THE CLOUGH WALK
- BY MARTIN PERRY AND GEOFF SMITH -
Walking in a Clough Wonderland
Brian's family have given their backing to this book which leaves fans walking in a Cloughie wonderland. Unlike the Master Manager, fans are not required to walk on water, instead they can trace his professional footsteps in a fitting tribute spanning more than 200 miles. 'The Clough Walk' has been created by two former deputy headteachers - one of them a Sunderland fan, the other a supporter of Nottingham Forest.
The journey begins in Nottingham, where Brian enjoyed his greatest successes, and followers can visit various Clough landmarks during the trek which ends on Roker Beach at Sunderland. The walk is split into sections and includes Derby, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool - other former clubs - and suitably 'circumnavigates' (as the book puts it) Leeds, where he spent just forty-four days.
In a preface to the book, Cloughie's sons, Simon and Nigel, and daughter Elizabeth say the idea is very appropriate because their Dad loved walking. They said: "He loved wildlife and nature and being out in the open air and his many strolls along beaches, in fields, up hills and the odd mountain gave him the freedom to enjoy these simple pleasures."
The authors describe it as a walk "mainly through beautiful countryside but incorporates the cities and towns associated with his illustrious career both as a player and a manager". Martin Perry and Geoff Smith have obviously taken a great deal of time and care in planning a route and describing it in detail in the book. They have included some useful advice too. For example, the eleven-mile stretch from Yarm to Middlesbrough includes a riverside path and the book advises, "Do not be deterred by any 'private fishing' signs as these are purely to discourage anglers and not walkers."
It is entirely fitting that the walk ends on Roker Beach. Cloughie's son Simon comments: "When our Dad suffered the injury that ended his playing career prematurely, he refused to accept it and spent many determined lonely hours running up and down the Cat and Dog steps at Roker Beach."
Martin Perry describes how he invited Cloughie to be the Guest of Honour at his school's annual award ceremony in 1991, with little expectation that the invitation would be accepted. But Brian agreed to hand out the awards and there is a photograh of the ceremony in the book. Says Martin: "Unsurprisingly he arrived on time and was absolutely wonderful with the pupils in a very humble way, as if the pleasure was all his."
Martin says it is essentially a walk through a man's life. "The walk really identifies with Brian Clough the man," he says. "Walkers need organisation, application, determination and an intrinsic respect for what is around them." 'The Clough Walk' has a recommended retail price of £8.99 and is published by Sigma Press (2016).