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Saturday, March 18, 2006

PLYMOUTH ARGYLE 0 CARDIFF CITY 1: Points and pints on the south coast

I love seeing Plymouth Argyle away on the fixture list, me old mate Stockwood lives down there so it is an opportunity to make a weekend of it.

We travelled down on Friday Night and got stuck into an evening of nostalgia, beer and listening to punk classics. Despite the late night we were up and off (reasonably) fresh for a few pints for the game. We called into a local social club, which appeared to be filled almost entirely with people wearing Argyle shirts. After a few pints we mingled with the locals and wandered down to the ground which, apart from one end, is only 3 years old.

I suppose I should be happy that the one City goal was enough to secure three points, but it was not a particularly exciting game and quite painful to watch on times with neither side displaying much talent.

We were held back after the game to try to avoid confrontation with the home fans, then we were off back to the club for a few more beers, then back to base for a quick freshen up (and a few cans), then down to Mutley Plain for some more beer. All in all a good day out, with no trouble whatsoever.

Devon and Cornwall Police preparing to escort the supportes coaches all the way home with no stops.... why?

I accept that Cardiff have had a bit of a reputation in the hooligan department for a good few years now, but that is pretty much history. Inevitably there a few firms with similar reputations that want to have a go to prove a point (Wolves, Millwall, Leeds, Stoke, West Ham) but the vast majority of clubs we visit are not a problem. Plymouth, on the whole, is one such club. They have a firm, ‘The Central Element’, but they have never been considered a proper firm and there is no real rivalry or history between Cardiff and Plymouth. The reason I am mentioning this is because it makes the Devon and Cornwall Police’s attitude towards us incomprehensible.

As I say, we mingled with the home fans and had a great time, but those that travelled by bus found themselves escorted all the way back to Wales, without stopping. Last year the escort went as far as Cardiff! There is no logic to this treatment and all they have done is ensure that next time we play them no-one will travel by bus and the law will have their hands full trying to deal with 2,000 city fans making their own way to the ground, by train, car and van… a recipie for old skool agro if there ever was. Totally unnecessary.

Anyway, as I say, we had a great time!


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