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A 1963 letter from Brian Clough to a fan gives a fresh insight into his hopes of recovering from the devastating knee injury which effectively ended his playing career.
The letter has been published in an online article about the man who received it. He was Middlesbrough fan Trevor Moore, who died last year aged 72. The letter was one of his most treasured possessions. A musical based on Trevor's life is being planned by his daughter, Samantha.
In the letter, Clough refers to the cruciate ligament injury he suffered on Boxing Day 1962 while playing for Sunderland against Bury. He collided with goalkeeper Chris Harker on an icy pitch and was carried off. Clough thanks Trevor for the letter he received and says it was kind of him to write.
"My injury is coming along fine but I still have my leg in plaster," writes Clough. "I hope it won't be too long before I am playing football again." Clough also refers to Trevor's Dad, Fred, who was a Middlesbrough councillor.
The personally signed letter conveys Clough's desire of returning to action to continue his amazing goal-scoring record for Sunderland. His rehabilitation included running up the steep steps of the Roker Park terraces.
Unfortunately Brian managed to play in just three more first team matches. He made his comeback on 2nd September 1964 in a 2-2 draw against West Brom. Sunderland were, by now, in the First Division. Although he did not score in that game, he did fulfill his aim of scoring in the top flight.
Clough scored his only First Division goal in a 3-3 draw with Leeds United. He then played against Aston Villa on 9th September. It turned out to be his final game as a player and he realised his days as a centre forward were over.
Such was Clough's popularity, his testimonial match at Roker Park against a Bobby Charlton XI attracted more than 30,000 people. He had become Sunderland's youth team coach and demonstrated a flair for man-management. The rest, as they say, is history.
The fateful match against Bury is one of the Fifty Defining Fixtures in the best selling Clough book of the same name. There's more about Trevor Moore and the plans for the musical, in the report (January 2020) by Teesside Live, HERE.
It's 40 years since Cloughie was looking forward to what he described as a "battle of titanic proportions" against Liverpool. Brian's Nottingham Forest were about to face Bob Paisley's side yet again - this time in the League Cup semi-final.
Clough's Reds had already beaten Paisley's Reds in the European Cup and League Cup Final, both in 1978, as well as in the First Division (September 1979). Now they faced the Merseysiders yet again (January 1980) in the League Cup, having just been drawn against them again in the FA Cup.
Looking ahead to the series of games, Clough wrote in his programme notes: "If there is anything that Liverpool and ourselves don't know about each other, then we might just find it out in the next few weeks.
"Unless you've been living on a different planet, you will realise that we meet Liverpool in the FA Cup in ten days' time in addition to our League Cup semi-final games and a small matter of the League game at Anfield."
Cloughie said that many people would have been disappointed when the FA Cup draw was made, with Forest and Liverpool facing each other at such an early stage. "But it didn't bother us," he added. "I described it at the time as a brilliant draw and I see no reason to change my mind."
Focussing on the first-leg of the League Cup semi-final, at the City Ground, Clough concluded: "And despite the fact that we have as much success against Liverpool in two and a half years as some teams achieve in a decade, we are not kidding ourselves that tonight's game - or any of the others - will be anything but a battle of titanic proportions."
Forest won the first-leg 1-0 thanks to a John Robertson penalty, with the second-leg ending in a 1-1 draw. Clough's Reds lost to Wolves in the final. Although Forest also lost the FA Cup tie and the league match at Anfield, they ended the season by retaining the European Cup, while Liverpool were knocked-out again.
Look A Like
Cloughie was trending on social media after a new appointment to the British government was mistaken for the Master Manager. Ten Downing Street tweeted the photo of the new Welsh Secretary, Simon Hart.
There was a huge response from Twitter users who wrote about the Tory politician's likeness to the Labour-supporting Clough (December 2019).
One tweet (@Hoppurrsneeze) said: "He looks more like Brian Clough than Brian Clough's children." Another wrote: "Cloughie is alive and well."
This website's Twitter account saw a surge in numbers as a result. Welcome to all the new followers! Some of them are in the United States, with one fan posting a photo of Nottingham's Clough statue.
Also on Twitter, as a weakened Liverpool side faced Aston Villa in the League Cup, while the first team prepared for the World Club Championship in Qatar, we posted a reminder of Cloughie's comment when Manchester United opted out of the F.A. Cup in order to play in the World Club Championship.
He said: "Manchester United in Brazil? I hope they all get bloody diarrhea." Our social media post led to one follower recalling an amusing story in Nottinghamshire.
Lucky Lee (@leemartin1963) wrote: "Back in 1979-ish, our Newark Centrals football manager tried to claim £20 petrol expenses for travelling 20 miles off Mr Clough, for bringing Newark trialists to Forest.
"Cloughie said: 'What did yer come in, a bloody tank?' A true legend, he paid up but always had the last word."
He's For Keeps
Long before signing him for Nottingham Forest, Cloughie was full of praise for goalkeeper Peter Shilton. In December 1973, the Miracle Manager wrote in his column for TV Times magazine that Shilts was England's natural successor to World Cup winner Gordon Banks.
Banks, who was Shilton's mentor, had retired and Clough said the man he had tried to sign from Leicester in 1971 was now the man to carry the flag for the great British goalkeeper. Clough wrote: "Peter Shilton, in my opinion, is even better than Banks."
Clough wrote that Shilton had a calm and commanding temperament, which he said was the most important asset a goalkeeper could possess. "He is still only 22 and he's by far the greatest in the world," said Clough.
In 1977 Cloughie eventually got his man, with Forest going on to secure the First Division title before winning back-to-back European Cups. The magazine column is featured in the book 'Me and My Big Mouth - When Cloughie Sounded Off In TV Times' by Graham Denton (Pitch Publishing, RRP £12.99). More HERE.
History was made in November 2019 when Nottingham Forest won three consecutive Brian Clough Trophy matches for the first time. All three wins came within the same year, culminating in a 1-0 victory over Derby at the City Ground. More information on our Brian Clough Trophy page.
Ten Pound Note
Former Cloughie midfielder Brian Rice has been reflecting on his time playing for the Miracle Manager. "He was a one-off and a genius," says Rice, who was signed by Clough from Hibernian in 1985.
"I think he invented reverse psychology. If I knew I'd played well he'd stop me on the way out: 'Hey, you're not as good as you think.' If I'd had a bad game he'd go: 'Well done.'"
Rice, now Head Coach at Hamilton, adds: "...even though I missed out on some big games I was on the bench for the final of the Simod Cup in 1989. We won so I shared in the team's bonus. We all got a box of chocolates with a ten pound note sellotaped to it!"
The full interview with Rice is by the Scotsman (October 2019).
Nottingham Forest ensured the Miracle Man and his achievements were remembered 15 years on, with a minute's applause during the Championship match at home to Barnsley (21st September 2019).
Fans from both teams stood and applauded in the 15th minute of the game, while an image of the Great Man was displayed on the large screens.
Brian's influence and achievements live on - as do his wonderful quotes, carefully collated over the years by this website. You can look back on how the media reported the tributes in 2004 HERE - and enjoy those classic quotes HERE. Add your #cloughiememories HERE.
A former youth player at Nottingham Forest has described how Cloughie let him join the FA Cup Final line-up at Wembley and meet Princess Diana. Centre-back Phil Gilchrist, who was originally from Stockton-on-Tees, began his football career with Cloughie's Forest.
Gilchrist was offered schoolboy terms with the Reds - but admits he didn't have a lot of dealings with the Master Manager. "Depending on what mood he was in, I would keep out of his way!" he recalls.
"He was good to the young lads. He called everyone by where they were from, so he used to call me 'Middlesbrough'. He was born there."
And Gilchrist has special memories of how Cloughie ensured he was part of the proceedings in the FA Cup Final against Spurs.
"When we played in the 1991 FA Cup Final, Cloughie took me and another lad who'd done well in the youth team that season with the squad. We stayed in the hotel, walked out on the pitch and met Princess Diana in the line-up. We lost but it was an amazing day."
Looking back, Gilchrist says he knew that he was not going to break into the Forest first team, past players like Des Walker and Stuart Pearce. So he joined Middlesbrough in January 1992 and then Hartlepool, another of Cloughie's former clubs.
The defender later joined Leicester City in the Premier League, at the height of Martin O'Neill's success as Foxes boss, in 1999. Gilchrist describes O'Neill as one of the best managers he worked for. "There were definitely similarities with Cloughie," he adds.
After O'Neill left, Gilchrist joined West Brom. Following spells with Rotherham and Oxford United, he retired due to injury. Like Cloughie, it was a knee injury which ended his playing career. You can read more about Gilchrist's memories as he talks to Leicester City historian John Hutchinson HERE.
Nottingham Forest players celebrated in the City Ground dressing room after retaining the Brian Clough Trophy. It followed a 3-0 win over Derby County in the Carabao Cup (27th August, 2019). "It's my first Brian Clough Trophy game," said a grinning Sabri Lamouchi after the match.
The victory came ten years after the Reds won the trophy for the first time. Below, Matty Cash (left) is clearly delighted to hold the cup, while the Forest players celebrate together and captain Joe Worrall proudly shows off the trophy pitchside. There's more about the trophy HERE.
Photographs courtesy Nottingham Forest F.C.
Get Me To The Ground
Cloughie was renowned for his unpredictability, but it's amazing to hear that Brian was still playing squash just minutes before a crucial European Cup tie against Liverpool. The Master Manager had decided to take his mind off the match - but had to resort to asking a policeman to stop the traffic so he could get to the game in time.
"The Boss played a lot of squash, he loved it," recalls one of his former squash partners, Mike Tinkley, who was assistant secretary at Nottingham Forest. "I played a lot of squash with the manager, it probably took a lot of the pressures off him."
And Brian was even keen to have a game at Trent Bridge Squash Club just before Forest's first European Cup match, at home to holders Liverpool, in 1978. "We were still on court at a quarter past seven and we were kicking-off against Liverpool at half past seven," recalls Mike.
"We came off court, drenched in sweat, and there was a policeman that the manager called over and said 'Get me to the ground, I need to be there.' The Policeman stopped all the traffic and took us round. We were back in the ground in five minutes - and the players were in the tunnel ready to face Liverpool.
"Brian walks in, gets into the shower, then on with the green sweater and jacket, no team-talk - nothing. And we won 2-0."
Mike's wife, Janice, was Brian's secretary for a while and also has fond memories. "It was brilliant, he was an incredible man to work for," says Janice. "He was thoughtful and very kind to lots of people."
And that includes Janice herself. Brian arranged tickets for her to see singer Barry Manilow when he was interviewed by Cloughie's friend Michael Parkinson. "The Boss knew I liked Barry Manilow because he used to pull my leg about it."
Brian phoned Michael Parkinson to ask for two tickets for Janice. "A friend and I sat right at the front - it was absolutely wonderful." Mike and Janice were speaking to BBC Radio Nottingham's John Holmes (August 2019). You can listen to the show HERE (available until September).
Boycott The Match
Former Cloughie player Martin O'Neill has described how Brian invited his friend, cricketing legend Geoffrey Boycott, into the dressing room to give the team-talk. O'Neill revealed: "Geoffrey used to give the team-talks - that was about twenty minutes, I will never get that!"
"Geoffrey was very good because Brian would bring him in and say, 'if you want to be a proper hero, here's one.' And of course Geoffrey took all the accolades going at that stage."
O'Neill was reflecting on Cloughie's love for cricket during the BBC's Test Match Special coverage of England's match against Ireland (July 2019). "Brian's love of cricket was very strong indeed," added O'Neill. "He would take himself off to Trent Bridge at times and watch games."
Boycott gave a special tribute to Brian at the Memorial Service back in October 2004. He described Cloughie as "a warm, generous person with a heart of gold." Read more about the tribute HERE.
There was a great turn-out for a special Cloughie event at one of the UK's leading book festivals. 'In The Top - a tribute to Brian Clough' featured great stories and gems from the archives, as well as discounts on Clough books.
It was hosted by journalist and author Marcus Alton, who is the editor of this website and has written four books about the Master Manager. The organisers of the Newark Book Festival described it as a great afternoon of memories of the most charismatic figure football has ever known.
More than fifty people attended the event in the Tudor Hall at the National Civil War Centre in Newark (July 2019). Comments from the audience afterwards included: "marvellous memories", "that was quite emotional" and "it's nice to hear stories I've not heard before".
Marcus is available for bookings to present his tribute 'In The Top One' for your club or event. Contact us via the email page for information. Below are a selection of photos from the event.
No-nonsense defender Kenny Burns says Cloughie was a 'father figure' to him. We've turned the clock back exactly ten years to remember a newspaper interview Burns gave about the Master Manager.
"Brian Clough was a great man and very much a father figure to me , 'cos I was adopted. I went to his memorial service at Pride Park - and that was hell - but I just couldn't go to the funeral 'cos it would have been too upsetting for me.
"You would have loved him, he would make you laugh and he would have you in tears." Burns was speaking to the Sunday Herald newspaper, who also asked him about Manchester United, who were playing in the Champions League Final.
"I hate them, they win everything," replied Burns. "Fergie? Hey, there's bad losers and there's bad losers. Fergie belongs to the second category. Other people have to be gracious in defeat, but he comes out regularly and blames it on just about everything. Plus, of course, he's got a face like a fearless beekeeper!"
Former Nottingham Forest defender Jim McInally has recalled how Brian cooked him Christmas lunch. Reflecting on his time at the City Ground, McInally remembers Clough's kindness.
"During my first Christmas in Nottingham I was staying at a hotel, so he invited me round for Christmas dinner with his family, with him doing the cooking! Not many people would take a stranger into their house in those circumstances."
Like many other former Clough players, McInally also remembers how Brian kept football nice and simple. "Modern football would make him turn in his grave, especially the obsession with the idea of defenders playing it out from the back.
"It's so easy for that to go wrong. Just look at John Stones for England against Holland a couple of weeks ago.
"Brian wanted everyone doing their own jobs and keeping things simple. The job of a full-back like myself was to stop crosses, and you'd occasionally be allowed to bomb forward when we were at home."
McInally was speaking to Football Scotland (June 2019).
You can't beat a bit of a sing-song - and music was certainly on the menu as Cloughie gave his 'thumbs-up' to his Forest successor Frank Clark 26 years ago (1993).
Clough told the media: "He's got grace and he's reliable, warm and charming...I hope he also brings his guitar because I love music and he plays it well."
This website recently tweeted this quote and Clark himself responded by commenting: "Still have the guitar!"
A special Cloughie event will be held at one of the UK's leading book festivals. 'In The Top - a tribute to Brian Clough' will feature great stories and gems from the archives, as well as discounts on Clough books.
It will be hosted by journalist and author Marcus Alton, who is the editor of this website and has written four books about the Master Manager. The event promises to be a great afternoon of memories of the most charismatic figure football has ever known.
Tickets for the tribute at the Newark Civil War Centre on Sunday 14th July are just £4. Details HERE.
Nottingham's Cloughie statue got a special clean and wax to mark the 40th anniversary of Brian's European Cup victory in Munich with Nottingham Forest in May 1979.
Paul Ellis, who chaired the statue fund which raised the money for the statue, said: "Forty years on from that fantastic achievement, it's only fitting that Cloughie's statue gets this special attention.
"The sculpture has become a much-loved fixture in the city centre, it's a key part of Nottingham's city landscape, and it's great that he'll be looking his best for the anniversary.
"At the unveiling ceremony in 2008, Mrs Clough said Brian had a special place in the hearts of Nottingham people – and he treasured them too. All the people who contributed to the fund-raising appeal can feel proud of a statue that celebrates all he achieved and the fact he put Nottingham on the map.
"On behalf of the fund-raising committee, I'd like to thank the city council for ensuring the statue is kept in tip-top condition not only for this special occasion but for years to come."
One Million Man
Cloughie's fantastic man-management skills and unpredictability have been remembered by his £1M signing Trevor Francis, marking the 40th anniversary of Brian's first European Cup Final win in May 1979.
On the eve of the final, Clough gathered the Forest players together in the hotel - they thought it was to discuss the line-up. But Brian called the wine waiter and insisted the players had one or two glasses.
"It was all part of the plan to relax us before the game," Francis recalls in his autobiography 'One In A Million'.
The striker also recalls how Clough took fans, and the players, by surprise before the European Cup semi-final against Ajax in Amsterdam in 1980. A group of Dutch fans were taunting the players as they took a walk near their hotel.
"Clough got a lighter, probably from John Robertson, ran over to them, grabbed their flag and set fire to it. Amazing." There's a review of the book HERE.
Cloughie's amazing managerial career came to an end 26 years ago (May 1993). There were emotonal scenes at the City Ground as fans showed their appreciation to the Master Manager, despite suffering relegation in his final season. It had been a wonderful, trophy-laden career. Memories: May 1993.
It's 40 years since Cloughie's Forest beat Cologne in the European Cup semi-final second-leg (April 1979). But there was a tragic story behind the scenes. John Robertson later described Cloughie's kindness following the death of Robbo's brother and sister-in-law in a car accident just days before the Cologne tie. Full story: Cologne.
Brian's grandson Stephen has sent a special message of thanks to all Cloughie fans, on what would have been his 84th birthday (21st March 2019). Fans have been sending their memories to this website ever since Brian passed away in 2004.
Stephen, who is the son of Cloughie's son Simon, expressed his appreciation for all the good wishes. He said: "Reading all the kind words after 15 years is brilliant for the family. So thanks to the club and the Forest supporters for keeping my grandad's memory alive, he'd have loved it." You can read messages and #cloughiememories HERE.
Nottingham's Cloughie statue was looking back to his best after undergoing a special clean by Nottingham City Council. The waxing was carried out using funds previously raised by the volunteers behind the huge fund-raising effort for the sculpture.
One passer-by was heard to tell the workmen: "Make sure you clean behind his tabs!" His ears were duly waxed too.
The Brian Clough Trophy returned to the City Ground after Nottingham Forest beat Derby County 1-0 at home in a Championship match (February 2019). It's the first time the Reds have held the prestigious piece of silverware since November 2015. The Monday night game was shown live on Sky Sports.
Forest captain Ben Watson is pictured after being presented with the Brian Clough Trophy live on Sky Sports. Before the match, there was an impressive display of banners over the Trent End - including a tribute to Cloughie....
You can find out more about the Brian Clough Trophy, including previous matches, HERE.
It was forty-four years ago that Cloughie declared he could still work a miracle, just days after becoming Nottingham Forest manager. The Daily Mirror reported (January 1975) that while he still bore the scars of the 'heartless sacking' by Leeds four months previously, his burning ambition to succeed was as strong as ever.
During a visit to Bisham Abbey with his new players, he told the Mirror: "Right now, this team are no more than average - good enough for a place half way up the Second Division. I want to be back in the First Division, and with Forest, in eighteen months. If we do it, it will be a miracle, but remember I haven't performed one for a bit."
Luckily for Forest, a Clough miracle was just round the corner.
Why Silva is Pure Gold
Brian's son Nigel says his Dad would have loved to have included Manchester City's David Silva in his European Cup winning teams. Nigel, whose Burton Albion side face City in the Carabao Cup semi-final (January 2019) also says his Dad would have admired City boss Pep Guardiola.
"I think my Dad would have loved the way Pep goes about his job and the way City play," said Nigel. "And when you see a player like David Silva, I can guarantee that Dad would have had him in his team every day of the week. He would have absolutely loved to have had a player like David Silva in his team.
"Nottingham Forest had John Robertson, who wasn't the same sort of player because he was a winger, but he would just tell the Forest players, 'Give him the ball - I don't care where he is, just give him the ball and let him get on with it' - that's what he said about John and that's what he would have said about David Silva. He'd have loved him."
The Brewers boss also said his Dad would have been impressed with the way his side had beaten Middlesbrough (where Brian started his playing career) in the previous round. "I think he would have been proud of our clean sheet and the performance we put in," reflected Nigel.
Brian won the League Cup four times as Nottingham Forest manager, with Nigel playing up front in their back-to-back wins in 1989 and 1990.
"It's funny because when we play in all yellow, as we did (against Middlesbrough), Forest did it many, many times away from home in an all-yellow strip," added Nigel. "I'd like to think there were a few characteristics there - nowhere near as good and at the same level, but the same sort of commitment."