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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Plymouth Argyle were formed in 1886 and have been based at Home Park since 1901. Plymouth is the largest city in England never to have hosted top flight soccer. Nicknamed the "The Pilgrims," Plymouth Argyle are the biggest team based in Devon and Cornwall otherwise know as the English Riviera.
Home Park, along with Portsmouth's Fratton Park, are the last two remaining English stadiums containing main stands designed by Archibald Leitch.
Home Park has seen major redevelopment over the last few years. Three sides of the stadium consist of a new one-tiered wraparound structure with the main stand and closed off terracing in front of it. This is all that remains of the old ground. Funding issues have halted the complete redevelopment.
Home Park currently has an all seated capacity of 16,388 with the stadium’s record attendance being recorded in 1934 when 44,526 watched an FA Cup game against Huddersfield Town. The venue also hosted the UEFA Cup Winners Cup tie between Manchester United and Saint-Etienne in 1977 when United were banned from playing a European game at Old Trafford.
Home Park has also hosted England youth internationals, athletics and pop concerts and has the distinction of being the only Football League ground located in a public park, as it is accessed through the city’s Central Park.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Kiosks inside the concourse sell the normal range of hot dogs, burgers, and chips. The traditional Cornish pasty is recommended. Hot and cold drinks including the local brew is also available. A separate stall inside the stadium sells a selection of sweets and popcorn. Burger vans are also located outside the stadium.
It is somewhat sad to see the last remains of the old stadium, as it was in its heyday a typical English ground. However the new stands offer more comfort and covered toilets along with good views of the action. Once the ground is finished and the club returns to the higher divisions of the Football League then the game atmosphere will return to classic form. Home Park though is still a stadium that the Plymouth Argyle fans love, and away fans visit in numbers despite the long journey there from wherever they are in England.
The Naval base town of Plymouth is the capital of Devon, and offers all the attractions of most major cities in the United Kingdom. It's most famous landmark is Plymouth Hoe where Sir Francis Drake famously played bowls before the invasion of the Spanish Armada.The Barbican and harbour side development in the city centre is full of lovely shops and eateries.
The main area of the city also offers all of the high street shops and normal bars. Being a Naval city, there are also many museums and galleries to visit. Outside of Plymouth are a wide range of seaside towns and sandy beaches as this area is one of England's major holiday resorts. All that's missing is the sun during most of the football season.
Hotels and bed and breakfasts are plenty, and the Kilbury Manor B&B in near by Buckfastleigh is highly recommended for a taste of real Devon.
A cream tea and the local cider are also a must try when visiting Devon and Cornwall. The Britannia Public House, a ten minute walk from the stadium, is a favourite watering hole for supporters before games.
Plymouth are one of the better supported clubs in the fourth tier of the English professional game and regularly attract crowds of up to 10,000. Their supporters are known as the "Green Army" and are unique for their Devon accent. The clubs most notable achievements are being champions of England's third and fourth tiers on more than one occasion and reaching the semi finals of the FA Cup in the 1983/84 season. Local rivals are Torquay United and Exeter City.
Despite Plymouth Argyle being the most southerly and westerly club in the Football League, the city is well served by both road and rail. Home Park is a accessed off the A38 which connects with the M5 motorway at Exeter. There is a free car park outside of the stadium in addition to street parking. There is a good rail service connecting the city with Bristol and London and the station is around a mile and a half away.
Match day tickets cost £20 for adults and £7 for under 18's and can be purchased on the club's website. Tickets are easily purchased on the day of a game at the ticket office, but cost £2 more. Taking in a soccer game in Plymouth is a good reason for turning it to a weekend break or a holiday.
My most recent visit coincided with Remembrance week in England, and it was ironic that the game I attended was the "Dockyard Derby" against Portsmouth. With both clubs possessing strong Naval links there was plenty of additional entertainment both inside and outside the stadium including a performance from the Royal Marines Band. The minute of silence was impeccably observed by both sets of supporters. The Plymouth Argyle club shop is located by the ticket office and a match day programme sells for £3. Supporters also produce a fanzine named Rub of the Greens for £1.
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2 Wolseley Rd
Plymouth, Devon PL2 3BH
+44 1752 607596
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