I had played as a sweeper, a position that doesn’t really exist in England. I used to talk to the manager; try to convince him I could play there for Luton.
“David, everybody plays with a sweeper.”
But he was clear: “I’ve got a full pitch. I don’t have the right to put a player on just to wait in defence, and then be weaker than the opposition in attack.”
“But David, everybody does it,” I insisted. “Look at Franz Beckenbauer.”
“Yes, but this is England,” he said. Pleat was a coach who knew what he wanted.
Now, though, I see that English football has lost that pride in its philosophy of the game. It has lost some of its roots.
“On Sundays my family and I would travel all over England. We found all of the safari parks. My kids loved them all.”
At Luton, I scored the goal that sent us up into the First Division, and also the goal that saved us from relegation. The goal that sent Manchester City down.
It was in the last fixture. We were playing at their ground. The 0-0 draw would mean relegation.
I was on the bench. In those days, there were only two players on the bench, but the manager told me to come on in the second half.
In the 84th minute, Brian Stein floated the ball into the area. It came back to him. He tried again. From the second rebound, I scored from outside the box.
That goal saved us, and meant relegation for City.
The journey from Manchester to Luton was mad. Everywhere we stopped there was a party. When we got home, people greeted us as if we had won the FA Cup.