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David Platt; the one season man beloved by Mancini

By Tony Attwood

I have to admit to bias. There are some players you like, and some you don’t.  It doesn’t stop you supporting the team, but those players you don’t like never quite make it into your heart and soul.  David Platt is one of these.

David Platt was transferred to Arsenal in the same summer as Dennis Bergkamp.  Platt lasted 3 seasons and 65 starts.   Dennis did 11 seasons and 253 games.

Both were brought in by David Dean at the start of the Rioch era – and Dennis of course is covered time and again on these pages.  But I doubt that Platt has yet got a mention.  So here goes…

He was born 10 June 1966 and is said by the time he stopped playing to have cost more in transfer fees than any other English player.  The list below says how he did it.

Season Club

Games

Goals

1985–1988 Crewe Alexandra

134

56

1988–1991 Aston Villa

121

50

1991–1992 Bari

29

11

1992–1993 Juventus

16

       3

1993–1995 Sampdoria

55

17

1995–1998 Arsenal

88

13

1999–2001 Nottingham Forest

5

1

He was an apprentice at Man U, before Crewe.  He played in the World Cup in 1990 and that is what attracted Italian teams to him, although only his third and final Italian team kept him for more than one year, while in Juventus he only got 16 games.

But he became more established in the England team playing in the European Championships in 1992 and 1996.He did however win some trophies for his club sides, despite the regular movement.  The 1988 Villa were promoted to the first division having been relegated the year before and in 1990 were runners up.

The Bari experience ended with relegation for the club, but in January 1992 it appears that  Roberto Mancini attempted to tap Platt up by phoning directly without the permission of his club.  But Platt turned the overtures down and went to Juventus who won the Uefa Cup – although Platt did not make the team nor the subs bench for the final and only played occasionally for them as seen.

The tapping up continued according to Platt, with Mancini calling Platt regularly and inciting him to leave and so the move to Sampdoria where Mancini was, finally took place.

Here Platt won the Italian Cup and then moved to Arsenal for £4,75m

Season Lge Games Goals Manager
1995/6 27/2 5 Rioch
1996/7 27/1 4 Wenger
1997/8 11/20 3 Wenger

Platt reports that he and Rioch “hit it off” and that Rioch had some “exciting ideas”.

On the last day of the first season Arsenal clinched fifth and qualified for the Uefa Cup – something which was met with wild rejoicing, showing the level of the club ambitions at the time after the end of the Graham era.   However it seems the board did not find Rioch and his ideas “exciting” and he was sacked and in came Arsène Wenger.Platt played next to Patrick Vieira at Arsenal at first.  Then after the first season Emmanuel Petit and Gilles Grimandi arrived and Platt’s level of appearances went into decline. After winning the double, and after three years with Arsenal Platt asked for his contract to be cancelled.

He then went to Sampdoria as manager but was sacked after other clubs in the Italian league complained that he had broken the rules by not have the right coaching qualifications.  Platt resigned, and Sampdoria were relegated.

In July 1999, Platt became manager of Nottingham Forest and also played three times in the league for them.  He was manager for two years and spent the club’s entire transfer budget and more but the club remained resolutely in mid table.   There were reports of clashes with players, and the club appears to have run into significant debt at the time as a result of his transfer dealings.  The result of these was the club had to sell players as and when they could and in 2004/5 Forest were relegated to League One (the third division) where they remained for three years.

Despite the problems at Forest Platt became manager of the England U21 in 2001 but left after the side failed to qualify for the 2004 under 21s tournament.

He drops off the radar somewhat then until 2010 (although worked as a media pundit sometimes) when he became first team coach under Mancini at Man City – who as we have seen was a fan of Platt’s in Italy.  It was not a popular choice at City, and indeed was met with some surprise at Forest, Arsenal and in Italy.On the 14 May 2013 Platt was sacked as assistant manager as Roberto Mancini left as manager.

The books…

See also…

3 comments to David Platt; the one season man beloved by Mancini

  • mark

    Couldn’t agree with you more Tony, there was just something about ‘shake hands’ (as we used to call him – with reference to his goal celebrations) that never quite endeared him to the majority(?) of us gooners. However, THAT goal against Man Ure will always live long in the memory!

  • Ron Baza

    A tad harsh, I feel. Platt arrived at a time when he was England captain, and the national team’s best player for a solid three years. Capable on the ball, hardworking, tactically aware, and an excellent goalscorer. He has succeeded at home and abroad, in both Graham Taylor’s functional Villa side and in some far more tactical Italian teams.
    George Graham had spent years trying to sign a top quality central midfielder – Stefan Schwartz turned out not to be that man, Andy Townsend publicly rejected the club several times, and the youth products (Hillier, Morrow, etc) didn’t quite reach the required standard.
    The ultimate problem with Platt was threefold. Firstly, he was very clearly Rioch’s signing, as was Bergkamp. Neither had been touted by Houston, both came in and were expected to take the side up a notch. And, even though he was England’s captain, Platt was an easier and less glamorous scapegoat than Bergkamp.
    Secondly, he was soon eclipsed by other players in his position – Vieira and Pettit were an excellent combination, whereas Anelka was a success but rightly unloved.
    And finally, Platt arrived just as he began his decline. Injuries meant that he lost half a yard of pace (and he had never been lightning quick), and that he didn’t have quite the engine he once did. He became a supporting player for a superb team, rather than the star of a functional one.
    All of which means I can understand why Platt wasn’t loved. But he surely deserves respect – a very good player who did well in the autumn of his career at Highbury.

  • Nigel

    I was disappointed he did not stay on for the next season, along with Ian Wright, as both would have been vital squad members in pusuit of the European Cup. Alas without them we were not successful. Perhaps in both their cases they didn’t fancy not being first choice anymore. I think the form of Ray Parlour under Arsene Wenger was the reason what kept Platt out of the team.
    He is I think one of those footballers remembered for his excellent international career with England rather than with any of his clubs. He was succeeded of his England captaincy by his club captain Tony Adams at the start of Euro ’96 but still stayed and played with the team. A fine sportsman.

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