Monday, February 19, 2007

19 February 2007: Rarity

It's unusual for Plymouth Argyle to feature on 'Match of the Day'. No question about that. The BBC haven't had TV rights (highlights or otherwise) for the 'lower leagues' since 1987, and Plymouth Argyle are notorious for poor performances in the FA Cup.

Occasionally bright things will happen: a couple of years ago Argyle reached the dizzy heights of the third round (well ok, they got there by virtue of being in the Championship) and were drawn at home to Everton. The BBC decided it would be good to show the game live on TV, and so the cameras came down and Gary Lineker et al got a good chance to make fun of Trigger as very defensive-looking Argyle were beaten 3-1 in a thoroughly professional display by Everton.

This year it's different. This year Argyle won their third round tie with Peterborough after a replay, and then won away at the mighty Barnet in the fourth round. Favourites in both matches, certainly, but here's what it meant: Argyle were in the FA Cup fifth round for only the fourth time in their history (Trev's site gives over a hundred years of entries into this competition). The previous three times: once back in the days of Jack Chisholm's mighty team, and twice in the eighties, including the epic semi-final run of 83/84.

Fifth-round draw: home against Derby County. Hm, thought the fans, tough game: Derby riding high at the top of the Championship and despite Argyle winning the home game against Derby in the league this year, Derby were unbeaten in 2007 and looking pretty unstoppable. Still, there were always memories of 1984: that time, the quarter-final game was at home to Derby and Argyle so nearly won it, Gordon Staniforth having a shot that somehow hit both posts without crossing the line. 0-0. Went away to Derby and Andy Rogers scored direct from a corner for a 1-0 victory and that semi-final against Watford where Argyle lost 1-0.

This time, no such fights: Derby put up a physical fight (especially Darren Moore, who got sent off) but little footballing prowess and Argyle roundly beat them 2-0, even missing a penalty along the way. Yay, we thought: Match of the Day will give us mucho coverage, especially as it means we're in the quarter-finals for only the second time in FA Cup history, going back way over a hundred years.

8 Minutes was what we got. Less than any of the other games. And to make it worse, it was the only game that got no - I mean zero - analysis. All we got was half a sentence for Ray Stubbs (ooo, Ray Stubbs, ooo) saying "and by the way congratulations to Plymouth blah blah blah blah but now back to something more interesting blah blah".

Well, stuff them, that's what I say. We'll show them who's important when we win the FA Cup this year. We'll show them how they need to pay attention to the mighty Plymouth Argyle when we smash our way to the final and thence to the UEFA Cup, beginning a decade of European domination. We'll lay the ghost of that 1984 Watford defeat and win, win, win.

Quarter-final draw is at 1.30pm today. What's the betting we'll get Watford?

1 comment:

Ladybristol said...

Yes I was there and what a game we played. Still don't know how we didn't manage to score. Oh well next year it will be the cup and the Championship !!