O'Neill signs sweatshirt
Robbo signs up

Signed items for big auction


Memorabilia signed by European Cup legends Martin O'Neill and John Robertson helped raise over £1,400 in the second big internet auction for Nottingham's statue fund (November 2006). O'Neill is pictured adding his signature to an 'Old Big 'Ead' tribute sweatshirt which was also signed by Robertson and Cloughie's son Nigel. The sweater was framed to include photos of the Euro heroes and sold for £210.

Another rare item signed by the trio was a Paul Smith designer football, which was also signed by the fashion king himself. That went for £102. O'Neill and Robertson also signed a hardback copy of the commemorative edition of Cloughie's autobiography 'Walking on Water', which was published after the Master Manager died and for which O'Neill wrote the foreword. A buyer snapped that up for £68.50.

The items featuring the signatures of Nigel Clough, Martin O'Neill and John Robertson were signed personally during a fund-raising evening in Middlesbrough in September 2006. Volunteers smashed through their overall fund-raising target within 18 months, an amazing feat in the days long before social media helped to publicise similar projects elsewhere.

Another star item in the auction was a football signed by the Brazilian legend, Pele. He had written 'Best wishes, Pele' on a mini-football which was donated by businessman Simon Clifford. He set-up an empire of Brazilian soccer schools. The signed ball sold for £62. Clifford also donated a football which was used in the film 'Bend It Like Beckham', for which he was Kiera Knightley's personal trainer. That went for £51.

Fans also had the chance to bid for one of the two remaining Brian Clough banners displayed at Nottingham's civic tribute, which features one of his most famous quotes. In response to a reporter who asked how he deals with players who disagree with him, Cloughie responded: "We talk about it for 20 minutes and then decide I was right." The banner was specially made for the city council, which donated it. It is the only one of its size with that quote and was sold for £510.

Among the other auction items were a cricket bat signed by England legend Ian Botham during a visit to Nottingham (£52); a book about European Cup legends, signed by famous names including Trevor Francis, John McGovern and Teddy Sheringham (£102); and a book about Nottingham Forest signed by a number of Reds heroes from the past (£35). Forest legend Archie Gemmill donated a signed copy of his autobiography, which went for £27.

O'Neill signs Paul Smith football

Two items were secured by fans overseas. A Forest shirt signed by Reds players was bought by a fan in Australia for £171, while a buyer in the United States was the highest bidder for a matchday programme, on which Kris Commons had signed his front-cover photo (£15).

One of the more unusual items was a tree donated by the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, Christopher Battiscombe-Scott, who owns the tree firm Green Mile Trees Ltd near Retford in Nottinghamshire and is a big Forest fan. The company grows large mature ornamental specimen trees. He said: "As a life-long Forest fan, I am delighted to donate an oak tree for the statue fund auction. Brian Clough brought such amazing success to the county. It seems only fitting to celebrate success with a tree - the Forest emblem." The winning bidder was able to select a tree to the value of £100. The lot went for £31.

Rich Fisher from the statue fund said he was delighted with the amount raised. "There were some rare and collectable items here which would make very special Christmas presents. The total raised has helped us to take a big step towards our target."

The ten-day auction on ebay ended at 1630 on Friday November 24th, 2006. After a long selection process to find a sculptor, the statue was unveiled in November 2008, in front of more than 5,000 people, by Mrs Clough who described it as 'perfect'. You can see more about that special day HERE.