Film director Jonny Owen has described how Brian Clough inspired his incredible football movie 'I Believe In Miracles'. In an exclusive interview for this website, Jonny said Cloughie's impact on world football should never be forgotten.
"He was, quite simply, years ahead of his time," says Jonny who gave this website a special preview of the film which tells the story of Nottingham Forest's amazing five-year rise under Clough, as he took the club from being Second Division strugglers to back-to-back European Cup winners.
Jonny has carefully interspersed archive footage with the memories of the players who were part of the 1979 European Cup winning team. It certainly has a feel-good factor which sends a tingle down the spine. Combined with the music of the era, it is an entertaining, non-stop tale of incredible success against the odds.
"I realised there was a story to be told about a team, a time and an event in sporting history which is remarkable," says Jonny, whose enthusiam for the project is palpable as he speaks. "It's the story of the 1975-1980 Forest team, which will never be repeated."
The film begins with footage of Cloughie's famous TV appearance with Don Revie after getting the sack from Leeds. What follows is an amazing journey told through the stories of the players who experienced it - and who will justifiably receive half of the proceeds of the movie, merchandise and accompanying book.
"There was something special about that team," says Jonny. "They were the first modern football team, in the late Seventies, with their shiny Adidas kits. They were underdogs beating everyone in a very Continental style, with possession-based football, compact and quick on the break. All the things the FA and press are tearing their hair out about now - saying we are years behind Europe on. Well, Brian Clough was doing it then."
In analysing Cloughie's style, Jonny echoes the verdict of many of his former players. "The genius of Brian Clough was in the simplicity - he communicated what he wanted brilliantly. He had superb players who were able to apply themselves to simple instructions - and they won everything on the back of it. It's genius, when you think about it.
"I completely agree with Martin O'Neill, who says in the film that there is no doubt he was years ahead of his time. People are paid hundreds of thousands of pounds as sports psychologists these days - Brian Clough was practising that in the late 1970's. The players say he cleared their minds better than anyone else, and they concentrated on themselves rather than the opposition. He was applying modern football psychology even back then."
The film has received the backing of Cloughie's two sons, Nigel and Simon, after they were given a private screening. The Clough family had criticised the 2009 film adaptation of David Peace's novel 'The Damned United' because of inaccuracies and the distorted depiction of Clough during his ill-fated 44 days at Leeds. But the 'Miracles' movie has their seal of approval.
In a joint statement to Sky Sports, Nigel and Simon said: "It's a great film about our father told perfectly by the people who knew him best. The players of his greatest ever side." There is also a book to accompany the film.
'I Believe in Miracles' had its world premiere at Nottingham Forest's City Ground on October 11th, 2015, and can be seen in selected cinemas in October. There is also a trailer, below.