FROM BO'NESS TO THE BERNABEU
- BY JOHN McGOVERN -
The Captain's Story
Brian Clough's European Cup winning captain John McGovern signed for the Master Manager at four clubs. This book, with a foreword by Kevin Keegan, gives a frank and personal insight into McGovern's working relationship with Cloughie.
From their times at Hartlepools, when the young Scot signed as an apprentice professional for Clough for £8 a week, through to their European Cup glory days at Nottingham Forest, McGovern describes it as a 'perfect relationship in many ways,' as Clough became a father figure following the death of the young boy's Dad when he was just eleven.
McGovern's mother was unsure about whether he should sign professional terms but, "Clough's charm worked its spell on my grandmother and she in turn convinced my mother that I should become a professional footballer." He also explains why he turned down Clough's offer of joining him at Brighton following the Master Manager's resignation at Derby.
McGovern also reveals how his Mum gave Brian an ear-bashing for the way he treated her young son after an FA Cup defeat. He recalls how Clough had blamed him for a 1-0 loss to Arsenal after the young midfielder played a loose backpass which led to the decisive goal in Derby's fifth round replay in the early Seventies.
Describing how he received a "face to face rollicking, the human equivalent of being confronted by an erupting volcano," McGovern says Cloughie was scathing at the final whistle: "McGovern you cost me a cup final, and don't you ever forget it!" he shouted. Such was Clough's anger that he didn't speak to McGovern for about four weeks, even though he was in the Derby team.
From that day, whenever there was a cup match, Cloughie would remind the midfielder before the game: "McGovern, you cost me a cup final once and don't you ever forget it." He never did, but the lack of communication during that four-week period led to the young player being ultra-quiet at home and he eventually told his Mum what had happened.
"Telling her the story was a relief in itself, but little did I know that she rang Brian personally to discuss the matter. She never mentioned it to me, and I only discovered what had happened years later when I was in Brian's house shortly before he died. 'Your Mam gave me a bollocking once,' he suddenly told me.
'She's given me one or two myself Brian,' I joked. 'I mean she gave me a really big bollocking and not many people have done that,' he insisted as he gave me the full story of what had happened." McGovern's Mum later confirmed she had given Brian a telling-off. "I just laughed at the thought of one disciplinarian being soundly scolded by an even bigger one!"
The book also includes memories of McGovern's own experience of football management and has additional contributions by his partner Ann and son Alek. Retailing at £18.99, it's published by Vision Sports Publishing.