Hello and Goodbye

Sonny Bradley meets the ball with a thumping clearance which loops high into a drab, grey sky. Ryan Taylor gets underneath it and beats his marker to flick it on. Carey chases, outpacing his man, the ball is on the corner of the box, it would take something special from here.

He winds up and smacks it with that fabled left foot.  The ball flies towards the goal, the travelling Green Army look on with wide eyes, they grab the arm of the person next to them, their knees bent slightly in anticipation. Coiled springs.

They have seen this kind of thing before.

The ball doesn’t swerve but it dips at the last moment.  The ‘keeper dives, more in hope than expectation. The ball has already passed him.

This is how we will remember Graham Carey.  Moments, like that goal at Blackpool, that made us jump out of our seats, moments that made us thankful that he was ours and nobody else’s.

The off-season of 2017 was spent in a state of nervous frenzy as we waited for him to sign a new deal.  The days ticked by, still no word.  Rumours circulated, alleged interest from Championship clubs supressed our appetite.

On the 29th of June, after two long months in purgatory, the news we had all been waiting for came. 

Two years later and it is a different story.  Graham Carey’s time at Argyle has come to an end.

At least - unless we have any Bulgarian First Division aficionados in our midst - we won’t have to endure the pain of watching him do what he does in the colours of another team.

But the bizarre nature of the transfer, a move to CSKA Sofia, does little to temper the sadness of his departure.

The arrival of our new manager, on the other hand, provides considerably more comfort.

It is impossible to ignore the sense of excitement around Home Park at the moment.

The new season is still a long way off but it is difficult to recall one that has been so eagerly anticipated by so many.

Last season ended miserably.  Our inexorable spiral towards League Two began after our failure to hold on to leads against Blackpool and Bristol Rovers and hit its darkest point on a bleak Saturday afternoon in Accrington.

The atmosphere among the fanbase after that defeat was as bad as I can remember.  We were on the brink, our destiny snatched out of our hands by a rampant Stanley.  We went into the final game of the season needing to win but knowing that even a victory might not be enough.

They were dark times.  But a little over a month later the light flooded back in when the door was flung open for Ryan Lowe to step through.

After an anxious wait, fluctuating odds and a bucketful of conjecture, the new manager was announced to universal approval among the Green Army.

Show me a fan who isn’t impressed with our new gaffer and I will show you a pessimist of the highest order.

But our joy at having secured the services of such an exciting manager is tarnished slightly by the situation he leaves behind at former club Bury. 

Lowe worked miracles last season in managing to motivate a group of players who could have been forgiven for not feeling too enthusiastic about football.  What is happening there is not fair. The future of our new manager’s former club is still in the balance and it is important that we, as supporters, maintain humility in our time of happiness.

That doesn’t mean we can’t be excited.  There is a lot to look forward to this season

We can expect attacking football. With 82 goals last season Bury were League Two’s highest scorers on their way to automatic promotion.

Lowe’s arrival at Home Park, along with assistant Steven Schumacher, ushers in a new era in Argyle’s history, one that has us banging on the doors of the ground begging to be let in to take our seats for the new season.

But patience is required.  Rome was not built in a day, and the grand schemes that the new gaffer has in mind will take time to implement.

Appointing the right man for the job is not an easy task for any board but ours has done an exceptional job in galvanising the fans; we wanted a manager who can will us out of our seats and it looks like we’ve got exactly that.

Change begets change.  Along with Carey we say a fond farewell to loyal servants David Fox and Yann Songo’o, two players who endeared themselves to the Green Army with their efforts.

But it is GC10 who will be the hardest to replace, both on the pitch and in our affections.

The legend of one Home Park hero has ended but we find ourselves now at the bright, shiny beginning of another.