AHEAD of Liverpool’s FA Cup third round clash with Plymouth Argyle we spoke to Stan Beal from the Argyle Fans’ Trust to get the latest on the Reds’ upcoming opponents.
Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself and the Argyle Fans’ Trust
I’m Stan, born and lived in Plymouth for all of my 19 years. I was a season ticket holder for four years before this one, and still get to every home and away game when I’m not working.
The Argyle Fans’ Trust is the democratic and representative voice of Argyle supporters, increasing supporter influence in running the club and encouraging financial stability. We ensure the mistakes that led to the club nearly going bust in 2011 are never repeated.
Plymouth currently sit second in League Two, with a game in hand over the league leaders, how have the team been performing?
We’ve been a successful side in Derek Adams’ second season at the club after moving down from Scotland to the South West. While we’ve hit an indifferent run of form lately, deservedly losing away at Barnet in our last game, we look to have improved from last season’s side that were defeated in the play-off final. Our defence is strong and there’s a lot more experience in the side now.
And are the fans pleased with how things are going?
Barring a few, yes. Adams has been a very popular figure since taking over — his passionate style impressing the fans a lot more than the insouciance of previous incumbent John Sheridan. The football we’re playing is less entertaining than last year but last year’s side flew too close to the Sun and, like Icarus, saw its wings melt. This year we’re a lot less fragile, and the fans are happier about that.
What can Liverpool fans expect to see from Adams’ side?
We’re not the stereotypical League Two side — our brand of football is technical, rather than physical. I think this will disadvantage us against Liverpool however, as we won’t have an element of surprise on our side. Most cup upsets have been achieved by snarling, long-ball sides against Premier League youngsters unprepared for such a battle and we’re not the sort of side that does that.
Who would you consider Plymouth’s main threat?
Centre-back Sonny Bradley arrived from Crawley in the summer and has been consistently excellent, however he lacks pace and may struggle against a quicker Premier League attack. Our star man is inspirational Irish midfielder Graham Carey — his potent blend of pace, work ethic, creativity and scoring threat has made him a cult hero at Home Park.
What have you made of Liverpool, based on what you’ve seen this season?
Liverpool seem to have improved significantly since Jürgen Klopp took charge — he’s turned frustrating, inconsistent players like Adam Lallana into constantly threatening ones. They’ve signed well over the summer: Sadio Mané is probably the best of the many players Liverpool have signed from Southampton in recent years and will be missed while he’s at the African Cup of Nations. However, the defence has been inconsistent and I think we have a chance of scoring at least one with Loris Karius in goal!
Where do you expect The Reds to finish?
While Liverpool are excellent going forward and have a bright future under Klopp, I think it’s too early for them to win the league. With Chelsea looking fantastic since Antonio Conte switched to a back three, Spurs in red-hot form and Arsenal always there and thereabouts, I think Liverpool will finish third.
And where do Argyle fans expect to end up?
I don’t want to tempt fate, but I think we have enough to finally go up this season. I don’t think we’ll win the league, but I think our defensive solidity and experience will allow us to finish in the top three.
Finally, can we have a score prediction ahead of the game?
I’m not optimistic — I think we’ll get beaten 4-0.
Here is one of our recent free shows talking ‘safe standing’ with a member of Celtic’s Green Brigade — if you like it, why not SUBSCRIBE?