This is a series that looks at the greats (and goods) of the beautiful game that went on to sully the ears of footy fans around the world in the cushy confines of the commentary booth. Today’s subject: he’s a rambling, idiotic mess, and that’s even compared to our past subject: it’s David Pleat
David Pleat is known to everyone that knows footy as a shrill, idiotic, unseeing commentator. But back in the old days, Pleat was a halfway decent winger. While he never played for England, Pleat did manage 185 senior appearances and 27 goals for Nottingham Forest, Luton Town, Shrewsbury Town, Exeter City, and Peterborough from 1962 to 1971. Certainly not a superstar of the game, for certain, but he contributed enough during 9 years in the game that we could label him a proper player.
After a floundering attempt to manage in football, including stops at Luton Town, Spurs, Leicester, Sheffield Wednesday, Forest and Marbella, David Pleat took up the role of pundit. He often sits as the analyst in Premier League Matches, both on ESPN UK and many of the feeds picked up by Fox Soccer Channel Stateside. Pleat also has a weekly column on TACTICS! in the Guardian.
And it’s there that we’ll start. Following Sunderland’s surprise victory over Manchester City, Pleat uncorked the following gem. In fact, it was the lede sentence in his column for that week:
Martin O’Neill has deservedly earned a reputation of utilising his resources to maximum effect at every club he has visited on his managerial journey from Shepshed to Sunderland.
Hang on a tick. That’s the same Martin O’Neill that, quite famously, used the fewest players in the Premier League in at least two seasons? The one that persisted in using Craig Gardner and Nigel Reo-Coker as right backs despite having a perfectly good Luke Young playing on the left and a decent Nicky Shorey wasting on the bench? You can say a lot for O’Neill’s ability to manage teams and get them punching above their weight. But I’d say he can be quite wasteful indeed with his resources.
When he’s not mangling the written word, Pleat is assaulting the ears of Premier League supporters with his particular brand of idiocy. The Google results page for “David Pleat idiot,” for example, presents 992,000 page results (to which we’re surely adding), with a particular highlight being a message board thread collecting some gems from Pleat. A sampling of the quotes included are as follows:
“Marseille needed to score first, and that never looked likely once Liverpool had taken the lead”
“I would take advantage of this and make the wall stand the full 10 metres back”
”Ive just noticed something interesting, the left and right backs have both got long sleeve shirts on”
And it’s not just the droning, bloated crapness of his commentary, it’s the fear of dead air and the steadfast insistence on NOT listening to his fellow commentators. Listen to him here, as part of a Champions League matchday preview, completely ignore that questions were asked of both him and Jim Beglin, who was also part of the coverage team for ITV (though Beglin was covering an Inter-Manchester United tie at the San Siro). Luckily, ITV producers caught his error and cut his feed. In the runup, though, listen to the rambling, idiotic commentary that England have come to expect.
What a piss-poor pundit.