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Archived News from April 2002

17th April 2002 11:54

Sturrock: "I will have to think about whether I let this lot loose on Saturday. Some of the other players need a wee run-out."
Plymouth Evening Herald, 16 April 2002

Manager Paul Sturrock has promised a party to remember after Plymouth Argyle were crowned champions of Nationwide League Division Three last night.

The Pilgrims turned on the style as they beat Darlington 4-1 at Feethams, with striker Marino Keith grabbing two of the goals, to put the title beyond the reach of second-placed Luton Town.

Argyle are sure of a tremendous homecoming when they play their last game of the season against Cheltenham Town at Home Park on Saturday.

Sturrock is confidently expecting an all-ticket 20,000 capacity crowd for what will be an emotional and memorable occasion.

He said: "It's crazy we are sitting here with 99 points and we had to go to the second-last game of the season to win the championship. It's just unbelievable.

"I hope now that the fans come out and get every ticket that's going and let's have a real party. "

Sturrock added: "I'm looking forward to Saturday and I think these players merit a full house. Hopefully, everybody in Plymouth will have a great day. "

The 45-year-old Pilgrims boss clutched a bottle of champagne as he saluted the 1,000 Argyle supporters at Feethams after the title had been decided.

"I'm Scottish, and we know how to party, " he said. "I don't think I will be sober for a couple of days. "

Sturrock was full of praise for his players, who had beaten Carlisle United 2-0 at Brunton Park only two days earlier.

"What an attitude they have shown in basically running over the top of two teams, " he said.

"You only taste these things once or twice in your career. I have been very fortunate - I have some great moments in football.

"As I have said to the players, there are a percentage of them who will never taste this again and the important thing is we make sure we enjoy this.

"I could have told you 10 minutes before the game there was no way we were going to lose tonight. They were right up for it from the kick-off and every one of them was giving in their lot. "

Argyle stormed into a 3-0 lead against Darlington inside 29 minutes to put the championship trophy in their reach.

"The pitch meant it was never going to be pretty but we have done the business, " said Sturrock.

"We have taken the game to them straight from the kick-off and we took our goals well. I thought the front three (Keith, Mickey Evans and Ian Stonebridge) were magnificent. "

Sturrock made a triple substitution in the 87th minute when his 20-year-old son, Blair, Brian McGlinchey and Martin Phillips came off the bench for Lee Hodges, Evans and Stonebridge respectively.

"I contemplated not taking anybody off but Buster, Blair and Brian deserved to have a wee taste, " said the Argyle manager.

"I wish I could have put all the subs on, and the ones who were not stripped. It has been a squad game this season.

"I will have to think about whether I let this lot loose on Saturday. Some of the other players need a wee run-out.

"I wouldn't mind having a look at a couple of the others but I don't want to take away from the enjoyment of the occasion.

"I will weigh up my options come nearer the time. Blair has never started a home game, Craig Taylor needs a run and Joe Broad could do with having a wee look before the end of the season.

"I have got to be professional in my approach because I have got to know my squad for next year. "

Argyle have already sold more than 15,000 tickets for the visit of Cheltenham, who could clinch the third and final automatic promotion place with a win at Carlisle tonight.

Plymouth Evening Herald, 16 April 2002
Champions! Plymouth Argyle toast their Nationwide League Third Division title success following the fantastic 4-1 away win over Darlington last night.

Plymouth was today preparing for a huge weekend party.

Thousands of fans are expected to pack Home Park on Saturday for the club's final home match.

And the celebrations continue on Sunday, when the victorious squad will tour the city in two open-top buses, and then gather on the balcony of the Council House to lift the Division Three trophy.

Cllr Vivien Pengelly, portfolio holder for leisure, said: "There will be nothing else like it this year in Plymouth. This will be a really big celebration and the atmosphere should be tremendous."

City centre streets will be draped in green and white flags on Sunday for the parade which begins at Home Park at 11am. The buses will then travel along Alma Road, Western Approach and Royal Parade. At noon they will step onto the Council House balcony to raise the cup.


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