FORMER Albion flanker Brett Stroud says he is relishing the challenge of trying to turn around Plymouth Argaum’s fortunes.
The 37-year-old has become Argaum’s new head coach, replacing another ex-Albion man, Adrian Cameron.
Stroud is no stranger to Bickleigh Down, having helped Dave Sansom out as an assistant coach during the 2014-15 season.
However, a lot has changed at the club since then. They went up to the Cornwall/Devon League that season but after four years were relegated in 2019 and they had another tough campaign last season, finishing ninth in the 12-strong Devon One.
Arguam have lost quite a few players to city rivals Plymstock Albion Oaks in the last couple of years, while others have retired or moved away, but Stroud is hopeful he can get the historic club going in the right direction again.
“They have had a bit of a decline,” admitted Stroud. “But behind the scenes they have a really good set-up with people like Nick Hancock and Stuart Quarterman and that’s why I took the reins on as head coach as I do think it is a good community club.
“Also my daughter is 10 now and my son is eight and so they are at that age where they are doing their own sports and stuff so I have a bit more time on my hands now, so I thought I wouldn’t mind doing a little bit.
“I felt that somebody wanted to give their time up for me when I was playing, that maybe I could try and do something myself – maybe leave something behind or just try and help get the club to where they want and are happy to be.
“It is a club with a lot of history – it’s one of the oldest around.
“I just feel they maybe need to get that feel-good factor back. Hopefully, I can try and turn things around and get that feel-good factor back.
“However, I understand it will be an uphill battle and that it’s not going to be a five-minute turnaround, but I am up for the challenge. I am one of those who has gone through their rugby career always loving a challenge and I am definitely going to give it my best shot.”
Stroud, who after Albion went on to play for Mounts Bay, Redruth and Newton Abbot, knows Argaum need to improve on their player availability, especially away from home, as that has cost them heavily in the last couple of years.
“We just need to try and pull players in from the area who want to try and play some decent rugby,” he said.
“I’ve already made a few phone calls to some old friends. I just have to try and pull in some young blood.
“But Argaum have got a lot of members, we just need to get them to come out of the woodwork.”
Argaum will start pre-season training on Tuesday, July 28, and former Devon forward Stroud is keen to welcome any players – new or old – to the club.
Chairman Nick Hancock is certainly pleased to have Stroud involved at Bickleigh Down.
“I’m delighted that Brett is able to take up the head coach role,” said Hancock. “l believe that his high-level experience and enthusiastic approach, will attract players to the club and enable Argaum to build for the future.”