Matty Hayward – @mattyhayward96
It’s July 2019. Plainmoor is bathed in sunshine. I’m sitting near the top of Bristow’s Bench – a standard for me when it comes to friendlies – and Gary Johnson’s newly-promoted Yellows are running rings round Plymouth Argyle. A stunning free-kick from Armani Little and a dazzling performance from Kalvin Kalala earned us a 3-1 win that day. Ryan Lowe has only one player at his disposal who looks real Football League quality: a tall, athletic forward with the intelligence and line-leading ability of an experienced marksman. That forward is Klaidi Lolos.
It’s July 2021. For reasons that still remain unclear, the Torquay United social media “team” (it is presumably, at best, two people, who will forever be referred to as “Paddy”) have decided to announce seven signings on the same day using a heavily-plugged live text service on the club website, but then also to tweet the players’ names and post the news on Instagram and Facebook. I’m sitting in the back of a car on the way back from a holiday in North Wales, the motorway is bathed in sunshine and I’m roasting like a maltreated dog. Six signings have been named – two goalkeepers, a left sided defender, a left sided utility player, a tough-tackling midfielder, and a promising winger. All that remains is a forward. That forward is Klaidi Lolos.
Career So Far
Lolos was born in Athens, and as a young man was on the books at Olympiacos, then Crystal Palace, before joining Plymouth. There, he was part of a successful side who reached the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup, beating Man City. Lolos opened the scoring in their extra time defeat to Fulham. He then had two loan spells at Dorchester (November 2019 – four goals in nine games) and Chippenham (December 2020 – one game, one red card).
For Plymouth, Klaidi made his debut in August 2019 and opened his goalscoring account with a penalty in an EFL Trophy defeat to Norwich U21s. He made eight substitute appearances in League One last season, and started twice in the Papa John’s Trophy. That wasn’t enough to get him a new deal at Home Park, but Gary had seen enough to snap him up.
Do you want the good news or the bad news? Have the bad first, then the good as dessert.
The bad news is you’re about to see a goal scored by Plymouth Argyle. But don’t worry. Clear up your vomit. The good news is that it comes in a losing cause, and is scored by our new striker!
Here he is, 47 seconds in, slotting home a penalty for his first senior goal for the Greens.
Views from his Old Gaffer
Ryan Lowe clearly rated Lolos. He said, upon the Greek’s release from Home Park:
“Lolos was a tough one. I have praised him lately. The reason for the release was for him to go and play games. He could go and easily sign for a League Two team […] It wasn’t fair on him for me to keep him around on not great money […] Is he one that might backfire on me in the future? Possibly, yeah”
“I’m going to speak to a few managers and say to them ‘take a chance on him’…he has got a swagger about him, he has got ability”
And, interestingly, Lowe had some thoughts Lolos’ future and the type of player he is:
“He’s not an actual number nine, he’s more like a number ten, or a number seven that comes off the wing […] A different formation – a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3 – could suit him perfectly […] he can be the best player in the National League if he really wants to.”
Most Likely To
- Judging by his record at Chippenham, stick an elbow in the face of an opposition defender
- Take a while to bed in and find his role: we have an established number 10 and 9 already at the club, so Lolos will be given time to find his feet
- Have accusations of an “attitude problem” levelled at him from the Popside within minutes of his first appearance for doing something completely innocuous
Least Likely To
- Have his name correctly pronounced by the PA
- Be asked by the club how he’d like his name to be pronounced so we can all get it right
I think this might be a fantastic signing. Obviously Ryan Lowe isn’t going to come out and say “yeah I released him because he was toilet”, but the fact that such a good ex-lower league forward holds him in such esteem has to suggest that Lolos has something. In fact, we know he has something. Frustratingly, there are no highlights online (that I can find) of that 2019 friendly, but I definitely remember assuming he was Argyle’s latest star striker – a fearless, assured, mid-20s line leader – and was astonished to find out he was just the latest cab off their youth production rank.
As mentioned above, he probably doesn’t walk into our starting XI. Though he may be our starting right winger in a 4-2-3-1, there’s every chance that his long-term progression is as a successor to Danny Wright and/or competition for Connor Lemonheigh-Evans in the number ten role (perhaps with a view to The Lemon ultimately moving backwards into midfield). In truth, as is the case with every reaction to this latest deluge of signings, we’ll be far better placed to pass judgement once we’ve seen him in action within Johnson’s system.
All that completely rational stuff about just waiting to see what happens and not making rash decisions aside, and I don’t want to tempt fate, but I think Lolos is going to score four million goals for Torquay and everything is going to be totally great forever.
COYY – Matty
With Kyle Cameron departing, I can happily announce that TorquayTalk are now the away sponsor of Klaidi Lolos. We believe in the potential of this young Greek striker and I am very much looking forward to seeing him in action. Good luck Klaidi. Dom
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