“I’m going to programme mine to pick our team, run the club, take my dog for a walk and attend board meetings."

Just like the Miracle Manager himself, 'Brian Clough's Football Fortunes' was a headline-grabbing game-changer when it was launched in 1987.

Unlike any other football management game at the time, this was a hybrid. It combined a range of exciting computer features with a traditional board game.

Even the Great Man himself took part in the launch at Wembley Stadium. More than 30 years later, it has now been given a reboot to bring it into the big-money world of modern-day football.

While Cloughie's name is not in the title of the re-vamped version, he is still featured on the game's bank notes and one of the tournaments is the Brian Clough Memorial Trophy.

Now those behind the 1980's game and the re-boot have been telling this website how the idea originally came about, what Cloughie was like at the launch and how Football Fortunes has been brought into the 21st Century.

The 1980's was a golden era for football gaming. The rising popularity of the sport beyond its traditional working class fan base, teamed with the launch of home computers like the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum, gave prospective game makers and publishers a platform in most people’s homes and a subject close to their hearts.

Former WH Smith store manager Giles Hunter had already set-up a software publishing firm and approached sports management guru Barry Hearne to secure the name of snooker's leading figure to launch the 'Steve Davis Snooker' game. 

Giles then turned his attention to football after talking to employee David Hall who wanted to develop an idea he'd had as a youngster. David worked with a computer programmer to produce the game-changing hybrid football game. It mixed the best of a table-top game while the computer dealt with fixtures, results, league tables and cups. 

A massive Leeds United fan, Giles tried unsuccessfully to get the Elland Road club to endorse the game - but he soon pulled off a real coup in gaining the signature of Brian Clough. Old Big 'Ead was on top form when he took part in the game's launch. 

Cloughie & Giles Hunter

“For the launch of the game, we hired Wembley Stadium," recalls Giles. "Cloughie was superb. He played the press brilliantly, got involved in the various games taking place and spoke with anyone that wanted to ask him questions.

“He was really friendly and, probably because I was only 25 or 26 at the time, he treated me almost like a son. He showed great interest in the retailers we dealt with and he showered us with corporate tickets to Forest games which included meals and everything.”

Cloughie had a witty assessment of the game: “I’m going to programme mine to pick our team, run the club, take my dog for a walk and attend board meetings.”

The game enjoyed international success, despite Brian's son Nigel having only a two-star rating (out of five). "A clip round the ear might have been administered if Cloughie had noticed that one," says fan of the game Martin Neill from Northern Ireland. 

More than three decades later, a global community was still playing 'Brian Clough's Football Fortunes' when Martin and friend Alan Stewart, also from Belfast, began to consider giving the game a reboot.

“We had great memories of playing Cloughie's with our friends as teenagers and really thought about what a modern version would be like, as football had changed a lot since 1987,” says Martin. “We put up a Facebook page to see if there was anyone as interested in the original game as we were. There was an overwhelming response.” 

Martin and Alan met the original team and the deal was sealed. Football Fortunes was reborn in November 2019 following a successful Kickstarter fund-raising campaign. 

Says Martin: "Brian Clough’s Football Fortunes was as original and brilliant as the manager who inspired it and it will always have a future for as long as the new version continues to evolve."

There's more about the reboot HERE