Skip to main content

"If you want some accessible but informative insight into football then I suggest you couldn't do better than the Political Economy of Football website, which is not only intelligible but comes with the added bonus of being written by Addicks fan Wyn Grant."
Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

New troubles at Plymouth Argyle?

Share/Save

It is five years since Plymouth Argyle were rescued from oblivion and the excellent 'two unfortunates' blog take a look at the current, rather complex and worrying situation.  

What they uncover is a 'tangled web of corporate entreprenurialism' of a kind not unfamiliar to those of us who follow the business side of football.   Well intentioned business people think that they can apply skills acquired in other, rather different sectors of the economy to football.   However, often the task turns out to be more difficult than they anticipated and their reach exceeds their grasp.

The article needs to be read to try and understand what is (or is not) going on, but the essence is that there is a risk of club and stadium being separated in terms of ownership and that does not necessarily bode well for the club's future,

I am always interested in whether clubs punch below or above their weight and one would think that Plymouth Argyle should be higher than League Two.    However, in part, is a question of 'location, location, location'.   The dedication of the Green Army as they head to away matches at  locations like Hartlepool or Carlisle is legendary, but the relative geographical isolation of the city does not help its economy, particularly as road and rail links leave something to be desired (the airport has closed for commercial flights).

The city has a population of 261,546 which makes it the 30th most populous area in the country.   If one adds in East Cornwall and parts of Devon which provide some fans, it should in principle be able to sustain a Championship club in so far as one can 'read off' such conclusions from population figures. At 8,798 last year's average attendance was the second largest in League Two.

The economy of the city is quite reliant on the Devonport Dockyard which refits nuclear submarines and is estimated to provide ten per cent of the city's income.   There is a major shopping centre and the city's successful university is making an increasing contribution to the economy.   However, the city is probably too far from London and insufficiently glamorous to attract foreign investors to its football club.