David Pleat
David Pleat

As a gaffer, Pleaty’s approach to player underperformance was callous:

“If there are any managers out there with a bottomless pit, I’m sure that they would be interested in these two Russians.”

But he certainly understood what made a player tick:

“There’s Thierry Henry, exploding like the French train that he is.”

And player bonding was never a problem in Pleat’s teams:

“Our central defenders, Doherty and Anthony Gardner, were fantastic and I told them that when they go to bed tonight they should think of each other.”

Pleaty was always a huge fan of genital dexterity:

“For such a small man Maradona gets great elevation on his balls.”

All kinds of dexterity really:

“Stoichkov is pointing at the bench with his eyes.”

A man famed for his compassion, he sensitively noted that the Champions League clash for which Gerard Houllier made his comeback after illness was…

“… not a game for the faint-hearted.”

Pleat’s managerial philosophy was simple:

“A game is not won until it is lost.”

But Pleat the co-commentator had a few refinements to make to that philosophy:

“Eighty per cent of teams who score first in matches go on to win them. But they may draw some. Or occasionally lose…..”

And Pleat in either guise took anything for granted.

“Had we not got that second goal, I think the score might have been different. I’m not sure.”

Mind you, few commentators describe a goal quite like Pleaty:

“He hits it into the corner of the net as straight as a nut.”

Speaking of nuts, when latterly reincarnated as a Director of Football, Pleat knew the qualities he wanted in a manager and one out of three wasn’t enough for Glenn Hoddle:

“The man we want has to fit a certain profile. Is he a top coach? Would the players respect him? Is he a nutcase?”

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