As another season draws to a close, it's poignant to reflect on events twenty years ago, when Brian Clough retired from football management and made an emotional farewell. Following an outstanding managerial career in which he lifted countless trophies, including two league titles and two successive European Cups, his fans showed their appreciation for the years of enjoyment he had brought them. Forget Fergie's retirement, this is what we call a real send-off.....
Although Cloughie's Nottingham Forest lost their last home league match of the 1992-93 season, marking their relegation from the Premiership, the Great Man's achievements could not be overlooked - and his fans were determined to show their love and gratitude. A policeman on duty at the City Ground that day remembers being on the pitch with Brian as supporters surrounded him.
Says Brendan Hunt: "I recall pushing through the crowd, who were making towards Brian, and with two or three other officers formed a Police cordon around him, to offer him some protection from the crowd who were simply mobbing him. He looked tired and almost beaten, and perhaps a little overwhelmed. I said to him, 'Are you alright Brian?' and he replied, 'Oh yes, young man!' and he continued to conduct his pitch farewell.
"I don't really remember how Brian escaped the pitch invasion around him, or really what happened next, but this pitch walk seemed a long and exhausting one. I try to get to the City Ground as often as I can, and the events of that day come back to me each time I go. I mainly sit in the Brian Clough Stand and try to recall which set of stairs I was standing on when the pitch was invaded, but I can't. I can just remember whereabouts I was on the pitch when I came face to face with Brian Clough, and an event I shall never forget."
Cloughie fan Lee Allsop also recalls meeting Brian after the final reserve match in the same season. Lee was waiting behind the Main Stand when he suddenly had the chance to meet his hero. He instinctively shook Brian's hand, kissed him on both cheeks and thanked him for all the wonderful years.
Says Lee: "Looking back, I don't think I ever really believed I would meet Brian Clough anywhere close-up to thank him personally for all the great times. It never entered my head that I would get the chance. However since that meeting, and especially since Brian died, I have always been glad that when the opportunity arose I acted the way I did."
Brendan and Lee's memories are among the many included (from Brian's friends, family and fans) in 'The Day I Met Brian Clough'