FROM Semper Fidelis to knowing what a Janner is, Argyle’s second in command Steven Schumacher was keen to learn all he could about his new employers in the summer.
However, his knowledge of the club has not stemmed from hours spent trawling through the Argyle archives, as he has one the world’s finest walking Pilgrim encyclopaedias working alongside him in the Home Park dug-out. A player, a first-team coach and on a couple of occasions an interim manager, Kevin Nancekivell has undoubtedly been a huge help to the new staff.
“Nance is top drawer – Plymouth Argyle through and through, and he loves the club,” says Schumacher, as if anyone ever needed to be reminded. “He’s energetic, he’s enthusiastic, he loves his job, and he’s one of the hardest working staff members I’ve come across. For the first couple of days, Nance explained to me what Janners meant! Having people on board who understand the club is vitally important.”
Schuey believes that there is now the right blend of past and present among the staff structure at Home Park, and that can only bode well for a bright future, both on and off the field.
He said: “The coaching staff, we feel, has been a good mix, a good blend, of old and new. Definitely. Little bits of information that they can give to us, like, for instance, the walk-out song [Semper Fidelis].
“Nance says to me that it gets the hairs on the back of his neck standing up, like me with the Z-Cars [Everton’s entrance music],” Schuey continued. “When I come out now, I try to listen for the tune, get into it and understand it. Just those little snippets of knowledge are massively important. They know the areas, where to go, what to do, what to say. We’re a young, inexperienced management staff who are desperate to do well, and we have to take everybody else’s advice on board.”
Schumacher even admitted that the sheer size of the club, including its loyal Green Army, defied his expectations before he arrived. He appreciates the potential here and wants to maximise it.
The size of what he had just walked into could be evidenced no better than the opening game of pre-season, against Paul Wotton’s Truro City at Treyew Road. He said: “When a pre-season game is delayed because the fans can’t get in – that’s a massive surprise, and it just shows how big the place is, and how much everybody in the area wants the club to do well.
“I always knew it had massive potential to be a Championship club – and you can argue it probably should be, with the fanbase and the infrastructure that we’re trying to build. You can’t just throw crazy, stupid money at a situation and expect miracles.
“That’s what we knew about the club before we came, and it’s exceeded our expectations. The fanbase is phenomenal, and everything off the pitch, the way the club is run, it’s a proper professional club.”