Later well-known as a manager and co-commentator David Pleat played for Exeter City between 1968 and 1970. He joined the club from Shrewsbury and later played for Peterborough. Starting his playing days with Nottingham Forest, he played for and managed Luton Town at various stages of his career as well as taking charge of Nuneaton Borough, Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City and Sheffield Wednesday.
He commenced his career as a winger with Nottingham Forest as a professional in March 1962 winning England schools and youth honours along the way. He was to play in six league games for the club before a transfer to Luton Town in August 1964 for a fee of £8,000, Sustaining a broken leg during training in his first season with the club he made a good recovery and went on to feature in 70 league matches (nine goals). He then moved on to Shrewsbury Town in July 1967 but didn't win a regular place and, 12 league outings, was signed by Exeter City in July 1968.
Aged twenty-three he made his league debut for the Grecians on an opening day of the season at Peterborough United as he went on to score eight goals in 43 league appearances followed by five goals from rather fewer appearances in 1969/70.
Moving to Peterborough United in July 1970 he had a single season at London Road before becoming player-manager of Nuneaton Borough at the age of twenty-six in the summer of 1971. Moving on to manage Luton Town in December 1978 he became one of the game’s ‘up and coming’ managers leading to his appointment as manager of Tottenham Hotspur in May 1986. Leaving the post in 1987 because of personal matters, he quickly resumed his career with Leicester City before a return to Luton Town and a subsequent managerial stint at Sheffield Wednesday where he stayed until November 1997. He then became director of football at Tottenham Hotspur before a spell as the club’s caretaker manager in 2003.
Writing columns for the Guardian and the Daily Mail, he had also had long associations with ITV and BBC Radio 5 Live.