Indebted To Brian

European Cup winner Viv Anderson has described how Brian Clough saved his career from racist football fans. Anderson, the first black footballer to play for England, was speaking as reports of racism in football continue to hit the headlines.

Anderson told the Daily Express (December 2011) that his experience went back to the mid-Seventies and a League Cup match against Newcastle at St James' Park. "We were out inspecting the pitch before the game and the abuse from the terraces was really bad monkey noises, you name it, the lot. It's difficult to believe now.

"It was so hostile that I said to Brian Clough when I got back to the dressing room, 'I don't think I can play tonight, boss.' He told me in no uncertain terms I had to play. He said if I wanted to forge a career in the game I had to ignore these people, rise above the chants and let my football do the talking.

"'You can't let them ruin your career before it has even started,' he said. I was indebted to Cloughie for his advice and guidance in that period. I was only a youngster and if I hadn't played that night, if I had let the abuse get to me, I might not have had a career and may never have been seen on a pitch again.

"But, thanks to Cloughie, I ended up having a professional career that lasted 20 years and I was very proud to become the first black player to play for England."

Advice For Martin

Cloughie legend Martin O'Neill has reflected on what the Master Manager might have said to him following his appointment as Sunderland boss. Under the headline 'Cloughie's Watching Over Me,' O'Neill told the The Sun and Star newspapers (December 2011) what his former boss would have said about him managing the Mackems - where Brian was himself a top striker.

"I can see him now," said O'Neill. "I never once phoned him for advice because I know what he would have said. He'd have said, 'You got yourself into this mess, you've got to get yourself out of it' followed by 'You'd never have done it as good as me anyway unless you win a trophy.' No, actually, he'd have said, 'You'll never be as good as me, even if you win a trophy.'"

Boro Praise

The Middlesbrough fanzine has praised a new tribute book about Cloughie. Boro supporters magazine 'Fly Me To The Moon' says 'The Day I Met Brian Clough' contains fascinating glimpses into the life of the Great Man. The book has memories from his family, friends, former players and fans.

The fanzine says: "Brian Clough was far more than just a walking, talking sound-bite - he was an incredible personality that left his mark on everyone he met. That is the message that comes through loud and clear from each and every contribution in this lovingly compiled book of encounters with the Great Man."

The review adds: "There are some fascinating glimpses into Clough the family man and the canny manager - and time and again there are examples of his incredible generosity and thoughtful, respectful treatment of supporters." The fanzine's comments are just the latest to praise this superb tribute book. There have been glowing reports in the Nottingham Forest matchday magazine, on the Derby County Mad website and in the Nottingham Post and Derby Evening Telegraph.

A Clough fan in the United States has also hailed the book, after writing about how Brian inspired him to love watching football (or soccer, as he describes it!). John Quinn from New York highlights the book in his blog: "It's a loving tribute to a larger-than-life man who is fondly remembered, not only throughout Great Britain but the entire soccer world." You can read John's blog HERE. You can buy personally signed copies of the book via this website - more details HERE.

Win A Signed Book

Congratulations to Carol Driscoll from Croydon, UK, who won our competition on Twitter for a signed copy of the book. She tweeted about how she received a kiss from Cloughie - her hero - after being first in the queue at a book signing. She replied: "Thank you so much for the great book which arrived today, I shall read it and enjoy every word. It was really kind of you."

Well done, too, to Darren Nunn from York who receives a copy of the tribute book, 'Young Man, You've Made My Day' signed by Brian's widow Barbara and author Marcus Alton. He was picked at random from all those who sent memories for the 'The Day I Met' book. Keep sending your memories of Cloughie - whether you met him or not. They could still appear in a future publication.

Cloughie Memories

Cloughie fans enjoyed a special evening of great memories when author Marcus Alton was guest speaker at Waterstones in Derby (November, 2011). Marcus read extracts from his new book 'The Day I Met Brian Clough' and recalled the times he interviewed the Great Man. 

"It was a great evening and Cloughie fans were keen to share their memories of him too," said Marcus, who signed copies of the book. It was the second signing session for the book and another is planned at the Book Boutique - an independent bookshop in Ripley, Derbyshire - on Saturday December 3rd.

Priced at just £9.99 the book is great value for Christmas. It's available at WH Smith, Waterstones, the Nottingham Forest Megastore and many other good bookshops. You can read more HERE.

Daughter's Praise

Brian Clough's daughter, Elizabeth, has praised a new tribute book about her Dad. The book, 'The Day I Met Brian Clough,' is packed with memories from his family, friends, former colleagues and fans. Describing the book, Elizabeth says: "It's a tremendous collection of memories and anecdotes, all very different, yet moving and interesting - a lovely tribute to Dad."

In the book, Elizabeth shares her memories of her Dad, including travelling in his car listening to Frank Sinatra songs. She also describes how proud she is and how she still misses him. Author Marcus Alton signed copies of the book at WH Smith in the Victoria Centre, Nottingham, on Saturday, October 29th.

Marcus also presented a Cloughie evening at Waterstones in Derby on Thursday, November 3rd, reading from the book and talking about the times he met the Great Man. Priced at just £9.99 the book is great value. You can read more HERE.

When Brian Met Sir Alf

Twenty five years ago, Cloughie was shaking hands with World Cup winning manager Sir Alf Ramsey. Old Big 'Ead was also praising Nottingham Forest fans for helping the club's financial revival.

Brian met Sir Alf on the day the Reds entertained Manchester United in the old First Division. The match ended in a 1-1 draw (October, 1986). Sir Alf had a chat with the Master Manager in his office before the game.


Later, Cloughie praised fans for their support, helping to turn the club's £627,000 loss the previous year into a £473,000 profit. He said attendances, such as the gate of 34,828 for the United match, had played a crucial part in the club's financial success.

"Our fans are certainly playing their part to keep the club financially sound and I'm the first to hold up my hands and say thanks," said Brian.

"I am well aware of the fact that you cannot expect people to come through the turnstiles until you produce something worth watching. But I do feel that Nottingham people are realising that we are providing some fine entertainment...value for money entertainment."

Paper Laces

Former Cloughie star Colin Barrett has been recalling what happened when he asked the Master Manager for a pay rise - and Brian responded in his usually unpredictable fashion. "He was a one-off and full of the old tricks," says Barrett, who scored a classic goal against Liverpool in Forest's first European Cup campaign.

"When I walked into his office one day to ask for a rise, he threw the Evening Post at me and said: 'Put that in your shoes.'" Cloughie's message being - if you're poor enough that your shoes have holes, fill them up with newspaper!

Barrett also described his first meeting with Brian. He told the Sunday Times: "We met at Leek Town football ground and he said: 'I will see you at the City Ground on Saturday morning for the game against Fulham.'

"So I turned up at midday and walked into his office. He said: 'Do you want a drink, son?' 'No,' I said, 'hopefully I am playing this afternoon.' He said: 'If it makes you play better, then have a drink.' It was his way of making me feel at ease."

Barrett described Cloughie as "the best manager for all the right reasons." Playing around 70 games in a season, with a small squad, Brian ensured the players relaxed. "Cloughie used to do daft things. Once he gave us about four days off in the middle of the season. He said: 'I am fed up with looking at you and you are probably fed up with looking at me, so see you next Friday.'"

When Cloughie Got Drenched

A former Cloughie player has described how he threw a bucket of water over the Master Manager, by accident! Terry Bell was one of Clough's first signings as he began his managerial career at Hartlepool. Bell recalls how the team used to play practical jokes on each other.

"On one occasion I got into the dressing room to find that someone had cut all the toes out of my socks. So I thought I would get my own back on the lad that did it.

"I decided to climb up onto the roof of the dressing room with a bucket of water. Some of my team-mates would then signal to me when the lad in question was walking past and I would throw the bucket of water over him. So I waited and finally got the signal, but unfortunately it wasn't who I expected! Guess who was walking by? I poured the bucket of water over Brian Clough!

"To make it even worse, he wasn't wearing his tracksuit - he was going to a funeral that day so he was wearing a suit. And it got absolutely soaked! As a result he fined me a week's wages."

Bell's memory is part of the brilliant new book 'The Day I Met Brian Clough' which goes on sale this Friday, October 14th, 2011. It contains stories and memories from his friends, family, former colleagues and fans. Costing just £9.99, it has been compiled by the editor of this website, Marcus Alton, whose royalties are supporting the Brian Clough Memorial Fund. You can buy signed copies on this website. There are more details HERE.

Super Tramp Sings Praise

Cloughie legend John Robertson says he can still remember the moment the Master Manager walked into the Nottingham Forest dressing room for the first time - and he knew big things were about to happen. Robertson was sitting opposite the door as the Great Man approached.

"As he walked in, he whipped his jacket off and hung it on the peg, very purposefully. That act alone said to me 'This guy means buisness.' From the very beginning I thought there was going to be a whirlwind coming through - and I wasn't wrong."


Robertson, who was plucked from the Forest reserves to become a double European Cup winner with Clough, was speaking at the launch of his autobiography called 'Super Tramp.' In an interview for this website, he explained how Clough's description of him had helped to inspire the title.

"Brian Clough used to rib me about my desert boots and the gear I wore - and how I appeared in the morning, unshaven. He called me a tramp, he said I was scruffy and unfit. But he said a lot of nice things about me as well. The reason I never got upset or reacted to his comments was simple - I knew he respected me as a player."

Robertson describes Clough as "quite simply a football genius." He also praises the way Brian treated him after the death of John's brother just days before the European Cup semi-final against Cologne. You can watch our exclusive video of Robertson talking about Clough at the book launch - and hear from ghostwriter John Lawson - HERE. 'Super Tramp' is published by Mainstream  (RRP £17.99).

Captain's Praise

Cloughie's captain John McGovern has heaped more praise on the Master Manager. He described how Brian's special brand of man management meant players felt they could beat any opposition in front of them.

"He was totally unique," McGovern told talkSPORT (September 2011). "He saw things differently and spoke about things differently. He had that amazing knack of getting results and getting the best out of players under his tutelage.

"He had that great ability of making you feel comfortable when you went out on the football pitch. You felt confident, you felt you were better than the opposition. And you always felt like that when you worked for him."

McGovern, who won two European Cups with Cloughie, added: "You would have to take the occasional rollicking of course, but that was then transfered into confidence when you went out on the pitch - perhaps trying to prove him wrong." McGovern's autobiography is due out next year.

Clough Tributes

It's the seventh anniversary of the death of Brian Clough - the Master Manager is still greatly missed. He died on September 20th, 2004, and a few days afterwards a civic tribute was held in Nottingham city centre. The following month, Derby's Pride Park staged a memorial service attended by thousands of fans.

Among the many tributes following the news of his death were those from former players. Garry Birtles said: "He's probably the best manager of all time. It's like a member of your own family dying." He added with a smile: "I can't believe I won't get another rollicking off him."

Said Trevor Francis: "Brian will go down in history as one of the best, if not the best, managers in England. It is a sad time for the whole of football." Kenny Burns added: "I don't think he will go down as one of the greatest. He IS the greatest English manager. I know Sir Alf Ramsay won the World Cup but nobody could hold a candle to what he did at Derby and Forest."


Former Derby skipper Dave Mackay said: "He was a one-off. Lots of former players have tried to follow his style in management but nobody could get anywhere near him. Nobody was like Brian Clough." Forest's former captain Stuart Pearce added, "He is irreplaceable."

The Sun newspaper on its comment page described Cloughie as "probably the best manager that ever lived." The Daily Star's Brian Woolnough described Cloughie as "the greatest man-manager of them all, who could transform an ordinary player into a great one." He added: "If there is a football team up there in heaven, they are lucky. Trophies are on the way."

You can read more about the civic tribute and the memorial service - and see photo's from both events, HERE.

Trophy Update

The Brian Clough Trophy was regained by Derby County following a Championship match against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Saturday 17th September, 2011. The trophy is up for grabs each time the Master Manager's two former teams play each other. Read more about the trophy HERE.

Blank Contract

Cloughie star Duncan McKenzie has recalled how he signed a blank contract in order to play for the Master Manager. Describing the moment that Brian initially phoned him, McKenzie said: "It was incredible. The phone rang at home and it was Brian Clough...he said 'Get in your car and I'll see you in half an hour...don't be late.'"

Clough, who was manager at Leeds, arranged to meet McKenzie at a hotel. "He asked me what I'd asked Forest for in a new contract - it was £200 a week and a signing-on fee. The reply was, 'Done, sign here.' I was so petrified I signed a blank contract. He was true to his word - everything he said he would do for me, he did."

During an interview on talkSPORT, McKenzie also recalled how Clough gave him some timely advice. "In my first league game, he walked on to the pitch to speak to me. He said, 'Young man, I pay you to score goals. You are not going to score them in our half - get out there! You are a liability down there!" McKenzie said he and Clough became very good friends and still kept in contact after Brian's infamous forty-four days at Elland Road.

Derby Statue

Derby's statue of Brian Clough has been repaired - after turning yellow within a year of it being unveiled. The sculptor says he's baffled by the colour change of the bronze monument. The statue was paid for by Derby County and local businesses.

Andrew Edwards told the BBC: "It wasn't just a little yellow - it was sunshine yellow. Bronze has a large copper content and naturally changes as it ages. Normally it goes darker or green, and occasionally it can have red spots. But I've never known a statue go yellow before."

The artist said it was possible the statue had been affected by some kind of alkaline reaction connected to the atmosphere and the pale finish given to the bronze when it was first built. Metal specialists have now helped return the statue to its intended tone.

Nottingham's bronze statue of Cloughie was unveiled in 2008 after a major fund-raising campaign by fans. Thousands of fans turned-out to see the sculpture unveiled by Barbara Clough.

New Cloughie Book

We can reveal exclusive news about a forthcoming Brian Clough book, which will be a must for any Cloughie fan. 'The Day I Met Brian Clough' includes memories and stories from his family, friends and fans. The book has been compiled by the editor of this website, Marcus Alton, whose royalties will go to charity.

The book is due to be published later this year and is full of previously untold Cloughie stories. Some will make you smile, others could have you shedding a tear. Fans may think they've heard all there is to know about Cloughie. But this book has many previously unpublished stories and tributes, demonstrating how he touched so many lives and won admirers around the world.


The author's royalties are going to the Brian Clough Memorial Fund, which is run by Cloughie's family and gives money to the types of good causes that Brian supported.  More information HERE.

On Target

We've uncovered a great archive photo of Cloughie scoring past his old rival Alex Ferguson. This marvellous image from 1988 shows Old Big 'Ead playing Subbuteo with the Manchester United boss to publicise a charity appeal.

Cloughie and Fergie were among 13 top managers called The Boss Squad who helped to launch the Sport Aid fund-raising campaign. Other managers included Sir Bobby Robson, Terry Venables and Jim Smith. In the photo, Graham Taylor and Billy Bingham watch the Master Manager put one past Fergie.


The report which accompanied the photo described how Cloughie had enjoyed returning to his role as a striker. It read: "It certainly looks as though he's up to his old goalscoring tricks with this net-bursting effort that leaves United manager Alex Ferguson helpless in goal."

It continued: "He would like to point out that his thunderous shot came at the end of a run from the half-way line in which he won the ball in the tackle from Norman Whiteside, nut-megged Bryan Robson and left Viv Anderson stranded for pace."

The Top Clough Site

Latest figures from Google show that pages on this website were viewed more than 100,000 times in the last year. Thanks for all your support! It just goes to show that this is THE place for Cloughie followers - and it's approved by the Clough family. For our tenth anniversary last year, Mrs Clough wrote a special message of support, saying she hoped the site will continue for many years. You can read Mrs Clough's message in full HERE.

All Time Hero

He was a famous voice from children's TV - and a huge Clough fan. Now tributes are being paid to Roy Skelton, who was the voice of Zippy and George on the programme 'Rainbow'. Once interviewed in the role of Zippy, he said: "I've always been proud of my big mouth which is why Brian Clough is my all-time hero." 

Famous Fan

Celebrity fan Tom Hanks says he'd like Brian Clough to be the next manager of Aston Villa. Well, he can but dream! The Hollywood star was speaking before the London premiere of his latest film (June, 2011). Grant Rollings of The Sun newspaper wrote of the famous Villa fan:

"The club are looking for a new manager but Tom, yet to visit Villa Park, is a tad out of touch when it comes to who should replace Gerard Houllier, asking: 'Is Brian Clough still around?'

When I pointed out the legendary Nottingham Forest manager is sadly no longer with us, Tom finally admitted: 'Sorry, I don't know anything about football.'" Read more HERE.


If you missed the TV documentary about Cloughie, recently repeated by the BBC, here's what we wrote about it after its first airing in July last year:

'Television audience figures show that more than two million people watched a BBC documentary reflecting on Cloughie's career. Entitled 'Brian Clough - The Best Manager England Never Had?' it was largely a re-production of many previous interviews with family members and former colleagues, plus a wide range of archive material of the Great Man himself.

Among the new content was an interview with the BBC commentator, Barry Davies, who interviewed Cloughie after his final first team match at the City Ground back in 1993. Looking back at the times he had met Brian, Barry commented: "Time in his company would be provoking, interesting and fun - and I think I'm a better person for having known him."

The programme also featured the Brian Clough statue in Nottingham several times and an interview with Barbara Clough which was conducted especially for the statue unveiling in 2008. In the final scenes, the statue is shown while Mrs Clough comments: "He used to say 'I hope I've contributed and I hope somebody liked me' - I think a lot of people did." '

Young At Heart

"It's just one step from slave labour." That was Cloughie's verdict on Nottingham Forest's youth team set-up 23 years ago, as he wrote his programme notes for a semi-final in the FA Youth Cup against Arsenal. He describes how the young players even clean the City Ground toilets as part of their duties. "Toilets are not all they clean either because they work harder than anyone else in the club. Each and every one of them is a dog's body.

"They scrub baths, sweep dressing floors, clean other people's muddy boots, run name it, they do it. And, oh, I nearly forgot, they also happen to play 60, 70 or 80 games a season. For that privilege they are paid the handsome sum of £35 a week. It's just one step from slave labour," says Clough.

He then asks: "Why do they do it? I'll tell you. They do it because it's their little mini Hollywood. They think that somewhere along the line they might get a chance to perform on a bigger stage and make a living out of the game they love so much."

Cloughie describes how rewarding it is to see youngsters arrive at Forest, straight from school, and go on to make the grade. "It's like watching little crocusses grow," he says. "I would love to do nothing else for two or three months than seeing a shoot come out of the ground, develop into a bud and see it blossom into a lovely, colourful flower. Seeing our kids develop is the nearest I'll get to it because sadly I don't have the time to sit and watch my garden grow."

He also describe it as a pleasure to work with the young players, who go about their work with a smile. "They cheer me up some mornings when I'm not at my best and to see their fresh young faces is one of the reasons why I keep coming into work. As long as they keep smiling, I'll postpone my retirement to watch the crocusses grow for a little while longer." Forest's youth team squad at the time included Steve Stone, Gary Charles and Lee Glover.

Prize Winners

The prize winners in our latest competition have been announced - they're from Kent in the UK and Bangalore in India. Srikanth Tirupattur won a runners-up prize of a Cloughie key-ring and e-mailed: "Wow, thank you! I am extremely delighted to receive something from the people who really support Cloughie and not just make a Facebook page about him. Thank you so much. You have made my day!"

A new competition has been launched, with the prize being the latest Cloughie book. It's called 'All Life's A Game' and has been written by former journalist Trevor Frecknall. There are more details, plus the results of the last competition, HERE.

Don't Slip Up

Former Cloughie player Brian Laws has described how he saved the Master Manager from going onto the pitch at Wembley in his slippers. It was before the FA Cup Final against Spurs in 1991. Recalls Laws: "He was so comfortable in his job that he would wear slippers before the game. He had his suit on and everything was ready to go. He then asked Stuart Pearce, 'Who's the fashion guru in this football club? I want to ask his opinion.'

"Stuart Pearce looked at me - knowing that I am not a fashion guru. I was the worst dresser in the world. So he said, 'It's Lawsy, he'll give you some good feedback.' Laws recalls how Cloughie then asked him about how he looked. "Do you think I look smart?" enquired Old Big 'Ead.


Laws replied: "Gaffer, you look a million dollars - but I'm not so sure about the slippers!" Cloughie then made a quick change and put his shoes on before leading his team out on to the Wembley turf, hand-in-hand with Spurs boss Terry Venables (above).

Laws also remembered how Cloughie wore a rosette pinned to his suit which stated 'World's Greatest Grandad'. "He was so proud of being a Grandad," added the former Forest full-back during an interview on BBC Radio Nottingham (April, 2011). The Master Manager is pictured wearing the rosette as he meets Princess Diana, with Laws (left) looking on.


Laws was full of praise for his former boss, describing his man-management and psychology as "second to none." He added: "He made us all feel like we were six feet tall and that we could climb Everest, yet we were very average players. But we played out of our skin every week."

The Captain's Pay Day

Cloughie's European Cup captain has revealed how he took a drop in wages to join the Master Manager at Nottingham Forest and end his Leeds nightmare. "I just couldn't wait to get out of there," said John McGovern (April, 2011) as he looked back on his short stay at Elland Road. McGovern went on to sign for Clough at Forest, for whom he twice lifted the European Cup.

McGovern said he endured a difficult time at Leeds, after being signed by Clough who was sacked after only 44 days. He revealed that while the other players had their names on the back of their tracksuits - his remained blank. "The new manager, Jimmy Armfield, wanted me to buy a house in Leeds, but I told him that was a very strange statement to make, when the Leeds fans wanted to hang me from the main stand. I just had to wait until another club came in."

That offer came from Cloughie, who joined Forest in 1975. McGovern had already played for him at Hartlepool and Derby, as well as their short spell at Leeds. "It was a case of going along to negotiate a contract, taking the usual drop in wages to play for Brian - which my other half wasn't too happy about. She gave me a rollicking when I got in. She said 'you just sign anything he puts down in front of you.'

"But at that stage I would have walked to another club just to re-start my career - which had gone pretty well at Hartlepool, winning promotion for the first time in the club's history. And then winning promotion and the First Division Championship at Derby and reaching the semi-finals of the European Cup. And then the sabbatical at Leeds was obviously a big interruption to my ambitions."

McGovern went on to become part of the promotion winning side at Forest, before securing the First Division championship and those back-to-back European Cups. "The success came so quickly, the whole football world was taken by surprise," McGovern told BBC Radio Nottingham.

A Photo Finish

Twenty-three years ago this month, Cloughie was berating a newspaper journalist for printing a photograph of his house in a national paper. Old Big 'Ead used his column in Forest's matchday programme against Manchester United (March, 1988) to make his views clear - and vowed to put a photo of the journalist's home on display in his local post office.

Said Cloughie: "Like the vast majority of people in this country I regard my home as a private place for myself and my family. Don't get me wrong, it's not Fort Knox...we entertain more friends, guests and colleagues than most other families.

"But I strongly object to some photographer pointing his lens through the trees in my garden to get a picture which then appears in a national newspaper." He then says the journalist, who also lived in Derby, can expect to see a photo of his home in the local post office window. In the match programme for the following home game against Derby County, Cloughie confirmed the photo was on display - in two post offices!

Cloughie's Cup Request

A former journalist has described how Cloughie asked him to carry the League Cup that Forest had just won, as they made their way from Wembley. Trevor Frecknall was travelling on the Reds' team bus following the victory over Oldham in 1990. Frecknall says that as Cloughie climbed aboard the coach, he asked him and the club secretary to swap seats.

"Baffled, I dutifully perched on the front nearside seat, immediately behind the door, instantly fearing I was to be evicted at the first railway station. So imagine how I felt when Clough plonked the newly-won Cup on my knee and said: 'Wave that to our supporters, please.'

Frecknall, the former Sports Editor at the Nottingham Evening Post, added: "The huge wooden doors of Wembley swung open, Albert eased the coach out into the throng...and thousands wondered who the hell that was in the Forest bus holding the trophy they had just retained." The memory is included in Frecknall's book 'All Life's A Game' published by Brewin Books at £14.95.

Journalist Remembered

Brian's son Nigel has paid tribute to a journalist who worked closely with his Dad. The former Daily Mail football writer Ray Matts has died at the age of 70 (March, 2011). "Ray was not just respected by his journalistic colleagues, he was equally admired by professionals in the game," said Nigel.

"My father always spoke fondly of him and, as a family, we had a lot of time for him and trusted him. It was not just that he was fair and pleasant to deal with, it was because his knowledge of the subject matter he covered was well sourced. My Dad always had time for Ray. He will be a great loss to the industry and here in the Midlands, his presence in the press boxes will be sadly missed."

Former Forest player Garry Birtles added: "He travelled with Forest and everyone knew him. He was full of life, always had a laugh and a joke. If Brian Clough liked you, that helped a lot and Brian loved Mattsy. But he was also a really good journalist and he didn't pander to anyone. He was well respected." There's a full tribute to Ray Matts HERE.

Vote For Cloughie

Cloughie fans are being urged to vote for the Master Manager in a poll to find the greatest person associated with Nottingham. He's on a shortlist of 25 people which has been compiled by Nottingham City Council. The authority is running the on-line vote. For putting Nottingham on the map with his outstanding achievements at the City Ground, surely Old Big 'Ead should be in the top one? Vote HERE.

Sun On Our Backs

European Cup legend Garry Birtles has been reflecting on how the Master Manager ensured his players weren't overcome by pressure before big matches. He says one of Clough's greatest qualities was his ability to lift that burden off his team.

Said Birtles: "In my day, we would go for a walk along the Trent and have a cup of tea together on the riverbank. Or we would go and train in the park instead, for a change of scene. But what worked best of all was when Cloughie just booked a flight and a hotel and whisked us off to Spain for a few days.

"We got a bit of sun on our backs, we did a little training and we bonded. Yes, by bonded, I mean that we went out and had a good session on the beer together. But there is a time and a place when that is a positive thing.

"We did not go crazy or get into trouble. We just had a normal night out with the boys. And it did bring us closer together. You got to forget about everything that was going off at home. The pressure was forgotten." Birtles was speaking to the Nottingham Post (February, 2011).

Record Signing

Former Clough player Trevor Francis has been looking back on how he became Britain's first £1M footballer, 32 years ago. He remembered how Cloughie arrived late for the press conference - because he'd been playing squash across the road! Francis was interviewed on BBC Five Live (February 2011).

"I'm often asked how I felt about being the first £1M player," said Francis. "But I was more excited about signing for Nottingham Forest, they were the league champions...and another important factor was that I was going to be playing for the most charismatic figure in British football and certainly the best manager, Brian Clough. To think that he was prepared to sign me - well, I was highly excited."

Francis was also asked what he thought about Fernando Torres' record £50M transfer from Liverpool to Chelsea. "I thought it was too much money, just as people thought it was too much when Brian Clough paid £1M for me, but there wasn't the surprise as there was in 1979. Football has become awash with money."

You Make Me Feel So Young

Twenty years ago, Cloughie was reflecting on how much he enjoyed being with his grandchildren - and how they kept him feeling young. In a re-published newspaper column from 1991, Brian is quoted in the Nottingham Post (February 2011) as saying that being with his family was the only thing he enjoyed more that winning three points on a Saturday.

Said Clough: "I was in the garden yesterday with my grandson. I pruned the roses, he held the bucket. When his mother called him for dinner, he yelled back: 'I want to stay with Grandpa.' Blow me. Frank Sinatra couldn't have sung more beautiful music into my ears. After we'd finished, I gave him a kiss, put on my coat and drove to work. Absolutely smashing! Seeing him and his baby sister keeps me young, you know."

Tribute Quote

One of Brian Clough's famous quotes was referred to at the funeral of a former Labour council leader. Sir Dennis Pettitt led Nottinghamshire County Council for 20 years, until he retired in 2001. Paying tribute to Sir Dennis the former Labour MP John Heppell said: "I used to tell everyone that Dennis Pettitt was the best politician I had ever known. Even now, I rank him, like Brian Clough, as being in the top one." (Reported by Nottingham Post, February, 2011).

Cloughie once told a regional TV programme: "I wouldn't say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one." It was a quote originally highlighted only by this website, but - thanks to our quotes page - was repeated by the world's media following Brian's death in September 2004.

Magical Memories

A former Cloughie player has been describing how his career was transformed by the Master Manager. John O'Hare played for Brian at three clubs after being coached by him as a youngster at Sunderland. He went on to win two league championships and two European Cups.

John reflected: "When I started at Sunderland I'd come across Brian as he was coaching the youth team after suffering the knee injury which ended his playing career. Just after he went to Derby as manager I was placed on the transfer list for disciplinary reasons. I was a young lad and I might have been a bit strong headed - stupid, in a way. As soon as it happened, Brian was at my house the next day.

"Basically I didn't really know a great deal about Derby. I didn't really want to leave Sunderland but training had been really enjoyable when I was in the youth team and Brian just had something a bit special about him, a desire to get somewhere.

"Obviously he thought I was a good enough player and he made me feel really wanted. I came down and wasn't too sure, but there was a good atmosphere in the town and I picked up quite quickly that it was definitely a football place."

O'Hare won the league championship with Derby in 1972 and also played in the European Cup, where the Rams were beaten by Juventus. He also played for Scotland, until the arrival of Kenny Dalglish. After following Clough to Leeds, he then signed for the Master Manager again - at Nottingham Forest, where he won another league championship and the European Cup.

Remembering the Forest days, John said: "We had a great crowd of lads. One of the things Brian could do was create a great atmosphere. We always enjoyed training and that spirit really made a difference. He kept the game simple and encouraged us to do what we were good at.

"The European Cup finals were the peak. I was on the bench for the first one in Munich but managed to get on for half an hour or so for the second, which was held at the Bernabeu in Madrid. It was a fantastic experience - a great way to end my career." John was speaking as part of a legends feature on the Sunderland AFC website.

Trophy Update

The Brian Clough Trophy was retained by Nottingham Forest after a 1-0 victory over Derby County at Pride Park (January 22nd, 2011). The trophy is up for grabs each time Cloughie's former sides meet. The Reds' captain Lee Camp showed the trophy to the 4,000 travelling Forest fans after the final whistle. Read more about the cup and see a video of it in the Forest trophy cabinet alongside the European Cup HERE.

Warnock And Son

Controversial manager Neil Warnock has recalled the times he used to meet Cloughie when they were working on opposite sides of the River Trent. Warnock, who was boss at Notts County, says he and the Forest manager would sometimes meet for lunch during the early 1990's.

"He used to call me Neil, I used to call him 'Mr Clough' and in all that time, I never called him Brian," Warnock told the Daily Telegraph (January, 2011). "I used to take James, my oldest lad, everywhere with me. We played Forest one Sunday, our second team against their third team, and Cloughie was in the stand. I went in to do the team talk and I said to James, who was about five, 'just stay outside and wait in the tunnel.'

"I came out, couldn't find him anywhere. I said to the stewards, 'where's my son?' They said, 'Brian Clough has taken him.' After a few minutes, he reappears with parcels, Easter eggs, chocolate, all-sorts. He said to me, 'I've been in Brian's office.' My little boy used to call him Brian but I could only ever call him 'Mr Clough.' He's always been my idol - I loved him."

Mills Memories

Former Cloughie player Gary Mills has been reflecting on the day he signed for the Master Manager. Mills eventually became the youngest player, aged just 18, to win the European Cup when he was part of Clough's Forest team which beat Hamburg in the final in 1980. Mills was a fresh-faced teenager when he joined the Reds.

Looking back at the day he signed for Clough, Mills told the Daily Mail (January, 2011): "I was 14 and Forest had a game that night. The boss took me into the dressing room and stood me in front of Terry Curran, who was popular and a bit of a star. Cloughie said 'Terry, do you know who this is?' and Terry looked at me and said 'no.' The boss said 'this is the lad who is going to take your shirt off you in a couple of years.'

"He brought me in again afterwards and the boss said 'Terry, you did OK tonight' and then he turned to me and said 'are you better than him son?' I shrugged my shoulders and said 'yeah, I think so' and Cloughie laughed and said 'see, there you go Terry. I told you he'll take your place.'"