Hardie on His New Deal
Ryan Hardie’s decision to remain an Argyle player by signing a new three-year contract has been well received in many quarters.
Manager Steven Schumacher is naturally delighted to have retained the services of his leading goalscorer, and the Green Army reacted favourably to the news that the popular Scot is to remain a Pilgrim as Argyle prepare themselves for life back in the Sky Bet Championship.
To Ryan himself, while his relationships with the supporters and the manager are clearly important to him, the opinions of a couple of people much closer to home played a huge part in his decision to stay.
In fact, call it a collective decision. A motivating factor for Ryan agreeing the new deal was how happy his partner Chloe and his young son are with life in the South West.
Ryan and the clan moved down following his move to Argyle in January 2021. The striker had been on loan in two separate spells over the previous 12 months, then made the switch a permanent one.
It is a decision none of the family have ever regretted.
Ryan said: “When I made the move permanently, we spoke about: ‘was this a place to bring up a young child?’ Thankfully we made the decision that it was because it's been unreal so far.
“It's massively important that they're happy; Chloe absolutely loves it here. [My son is] settled in nursery and I don't think there's a better place to raise a young boy.
“He's absolutely loving his time here. He loves the warm weather, going to the beaches and stuff. He comes to all the games and he’s always got a smile on his face saying ‘daddy's football’. It certainly does make it easier.
“[Originally], it was a six-month loan; I fully expected to be here six months and then that would be me. When I had the chance to make it permanent, it was something that I wanted to do straight away.”
After Argyle sealed promotion against Burton Albion in the penultimate game of the season, followed by a title-clinching closer at Port Vale, Ryan and his team-mates celebrated in style, domestically and further afield. Once the party settled, job one for Hardie this summer was to sign a new contract, and it did not take long to tick that task off.
Hardie and Schumacher quickly came to terms, and Ryan says that the faith shown in him by the boss was another factor in his decision to stay.
“We’ve managed to get it done pretty quickly,” he said. “We went away for bit of a celebration and it was spoken about as soon as we got back. It was always the plan to get something sorted.
“At the start of last season, an extension was spoken about. We put it to the back of our minds and agreed that the main focus was getting promotion. We managed to achieve that, and as soon as the, the season was finished, the first thing that we spoke about was about getting the new deal sorted.
“I think it was a deal that that suited both parties. I’ve enjoyed the time that I’ve been here; I’ve been here three years and I think that the gaffer’s enjoyed having me. It was something that we were both really keen to get done.
“When I came in, he was the assistant manager, so I became quite close with him. We did activities outside of football as well, so I did become really tight with him. When he became the gaffer, it was a different kettle of fish, it was not as easy to do things outside of football with him, but that's part and parcel of the game.
“As a manager, he's been incredible. He’s put full faith in me and I think I've repaid a bit of that faith with my goals. That was a massive factor on me signing my extension, because of the faith that he has put in me. I know that he’s got the trust that'll be able to do it again next year.”
Next season, Argyle will tackle life in England’s second tier of football. Hardie had a fleeting taste of Championship life with Blackpool, but soon joined Argyle in League Two. Two promotions later, Hardie is back in the Championship, and having grabbed goals at each level with the Greens, he is raring to prove himself when elevated yet another level.
He said: “From the start of my time here, the goal was to get promoted to League One and then as soon as I made it permanent, I wanted to get the club back to where they belong, which I feel is a club competing in the Championship.
“It’s something that I’m definitely proud of, and I’m looking forward to seeing how well we can do next year.
“It'll be a change. This year we played against teams that would sit in and make it two banks of four to make it hard to break down. Next year, I think teams will come and probably expect to take points off us, so it'll open up more space. Space for me means running in behind, and running in behind means chances on goal.”