore
15. Marc Edworthy
16. Lee Hodges
17. Brian McGlinchey
18. Dave Provan
19. Phil Burrows
20. Jon Beswetherick
21. John Uzzell
22. Tony Book
23. Septimus Atterbury
24. Pat Jones
25. Wayne O’Sullivan

Greatest Goalkeeper Results
1. Romain Larrieu
2. Luke McCormick
3. Jim Furnell
4. Alan Nicholls
5. Geoff Crudgington
6. Bill Shortt
7. Alan Miller
8. Steve Cherry
9. Peter Shilton
10. Rhys Wilmot
11. Dave MacLaren
12. Fred Craig
13. Pat Dunne
14. Remi Matthews
15. Milija Aleksic
16. Jon Sheffield
17. Paul Barron
18. Martin Hodge
19. Bruce Grobbelaar
20. Geoff Barnsley
21. Harry Cann
22. John Willie Sutcliffe
23. David Stockdale
24. Bill Harper
25. Neil Ramsbottom


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