Select band of Pilgrims gripped by appeal of Home Park return
REUBEN REID'S appearance for Plymouth Argyle against Accrington Stanley a week ago came five years and five months since his last outings for the club.
Two games in the League Cup at the start of the 2007-08 season preceded a transfer to Brentford. But he has now become a member of that band of players who have represented the club in more than one spell.
No less than three others can, like Reid, be found in the current squad.
Plymouth's very own Paul Wotton, Nick Chadwick and Guy Branston are all back where they plied their trade earlier in their careers.
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The captain of two promotion campaigns, Wotton re-joined the Pilgrims after a period of four-and-a-half years during which time he played for Southampton, Oxford United (on loan) and Yeovil Town.
Former Everton striker Chadwick made the journey back to Plymouth four years after being given a free transfer to Hereford United.
As for Branston, the defender celebrated his 20th birthday during a loan spell with Argyle from Leicester City during the 1998-99 campaign.
Still fresh in the minds of supporters will be Michael Evans, whose first seven years brought 39 league goals before he joined top Premier League side Southampton in a £650,000 move.
After returning, he collected promotion medals in Paul Sturrock's successful spell in charge and another accolade with a player-of-the-year award.
Alex Govan's professional career got underway at Home Park in 1946. The left-sided player was a pivotal part in the Division Three (South) championship side of 1951-52.
More success followed with a Second Division championship and FA Cup final appearance for Birmingham City prior to moves to Portsmouth and eventually back to Argyle.
Dependable Lee Hodges was a forward when he had a spell on loan from Tottenham Hotspur in 1993. But his move from Reading in 2001 revived another career under Sturrock and he played 196 league games in seven years.
As a rock at the heart of the Argyle defence, all but one of Nicky Marker's 202 league appearances were in the starting line-up between 1987 and 1992. In a deal that took him to Blackburn Rovers, Argyle received £500,000 plus Keith Hill and Craig Skinner in return.
Marker's second spell was somewhat underwhelming in comparison, with four games on loan from Sheffield United in 1999.
Often playing alongside Marker was the ever-jovial figure of Dwight Marshall, who set his career alight when signing from non-League Grays Althletic. His 28 goals in the early 1990s were added to following his return from Luton Town to become Argyle's top scorer during the 1998-99 season.
A UEFA Cup winner with Ipswich Town, Steve McCall ruled the Argyle midfield and later took charge of first-team affairs following the departure of Peter Shilton. Two years with Torquay United followed before he was appointed player-coach at Home Park, making his final appearance at the age of 39.
With eight years between his two spells, striker Sean McCarthy's 26 goals between 1988 and 1990 saw him leave for what was then a record transfer fee received by the Pilgrims when he joined Bradford City for £250,000.
A few months short of 10 years after playing for Argyle on loan from Queens Park Rangers, Michael Meaker made 11 appearances when he joined on a short-term contract in 2001 on his release from Bristol Rovers.
Colin Randell was part of the Argyle side that famously reached the semi-final of the League Cup in 1974. After a spell up the road at St James Park, a second stint at Home Park contributed to a total of 249 league games for the Greens.
Defender Craig Taylor played on loan for Argyle from Swindon Town in 1998. A year later he was bought for £30,000 and played 82 league games.
But can you recall the two players who have signed for Argyle on three separate occasions?
The first is an Argyle legend in any category – Tommy Tynan. His 43 goals in 80 league games were added to by nine cup goals, some of which took Argyle to the last four of the FA Cup.
Originally joining the Greens in 1983, his appetite for goals was still clear for all to see when he returned on loan from Rotherham United to score 10 goals in nine games to drill home promotion to Division Two at the end of the 1985-86 season.
Signing for a third time, he moved permanently to Home Park at the start of the following term and his cult status was confirmed with 83 goals over the next four seasons.
The other three-time Pilgrim is Jason Rowbotham. Originally coming through the apprentice ranks at Home Park, he picked up Scottish League Cup and Division One winning medals with Raith Rovers.
Defender Rowbotham spent a month on loan from Wycombe Wanderers in 1996 before joining permanently from the Adams Park club later that season.