Paul Wotton

Paul Wotton on the Argyle Podcast: Highlights

The Argyle Podcast marked its 100th episode this week, and the guest was one befitting the landmark: Paul Wotton.

Wotton grew up an Argyle fan, came through the club’s Academy, and made 491 appearances over two spells as a Pilgrim. He became the captain, lifted two championship trophies, and after hanging up his boots would be a coach and assistant manager. His Argyle career is truly unparalleled.

Speaking to Charlie Price on the podcast, current Truro City boss Paul spoke candidly about his time with his beloved Greens over 50 captivating minutes.  

Some of the highlights are below, but you can listen to the interview via all major podcast providers, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Amazon Music.

Wotton on turning professional: “I was fortunate to get a professional contract. Peter Shilton was the manager, and he didn’t like me at all. He didn’t think I had a chance.

“He got the sack. The next game was away at Shrewsbury, and I was in the team. Steve McCall gave me my debut. I owe him a lot.

“That was a fortuitous moment, because if Peter Shilton had stayed, I wouldn’t have got a pro contract at the end of the year and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

Wotton on the manager that got the most out of him: “People might be surprised, but [I’d say] Tony Pulis. I know he was only here for a short period of time, but if he hadn’t have come in, we would have been relegated from the Championship that year, undoubtedly.

“It wasn’t great to watch, but it got us safe. We were regimented, we had structure, we had a good shape. It suited me as a player. That’s when I felt ultra-confident on the football pitch. Playing in the Championship is a big boys’ league, and I felt I was at my best.”

Wotton on being underrated: “I made the most of my ability, but one of my biggest bugbears I get is when people say: ‘he wasn’t the most talented, but he gave his all.’

“You don’t play 350 games in the Championship if you can’t play football. I’m not upset by it, and it’s no drama, but it bugged me, more so when I finished.”

Wotton on winning titles and playing in the Championship: “The two promotion seasons were great. It was a huge achievement. Getting promoted is one thing, to win the league really does take some doing. To come out on top at the end of a long season, against all the other teams, is amazing. To do it twice in three years was special.

“I loved playing at home, you could not get a ticket for the games [in the Championship], it was amazing, and I’m sure next season will be the same, which is great. I loved going away to the big grounds – Wolves, Leeds, Millwall, QPR, Southampton, Leicester, Derby, Forest – big, big football clubs, and upsetting them.

“We had a ‘no-fear’ mentality and some tremendous players. Proper football players. Chuck [David Norris], Halmosi, Ebanks-Blake, a young Dan Gosling, all these players who were sold for big money. No-one would outfight us, we were a tough bunch a players who always gave our all.

Wotton on being released by Paul Sturrock: “I had a bad injury. I did my cruciate ligament, medial and lateral cartilage, it was the only really bad injury I had in my whole career. I was out for 14 months. By this time, Luggy (Sturrock) had come back as manager. I was coming to the end of a three-year contract, and 14 months of that I was out injured. It was a really tough time.

“I was coming back to training; my knee wasn’t quite right. I needed longer, but I also needed a contract. In the back of my head, I thought: ‘there’s no way Paul Sturrock will release me’, because of what I’d done for him before.

“I came back, played four or five games and wasn’t back to my best – although I did later get back to my best, at Southampton. After 14 months out you can’t get back to your best in five games. I just needed that bit more time for my knee to heal fully. I was clinically fit, but my body wasn’t ready to play.

“At no point did I want to leave the football club. I was an Argyle fan, born and bred, I wanted to stay. I went in to see him, and it is the only time he ever disappointed me, when he released me. The following season, I think he needed me in the Plymouth changing room. I would have helped it, because I had his back, I’m a loyal person. I loved him, and I owe him a hell of a lot.

“I signed for Southampton on a three-year contract. I loved my time there and had great success. I played with a lot of players who have won the European Championships, played for England. But I did not want to leave [Argyle]. I would have loved to have left Plymouth on my terms.”

Wotton on being sacked alongside Derek Adams in 2019: “It’s taken me two or three years to get over it. Getting the sack is heartbreaking. It takes a long time to get over it, especially when you’ve got that connection to the club."