Having spent Saturday getting used to my new Plymouth surroundings, and enjoying the football over at Plymouth Parkway, Sunday was to be used for a similar sort of structure, meaning I’d be taking in Plymouth Argyle vs Swansea City at Home Park, perched in the away end with the travelling Swans support.
I donned my Swansea shirt for the day (kindly lent to me by Matt), and we left the hostel after a few minutes chatting with some of the staff at our accommodation. As it turned out, the owner is a big Argyle fan and happened to have bought some plush tickets for the upcoming fixture. Naturally, we weren’t allowed to leave until we’d had our photo taken for them to plaster on their Facebook wall.
Finding breakfast was relatively easy, and we spent some time at a small restaurant catching up with the rest of the football world via Twitter next to the ferry port, which was offering family fishing trips and the like around the local waters. If you read Matt’s blog (LostBoyos – give it a look, excellent stuff on there), then you’ll know that he likes to have a pint or two when he’s out and about. Sunday was no different, and we soon found ourselves in ‘The Brass Monkey’, a Wetherspoons I believe. With fellow Swans fan Tom on his way, our next stop was ‘Kitty O’Hanlons’.
I have to take a while to talk about this place though. Matt was already looking to go to Kitty’s, and having seen that it was our hostel’s apparent pub of the month, it only seemed right that we did go. The reason for it’s fame? It’s the home of ‘The Slippery Nipple’. *Shudders* A shot of Sambuca and Bailey’s, and the place was listed as a return visit for later in the day. It felt a bit early for that sort of drinks combination. We did stay for a while however, and I was even able to do a bit of scouting away from the ground. In the pub was a dog that had the passing and technique of Xavi, yet the work rate of Matt le Tissier. He kept plonking his ball down next to my feet at the bar, so at one point I decided to knock it back to him. The dog dutifully caught the ball, put it down, and nudged it wide with his nose to Matt, who spread the play and gave it back to the dog. The ball was soon back at my feet, and we had a small passing drill going on between the three of us. I’m going to put my neck on the line here and say that if the dog makes the right moves, he’s going places.
After a couple more pubs, and a game of pool in which I narrowly beat Tom after about 25 minutes, we met up with some more of the Swans family and headed for the ground. Home Park has three main seater stands, much like a lot of other football league grounds up and down the country, but with one beautifully defining difference. The Mayflower Grandstand. It’s stunning. I fell in love as soon as I walked out of the concourse and found my way pitch side. Unfortunately, there’s talk of developing it and it’ll be a huge shame to see it go. It really is wonderful.
In terms of the game, it was as I expected. A typical pre-season game that Swansea dominated and showed their class. Argyle struggled throughout and didn’t offer a great deal, but can take positives in that they had spells of passing that on a different day may have broken sides down. Having gone 1-0 down to a cheap goal in the opening 10 minutes, it was always going to be a struggle, but it wasn’t until the last 20 minutes that the Premier League side put any gloss on the scoreline with goals from Jordi Amat and Gylfi Sigurdsson. Gylfi’s second, and Swansea’s fourth, came from a free kick about 25 yards out. As he stepped up, Matt mentioned that this was Gylfi range, only for the former Reading and Spurs man to whip the ball into the top corner. If you need any help with your bets this week, give Matt a shout.
Full-time; Plymouth Argyle 0-4 Swansea City
(Donnelly 9′, Amat 69′, Sigurdsson 71′ 90′)
After the game, I went hunting for the club store to get my hands on a pin badge. Unfortunately, I never found it, but what I did find was the Swansea team coach. Matt, myself, and numerous autograph hunters had found themselves round the back of the magnificent Mayflower Grandstand meeting the players of Swansea City. I’m not going to lie, I felt a little bit excited. Okay, i was lying there. I was buzzing.
I never did find my pin badge, so if there’s any Argyle fans out there who’d like to send one over to me, feel free to get hold of me. My Twitter can be found @SheridanSparkes.
Plymouth was a top weekend, and having watched Matt try ‘The Slippery Nipple’ later that evening, I’m pretty sure he enjoyed the weekend too. Cheers Plymouth!