Paul McGregor's Argyle Memories
The Argyle Podcast recently welcomed former Greens Player of the Season Paul McGregor on to look through his varied career.
Starting out at Nottingham Forest under Brian Clough, McGregor played in the Premier League and in Europe, notably playing against Bayern Munich and scoring again Lyon.
McGregor played 90 games for Argyle, from 1999 to 2001, scoring 24 goals. He was an unorthodox player, playing as a centre forward or wide on the right, with a swagger that captivated the Green Army. So much so that they voted him as Player of the Year in his first season at the club.
He was unorthodox off the field, too, looking more like an indie music star than a footballer. Indeed, he pursued a career in the music industry, and these days refers to himself on Twitter as ‘The Britpop Footballer’.
Looking back on when he was brought to Home Park by Kevin Hodges and Steve McCall, Paul said it took him a while to get going in a green shirt, but once he did, he revelled in his time as a Pilgrim.
“The best times of my career were those two years in the first team at Forest and my first season at Argyle,” he said.
“I didn’t score for 11 games. I could hear the crowd starting to get on my back a little bit. I didn’t play poorly; I was finding my feet.
“I got to the bye-line in one game, and went to chip a cross in. It hit a defender’s foot, looped over the goalkeeper, hit the far post and went in. It takes that sometimes, just to break the duck and then you are off and running.
“I felt like a million dollars and fell in love with Argyle as a club, Plymouth as a city, and the fans as a fanbase. I don’t say that lightly, or to be sycophantic, genuinely there was a love affair. I fell in love with them.
“They were singing my name; I had my own chants. I couldn’t go anywhere without being bought a beer. It was wonderful. The city opened up to me, and it was fantastic. Hopefully I repaid some of that love with my goals and performances.
“I felt loved at Plymouth that season. I look back on that time with such affection.”
Arguably the highlight of his stint at the club came at Plainmoor, as Argyle won 4-0 at Torquay United. After future Gull Craig Taylor opened the scoring on a squally day on the English Riviera, McGregor scored a superb hat-trick.
“I remember the day vividly,” he said. “I was listening to the New Asian Dub Foundation album on the way to the ground. It was sunny, but then the heavens opened when we came out. It was the sort of rain that you couldn’t have been wetter if you had lain in a bath with your clothes on.
“But they are wonderful days to play football. Jon Beswetherick was on fire at the time, going round people for fun. We tore them to bits. It was a battle early on, but we played some cracking football. My old mate from Forest, Steve Guinan, put me through for my final goal. I ran towards the goalkeeper, one-on-one, in front of the Argyle fans.
“The goalkeeper came running out, I called ‘megs’ on him, and put it through his legs for the hat-trick.
“My celebration used to be just standing still, absorbing the atmosphere. Instead of going mad, I stood there, staring at the fans, who had no covering whatsoever, dripping wet. There were 2,000 of them, absolutely bouncing. It’s an incredible memory.”
In a podcast filled with memories, Paul also speaks about coming through at Nottingham Forest under Brian Clough, playing and touring with bands, regrets on leaving Argyle and so much more.
The podcast is available wherever you get your podcasts, including Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music. This was episode 97, and as we approach our century, you can listen to the back catalogue to wile away the summer until the football starts again!
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