Plymouth Argyle will aim for promotion from npower League Two next season, the club’s owner, James Brent, has declared.
However, Brent has warned that the Pilgrims’ pursuit of success in 2012-13 would not be at any expense.
Argyle, as a club, are still recovering from the consequences of spending beyond their means under the former boardroom regime at Home Park. The Pilgrims were in administration for seven months before Brent rescued them from football oblivion, and they only narrowly avoided relegation from the Football League this term.
But, now free from debt and with the support of the “Green Army” behind them, Brent knows it is possible for the Pilgrims to turn around their fortunes – and soon.
He said: “I can’t see that a club like Argyle should be doing anything other than competing to win.
“That’s always the aspiration and what we will drive towards. But given what the club has been through, if we fail to meet that aspiration, no one is going to be reckless.”
Brent hopes to retain the services of manager Carl Fletcher and his coaching staff of Romain Larrieu and Kevin Nancekivell next season.
Talks have taken place with all three of them, and they are already planning for 2012-13, but agreements are not yet in place.
Brent admitted the intention was to add to Argyle’s squad this summer so they were capable of challenging at the top of the table next season, rather than scrapping to stay up.
However, he is placing a lot of importance on the club producing their own players, such as midfielder Luke Young, the club’s Young Player of the Year for 2011-12.
Brent said: “I think everyone’s belief is we have a good core to the squad and we also have some very good youth coming through.
“Seeing it all come together for Luke Young, for example, in the last couple of games was great.
“So it’s really a combination of making sure we develop our own young players and build on the core that we already have. The intention is to add to the squad.”
The cautious mood of optimism at Home Park has been reflected in the demand for 2012-13 membership packages, which include a season ticket for the League Two campaign.
At times, Argyle have been selling them at the rate of one every two minutes.
Launched under the banner of “Join the Club”, the variety of packages have been customised to appeal to different sections of the “Green Army”.
Added exclusive member benefits include a replica shirt, a programme at every home match, subscription to the Pilgrims’ premium online audio and video service Argyle Player, invitations to regular club events, priority tickets for home cup games and discounts in the Argyle Superstore, at Akkeron Hotels and for Saltrock clothing.
An Argyle spokesman said: “We are delighted the new membership packages are proving very popular.
“It really chimes in with the feel-good atmosphere at Home Park at the moment.
“Fans believe the green shoots of recovery experienced following the takeover by James Brent and the appointment of Carl Fletcher and Romain Larrieu will continue to grow. They can see we have an ambitious new owner and one of the brightest young managers in the game to lead us with confidence into the new campaign.”