English football: My Plymouth Argyle moves back to League One.


In 2009 we made our first journey to the city of Plymouth. In 2013, we went again. At some point in between these two visits, I decided to honor the hometown of the mother-in-law I never had the pleasure of meeting by following the fortunes of Plymouth’s football club, Argyle, nicknamed the Pilgrims for what I trust is an obvious reason.

I know little about football (in the planetary sense; we say “soccer”) but have always found it entertaining when traveling abroad. Being somewhere other than America puts me in the mood.

As with most other sports, I’ve long since ceased wasting vast blocks of time to watch actual games. I read about the results, view a highlight or two via Twitter and keep track of the schedule. These habits are conducive to observing the progress of a sporting entity like Argyle, so very far away.

You needn’t be bored with further details, just recall that in English football, there is an ebb and flow between the leagues. At the end of the season, a certain number of top-ranking finishers are promoted, or moved up to the league above them, while the bottom feeders are relegated — moved down.

For much of the time I’ve been an Argyle supporter, the squad has competed in League Two, which actually is the fourth league in terms of rank, or in an imperfect analogy, “Single A” for those of you who know American baseball.

Premier League (Level 1 or “top-flight”)
The Championship (Level 2)
League One (Level 3)
League Two (Level 4)
Non-league football (Level 5; all remaining teams)

Actually the bottom was falling out for Argyle around 2011 after a period of success in the early 2000s. The club finally won promotion to League One, but famously collapsed down the stretch in 2018-2019 and was relegated to League Two for the 2019-2020 campaign.

Argyle rallied convincingly and was looking strong in 3rd place — a position for promotion — when the coronavirus shutdown came in March.

What would be the outcome?

As we learned on Tuesday, there’ll be no resumption of play, and so the standings hold. It’s back to League One for 2020-2021.

Someone pour me a cask-conditioned ale!

Club Statement: Pilgrims Promoted

9 June 2020

Plymouth Argyle welcomes the decision made at Tuesday’s EFL meeting to end the 2019/20 Sky Bet League Two season.

While our first preference would always have been to finish our exciting season on the pitch and push to win the league, the safety of players, staff and supporters is of utmost priority.

The club is delighted to have achieved our pre-season objective of an immediate return to Sky Bet League One and would like to congratulate first-team manager Ryan Lowe and his staff on an outstanding achievement during their first year at Home Park.

Chief executive officer Andrew Parkinson said: “We are pleased that a solution for the end of the season has been reached after weeks of uncertainty, and, of course, delighted that it results in promotion for Argyle.

“That said, we are disappointed not to be able to celebrate this promotion on the pitch, with the Green Army cheering from the stands. Football has, quite rightly, had to take a back seat in order to ensure the safety of our community.

“Our supporters have been with us every step of the way this season, and I know I speak on behalf of everyone at the club when I say that you played an integral part in our eventual success.

“We thank you for your outstanding support and look forward the occasion that we can play games with our loyal fans in the stands once again.”

With the 2019/20 season now formally concluded, the club will issue guidance on outstanding ticketing queries in the coming days and will continue to update supporters as more information becomes available on the 20/21 Sky Bet League One campaign.

Thank you for your support.