Bleeding Green

AS well as welcoming Mansfield Town in Sky Bet League Two on Saturday, Home Park will also host a very special visitor - Owen Masters.

During a very “colourful” life as he describes it, he has undertaken several different forms of employment, particularly in politics. One thing that has remained consistent over the years, however, is his love for the Greens.

“I think I must have green blood,” said Owen.” I went to my first Argyle game with my Dad in 1946 and that’s how it started. I have always followed Argyle, so to have been invited by [chairman] Simon Hallett is truly an honour.”

While his work has taken him to the far reaches of Europe and beyond, he was recognised for his services in countries where conflict had occurred, with an MBE at the beginning of the new millennium.

“I was involved in post-conflict situations in places like Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, and in southern Russia,” he said. “I think mainly the MBE was for the work in Kosovo, organising the first elections there in 2000.

“I think that is what I got it for, not just for what I did but for what the team did. The war in Kosovo took place in 1999, and I went there 10 days after NATO. It was all very explosive then.  Being head of the mission, you get the award. I know they can’t give one to everyone, which is a shame because there was a lot of people who helped to make the whole thing be successful.“

“It’s strange really, I have lived a life of contrast. It all started from the fact that I was a councillor at South Hams District Council, I was leader of the Council at one time in the 1990s. I then became a member of the District Council Association and then the National Local Government Association. I was Vice Chairman of the Transport and Environment Committee.

“After that I was asked to be a member of the British delegations on the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. I said ‘no, I can’t do any more, but they said ‘it’s only two meetings a year in May’ and I agreed. When I got there, I found that I had to have a job. My job was democracy in the Western Balkans!”

Despite his travels and testing tasks, he made sure to always keep tabs on his team, different countries presented different problems in doing so, but by hook or by crook, he knew the Pilgrims’ results!

“For sure [I kept track of the scores],” he said. “With the internet, it was wonderful. When I was home, I’d be down there [at the games], much to the horror of my wife on a Saturday afternoon. I never lost the love for Argyle.

“I was in Singapore for two years from 1956 to 1958. That was a bit more difficult because you couldn’t listen to commentary, but you could get people on the Teleprinter come through with the football results early in the morning. When you went for breakfast you could see all the results. Of course, people would wind you up about the scores!

“I have had an exciting life with lots of different interests but the one thing that has always been running right through it has been that green thread of Argyle.”