Ex-Luton boss David Pleat delighted by old clubs' progress – and hails 'man of the people' Ange Postecoglou | The Sun

HE is so embedded in the history of both Luton and Tottenham that Saturday's clash at Kenilworth Road might as well be rebranded the David Pleat derby.

Pleat played for Luton in the 60s before managing them in the 80s and 90s across two spells.

He also had two stints in the dugout at White Hart Lane, as well as two caretaker posts, and became Spurs' first-ever director of football in 1998.

Tottenham and Luton may be playing in the same division for the first time in 31 years but have very different goals.

Ange Postecoglou is striving to get Spurs back into the Champions League – with some fans even dreaming of a title challenge – while Rob Edwards' only aim with the Hatters is avoiding the drop.

Yet Pleat, now 78 but whose connections to both clubs and the people who run them remain close, sees many similarities between his two former sides.



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He thinks both have played a blinder with their savvy business models, building and building without breaking the bank.

Whether that be Luton negotiating their route from non-league to the Promised Land, or Tottenham holding their own against state-backed, uber-wealthy competitors.

In Postecoglou and Edwards he sees “calm”, kindred spirits who have both come up the hard way in management after injury cruelly curtailed their playing career.

And for both clubs he notes the transformational effect of a new ground.

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In Spurs' case, they have the envy of the Premier League with their glistening, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

While Luton are now so close to the new venue they have been craving for longer than most supporters will realise.

Pleat explained to SunSport: “When I came to Luton as a player in 1964, they took me to a place called Stockwood Park and told me this is where the new stadium was going to be.

“It's now 2023 and finally they will have the wherewithal financially to go ahead with a site they've got in the centre of town called Power Court.

“Within two years hopefully they'll be in that stadium and it will be a massive win for the club after all these years when on a couple of occasions they have come close to going under.”

Pleat reckons the new ground will give Luton a “refreshed identity”.

But for today and this season their home will remain the quaint, old Kenilworth Road, where so many balls were smashed over the low Bobbers' Stand and lost until Pleat recommended a net be put up to catch the wayward strikes.

Postecoglou will look to continue his fast start at Spurs by bringing his attacking style of play to Bedfordshire this lunchtime.

Pleat has been hugely impressed with the straight-talking Aussie, commenting: “He is a man of the people. He talks sense. He's calm, he's composed.

“He's easy to talk to because he is humble and doesn't look down on anyone. He can speak at their level. He is, for want of a better word, an ambassadorial manager.

“He plays without fear. Not reckless, but without fear.”

Postecoglou's amazing impact has eased the pressure on Spurs' chairman Daniel Levy, who had copped flak from fans for the way last season unravelled.

Levy has gained a reputation for being as a ruthless businessman, but Pleat, who knows the supremo well, believes he is no more tough than any other person running a football club.

He explained: “The one misconception that everyone makes about Daniel Levy is he is a tough, hard-nosed, poker-faced, difficult chairman to deal with.

“It comes out as a trope from people like Sir Alex Ferguson. He is easy meat because he doesn't challenge, he keeps quiet and keeps on with the business.

“But he is no tougher, no more difficult to deal with than any other chairman who are protecting their clubs assets. The truth is he is excellent.”

Unbeaten Spurs will go top for 24 hours today if they win at Luton.

They will be heavy favourites to do so given their fine form but the Hatters' win at Everton last week proved they may not be the pushovers many expected them to be.

Pleat admired Edwards for how his brief time in charge of the “quiet enemy” Watford was quickly forgotten and reckons the 40-year-old's side CAN stay up.

The man who managed Luton the last time they were in the top flight back in 1992 said: “They've got a chance.

“They've got to get above that bottom three. And they can do it because other clubs like Bournemouth, Fulham, maybe Everton, there are other clubs who are going to find it difficult this season because the big boys are going to continue to dominate.

“Luton have got a great spirit, a good manager and a very sensible, down-to-earth board of directors who understand the difficulties.

“What the board have done is fantastic. They've got a very nice training ground – we never used to have a training ground, we used to train on any area of grass we could find!

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“They've learnt the hard way. They had five years in non-league.

“These were the people guiding them all the way through that period up the divisions and now the Premier League, it's incredible.”

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