Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughIn defence of Peter Risdale - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough In defence of Peter Risdale - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

In defence of Peter Risdale

Before you begin to prepare the noose in which to hang me with, let me explain why I think one of footballs most vilified men – rightly so in some cases – deserves to be cut a little bit of slack. …

It’s hard for any football fan not to feel sorry for the current plight of Plymouth Argyle, even Devon Expressway Rivals Exeter City would show pang sympathy for those in green.

 With the imminent deduction of 10 points that will leave them at the bottom of the table, it’s hard to see how the Devonshire club will not end up in League Two next season.   

So where did it all go wrong and where did Risdale come in?

I attended the last game of last season, at Home Park. The game was a strange one; one where the fans seemed to acknowledge their good spell in the Championship and took the relegation into their stride with the usual football crowd witticisms  – breaking into choruses of “ Que sara, sara, whatever will be will be, we’re going to Milton Keynes.”

A humorous acknowledgement of their predicament.

Following the final whistle, the crowd dreamed of a better season in League One, challenging for the right of Championship football once again.

Sadly, things have escalated since then. Argyle find themselves sitting at the wrong end of League One, fighting a losing battle, after selling key players to pay tax bills, staff – playing and office – have gone periods without wages and a reported £9 million debt.

Dark days indeed for the Argyle faithful.

In a desperate attempt to dig themselves out of the financial trouble, they hired the controversial figure, Peter Risdale.

No one needs reminding of the accusations facing Risdale when he left Leeds, followed by the questionable period in Wales with Cardiff. I say questionable because people seem to forget that he lead them to play-offs, FA Cup final, built them a nice new stadium and found them investors when cash dried up, so that they have managed to carry on pushing for a place in the premiership. I would argue that is a job well done?

 But, naturally, with their club at risk, many of the Home Park faithful have shown nothing but disgust for the acquisition.

I would argue however, questionable periods as an owner aside, who better to go about cutting cost than a ruthless businessman?  A businessman who, granted, seems to enjoy taking risks, but all good businessmen do. Without risks you can never be truly successful.

As a result the cautiousness and anger that some Argyle fans have displayed at the original of appointment was understandable, such the connotations that now come with the name Peter Risdale…..

Since arriving at the club though, Risdale has done a good job at carrying out a thankless – unpaid- task. The much-maligned man of mystery has improved the financial state of the club and works around the clock to find an investor.

So back to the now and why Risdale needs defending….

I attended the last at Home Park as a reporter and witnessed Argyle lose to Merseyside club Tranmere Rovers 3-1, dropping them closer to the relegation zone.

Before during and after this crunch match, sections of the home crowd protested, made posters – including an amusing not so magnificent 7 poster – photoshoped with the boards head and Risdale’s upon it. The protests and anger in the direction of the board is understandable and justifiable, after all they are the reason for the dismal predicament in which Argyle find themselves.

The anger towards Risdale though, is highly unfair.  He was not there when the mistakes were made. He was not responsible for the position the club now find themselves in, yet he continues to do all in his power to help the club – free of charge.

For his efforts to help the Devonshire club, I believe the biggest  Executive pantomime villain in football deserves a fair crack at proving people wrong.

If he manages to get the Devonshire club out of their current predicament, he will go a long way to repairing his reputation in footballing circles….

Martyn Edwards

Twitter: martyn_edwards

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