Writer: Ian De-Lar
Date:Saturday May 5 2012
Plymouth Argyle's legendary French keeper Romain Larrieu has today announced his retirement as a player.
Romain, 35, has been at Home Park for 11 and a half years and is expected to make an emotional farewell appearance in today's game against Cheltenham.
Romain has notched up 317 games for the Pilgrims and has seen the rise and fall of Argyle from winning two Championship titles in 2002 and 2004 to successive relegations, the administration process and finally safe from liquidation and relegation.
But Romain's exploits on the pitch is not the only reason why the Green Army hold him in such high esteem; it's the way the big keeper has conducted himself off the pitch and his winning battle against cancer that has earned him a place as an Honorary Janner.
The keeper is now coming to the end of his testimonial season with the match against QPR earlier this season the highlight of a series of events.
In a game that has become greedy and selfish Romain has insisted that three Plymouth-based charities - the Mustard Tree Appeal, Jeremiah's Journey and CATS (Community Action through Sport) - will be among the beneficiaries of the season-long testimonial events.
Romain joined Argyle as a free agent in December 2000.
Romain had been without a club for six months after being released by French side ASOA Valence before joining Argyle with compatriot David Friio. He had previously been a back up to French international keeper, Bruno Martini at Montpelier
The Frenchman made his Argyle debut in a LDV Vans Trophy game against Bristol City in December 2000 in a 3-0 home win.
His rustiness showed in the game, but he waited until February 2001 to make his league debut, coming on for the injured Jon Sheffield in a 0-0 draw with Cheltenham Town. Romain featured in 14 league games that season and was rewarded with a permanent contract.
Romain was made first choice for the 2001-02 season, which became one of the best season's in Argyle's history. Argyle became Champions of Division Three and only conceded 28 goals, with Romain keeping 27 clean sheets and was named in the PFA Division Three Team of the Year.
The popular keeper also featured in the 2003-04 Division Two Championship winning side, but he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury early in the season against Brentford.
Romain has not featured as much as he would have liked in the last five or six seasons due to the fine form of former goalkeeping rival Luke McCormick and because of his battle against testicular cancer over the past few years. In his efforts to gain match fitness, Romain was loaned to League One sides Yeovil and Gillingham in 2007. Both sets of supporters were very impressed with his shot stopping ability and his fine form.
In the 2008-2009 season Romain battled with Graham Stack for the number 1 jersey at Home Park until Stack fell out of favour and in season 2009-2010 Romain was unceremoniously dropped when Fulham keeper David Stockdale signed a three-month loan deal.
Last season Romian started the season in the first-team but made way for loanee David Button and then returned to reclaim the number one spot later in the season.
Not once has Romain complained when he was dropped from the first-team, instead Romain could be seen in the dug-out urging the team on or offering advice to his replacement in goal.
This season Romain stepped up to assist Carl Fletcher after the sacking of Peter Reid and helped steer the Mayflower away from choppy relegation waters to a calmer sea and League Two safety with two games to spare.
However, we haven't seen the last of Romain because it appears that he will remain at Home Park as assistant to Fletcher.
Congratulations on a fantastic Home Park career. Goodbye to an Argyle Legend!
Date:Saturday May 5 2012
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