However, there have been a few bright sparks to grace the pitch of Home Park, but none have shone brighter than Tommy Tynan.
The hard working forward, who was known for his flowing blonde hair, had three spells with the Pilgrims from 1983-1985 and then from 1986, which was originally a loan that turned into a full transfer, until 1990.
Tynan was around during one of Plymouth’s most successful periods as a team which included the 1984 F.A Cup run to the semi final. He scored 145 goals in 310 appearances, ranked third in the all-time scorers list for Argyle, averaging 0.47 goals per game.
He also has the unique title of being the only player ever to have won the Plymouth Argyle Player of the Year award three times.
It all started for Tommy back in 1971 when he was signed for Liverpool by Bill Shankly. During his five years for the Reds he never made an appearance but he did have a loan spell with Swansea where he scored six goals in six starts. Then, after moving to Sheffield Wednesday, Lincoln City and Newport County, where he helped them win promotion, the Welsh Cup and reached the quarter-finals of the European Cup Winners Cup, he signed for Plymouth in 1983.
His first season was nothing short of eventful. Though the league form in the Third Division that season under manager Johnny Hore was one to forget for the Green Army, although Tynan still managed to score 12 goals in 35 games, it was the F.A Cup run that was unforgettable.
And the striker had a definite helping hand in the run with his goals helping the Pilgrims beat Southend United in the first round, Newport County in the third and in particular the fifth round game away to West Bromwich Albion, a Division One team at the time.
The only goal came in the second half, a long ball up to Albion’s penalty area was chased down by fellow striker Gordan Staniforth who managed to get to it ahead of the goalkeeper and his cross found Tynan who chested it down and fired through a group of West Brom players into the bottom corner.
Plymouth continued the upsets with second division side Derby County in the quarter-finals, though only just, via a replay. And though the dream stopped at the hands of Watford at Villa Park, it was still a fantastic effort from the Pilgrims.
The next season was probably the best in his career. The front man scored 31 goals in the league winning him the Third Division Golden Boot and though it didn’t help Argyle get anywhere in the division, Tynan was joint top scorer in all 4 divisions of the Football League, level with Tranmere's John Clayton.
But the 1984-85 season was the end of Tynan’s first spell at Plymouth as he moved to Rotherham United, citing domestic reasons. However his spell with the Millers came to an abrupt end after a falling out with the manager saw Tynan back at Argyle on loan in April. And it was a fantastic signing as his ten goals in the last ten games helped Plymouth clinch promotion to the Second Division.
And it was inevitable that before the 1986-87 season began, Tommy would return permanently to Home Park. The goalscorer stayed at Plymouth for four more years scoring 73 goals in 173 games in all competitions. His career then wound down with a season each for Torquay United and Doncaster Rovers before he retired from playing in 1992.
Tommy Tynan is a cult figure for the Green Army and is still a part of the Pilgrims life today, writing a regular piece about them for the Plymouth Evening Herald and is a taxi driver in the city.
The forward may not have played for England or competed in the highest leagues but he was a fantastic player for Plymouth Argyle, a striker who gave everything for our club and his contribution will never be forgotten.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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