FLASHBACK:  August 1979


It was a certainly a dramatic headline on the back page of the Daily Mirror, in the summer of 1979. Cloughie had taken his Nottingham Forest team to Spain for a pre-season tournament. But there was a warning that terrorists could attempt to kidnap the Master Manager because he was such a high profile figure. 

According to the Mirror's reporter David Moore, who was in Bilbao, the warning about the possible actions of Basque extremists came from Britain's consul in Bilbao, Collum Sharkey. 

Forest committee member Derek Pavis said: "We have all been advised by the consul to take extreme care." Mr Pavis, who later became the owner of Notts County, said the advice included not leaving the hotel unaccompanied. 

"The Basque extremists are constantly seeking publicly to embarrass the Spanish Government," added Mr Pavis. "What better way to get it than to kidnap somebody like Brian Clough?"

David Moore reported how the coach carrying the Forest players was stopped and searched at a road-block after a 'shoot-out' between terrorists and the the civil guard. An area near the airport was cordoned off after a police convoy came under fire, with one fatality and several injured. 

Said Brian Clough: "I believe it is significant that this latest disturbance coincides with out visit. I am not unduly worried. Our hotel is magnificent and this two-match tour provides the best possible build-up for us. 

"But you cannot help noticing that Bilbao seems like a ghost town. Shops, factories and even churches are closed and boarded up. People appear to have deserted Bilbao in their thousands."

Forest - who were European champions - won both their matches, against Brazilian side Botafigo and Dinamo Bucharest.