EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR
- DUNCAN HAMILTON -
Banned by Cloughie
Former sports journalist Duncan Hamilton has described how he received a strong telling-off from Cloughie in the Forest dressing room. In an exclusive interview for this website, Hamilton revealed he knew something was wrong when a Reds youth player came to the City Ground Press Box to summon him.
It followed Hamilton's critical report of a Saturday league match which had the headline 'Reds Morale Nose Dives.' At the end of the next game, a UEFA Cup match which Forest won, Hamilton was told he was wanted in the dressing room.
"I had a feeling something was going to happen," said Hamilton. "I rarely went into the dressing room, it was such an unfamiliar thing for me." Cloughie had stuck the match report to the dressing room wall.
"I remember Clough emerged from the mist of the shower and pointed to the wall. He said he hadn’t needed to give a motivational talk - he just showed the players the newspaper cutting. Then he told me I could stick my typewriter where the sun doesn’t shine."
Hamilton, who wrote for the Nottingham Evening Post, said Cloughie then told him he was banned from the City Ground. "I walked back to the office thinking I would never cover Forest again." However, several days later the journalist received a call from the Master Manager, asking where he was. Cloughie invited him back to the ground, saying it was all forgotten.
"I told him I would go back, provided he didn’t kiss me!" said Hamilton, who used his comment as the title of his book which traces his working relationship with Cloughie over 20 years. "I spent the afternoon with him and my notebook was full of stories," said Hamilton. "I saw him kiss many people over the years, but I never got that kiss myself."
Hamilton also says his knowledge of Frank Sinatra songs helped him forge a good working relationship with Clough, who often sang Sinatra tunes while working at the City Ground. "I always enjoyed Friday lunchtimes when he would be writing out the team sheet while listening to a gramophone record, as he called them. He'd sing a few songs and I knew all the words, which is another reason I was accepted. I grew-up with those songs."
His book also analyses the working relationship between Clough and Peter Taylor and reflects on their eventual falling-out. Hamilton says the course of history could have changed after Forest lost to Taylor’s Derby in an FA Cup tie at the Baseball Ground in January, 1983. Clough had gone to Taylor’s office in an attempt to see his old pal. But Taylor wasn’t in the office when Clough looked-in. "I always wonder what would have happened if Peter Taylor had been in his office then. Things could have been so different."