Date:Friday September 8 2006
Can Pleat help us find the next reds superstar?
As we all know now David Pleat is now 'officially' the Nottingham Forest Football consultant. Most Reds fans know he has been doing the job (with out the honour of a title) for the last few years.
Forest scouting over the last few years has been non-existent as costs were cut back. Ian Storey-Moore was made redundant a season or so ago and wasn't replaced until the summer.
In the past Nottingham Forest were a team who not only bought big, but also seemed to hunt high and low, home or abroad to find the next hidden gem who they can mould into a star player.
Last season it seemed we were only ever linked with young players who had done well against us (Clingan, Bennett were two players in that category whom we managed to bring in) or players who were hitting the high scoring charts in League two (Grant Holt and Nathan Tyson)
We have all known for many years that the greatest manager of all time: Brian Clough, had an eye for a player, young or old, as did his assistant and friend, Peter Taylor.
A network of top scouts must have backed them up as they picked up bargain after bargain. Who can forget when we brought in a young Irish midfielder from Cobb Ramblers for 10k, he had been at the club only a few weeks when Clough didn't think twice about throwing his new recruit in to make a debut against Liverpool at Anfield. Of course the player I am talking about is Roy Keane who has since held aloft plenty of silverware as captain of Manchester United! Keane later joined a long list of players who were discovered and catapulted to stardom by Clough!
Clough and Taylor never rested on their laurels and looked far and wide to find suitable players and somehow always managed to find players where other managers couldn't, they would always take a risk on players when other managers wouldn't! They would look in the lower divisions and in the non-leagues to pick up players. It is rarely heard of that a Premiership manager today would gamble on a player from a non-league side and then give him a chance in the team as Clough did when he signed Birtles from Long Eaton for 1K and Ian Woan from little known Runcorn!
He found plenty of bargain players from abroad too before he became popular for all Football Managers to shop there!
Unfortunately over the years our scouting policy has deteriorated, hopefully with the arrival of Pleat, he can bring it back to life and this club can again benefit from his experience and contacts.
It is crucial to have a good network of scouts, because at present we haven't got that much money to spend on transfer fees or offer wages to proven players while we are in this division!
So hopefully with Pleat's involvement, money would be well spent on restructuring and getting the right scouts in now; we need to be at all the youth tournaments and the big competitions around the world, including the Olympics, Copa America, and African Nations etc. I feel that we need to have scouts in other countries including far off places like Asia, America, North and South Africa! We should value this side of the business as much as we value our beloved Academy. All we need to do to is find a player for peanuts like we did Keane and sell him for millions and our scouting policy would pay for itself!
I expect Pleat will have not only great contacts but he himself seems to have a great knowledge of players from home and abroad. He prides himself on his football connections and scouting, he does seem to spend all his time watching football matches. Along with Calderwood, they will have a good idea of the types of players who could help take Forest forward. Just as he when he helped set up Spurs policy of targeting great young players, which is now brining them such reward.
I am sure the players are out there waiting to make an impact under the right coaching and guidance. Clough always managed to find that uncut diamond, and these players would not offer big salaries and would be eager to impress unlike some of the players over aged, overpaid we have had over the years!
Football may have changed when Clough ruled Europe, but I am sure, (even is from the same era as BC) David Pleat still has his finger on the pulse of the market and is heart at Nottingham (the club he supported as a boy! And fingers crossed its the forest fans can benefit over the next few years!
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