Book Makes A Mark

There was huge media interest in Brian Clough's autobiography, Walking On Water, when it was launched in 2002. In the book, he spoke for the first time in depth about his drink problem and how he dealt with it. The Master Manager gave a fascinating account of his life and told how he found a new calm after retiring from management.

The book was updated in paperback in 2003. That edition included content not featured in the original hardback. In a special chapter, Cloughie talked about the events surrounding his life-saving liver transplant in January that year.

The Master Manager revealed that the first thing he asked for after the operation was an apple sandwich. He said the nurses were baffled by his request, but he thought it was perfectly normal, because his mother used to make them.

Special signing sessions were organised for both editions of the book. At one of the events, at W H Smith in Nottingham in July 2003, Cloughie thanked the website editor Marcus Alton for passing on all the 'Get Well' messages sent by fans to the site.

Cloughie took time to speak personally to Marcus, who had earlier that year handed-over all the messages e-mailed to the website from around the world. "Thanks very much for all the messages you delivered, young man," said Brian. "It was very much appreciated."

In an interview recorded for BBC Radio Nottingham, Cloughie was on top form, with his trademark wit and wisdom. He told Marcus: "I'd like to take you around with me for the next three, four or five weeks, because you definitely make me better looking." 

While describing the expertise of his surgeon, Derek Manas, Cloughie dished out the kind of praise that could only come from Old Big 'Ead. 

He told Marcus: "He's supposed to be in the top three in the country, but he told me he was the best. Conceited - it's incredible. I said to him: 'They'll have to widen the hospital doors if you and I walk in together, because they'd never get both heads through one door, would they?'"

Clough & a young fan, WH Smith, 2003
Cloughie & young fans at Asda, 2002

Back in 2002, a series of signing sessions was organised for the launch of the original book. Fans were able to meet The Great Man and buy a copy, personally signed. 

The first special appearance was at Asda in West Bridgford, Nottingham, on Saturday August 17th. Hundreds of fans turned-up to see him. They broke into spontaneous applause and chanted his name as he walked into the supermarket's main entrance.

Fans had queued for hours to see their hero. The Master Manager presented a bottle of champagne to one lucky couple who were at the front of the queue. Marcus Alton and Sarah Clarke had been waiting for nearly five hours to meet their hero.

"You're trying to get me back on the bottle, aren't you?" Cloughie joked as he presented the gift. "I used to bathe in this stuff and have a glass or two when we won. But then I'd have a glass or two if we lost, to drown my sorrows."

"But you didn't lose many, Mr Clough" said Sarah. "That's right. We had a good run, pet, we had a good run," Cloughie replied with a smile. 

Cloughie makes a point Asda, 2002

In the book Clough says, in the past, drink impaired his judgement and worried his family. He vowed not to touch alcohol again. Marcus told Old Big 'Ead it was great to see him looking well. "I'm feeling well, son," he replied. "I've got five grandchildren...and they run me ragged."

During the following four weeks, the Master Manager also appeared at Nottingham Forest's City Ground and Derby County's Pride Park to sign books, as well as travelling to his home town of Middlesbrough. He also signed books in Sunderland and watched the Middlesbrough-Sunderland match. At a signing session at East Midlands Airport, he was joined by his son, Nigel. Other sessions are listed below.

The full list of signing sessions conducted by Cloughie in 2002 was as follows:

Saturday August 17th: Asda, West Bridgford, Nottingham
Saturday August 24th: Pride Park Stadium, Derby
Tuesday August 27th: Waterstones, Derby
Wednesday August 28th: WH Smith, Victoria Centre, Nottingham
Thursday August 29th: Ottakars, Burton-on-Trent
Friday August 30th: Books Plus, East Midlands Airport
Tuesday September 3rd: Hammicks, Warren Street, Stockport (13.00-14.30) and Books Etc, Trafford Centre, Manchester (17.00-18.00)
Thursday September 5th: Books Etc, Canary Wharf, London (13.00-14.30) and Borders, Oxford Street, London (18.30-20.00)
Tuesday September 10th: Waterstones, Middlesbrough
Wednesday September 11th: Ottakars, Sunderland
Friday September 13th: City Ground, Nottingham Forest

A number of extra dates were announced in the run-up to Christmas 2002:

Tuesday December 3rd: WH Smith, Listergate, Nottingham (1200-1330)
Wednesday December 4th: Ottakars, Burton-on-Trent (1230-1400)
Saturday December 7th: Asda, Spondon, Derby (1130-1330)
Friday December 20th: Merchandise Store, City Ground, Nottingham (1200-1400)

The paperback version was published on 28th July, 2003 by Headline. Signing sessions were as follows:

Tuesday July 29th: Books Etc, Cheapside, London (12.30-14.00)
Thursday July 31st: WH Smith, Victoria Centre, Nottingham (12.30-14.00)
Saturday August 2nd: Asda, Spondon, Derby (11.30-13.30)
Tuesday August 5th: Ottakars, Cooper Square, Burton-on-Trent (12.30-14.00)
Thursday August 7th: Waterstones, Newport Crescent, Middlesbrough (12.30-14.00)
Saturday August 9th: Safeway, Gamston, Nottingham (11.30-13.30)

Dates supplied by publishers, Headline.