David Platt May Fall Flat!

One of the rarely heard from clubs, FC Pune City recently announced that they have taken on the services of David Platt as their manager. This is an interesting one. As much as I want to be excited about a former Arsenal player (I am a longstanding fan, in case you weren’t aware of it), I just can’t bring myself to it.

David Platt Had a Decent Playing Career

David Platt

David Platt – The Player.
Credit: Arsenal Football Club.

David Platt actually had a very decent playing career. I actually remember hearing about him in his last season with Arsenal.

I was very much a football greenie then since it was my first year as a football fan. You see, I started watching and supporting the beautiful game in 1998 because of the World Cup.

Don’t ask me why, it’s just one of those things that happened and ended up sticking. I have since spent half my lifetime watching, playing, or just reading football.

Once I got on to Arsenal, my obsession led me to watching everything even if it was a replay and I watched quite a few.

So, I began hearing of David Platt in reference to his twilight years only.

Since then my obsession has caused me to try and find as much as I can about Arsenal’s history and since David Platt featured for my team for four years just before I started following them, I had to look him up.

Writing this one has caused me to learn even more about the man who Manchester City fans call ‘Mr. Potato Head’. No, I’m not kidding. Looking at his picture, you can see the logic in it. What you can’t see is the reason why City fans hate him so. That’ll come later.

Back to Platt’s playing career. David Platt began as a Manchester United youth player. So, all you plastic glory hunters can feel good about a former Manchester United player managing FC Pune City because you’re the only ones who would.

The real Manchester United fans will know that David Platt never turned out for the Red Devils. In fact, he barely lasted one year before he was let go. Once released David Platt joined Crewe Alexandra where he made a name for himself.

This caused him to be roped in by Aston Villa (the team Arsenal just beat black and blue, woot!). He did well again at Villa before going Italy and playing for Bari, Juventus, and Sampdoria in that order.

It was at this point that Bruce Rioch brought him to Arsenal. Platt played for Arsenal for four years from 1995 through to 1998 when he finished his career under Arsene Wenger.

In total, David Platt played 448 games and scored 151 goals. This is a good return especially if you consider that Platt was a midfielder and not a striker. David Platt was even an England international, playing 62 games in total and scoring 27 goals.

Everything Went Downhill Once David Platt Retired

David Platt Man City

David Platt – The Coach

So if he had such an illustrious playing career, why is it that I can’t bring myself to expect anything out of his stint with FC Pune City? Well, there are solid reasons and most of them are evident in his managerial career. Let me explain.

Right after David Platt left Arsenal, he turned to management. In fact, he was immediately given the chance to manage Sampdoria in Italy – a team that he had played for earlier.

It was such a surprising assignment that I wouldn’t be surprised if David Platt had a special relationship with the senior management of Sampdoria and the decision to make him manager was made at a drinking night out between him and the officials where they made a bet on whether David Platt could get a chick’s number at the bar.

All the senior officials bet against their buddy Platt who managed to surprise everybody by getting the girl’s number because he found out that she liked Arsenal football club. In any case, Platt’s dream date probably lasted longer than his stint as the manager of Sampdoria.

Amidst solid protests from everyone in Serie A against Platt’s appoint because, you know, he didn’t have any serious qualifications, Platt managed to bring Sampdoria to the brink of relegation, and jumped ship before it actually happened. Sampdoria were relegated soon after Platt left.

After ditching Sampdoria, David Platt went straight back in to manage Nottingham Forest in the Championship. He stayed with the famous club for two seasons and did the following:

  • Spent 12 million (that was a lot then for a club in the lower leagues) on players that failed to perform
  • Fought with senior players and caused them to be released by the club
  • Put the club in debt through his spending… err… splurging
  • Leave to manage the England Under 21s. He most probably had dreams of coaching the England national team someday.

Because of the insane debt that David Platt had created and the state he had left Nottingham Forest in, four years later the club went down to the third division. Fans of Nottingham Forest literally hate the man.

David Platt at Sampdoria

David Platt at Sampdoria

David Platt did alright with the England Under 21s but then there isn’t much coaching involved there is it? You just watch club games, pick the players in form, have some scouts study them, and put them on the pitch in the games.

I’ve never rated these international managers. They don’t train players much, they don’t teach them anything, they just come up with a strategy, I mean how difficult is it really?

David Platt took his team to the U-21 European Championships of 2002 but resigned two years later. Incidentally, he was replaced by Peter Taylor, the coach of Kerala Blasters FC. I peg Taylor to do much better than Platt.

After Platt resigned from England Under 21, he became a pundit. That’s right folks, he became a MEDIA PUNDIT! Which manager in his right mind would choose to become a media pundit in the middle of his fricking managerial career? David Platt, of course. Take a bow, good sir.

After about six years of high intensity punditing, David Platt would become the first team coach of Manchester City. And get this, he became their first team coach why? Because, he had played with their manager Roberto Mancini in his playing days.

The fans of Manchester City hated this assignment so much that they actually tried a petition drive to get him ousted. They hated David Platt because he was known to have anti Manchester City opinions while he was doing his high intensity punditing.

Platt left Manchester City when Mancini was removed from his high seat.

My Conclusion on David Platt’s Appointment

David Platt

David Platt – The Manager

Do you see why I don’t expect much out of David Platt? While he was a good football player, judging by his managerial career, he’s one of those who use their past grandeur to make their present better. I mean everyone does that but does everyone end up wrecking the clubs they go to?

Even if you accept that it wasn’t really Platt’s fault that his clubs went into trouble after him, he couldn’t bring them success.

So, I am sorry FC Pune City fans, I don’t see David Platt lighting the league up in any way. His results may be better than Franco Colomba but that will most probably be because you guys will have slightly better players (if).

To be honest, everything you read was my mind talking. My heart wants David Platt to do well. I want an ex-Arsenal player to become a great manager. There’s nothing more that I wish would happen. So, let’s all hope that David Platt doesn’t fall flat…

Indian Super League Organisers Take Lessons from EPL

Inside the Locker Room

There’re two types of people in this world. The first type learns by watching, the second by studying, and the third by both.

The Indian Super League, blessedly, has decided to be the third type. Representatives of the ISL and its eight clubs had travelled to the UK to see how the English Premier League officials work. During the trip the Indian Super League organisers also studied the workings of clubs like Arsenal, Crystal Palace, and West Bromwich Albion.

The visit of the 23 man squad of Indian Super League organisers was a part of the strategic partnership agreement that the two leagues had signed before the inaugural season of the Indian Super League last year.

The actual idea was for the Indian Super League organisers to learn from the English Premier League organisers, which was exactly what the goal of this visit is.

What I Think the Indian Super League Organisers Went For

Indian Super League Organisers Visit Arsenal

Look at that grin! You could drive a bus through it. Its almost like he got a new movie deal…

The five day trip began on April 29th, 2015. While in the media the two contingents are spouting the usual platitudes, I see something deeper.

I believe the Indian Super League organisers have gone to the experts of the English Premier League with the express intention of learning how to transition the twin leagues of the Indian Super League and the I-League.

I don’t include John Abraham in that. Although, I may be doing injustice to him but if you see him in the photo, you can see the grin of sheer delight on his face. I think he got himself included in the contingent just so he could take a tour of the Emirates. Who can begrudge him that anyways? Lucky chump!

For the Indian Super League organisers, the 2014 edition was a massive success. Moreover, the way everyone seemed to have focused on grassroots development, it’s clear that that is the area where they feel they lack.

They are partly right of course but this also shows that the Indian Super League organisers didn’t think they needed any lessons in organising. The Indian private sector is very good at Event Management and, remember, the Indian Super League is largely a private affair.

Hopeful Short Term Fallout

Inside the Locker Room

Inside the Locker Room

In the short term, I have but one hope from this exchange of knowledge and knowhow – they will stagger the matches and put some gaps in the middles. The nonstop AK-47 of matches must stop. They aren’t only detrimental for poor little ISL fans and followers like me but also ruin the quality of the games being played.

If you ask me how the quick succession of matches ruins the quality of matches, consider the fact that all the ISL Marquee players are +30. Heck, English Premier League players at the top of their game would struggle to play every three days or so for three months flat. I swear we Indians are hell-bent on turning even our football league into a sweat shop being run by a pressgang. Sheesh…