David J. Pleat
Currently Tottenham's Director of Soccer, Pleat, the Yogi Berra of English football, is known for his offbeat quotes. Among the most famous are:
"A game is not won until it is lost."
"We are in the middle of the centre of the first half."
"We just ran out of legs."
Birth and Death Dates:
b. Jan. 15, 1945
Pleat was an outstanding outside-right as a youngster, playing for England on both its schoolboy and youth teams. In 1962, at the age of 17, he made his debut with Nottingham Forest, becoming the youngest player in the club's history to play on the first team. That season, Pleat appeared in six games and scored one goal. He remained with Forest in 1963, but then moved to Luton Town in August, 1964. The transfer, which was for 10,000 English pounds, occured only minutes before a scheduled match against Colchester, in which Pleat played.
Pleat played for Luton in 70 league games and scored nine goals, but suffered a broken leg in 1965. He returned to action, but not to Luton, joining Shrewsbery in July 1967, although he never fully returned to the form that made him such a terrific younger player. The following year, Pleat became a qualified coach (at the age of 23), and joined Exeter, playing in 68 league games with 13 goals over the next two seasons. In 1970, Pleat moved again, this time to Petersborough, where he remained another two seasons.
In 1972, he joined a non-league team, Nuneaton, as player-manager, but was forced to retire from competitive play due to severe back problems. Pleat then returned to Luton Town as a scout and by 1978, had risen to the top coaching position at the club. Four years later, Pleat led Luton to the Second Division title. In 1986, he was given the coaching job for Tottenham (the "Jewish" team) in London. The following year (1987), Tottenham reached the FA Cup Final only to lose 3-2 to Coventry. That year Pleat resigned from Tottenham over personal issues.
In 1987, the year he stepped down from Tottenham, Pleat turned down a job with the Greek club, Olympiakos, and joined Leicester City instead. Fired in January 1991, Pleat then returned for his second coaching run at Luton and remained with the club until 1995. That year, he began as Sheffield Wednesday's manager and a year after they narrowly missed relegation (1996), he led them to a seventh place finish (they just missed qualifying for the UEFA Cup).
Following 1997, Pleat resigned from Sheffield and then became the Director of Football for the Tottenham Hotspurs in 1998. Spurs, a team with a proud tradition, have gone through some lean years with Pleat as Director of Football. In 1998-99 the team celebrated the inauguration of the New North Stand seating 36,257. They had little to celebrate on the pitch however, as the team finished 11th in the Premier League. In 1999-2000 they improved their league finish to tenth, and won the League Cup. Forwards Chris Armstrong and Steffen Iversen enjoyed a particularly strong year. In the 2000-01 season, Tottenham was given a higher budget then usual, and they splashed 11 million pounds on Ukrainian striker Sergei Rebrov. The new strike-force was a bust and Spurs finished twelfth that year. Pleat appointed former England manager Glenn Hoddle as coach in 2001-02 and he rewarded the trust with a ninth place Premier League finish and a place in the Worthington's League Cup final. 2002-03 saw Pleat take over as caretaker manager after Hoddle resigned. The season saw Robbie Keane become a national star with 14 league goals as Tottenham came in tenth. 2003-04 was a particularly bleak year, since Spurs was threatened with relegation but managed a fourteenth place finish.