Hall of Shame #29: David Peach

Should David Peach enter the Hall of Shame? You can decide. But this isn’t just a yes or no decision on whether yet another of Town’s duffers enters this famed collection of crap, your vote will decide how deep the diarrhea actually is. Alex Cooke provides the options.

I never saw David Peach play and those who did are still divided about him. Some saw a good player whose best days had long passed, others spoke of a football so far below what was expected, you’d think he used his sweet left foot to half-volley newborn kittens into threshing machines. So let’s get started.

David Peach was a left-back, part of the same lame legion of duff defenders, which for Swindon already includes the likes of Jason Drysdale, Yinka Casal and Gary Elkins. Except Peach had form. He was an England u21 and B international, he’d played more than 400 times for Gillingham and Southampton, winning an FA Cup along the way. He joined Swindon in 1980 at the age of 30.

Peach was signed from Saints as a replacement for Town’s local, legendary, record-appearance-maker and retiree John Trollope. It was a move that could be described as:

A. Tricky for who ever had fill those famous boots.
B. Impossible. Trollope was, and remains, an icon.
C. As bigger a disappointment as find that on meeting 69hotblonde from Match.com the name comes from his age, weight in stone and perspiration problem.

Peach cost manager Bobby Smith a then club-record sum of £150,000 (which using the Bank of England’s inflation calculator is about £544,000 now). This fee was:

A. A weighty price tag, which made Town fans judge him even more harshly.
B. Pretty good value, as judging by his waistline. He must have been about £10 per pound of meat.
C. The most over-priced thing to come out of Southampton since a peak-time train ticket to London.

Peach scored 64 goals in his career, a good number of which had been from the penalty spot, and so his left foot could be described as:

A. Cultured.
B. A powerful left peg, which while once deadly was getting weak.
C. Like a magic wand – in that some people pretend can do wonderful things with it but in reality is actually completely useless stick.

David Peach made his Town debut in a 6-2 thrashing at Millwall, his debut proved that:

A. He would take some time to adjust to Town’s style and standard of play.
B. He just wasn’t very good.
C. He was as much use as a footballer as Nigel Farage would be as a bath tub, even if you hollowed him out and rammed taps into each eye.

At Gillingham and Saints, Peach had been known for his passing and powerful shooting, as a defender he was:

A. Struggling with the drop from Division One to Division Three.
B. He always got close to his man, largely because he had enough mass to create his own gravity and suck them towards him.
C. He tackled like a man trying to eat jelly with a spade – ineptly, clumsily and with the air of someone who is sure that what he is doing just isn’t good manners.

Peach’s Swindon career finally ended when he was given a free transfer to Leyton Orient.

A. As has happened throughout our history, the club had over-spent and was now cutting back:
B. We tried to sell him for a small fee to Orient in the summer of 1981 but once their chairman stopped laughing he said no. He stopped laughing on 14 December 2004.
C. It was in East London that someone on the mail train finally heard the muffled cries from wriggling bag at the back of the mail train, marked ‘To Timbuktu’.

On the scale of dreadful Swindon left-backs, David Peach is as bad as:

A. Gareth Hall – hefty slow and long, long past it.
B. Jason Drysdale – horribly expensive, but hamstrung by who he had to replace.
C. Yinka Casal – a cruel experiment in managerial desperation.

Read more tales from the Swindon Town Hall of Shame…

10 comments

  • David Peach the most obvious zero rather than hero ever. Real big let down who completely symbolised Bobby Smith completely losing it and turning a team nearly Wembley bound into relegation fodder within months

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  • The figure adjusted for inflation should be £544k not £5.4M

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  • Peach was way before my time, any video clips of him?

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  • I lost my rag with him during a home match, we were losing 2-0, and he was at fault for both goals. I threw my scarf at him as he came to take a corner in front of the town end and shouted at him that “my grandad could play better than him and hes been dead 20 years”. That day i think most of the town end were shouting abuse at him. By the way i asked a steward if he could retrive my scarf, which he did with a grin on his face.

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  • GL5 - Arkells Stand

    David Peach most certainly should be in the Hall Of Shame, but I don’t think that the article quite gets to the nub of why he should.
    To begin with, it wasn’t so much the transfer fee that bothered people at the time – the rumour was that he was by far our highest paid player and was on £400 per week, presumably because he was wandering around the Wembley pitch at the time that Bobby Stokes scored the winner against Man Utd in the 1976 FA Cup Final.
    By the time he got to us, any ability that he ever possessed had long gone, but even that wasn’t the thing that really got to us – I mean, let’s face it, we’ve seen our fair share of duffers over the years haven’t we?
    No – The main thing that infuriated everyone was that he quite evidently didn’t care and was arrogant enough to show us that. Howls of disapproval from the crowd would elicit a haughty look from Peach, as if we were an irritating fly, buzzing around his head.
    However, on one occasion he over-played his hand on that front, providing me with one of my enduring memories from supporting Swindon.
    We were defending the Town End and consequently, he was playing right in front of where I was standing, in the left corner of the Town End. After several lacklustre contributions, we were letting him know exactly what we thought of him, at which point he made the mistake of waving airily at us.
    A huge bear of a man who was standing in front of me decided he’d had enough – stepping forward, he started scaling the fence in front of the Town End as if he was going to get onto the pitch. The Town End and The Arkells saw what was happening and roared in approval, causing Peach to turn round to see what was happening.
    When he saw Grizzly Adams – by now at the top of the fence – had panicked and sprinted up the touchline towards halfway………….it was the most purposeful we’d ever seen him.
    By the time he mustered the courage to look behind him, his potential pursuer had jumped back down and was now back in the Town End. Everyone who’d seen what had happened was now wetting themselves laughing at the hugely embarrassed Peach.
    Whilst this episode didn’t make him play any better, it certainly ensured that he didn’t try to wave at us again.

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    • Fantastic comment, GL5! Perhaps I should replace the article with it – as it is closer to what I wanted to write. The problem it that I was 5 when Peach played for Town, many of the others on here probably weren’t born and so no one wanted to write his HoS, even if readers kept asking for it.

      I tried asking on here, TEF and Twitter for opinions but there was so little agreement that I had to go the multiple choice. But your comment gets across exactly what was up with the man – and how fans felt about him.

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  • GL5 - Arkells Stand

    Thank you STFCOnly – In all my time supporting Swindon (since 1975), Peach was one of very few players who I actually hated with a passion. I certainly don’t think that you would ever find a Town fan who would defend him!!

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  • I_Was_There_In_69

    Hear, hear. There are very few players you can actually say you hated when you saw them wear a Town shirt, but Peach is one, McKay was the other. In the Hall of Shame there are people you may dislike immensely for what they did, (or more likely, didn’t do), for the club, Razor springs to mind. But at the end of the day, they tried of sorts, and you couldn’t blame them for taking the money at the end of their careers; it was the fault of those who employed them. But Peach … he came to the Town with the intention of taking the pay check.

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