Played for Both: Coventry vs Dale
Friday, 15th Nov 2019 09:13 by AtThePeake
Our 'Played For Both' feature continues as we take a look at one of many fondly-remembered Dale strikers in the shape of Clive 'Plattini' Platt.
Being of a very young age and having only attended my first Dale game a few weeks after Clive Platt signed for the club, the towering, powerful striker became one of my first 'favourite players' at Spotland along with, of course, the midfield magician Jason Peake (more on him later in the season if we get through to the Third Round of the FA Cup and draw Leicester or Brighton)!
Platt arrived at Dale, originally on loan, in the summer of 1999 from Walsall, where he had come through the ranks to score four times in 32 games over a four year period. A lack of regular game time saw the forward allowed to leave temporarily on loan to Dale. Some fine performances plus three goals in the first six games of the season however prompted the club's hierarchy to make Platt our then-record signing for a fee of £100,000 by September just one month later.
Although he never became the prolific goalscorer that the loan spell hinted he could become, Platt was a real fans favourite at Dale for his hold-up play and aerial prowess. Any defender in the league now would have feared 90 minutes against what would surely be one of the most physically imposing players in the league, never mind 20 years ago when less of an impetus was placed on the fitness and conditioning of these players.
Platt's spell at the club coincided with a few years of relative comfort in the division. In his first three seasons the club managed consecutive top 10 finishes, which was no mean feat given that a top ten finish hadn't been managed in any of the previous ten seasons. Even his final campaign, when Dale slipped to a 19th-placed finish, would be fondly remembered for a strong cup run that saw the side knock out second-tier outfits Preston and Platt's future employers Coventry before a trip to Molineux saw the striker play against his home town club Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Although never managing to score 10 league goals in a season for Dale, Platt always managed to chip in with a few and he formed some lethal strike partnerships over the course of those four seasons. In that first campaign, the experienced Tony Ellis managed 11 goals and he scored six the season after too, although the former Blackpool man would drop to the bench in March when Dale would break their record transfer fee once again to bring in Paul Connor from Stoke City. Platt would provide the perfect foil for his new strike partner who would score ten times in 14 appearances in the remainder of the 1999/2000 campaign as Dale finished eighth, missing out on the play-offs on the final day of the season.
Unfortunately, injury issues prevented Connor from ever truly reaching those prolific levels again at Dale, but in 2000/2001 Platt would link up brilliantly with the energetic Kevin Townson to earn a fifth placed finish and although the year after was not quite as impressive from the club as a whole or Clive individually, he did at times link up well with the aforementioned Townson and Connor as well as Lee McEvilly, who managed an excellent 15 in a rather dour campaign in the league.
At the end of that 2002/2003 season, Platt called time on his spell at Dale and over the next 18 months would play out rather inconsistent spells firstly with Notts County and then with Peterborough United, both in the third tier at the time. Having failed to earn a longer contract at London Road, Platt moved to Milton Keynes where he, and the side, struggled for results and were relegated in his second season, the forward having scored just 9 times across 60 appearances across the 2004/2005 and 2005/2006 campaigns.
Despite the relegation, new boss Martin Allen kept the faith in Platt and was rewarded with the striker's most prolific season by far in which he scored 18 times in 43 league fixtures to earn the club a play-off spot and the player a move to the Championship to Colchester United, where he would score eight times in 41 outings in the U's final campaign at Layer Road which saw them relegated back to the third tier.
In two more seasons in Essex, Platt managed a further 17 goals in 84 appearances, making Colchester the team he would appear for the second most amount of times after Dale, he returned to the Championship in 2010 to join Coventry City for a second crack at the second tier at the ripe old age of 32.
At the Ricoh Arena, Platt would start about half of his team's games over two campaigns, the second of which would see another relegation. As was seemingly the case with many of his spells, Platt was much maligned among some sections of the support for his lack of goals, but he won plenty of plaudits elsewhere for his hold-up play, strength and hard-working and he always seemed to be an incredibly likeable character off the field too.
Despite that relegation, Platt was offered a new deal by the Sky Blues in 2012 but opted for a two year deal with Northampton Town of League Two instead. After 18 months with the Cobblers, in which he found the net six times in 48 outings, Platt would move back to the North West to play for former Dale team-mate David Flitcroft at Bury. By this point, age and injury issues were holding Platt back somewhat and he would make 19 appearances for the Shakers, scoring twice, before hanging up his boots in October 2014.
Having become a financial adviser for a time after his career, Platt is now working as a 'football intermediary' according to his linked in page. Although perhaps from the flashes we saw of his lethal finishing it's fair to say that 'Plattini' as the song went (or 'Plattistuta as I remember someone having on the back of their shirt around the time of the play-off campaign, brilliantly), should have racked up more goals in his career, what he did become was an excellent target man at all three levels of the Football League and he is fondly remembered by fans of almost every club he represented for that aerial prowess, strength, hold-up play and endeavour that every supporter loves to see.
Photo: Action Images
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