Seven decades of Cardiff City v Plymouth Argyle games.

Last updated : 21 January 2024 By

In the Vanarama National League the tendency is for there to be local derbies to be played over the Christmas period, so you get, say, Rochdale v Oldham on Boxing Day with the reverse fixtures being played a couple of days later or, perhaps, on New Years Day.


In the EFL you sometimes get the reverse fixtures from Boxing Day being played over the Easter weekend, but there’s a strange one this year as City travel to play Plymouth on Saturday just short of four weeks since the teams played out a 2-2 draw at Cardiff City Stadium on Boxing Day.

I don’t think we play any other team this season so quickly after our first encounter with them and I’m at a loss as to why these matches look to be out of sync with the rest of our fixture list, but I must say I’m quite pleased that they are. I recently described the Boxing Day encounter as an oasis in a desert on here and, as a match which could be described as entertaining, it rather sticks out like a sore thumb among Cardiff City matches of the last couple of months or so.

In truth, it was Plymouth’s attitude which contributed most towards the enjoyable aspect of the first game between the teams, but City were much more watchable than they’ve been in most of their recent home matches in particular – here’s hoping that we see another good game on Saturday which helps to dispel some of the sense of gloom that has descended over City since the turn of the year.

Whether it’s feast or famine regarding Cardiff City though, the seven decades quiz soldiers on and here’s the latest seven questions on upcoming opponents.

60s. One was a one time milkman who signed for his home town club where he scored goals at a better rate that one in three over a six year period before an unsuccessful move to Kent which ended with him retiring through injury from the game at the age of twenty nine. The other one was born in a group of villages which traverse the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border and he started off with a team from the latter county before signing for the club with which he is synonymous. He scored his goals at a better rate than the first striker I talked about and did so over a period of twelve years before he retired. One of the two men I described played for Plymouth, while the other one’s main club had very, very little in common with the port in Devon apart from the fact it was on the coast. However, the two men share something which if it’s not unique in City’s history, it must be very, very rare – who are the two men and what did they do in games against City in the autumn of 1966 which may not have happened before or since to us?

70s. This alliterative forward scored for his team in a win at Ninian Park in a season in which he later signed for Plymouth and returned to the ground in their colours. He didn’t score this time, but he enjoyed a long career in which he made a decent reputation for himself at Second and Third Division levels (he was probably at his most prolific while wearing a blue and white shirt). However, it could be argued that he enjoyed a better career after his retirement from football as he established a sporting footwear retail company that launched a mail order service in the mid eighties before becoming one of the first UK businesses to launch an e commerce website. Who am I describing?

80s. Another player to enjoy a lucrative career away from the game, although, in this case, his success came while he was still playing. In 2018, he was still turning out playing veteran’s football for Charlton Athletic at the age of fifty seven having left the pro game at the age of thirty six some eighteen years after making his debut as a crustacean at eighteen. Another who spent his career outside of the top flight, I’d say he was a bit better than a journeyman as he played for seven clubs and, apart from a very brief loan spell at Notts County, the furthest north he got was probably Swindon. His time at Plymouth looks strange to an outsider like me – he was there two years, played well under a hundred league matches for them and yet was selected in Argyle’s team of the century! Around a decade later, he embarked on his side line which eventually got him shortlisted for a prestigious annual award, but can you name him?

90s. Even tuning in key initially helps make lower division striker eventually. (5,6)

00s. Who is the player who made his debut for Plymouth in 2001 and retired while a Plymouth player twenty one years later, having captained the club in the second of three spells he had with them and what was the reason for an interruption to his career in his mid to late twenties?

10s. Steal cord from African country seemingly!

20s. Mad one time Plymouth manager meets Mary Poppins star!


60s. On 8 October 1966, Ke Wagstaff of Hull City (he’d been signed from Mansfield Town two years earlier) scored all four of his team’s goals in a 4-2 win at Ninian Park. In City’s next game a week later, Plymouth Argyle’s Mike Bickle scored four of his team’s goals in their 7-1 win over us at Home Park. I don’t know whether this is the only instance in our history of a player scoring four goals or more against us in successive matches, but there has to be a good chance that it is.

70s.Bruce Bannister enjoyed a very fruitful striking partnership with former City striker and fellow Yorkshireman Alan Warboys when they were at Bristol Rovers. Both of them scored in Rovers’ 2-1 win at Ninian Park in our first home match of the 76/77 season and Bannister was back at the ground in a winning cause again in March 77 when his new team, Plymouth, beat us 1-0. Bannister formed a company called Sportsshoes on his retirement in 1982 and it went from strength to strength over the next decade or so. Sportsshoes was eventually taken over by Bannister’s son and is still going today;

80s. Garry Nelson began his career with Southend and went on to play for Swindon, Plymouth, Brighton, Notts County, Charlton and Torquay. It was while he was with the last two clubs named that he turned to writing and his books Left foot forward and Left Foot in the Grave were written in diary form describing a footballer who realized his playing days were almost over – both books were shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award and I can recommend them to anyone who fancies reading about the game of thirty years ago.

90s. Kevin Nugent.

00s. Goalkeeper Luke McCormick played over three hundred league matches for Plymouth in three spells with them. The first of these was ended in 2008 when he pleaded guilty to charges of causing death by dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol in his blood. Initially sentenced to over seven years imprisonment, McCormick was released after four years and was eventually offered a contract by Oxford United before returning to Plymouth in 2013.

10s. Nick Chadwick.

20s. Ollie Tomlinson.