Forty years ago, Cloughie's Nottingham Forest outplayed Manchester United at Old Trafford in a game that the Great Man would later say was hugely significant. Newly-promoted Forest won 4-0 (December 1977) on their way to securing the league championship title that season.
BBC commentator Barry Davies said United had been buried in their own back yard. Clough described it as a massacre. Defender David Needham made his Forest debut in the game. Cloughie joked: "I think he is a very lucky young man to be coming into a side like this."
In later years, Cloughie reflected on the significance of the game and the result: "That was the absolute pinnacle, if we had realised it at the time..." Defender Viv Anderson recalled how Forest and their fans had silenced the Stretford End. "And that takes some doing," he said. The match is featured in the new book 'Brian Clough Fifty Defining Fixtures'.
The Nottinghamshire MP and Nottingham Forest fan Ken Clarke has described Cloughie as the greatest football manager since the Second World War. And Parliament's 'Father of the House' had a gentle dig at bosses like Alex Ferguson, saying that if he was offered the chance to manage money-bags Manchester United, even he might be able to win some trophies.
Mr Clarke was speaking during a politics festival in Scotland which was recently screened by the BBC Parliament television channel. During a question and answer session, a member of the audience asked him to recall his favourite Forest moment.
During his answer, Mr Clarke said: "The Clough years were the great years. He was the greatest manager of any football club since the war. I think you or I could have a go with Man Utd for a year or two with all that money - and we might actually pick up the odd trophy.
"But to go to two non-descript midland football clubs like Derby County & Nottingham Forest and take them to the league championship - and Forest to the European Cup too - no one is ever going to repeat that."
Ken Clarke has previously contributed an anecdote to the popular book 'The Day I Met Brian Clough' which includes memories from his family, friends and fans.
A great Cloughie quote has been featured in The Diary section of The Times newspaper (November 2017). The column said that the former England cricket selector, Geoff Miller, told an audience at the Sporting Speaker of the Year awards that he treasured advice he was once given by Clough. "Don't argue with idiots," Brian told him. "They'll bring you down to their level and then beat you with experience."
Cloughie famously called himself Old Big 'Ead - and to keep that as a fond reminder of the Master Manager, we have some exclusive baseball caps featuring his iconic green sweatshirt and that momentous nickname. It's also fitting that 10% of profits from the sale of the stylish head-wear will go to the charity, the NSPCC, a cause which was supported by Brian and Barbara Clough.
The caps are 100% cotton with a fully embroidered design (not a transfer) and are an ideal Christmas present for a Cloughie fan. There is also a cotton adjustable strap (so it should fit a big 'ead). They are available to buy now in the brianclough.com shop.
Simply The Best
Martin O'Neill has dismissed claims that Cloughie did little or no coaching. Speaking ahead of his Republic of Ireland team's World Cup qualifier against Denmark (November 2017), Clough's former midfielder said just a word of praise from his old boss meant so much. He said directing players during a game was crucial.
"Brian Clough was considered a great man manager and I hear people say he didn't do a lot of coaching. I have to tell you, that is the biggest load of balderdash," O'Neill told the Daily Telegraph.
"Clough did a lot of coaching, but he didn't take us for long sessions and have us standing around, pointing out things all the time. But he was always there, he always joined in, he would make small points, but they were always interesting.
"During a game, that was his real strength. He would point out little things to you and they would really stick because the pressure was on in the midst of a game. It was something you had to rectify if you were going to help the team. He had a wonderful way of getting through to you, particularly at half time. One word of praise from him meant so much."
In this excellent article, O'Neill talks about how he likes the idea of being the underdog, as he was with Clough's European Cup winners, and how he works well with Roy Keane - another Clough disciple. Read it in full.
To help you get into the festive spirit, a Christmas jumper has been designed featuring the Master Manager. With the message 'Merry Cloughmas' the jumper is in Cloughie green and has an image of Brian on the front. It is available via the footballpunk.com website.
Nottingham Forest fans paid a special tribute to Cloughie to mark the thirteenth anniversary of his death. Reds supporters sang the name of the Master Manager in the thirteenth minute of the League Cup tie against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Commentating on the match, Colin Fray of BBC Radio Nottingham said: "The Forest fans are in good voice at the moment. The 13th minute mark - as promised - they are marking the anniversary of the passing of the club's greatest ever manager. They're on their feet chanting Brian Clough's name."
Brian's son Nigel also spoke about his father on the 13th anniversary. As his Burton Albion side faced Jose Mourinho's Manchester United in the League Cup, Nigel said Mourinho's straight-talking style was much like his Dad's.
"The way they go about it and the way they deal with things in such a no-nonsense manner is similar," said Nigel. "It's black or white and that's it. If a player does the job for him he has him in and if he doesn't that's it.
"They look at things in very similar ways. They way he deals with the press and the media, there are similarities there. He's just no-nonsense and says what he thinks and that's the biggest similarity." Nigel was quoted in the Daily Star.
A trophy-laden Cloughie was pictured on the front cover of Forest's matchday programme at the start of the season 28 years ago. He held the Littlewoods Cup and Simod Cup which his Reds players had won the previous season, proving that he could once again build a successful side from scratch.
He also had a joke in his programme notes, as well as describing how he had spent a day in the office of Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis. We've got more on this HERE.
Plus, following Forest's 1-0 win over Middlesbrough in the Championship, there are special memories of when Cloughie welcomed his hometown club to the City Ground for the final time in a league game, before his retirement, HERE.
It's 17 years since this tribute website was launched and soon welcomed the approval of Brian and his family. The site began on 17th August 2000 and was soon receiving hits and emails from around the world. It has also helped to raise money for charity.
In 2010, Mrs Clough sent a special message saying she hoped the site would continue for many years. To mark the 17th anniversary, the site has a brand new look which is compatible for mobile devices as well as desktop computers. We hope it will make navigating the site much easier. More pages will be added in the coming weeks and months. Thanks for visiting.
Brian's son Nigel has spoken about the types of things in modern football that would have annoyed his father - including the amount of money in the game and how it is spent.
"You haven't got long enough for what would annoy him," Nigel told TalkSport (May 2017). "There's a lot. I think the amount of money in football at the moment, he would consider to be obscene, and the fact that there's young players who are millionaires who haven't kicked a football in the first teams and things like that.
"There's an awful lot of areas that would annoy him. I think there was a report that came out the other week about the record revenues of £3.6 billion in the Premier League now and 13 out of 20 teams haven't got adequate facilities for the disabled.
"When all the money's there and it's not being channelled in the right areas, things like that would have annoyed him." Brian would not have had a high regard for clubs who buy success.
"I don't think he had much time for people who'd spend their way there, who buy titles and everything," Nigel added.
"But any manager who goes about the job in what he would consider the right way, with honesty and integrity and gets the teams to play a bit of football and work hard.
"And playing for the supporters as well. Supporters get isolated a little bit because there's such a big gap now between players and supporters, and he was very keen on keeping that tight."
The new owner of Nottingham Forest has heaped praise on the club's legendary manager. "Brian Clough was a one-off and unique," Evangelos Marinakis told the BBC after taking over the Reds from Fawaz Al Hasawi (May 2017).
The Greek businessman said he was an admirer of Clough and his achievements at the City Ground. "Brian Clough was a person that had his own ideas and ideas that no-one else had thought before. He did it his way and he was very successful," said Marinakis.
"It is very difficult to find other managers or other people who will do the same job that Brian Clough did. He was unique. If you try to do it how he did it, you will not be successful because he was unique and he did it his own way.
The Name Game
Former Nottingham Forest striker Teddy Sheringham has paid tribute to Cloughie, describing him as 'a proper legend'. Sheringham also laughed when recalling how Brian would call him Edward, instead of Teddy. "It was only my Mum and Brian Clough who called me Edward," he told the Fantasy Football Club on Sky Sports TV (May 2017).
"I went up with my agent to sign for Nottingham Forest," he said. "I'd sorted everything out with the secretary and I could hear him walking down the corridor - and everyone was scarpering because they didn't want to get in his way. He came round the corner and said, 'Ah, this is our new signing, is it? Edward Sheringham?'
"I thought, oh no, so I said, 'Boss, could you call me Teddy? I don't really get called Edward.' He said, 'Welcome to Nottingham, Edward.' He carried on calling me that for the rest of the time I was there."
Sheringham went on to praise his former boss. "What a fantastic manager Cloughie was," he said. "I loved playing for him. A proper legend. He taught me a lot about different ways of playing. After my days at Millwall, it was a big eye-opener when I went to Forest."
Fighting The Drop
Brian's son Nigel says his Dad would have been heartbroken to see some of his former clubs in such dire straits. Nigel, who has done an amazing job in keeping Burton Albion in the Championship this season, said he hoped Nottingham Forest would stay up too.
Nigel told the Nottingham Evening Post (May 2017): "It would have been strange for him seeing Sunderland go down and then possibly Middlesbrough and Hartlepool, three clubs very close to him. That would have broken his heart.
"He wouldn't be too chuffed with how Derby and Forest are being run but he would have loved sitting here watching us come up against the big boys. He did it for many years as well, fighting against the odds, Liverpool and Manchester United. He would have loved watching us."
Sixteen years ago, Brian himself was reflecting on the agony of facing relegation and feeling powerless to avoid it. In an end-of-season interview with BBC Radio (May 2001), Clough said he could understand the frustrations many managers, including himself, had to face to avoid the drop.
"Fear of relegation can dominate your life. In my case at Forest, it consumed me completely. I knew I was playing well but couldn't win a match." He said that towards the end of his final season with the Reds it eroded his confidence to such an extent he questioned whether he could still manage. And with a smile he said: "I'd been short of confidence throughout my life."
Top Gunners Shirt
It's eleven years this month since a special-edition shirt donated by Arsenal and signed by the Gunners' star players at that time fetched more than £400 for the campaign for a statue of Cloughie in Nottingham (April 2006). The framed shirt, which commemorated Arsenal's last season playing at Highbury, featured seventeen signatures, including those of Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Jose Antonio Reyes and Dennis Berkamp.
Quoted at the time, the chairman of the statue fund, Paul Ellis, told this website: "It's a superb gesture by Arsenal. In one of Brian Clough's last interviews he was full of praise for Arsene Wenger's team and the way they played football. So it's tremendous that a special shirt signed by their players will help to raise money for a lasting tribute to the greatest manager the game has seen.
"It's also fitting because Arsenal's original red shirts came from Nottingham Forest nearly 130 years ago. Forest gave a set of shirts to the then 'Woolwich Arsenal' team because they were struggling to find a kit. It's apt that Arsenal are now giving one of theirs, a collector's item, to such a good cause."
Just a few weeks before the on-line auction, the statue fund reached its half-way point, having been launched in the previous June. The campaign smashed its £70,000 target in just eighteen months. The statue was unveiled by Mrs Clough in November 2008.
New Cloughie Book
A fascinating new book looks at the incredible Clough story by focussing on some of the key matches during his outstanding career spanning nearly forty years. From his days as a top Middlesbrough marksman and Sunderland striker right through to his managerial debut at Hartlepool and the years as Master Manager of Derby County and Nottingham Forest, 'Brian Clough Fifty Defining Fixtures' is a must-have for any Clough fan.
The book, just published this month (April 2017), contains more great quotes freshly collected from the archives, plus wonderful photographs. Using archive reports and analysis, as well as fans' memories, this is the fourth Clough book by journalist and website editor Marcus Alton. This website is offering a special 10% discount and free postage and packing for orders in the UK until the end of May 2017. Read more and order HERE.
Former Southampton boss Lawrie McMenemy has recalled the day in 1979 when Cloughie insisted on leading him up the Wembley steps to the Royal Box, following the League Cup Final. It was a trophy that Clough won four times in an outstanding managerial career. Read more on our new Facebook page HERE.
It's nine years since Cloughie sculptor Les Johnson visited a newspaper's offices to look at photographs of the Master Manager to help his work creating Nottingham's brilliant bronze statue. Les was given exclusive access to the photo archive at the Nottingham Post. There's more about the visit HERE.
It's also eleven years since a huge Brian Clough banner was auctioned online and fetched nearly £900 for the statue fund (in Feburary, 2006). The banner featured one of Cloughie's best known quotes. There's more about that special banner HERE.
The volunteers behind the statue fund (which no longer exists) have also released a statement in response to media coverage of a petition, by a small minority, for the statue to be moved to the City Ground. The statement makes it clear that the city council is responsible for the statue's future care and that the money for the sculpture was raised on the basis that the statue was based in the city centre.
Nottingham Forest were originally approached about having a statue in 2004, but volunteers were told the club did not intend having one. The previous owner of the club financially backed the fund, which received such fantastic public support that it smashed its target in 18 months. Read the full statement on the new Facebook page HERE.
The Clough Walk
Cloughie's family have given their support to a new book in which fans can trace his footsteps in a walk 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.
Unlike the Master Manager, fans are not required to walk on water. Instead, they begin the journey in Nottingham and can visit various Clough landmarks during the trek which ends on Roker Beach at Sunderland (where he spent many hours running, trying to recover from the injury which ended his playing career). 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 Clough Walk' by Martin Perry and Geoff Smith is published by Sigma Press with a recommended retail price of £8.99. There is a review of the book HERE.