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Brian Clough

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  • Brian Clough

    Today marks ten years since the Brian Clough statue was unveiled by his late widow Barbara in Nottingham City Centre, and it made me think what a unique character he was. I was there seeing it unveiled, and it was not long before the selfies started, usually those dressed in red and white. When Nottingham Forest was top of the old First Division at the end of the 1977-1978 season he stopped being a football manager and became an local institution, -almost a national one as well by some people.

    He was the Alex Ferguson of Nottingham Forest, staying as Manager at the City Ground for 18 years until controversy by the Sunday red top newspapers forced him to retire at the age of 58 as a result of their speculation - even Cloughie himself was quoted as saying that he couldn't see himself being a football manager at the age of 60. Even if his politics didn't match Margaret Thatcher's, his stint as Manager certainly matched the time zone that Thatcher covered.

    Say what you like about him, he was controversial, and Hillsborough was one of the obstacles to get across in 1989, but he was a lovable character. Do you remember the pitch invasion and Clough "expressing himself" with his hands like most others wouldn't? And then he announced his retirement, or should I say Chairman Fred Reacher did in April 1993. And then he disappeared and that included his advertising as well.

    One cannot imagine Ferguson or Arsene Wenger appearing in adverts, but Clough did - for Shredded Wheat especially the one that looked as it was a parody of the Nottingham Forest dressing room; he also appeared in the Central East and Anglia West ITV regions in adverts for East Midlands Electricity in around 1989-1990 as well, and for Shape margarine.

    I believe that he left us too young - the fact that the drinking took away at least a decade of his life, making comparisons with George Best and the like. And his death at the age of 69 in 2004 was something that some people wouldn't have expected even though he was ill, and just a few months before, one of the newspapers said that he had just two months left. He did have a column with The Sun for a short while, I believe - ironic considering how the red top tabloids were almost cruel about him when he was alive.

    I got his first autobiography at WHSmith during "the bridge" between Christmas and New Year in 1994, (a traditional time when I go to WHSmith and other bookshops and I get autobiographies and things that I didn't get for Christmas as presents), and it was a great read - I know that all sports and not just football have colourful characters but he was one of the big ones.

    I also still have the video of his appearance on the post-News at Ten ITV show Sport in Question in 1995 that Saint and Greavesie hosted - he literally stole the show as a panellist, referring in answer to a question about to Eric Cantona and the controversy he had at the time: "I promised the wife that I wouldn't wear, but I would have cut his balls off". Parts of it are on YouTube.

    Do you think that Brian Clough was a great person when he was alive or was he someone a bit different to that? He brought a lot of colour into Nottingham and despite coming from Middlesbrough, and we adopted him as our local hero.
    I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
    There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
    I'm having so much fun
    My lucky number's one
    Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

  • #2
    Re: Brian Clough

    Brian Clough was a great manager and a unique personality. He didn't mince his words and was his own man. He should have gotten the England job, but the FA were too scared of his unpredictability.


    • #3
      Re: Brian Clough

      I heard he once turned down an approach by the FA for England Manager because we was worried it would end up like his time at Leeds Utd.

      IIRC he was shortlisted in 1974, 77 & 82.
      The Trickster On The Roof


      • #4
        Re: Brian Clough

        he said the FA thought he would end up running the whole show and said "they were right!"
        Time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas - go figure!


        • #5
          Re: Brian Clough

          Not a massive footy fan myself but i loved Micheal sheens portrayal of clough in the damned united, he totally nailed cloughs voice and mannerisms and he even looked like him.
          Ejector seat?...your jokin!


          • #6
            Re: Brian Clough

            I remember Cloughie presenting some award to Trevor Francis when he was young player of the year or something similar. Francis was wearing a suit and had his hands in his pockets, and Cloughie broke off what he was saying and told Francis to take his hands out of his pockets.

            I think his greatest achievement was those back to back European Cup wins.