Danny Says Goodbye
When Danny Mayor became a Pilgrim, the side he was joining was in a state of flux.
Argyle had just been relegated to Sky Bet League Two, and new manager Ryan Lowe – and his assistant at the time, Steven Schumacher – were about a month into the job.
Mayor had been a player at Bury alongside Lowe and Schumacher as team-mates, and then under them as a management duo, as the Shakers achieved promotion but then devastatingly went out of business.
By the end of June 2019, all three had landed in Plymouth. Four years and two promotions later, Mayor is about to depart, but could not have picked a better way to bow out.
Argyle are the League One champions, gaining 101 points on the way to claiming a place in England’s second-tier once more.
By a mutual agreement, Mayor will not go there with them, and will leave the club before the new season starts, but few, if any, have played a bigger part in lifting the Greens to where they are today.
“I never thought it would go like this,” Danny told Argyle TV.
“This is my fourth promotion, but this has been probably my most special for a few reasons. To end like this now is just perfect. It's the perfect way to go out.
“It’s quite emotional. It really is. No-one thought I would stay here for four years. No-one. I have loved my time here. If I was younger, maybe I would do another couple of years. But I am excited to go and see my family.
“I was heartbroken after last season because we got so close. We got 80 points and I was convinced we were going to do it last season. It’s testament to the players and the staff that after such a heart-breaking way for it to end, to come back and win the league with 101 points is mind-blowing really.
“It's a proud moment, not just for me, for the whole club and for all the players to do this. It’s a bit different for me because I am leaving. It's just nice to finish in this way, especially after the last season.
“I was heartbroken after last season because we got so close. We got 80 points and I was convinced we were going to do it. It’s testament to the players and the staff that after such a heartbreaking way for it to end, to come back and win the league with 101 points is mind-blowing really.”
Mayor’s relationship with Schumacher – or ‘Stewie’, as he is known in the Mayor household – as team-mates, through Schumacher’s stint as assistant manager and now the man in charge, is clearly a strong bond.
Danny made it clear that he believes Argyle continue to be in the safest of hands, praising the gaffer as both a manager and a man.
“[I love] his attention to detail, on and off the pitch,” said Mayor. “I’ve met managers that care about you on the pitch, but maybe not off it. He does.
“He cares about how you are getting on, how your family is getting on because first and foremost he wants you to be happy.
“You don't find many people like him in football and I feel very fortunate that I've got to work with him for five-and-a-half years. It’s my third promotion with him. I can’t speak highly enough of him.”
Before coming Argyle, Schumacher was clearly a known quantity to Danny, but at that point, other than playing against them a couple of times, the Green Army remained a mystery.
He soon saw what they were all about.
An early conversation with coach Kevin Nancekivell, followed by the experience of playing his first game in green and white, a 3-0 opening day win at Crewe Alexandra, soon opened his eyes.
Mayor said: “When I first got there, Nance would tell me about them and say they are nuts - in a good way. They love the club, they will support the club and then you think: ‘is that not most fans?’
“But it's not - how they turn out, how amazing they are, how loud they are. They are another level. I remember the Crewe game. I remember them just lined up around the streets and I remember thinking: ‘this is a big club; this is a proper club.’
“The season that I came, it was after a poor season, after a relegation. To see them turn out the next season and support. We managed to get promoted that first season and it was incredible.
“I remember saying to Joe [Edwards] and Will Aimson: ‘if we do well here, they will be incredible’ - and they have been for four years. They have been fantastic.”