The club was founded in 1886 as Argyle Football Club, the first match taking place on 16 October 1886 against Caxton, a team from Cornwall and saw the Pilgrims lose 2–0. Later that week Argyle won for the first time–beating Dunheved College (now Launceston College) in Launceston (where many of the club's first members had been educated) 2–1. They played several friendlies against Plymouth United, but poor performances on the pitch led to the club going out of existence in 1894 before being resurrected in 1897 as one part of a general sports club, the Argyle Athletic Club. In 1898, Argyle F.C. produced its first rulebook. The club's ground was given as Marsh Mills, an area on the edge of the city of Plymouth, which still hosts sports.
Much speculation surrounds the origin of the name Argyle. One explanation is that they were named after the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, an army regiment with a strong football side of its own. Another theory is given the respective geographical placements–suggests the name comes either from the nearby public house, The Argyle Tavern, where the founder members may have met, or the local street named Argyle Terrace. An alternative suggestion is that their initial kit was decorated in the famous Argyle diamond pattern.
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