Blame David Pleat!

by Mystical Mike

Friday, September 12th, 2008

To many cooks

What do David Pleat, Darren Barnard and Colin Lippiatt have in common? For fear of legal recriminations I’ll tell you; while one’s done it at Tottenham, the other two have made a living from it in Non League Football and all with varying success.Their roles? Director of Football. It’s a position that’s been made infamous over the past couple of weeks by resignations at both Newcastle and West Ham, so is it a job really suited to the game at the top of the pyramid, let alone at grassroots level?

One of the major things that sets Non League football apart from the so-called big boys is the ability for one man to still manage the entirety of a club. I’m not suggesting Jeff King, gaffer at Chelmsford City, runs up and down the line training the squad, he’s got Glenn Pennyfather for that, but I’d still like to think it’s his say on who comes and goes, and who, with a little advice, plays where. You try telling Big Jeff he’s got to take instruction from a man in a suit who once managed at another club and you’re likely to get short shrift.

There lies the problem. Football is full of uncertain egos. A third party buying players a manager hasn’t even heard of is the equivalent of courting a rabid bull with a red rose whilst dressed in nothing but a winceyette, not only will you rouse suspicion, you could end up battered, bruised and heading for cover.

So can it ever be a success? Pleat argues he made a fair old fist of it at Spurs, but take a trip down the road to the Hammers, and Alan Curbishley cites it as one of his major undoings. Similarly, the sacking of Kim Grant at Woking, after the unconnected resignation of his Director of Football Colin Lippiatt, is obviously not a rousing drum beater for the role.

This week the board at Woking have another tough decision to make on how to take the club forward, and who should replace Kim Grant. Chairman David Taylor says hindsight could have saved him plenty of heartache in recent weeks, and I’m sure he’s not alone. No chairman knows if their appointment will be a success, but there are certain things they can do to at least guarantee a happy ship. One thing can go a long way towards progression; one member, one vote, one manager. I mean, with a boss like Jeff King in charge at Chelmsford, who am I to argue?

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  • Darren

    I blame David Pleat for lots of things, crap commentary for one!

    I would like to know what a director of football actually does? I bet Wise is on about 200 grand a year for that job.

  • Matt Quinn

    I personally think Directors of Football are good ideas. Very few managers are excellent coaches, financially astute and good talent spotters. The idea at Newcastle/West Ham seemed like a sound one. The manager would let the DOF know what position and type of player they would like, and the DOF would go out and get someone.
    As much as i love Martin O’Neill, i feel he has made some very average purchases for Aston Villa. He will, as he is a wonderful man-manager, turn them into good signings. However, if Villa had a DOF, O’Neill might now be trying to turn already great players into world beaters.
    I think the days of managers doing everything are long gone. If managers show enough foresight and ability in the transfer market then the need for DOF would disappear. However as Keegan and Curbishley showed- neither had this ability and so their ego wouldnt let someone else help them.

    Keegan gave the Newcastle Board a wish-list of Henry, Ronaldinho and Lampard! Wise got him Collocini and Gutierrez- two excellent acquisitions for Newcastle.
    At West Ham, Behrami was brought in by the DOF- he looks decent. Curbishley in recent years had spent on Nigel Quashie, Boa Morte, Dyer, Calum Davenport et al……

    DOF are glorified talent scouts who should help clubs get better players in and quicker. The sooner average managers like Keegan and Curbishley acknowledge this and their limitations, the better their clubs would be.

  • Darren

    Wenger and Fergie haven’t got one and look how successful those 2 clubs are!!

  • matt quinn

    Thats why i said, very few managers are good all-rounders. Those two obviously are. Curbishley and Keegan arent. In fact, Fergie might be the opposite in that he needs a good number two. Whenever he loses his assistant, United struggle, suggesting Fergie isnt the best coach. The opposite applies when a DOF is needed. Good coaches needing someone to pick the right places to get into a club.

  • Pingback: Spurs’ speed and movement expose makeshift full-back Martin Skrtel | David Pleat | Latest World Football News()

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