CLOUGH SCORES A CENTURY

 

The Master Manager was in top form when he made a special guest appearance on a radio phone-in (January, 2001). He appeared on the East Midlands station 106 Century FM, accompanied by his son, Nigel.

Old Big 'Ead revealed how he felt "ashamed" by Forest's relegation during his final season at the club. He was responding to a caller who asked whether, with hindsight, he would have bought Stan Collymore to keep Forest up. The answer was no.

"I stuck with what I thought would get us through. We didn't get through and it cost me my resignation. I might have hung-on if we'd have stayed up," said Clough.

"I was a bit ashamed we got relegated. I didn't think we could because we had such a good lot of players. I know I had bad luck with Pearcey and Webbie and a few players. I still didn't think we could get relegated and I was a bit ashamed we did."

Showing a sign of the hurt he has felt over his departure, he added:

"I will come on the programme, if I get another invitation, and explain to you what really happened at Forest, in the sense that I am disillusioned with Forest and their treatment of me."

Another listener asked the Master Manager whether, looking back, he would have handled things differently at Derby County. Clough said he wouldn't have let a row with directors force him out.

"I shouldn't have left Derby. That was the biggest mistake I made. I had a side at Derby that would have gone on to compete with, and better, Liverpool. Liverpool were the kings of the castle at that time."

Many of the callers to the excellent phone-in simply wanted to thank Old Big 'Ead for the enjoyment he had provided over the years. Clough returned the gratitude.

He also spoke for the first time about the nomination for a knighthood. A caller asked whether he had known anything about it.

"I know as much as you, actually," said Clough. "I didn't know whether it was true or not."

And he joked about who was responsible for putting his name forward (this website, of course!):

"I thought it was my next door neighbour because I think she felt if I got something like that, I'd have to move."

The show's presenter, Darren Fletcher, put it to Clough that he deserved a knighthood just as much as Sir Alex Ferguson.

"That's extremely kind," replied the Master Manager. "He had got a slight head start. He is manager of the biggest club in Europe. He has got everything at his fingertips."

"We went to Old Trafford and had our fair share of wins and they were not playing to their full potential. Now he has got it right and his signings have come off. Young players have come through which is inevitable."

Clough said that many youngsters, when asked, would say they wanted to play for Manchester United.

"That's a hell of a start," he said. And showing his unique managerial style, he added:

"I used to have to buy fish and chips at 11-o-clock for the parents of youngsters we signed. I have eaten chips walking along the street with the parents of kids we wanted."

Old Big 'Ead also talked about Martin O'Neill and said it was a shame he didn't become England manager.

"He has got enough to go right to the top. I'm only sorry he's not English. If he'd been English or Swedish he'd have walked the England job."

Nigel Clough's Burton Albion side were also mentioned, with Clough Senior saying he watched their home matches.  

"We could definitely do with a striker-cum-midfield player. That is our weakest area at the moment," said Clough, before adding with a hint of a smile: "That will make room for a manager."

At the end of the phone-in, Darren Fletcher told the Master Manager that he hoped he would return.

The great man replied: "Young man, I've enjoyed it. Thanks very much. Ask me again."

Fletcher said later: "It was a privilege to be in the same room and listen to what he had to say. If anybody needed any proof that man is as sharp as a razor, we've just had it.

"We were fortunate to sit down with him for half an hour before the show started and just talk football. And I tell you what, what he has forgotten about football other people don't know yet."