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The Green Revolution: How Lucky Suits and Nando’s Suits Are Helping Plymouth Argyle Thrive

The honest citizens of Plymouth may have complained in the late 1960s and early 1970s when their rate bills landed on their doormats.

What they couldn’t have known is that, decades later, doing their civic duty helped get the city’s Green Army on the move.

“I come from a time when city councils paid for their education,” explains millionaire Simon Hallett, president and owner of the leaders of League One, Plymouth Argyle.

Plymouth civic duty contributors have helped launch the city's Green Army.

Plymouth civic duty contributors have helped launch the city’s Green Army.

“I was a fellow at Plymouth College, paid by Plymouth taxpayers, a fellow at Oxford University, paid by Plymouth taxpayers. Argyle is an opportunity to give something back to those contributors. ‘

The backstory is almost as beautiful as the current one. Something as dramatic as the stunning coastal setting is happening in a far and forgotten corner of the country.

In a noisy Home Park during a 3-0 beating of Bolton on Tuesday, a crowd of nearly 13,000 raised the roof. The win was Argyle’s 13th league game without a loss.

After 13 consecutive league games without a loss, Plymouth top League One

After 13 consecutive league games without a loss, Plymouth top League One

After 13 consecutive league games without a loss, Plymouth top League One

Hallett took over in August 2018 and what he describes as ‘a wonderful confluence of philanthropy and great fun’ has ushered in a new era.

“We have a real, global strategy,” explains CEO Andrew Parkinson, who also arrived in 2018. “A sustainable championship club – everyone has that through them like a stone stick.”

Parkinson saw enough potential in Devon to persuade him to leave Liverpool, where he had been director of operations. For Ryan Lowe, his shadow-raised manager at Anfield, it was similar.

President Simon Hallet insists that 'philanthropy and great fun' have ushered in a new era

President Simon Hallet insists that 'philanthropy and great fun' have ushered in a new era

President Simon Hallet insists that ‘philanthropy and great fun’ have ushered in a new era

“Potential was one of the main reasons I went down,” says Lowe. Simon asked me what I thought of Plymouth Argyle. I thought I might get in trouble, but I said, “Great club, no ambition.” Now he has ambition. The fan base is phenomenal. Everything is going up. We want to get back to the good times and we are doing it, probably faster than some might have thought. ”

Lowe, a former striker, doesn’t hide his style. “Often, but not always, 3-5-2, based on possession, on the front foot,” he says, although there is a moment of panic when the photographer walks into his office and shoots. “You’ll have to take them again,” he says, before cleaning the whiteboard. My corner routine is there!

Hours later it makes sense. That night, the first two of Argyle’s three goals come from the corner.

Former forward Ryan Lowe drives based on possession, front foot style

Former forward Ryan Lowe drives based on possession, front foot style

Former forward Ryan Lowe drives based on possession, front foot style

Trevor East, former head of Sky Sports and ITV Sport, is on the board. His vast schedule opens doors, while his sleek Austin Powers-style green corduroy suit acts as an omen of luck.

“My wife bought it for me after the first game of the season, which we lost, and we haven’t lost it since I had it,” says East. They won’t let me take it off now.

Keeping everyone smiling is a top priority at Hallett and Lowe’s. “I have children,” says the owner. I know your problems. Footballers are young men with demons, they are under a lot of scrutiny, especially in Plymouth. They are a long way from home and we have a duty to care for them because of our location. ‘

Lowe does not issue penalties for breaking the rules. “I hated that,” he says. “I don’t need money from the players.” Instead, the violators have to bring the squad to Nando’s house. “I order a whole chicken, it works,” says Lowe. Even if I don’t want it.

Brendan Galloway scores Argyle's first goal Tuesday night against Bolton Wanderers

Brendan Galloway scores Argyle's first goal Tuesday night against Bolton Wanderers

Brendan Galloway scores Argyle’s first goal Tuesday night against Bolton Wanderers

Lowe and assistant manager Stephen Schumacher, another Liverpool player, are joined by football director and colleague Neil Dewsnip, who worked as a youth coach for 17 years at Everton.

The relationship is close. “I crash into Ryan’s apartment a couple of times a week,” says Dewsnip. ‘If we win, it’s great. We will have a good talk, a glass of wine. If we don’t, he’ll sulk, go to bed early, and I’ll watch TV without the wine.

Recruitment is key. “The owner made a fortune from data analysis and believes it can be applied to soccer,” says Dewsnip. “We tried two or three firms and we came up with one that we feel comfortable with because they speak football. We play a certain way. We are looking for players who have the characteristics to adapt to that. The data point it out.

I ask them what they are looking for. “Let’s say we have a criterion,” says Dewsnip. He is more open about the emphasis placed on the academy system. “If you were born in Land’s End and you’re the next Wayne Rooney, it’s two and a half hours to your closest club,” he says.

‘So you will probably become a surfer “unless”. We have dealt with the “unless”. Expecting parents to come here three times a week from the darkest Cornwall is unrealistic. Now we have two centers, one in the east and the other in the west. “

Ryan Broom celebrates his team's resounding 3-0 victory in front of a crowd of nearly 13,000

Ryan Broom celebrates his team's resounding 3-0 victory in front of a crowd of nearly 13,000

Ryan Broom celebrates his team’s resounding 3-0 victory in front of a crowd of nearly 13,000

Dewsnip was behind Zoom’s summer talks between Lowe and England coach Gareth Southgate and Schumacher and Southgate’s assistant Steve Holland.

The manager licked it. ‘If Gareth can rotate his team with a squad of billionaires, why can’t he do it with players from Plymouth? Hate me today, love me tomorrow, is what I say. They are disappointed but I always tell them my reasons. You have to be honest with your players. ‘

Honesty is everywhere. As the financial catastrophe rips through the EFL, Hallett’s transparency is refreshing. It comes to light again when I ask them if they could aspire to the Premier League. “I will not risk it,” he says. ‘We would need an investor with more money than me. I want to leave this club in better shape than when I took it on. ‘

Once again, go back to that sense of responsibility formed years ago. “Our resurrection is loosely related to the Plymouth resurrection,” he says. “It reinvented itself from the shipyards to become the oceanic city of Great Britain.

I’m a cold-blooded, free-market, capitalist pig, but Plymouth seems like a mix of business opportunities and great planning by bureaucrats. It goes from one part to another, but there is a commitment to do things right. It is on the rise, as is the football club.

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