Monsieur Salut writes: time for another Salut! Sunderland first. The Plymouth Argyle Who are You? interviewee and I will be sitting next to each other at the match we discussed. That hasn’t happened before, though I did once accompany Melanie Hill (Mrs Coco the Scab in Brassed Off) to a Charlton away game some while after her interview – Flirting on the Fulwell – appeared.
It is a necessarily short exchange. Geoff Lakeman and I have known each other since the year Sunderland last won the FA Cup, so he is also a little long-in-the-tooth. But he is still a busy man. We met through folk music; he played regularly at the Herga folk club in Wealdstone and I, newly down south, went there most weeks. After a long and distinguished career in journalism, Geoff has returned to music. Not content with producing three sons – Seth, Sean and Sam – who are all fine musicians (and Sam and Sean are married to superb singers, Cara Dillon and Kathryn Roberts respectively), he is on the road again – this time as a troubadour, not a roving reporter
The Plymouth match coincides with a tour by Geoff of northern folk venues and a day off allows him to attend the SoL. I have sorted his ticket and he promises to be on his best behaviour …
Geoff Lakeman: FRIO00, FRIOOOO, FRIOOO… that was a great battle cry from the terraces.
But no doubt about it, the absolute best player in the years when I was watching Argyle with my three young boys was Tommy Tynan. He had that magical striker’s instinct, always seemed to be up there ready to receive the ball and he was as good with his head as his foot.
And, here’s the thing, like a lot of lower league footballers, once age robbed him of his career, he slipped into relative obscurity.
He ran a well-known pub for a while, but that wasn’t his thing. Now – would you believe it – my wife, Joy, is a magistrate in Plymouth and often needs an early-morning taxi into the city. And who turns up as her taxi driver sometimes but the one and only Tommy Tynan? Joy loves telling him how she smuggled a bottle of Champagne through the turnstiles at one of the end-of-season matches where we were promoted so we could celebrate on the terraces.
Shilton caused quite a stir in the time he was at Home Park – but, I’ve got to say, it was more about the fame and personality and he cost them a lot of money. He pulled in the crowds but I don’t think he’s remembered as fondly as a ‘keeper as is Geoff Crudgington.
From the Salut! Live article on Geoff’s first solo album (at age 69): https://www.salutlive.com/2017/01/geoff-lakeman.html
‘There are songs of sea and land, of press-ganged squaddies, of squalid denial of basic needs and even on the question of how welcoming beaches should be of dogs. Some he’s written, others he’s borrowed and the rest he’s arranged from the folk tradition. At first, I felt I could not improve on the verdict of Reg Meuross, the writer of one track, England Green & England Grey, a bitter rant on political and sovereign injustices: “This is proper living, breathing, strong heart beating folk music »
Best and worst experiences as an Argyll supporter?
OK, hands up!
I suppose most Plymouth Argyle diehards would call me a fairweather friend. I have only been to a couple of home matches in the last year and that’s because of musical commitments and babysitting. Thankfully some of the eight grandchildren – including three sets of twins- are getting to the age when they’ll want to go to a “proper” footie match more often.
On the other hand I have been a “green” supporter since I was in short trousers down in Penzance, Cornwall, 80 or 90 miles west of Plymouth. My dad used to regularly take me by car or train to see big matches when Home Park crowds were all-standing and 20,000-plus.
One of my most vivid memories was one of the mega Plymouth-versus-Pompey rituals when the terraces were packed out with sailors in uniform, including their cap badges which are a give-away as to which team they were supporting.
I can’t truly remember exactly the last time I went to an Argyle away match. I remember one down at Millwall’s “Lion’s Den”. It was back in the bad old days of soccer hooliganism and the Argyle team coach windows were shattered by South London yobs. I narrowly escaped with my life after stupidly asking a steward if I could hire a seat cushion. He looked at me as if I was mad, saying “no chance mate, they’d only bung ‘em on the pitch and the teams would spend the entire 90 minutes having to pick them up”.
But you’ll be at this game. How come?
So ….here I am now after 50-year career in journalism, on the road again as a travelling folk musician.
I am currently playing a nine-date tour in the North. And by a supreme coincidence I have a free day this coming Saturday when Argyle and the faithful Green Army make the long trek to Sunderland. So I’ll just add my West Country voice to the clamour.
And the score?
What’s my tip? Well,on paper you’d think it a foregone conclusion. Sunderland up at the top at number three and Argyle a good 20 points behind mid-league at 14. Yet after an atrocious start, losing a string of games and stuck in the bottom places, Plymouth got their Mojo back after Xmas. I think they are something like 10 games without being beaten.
Last week they had a stunning 5-1 win, albeit at home. But they are strong away, for example holding Barnsley to a draw and confounding the experts who thought they’d get trounced. So my prediction is that ‘cos they’re on the up, they’ll also squeeze Sunderland to a draw, let’s say 2-2 (‘cos I’d like to see some goals).
Can’t believe I’m going to the famous Stadium of Light…and I won’t be the only Janner there ‘cos Argyle always have fantastic travelling support, despite this being the longest journey they’ll make this season.
* And let Geoff fill in the details of the tour that started earlier this week: … gigging in Lake District, day off Weds, Billingham on Thursday, Robin Hood’s Bay on Friday….day off on Saturday when I’ll go on up to Sunderland. Gigging again at South Shields Folk Club on Sunday. Last of nine gigs in Sheffield on Monday.
Interview (more of an exchange by Twitter messages and texts): Colin Randall