Steven Schumacher

Schumacher on Contract Extension

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It has been observed many times that Steven Schumacher is a man with a plan.

Players often speak, when interviewed, of gameplans put together by the Argyle manager and his coaching staff, and his record as he approaches a year in the job bears that out.

It reads: played 51, won 29, drawn 9, lost 13. It is a win percentage of 56.9%, which rises to a staggering 59.1% when simply discussing league games, in which Argyle have averaged 1.95 points per game since his appointment.

It is this record, as well as his honest nature and demonstrable work ethic, that has endeared Schumacher to Argyle supporters everywhere. Predictably, Thursday’s news that the 38-year-old Liverpudlian had agreed a two-year extension to his contract, attaching him to Argyle until the summer of 2027, was greeted ecstatically by the Green Army.

All this brings to the fore another plan. As the personnel behind the scenes at Home Park has evolved, talk of a particular target has been routinely uniform: that of turning Plymouth Argyle into a sustainable Sky Bet Championship football club.

It was no surprise that when speaking exclusively to Argyle TV after putting pen to paper, Schumacher made mention of this plan on numerous occasions.

“For me, signing this extension says I believe in the plan,” he said. “I’m fully committed to it, and I have been since the day we came down here. I work hard every single day to try to achieve that.

“This contract is another step in the plan. The commitment that club has shown me, and that I have shown to them, shows that I believe in the plan.

“I’m delighted. It means everything. The support that I have received from the board, Andrew [Parkinson] and Simon [Hallett] over the last 12 months that I have been manager has been incredible.

“Everybody can see the improvements the club are making, year on year. We’re getting bigger, we’re getting a bit more organised, the structure behind the scenes is getting better, as is the revenue coming in. People can see that from the outside; it’s not just us, in the building, who are seeing that. People up and down the country can see that what we are doing is something special.

“As long as we stick to the plan, we are all on the same page, and we all keep trying to improve in every department – not just the football department – then the club can get to where it wants to get to, which is in the Championship.”

Schumacher’s extension comes at a time where Argyle top League One by four points and are unbeaten in 14 matches, winning 11 of those games.

There is still a very long way to go in the season, and few inside Home Park, least of all Schumacher, are even accepting the existence of poultry, let alone lining up to do any chicken counting.

That does not mean, though, that the manager does not occasionally look around himself to enjoy the position the club find themselves in, and the one that he personally occupies.

“Every time I walk out the tunnel I think ‘wow’," he said. "I still have to pinch myself a little bit. I’m still not sure the fact that I am the manager of Plymouth Argyle has sunk in.

“It’s been a good start. We’re 12 months into the job, almost, so to extend my contract and stay here for a little bit longer, I couldn’t be any happier.

“It’s gone better than expected. Last season, we had a brilliant start, and everybody was waiting for us to drop off. We didn’t do that until the last day, when we just missed out of the play-offs. It was an incredible achievement to get 80 points.

“This summer, everybody was saying ‘they won’t be able to do that again. There’s no way Plymouth Argyle can sustain their push with what they’ve got’. We’re proving everybody wrong.

“I’m happy to keep proving people wrong. I’m happy to keep pushing this team as far as we can push them, keep dragging every single ounce of quality out of the players. That’s what it is going to take to stay at the top end of this division, where we want to be.”

Schumacher has not just taken the football club to his heart, but the city and its people, too. Unprompted, he can frequently be heard extolling the virtues of his new home and the supporters who fill Home Park and traverse the country giving their support to the manager and his team.

Occasionally, we too can forget that as well as a fanbase accepting a manager, the man himself needs to buy into his surroundings.

It is very clear that the entire Schumacher clan, especially its patriarch, are invested in Argyle, the city of Plymouth, its unique people and the supporters of its football club.

“I don’t take it for granted,” Schumacher said. “The football club is a huge part of the city. I understand that having been here for a few years now. I know what it means to everybody. The support from the fans has been different class.

“I wasn’t an Argyle fan growing up, I am an Everton fan. But now I am full-on invested into the Green Army. My family are the same. That’s why I need to continue working hard. I’ll never rest and think ‘I’ve cracked it’ because football’s got a funny way of making you look stupid if you ever get carried away.

“I will continue to work hard for everyone at the club, and the fans, and we can all look forward to some good days in the future.”

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