D3D4 profiles a player with cult status at Plymouth Argyle…
Once every so often a club will sign a player or a player will rise through their system who becomes a talisman for the fans to get behind. Someone that the fans feel proud to have representing their team and wearing the hallowed club colours. To Argyle fans Graham Carey is just this.
Born in Blanchardstown a suburb of Dublin, Ireland, Graham started his career in the youth setup of local club Shelbourne and it was while playing here that he was spotted by scouts of Scottish giants Celtic. A move to the Glasgow club soon followed and he made his debut in the Europa League fixture against Rapid Vienna. As with many talent youngsters, first team opportunities were hard to come by and so Gordon Strachan, who was the Celtic manager at the time, loan Carey to Irish club Bohemians.
Carey would impress during this loan spell and scored five in 20 appearances for the Dublin based club. His talent was obvious, being described as the ‘star of the show’ by Bohemian’s manager Pat Fenlon and there were plenty of other suitors trying to get Graham on loan once he returned to Celtic. It was no surprise that he was sent out again, this time to St Mirren and again he was impressive.
His ability from set pieces was already apparent and as he set up a goal on his debut and then scored and excellent free kick against Rangers. He was also part of the St Mirren side that lost the 2010 Scottish Cup final to the Glasgow giants. His spell at The Buddies got him plenty of attention and also earned him a new two year deal with Celtic.
He was loaned out again the following season, this time to League One Huddersfield Town. He made 26 appearances for Lee Clark’s team before heading back to Glasgow in January after the loan deal expired. He was destined never to make an appearance for Celtic in the Scottish Premier League and ended up joining St Mirren on a permanent basis for the start of the 2011-12 season and over the next two years he would play 55 times for the Paisley based club. Following his release he had a brief trial with Dundee United before signing for Ross County.
Ross County are based in Dingwall, in the Highland region of Scotland where the summers are short and the wind is biting. Carey was a key player for Derek Adam’s side and made 38 appearances and scored three times throughout the season. Adams was dismissed early the next season and Carey was played as a left back by new manager Jim McIntyre (yeah I know, what a waste!) and he was released by the Staggies at the end of the season.
Carey was looking for a new challenge to kick start his career and a he moved about as far as possible, without leaving the United Kingdom, when he re-joined Derek Adams at League Two Plymouth Argyle. It was a move that has changed his career and has given him national recognition. He was an instant hit with the Pilgrims not only scoring on his debut against AFC Wimbledon but also grabbing four goals in his first five matches. His ability at set pieces, vision and work ethic were loved by a fan based that had been starved of a player with his qualities over the previous few years and Graham Carey was just what those loyal, die-hard fans needed. He scored 15 times and also had 15 assists during that first season almost leading Argyle to League One, only for them to be beaten in the Play-off final by Wimbledon.
It was a much happier ending to the 2016/17 as Argyle were promoted after finishing 2nd, only a draw at Grimsby on the final day prevented them from winning the title, which instead went to Portsmouth who thrashed Cheltenham at Fratton Park to snatch the glory on a dramatic final day.
Carey was rightly included in the League Two Team of the Season and finished the campaign with 14 league goals. There were a number of rumours linking him with a move to several Championship clubs during the summer but to the delight of all Plymouth Argyle fans, he signed a new deal to stay with the Devonshire club. The jump to League One has, thus far, proven a little more difficult for The Pilgrims and at the time of writing they are bottom of the division. Despite this Carey is still a key player and during a recent suspension was sorely missed. Whether he can turn on his magic again and help push Argyle up the table and out of trouble only time will tell but he is and will ever be a legend at Home Park.
words James Richards