|One of the
interesting consequences of Jacques Santini's departure from Tottenham
has been the comments attributed to David Pleat about the situation at
Spurs and, in particular, the new management structure. An
uninformed observer might presume that Pleat had enjoyed great success
as a Premiership football director. As Spurs supporters know, that
is not quite the case.
Whilst he was Director of Football, Spurs fans became used to Pleat's often bizarre public statements about the team, the manager and football in general. The common thread running through all of these comments was the fact that, despite being at Spurs for seven years, he could in no way be held responsible for the team's mediocre performances throughout that period. He continually used his column in the Spurs programme to make obviously biased and self-serving comments about the great job that English directors of football do and the number of young players coming through the ranks at Tottenham who could be future first-team players.
The reality is unfortunately somewhat different. No English club with a director of football has been successful and, apart from Ledley King, no home-grown player established himself in the first team at Spurs during Pleat's tenure. He also made much of the work he did scouring the lower leagues for players but, since 1999 when Davies, Etherington, Doherty and Gardner signed, there has been no progress on that front.
I have my doubts about the club's continental set-up, but it can surely do no worse than the structure Pleat presided over. Frank Arnesen has already shown that he has a greater network of contacts to unearth reasonably priced relatively unknown players (e.g. Ziegler and Edman) and the early signs are that he will not publicly undermine the incumbent coach in the way Pleat acted over Hoddle.
David Pleat received a substantial payout for his removal at Spurs. Even if he was entitled to that under his employment contract (and you have to ask who agreed to such generous terms ?), it is regrettable that the club did not get him to sign a watertight confidentiality agreement as a condition of that payment banning him from making any public statements about Tottenham. However, I would hope that Pleat bears in mind his own track record at Spurs before criticising the club again.
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