There were plenty of golden memories of Brian Clough when three of his former players took part in a special football forum (January 31st, 2005). Roy McFarland, John O'Hare and Roger Davies were joined by three writers, as fans were invited to ask questions of the panel in Derby.


"He was probably the best man-manager I have worked with," said Roger Davies. "I was blown away when I signed for Brian, even though he frightened the life out of me. But it was the most remarkable time in my life and I have him to thank for bringing me to a fabulous club."
Davies is pictured below.



Roger Davies remembers



John O'Hare was asked how Cloughie motivated players. "He made sure we were relaxed, you can't play unless you're relaxed. And he kept the game simple," said O'Hare, who first met the Great Man at Sunderland. "I was a youth team player and he was the coach. He had a single-mindedness and a real dislike for losing. He knew he was good and what he was capable of and it gave us confidence. He made us feel good about ourselves."

O'Hare followed Clough to Derby and later Leeds United. "That was the worst period in management for him. Leeds prepared methodically for every game. They had dossiers on the opposition. The first game in charge, someone came in and handed out the dossiers in the dressing room. Brian Clough took them off the players, ripped them up and put them in the bin. He said it was all about what his team could do, not what the opposition could do." 

O'Hare is pictured (below left) with Roy McFarland.



OHare and McFarland on stage



Roy McFarland makes a point



Roy McFarland recalled Brian Clough and Peter Taylor going to his parents' house late one night in order to sign him from Tranmere. "I didn't want to sign, the only team I wanted to play for was Liverpool. Then Brian said to me that he wasn't leaving until I had made my mind up. My Dad said that if he wanted me that much I should sign. So, I signed. Perhaps him and Peter were holding the pen while I did it!

"At one point when he was trying to get me to sign he told me something that I thought was absolute bull. He said in 12 months time I'd be playing for England. He was wrong...it took 13 months!"

McFarland also remembered being called into the manager's office for socialising too heavily with the inspirational skipper Dave Mackay. "Dave taught me how to drink and I could never drink him under the table," laughed McFarland.

"Then one day I was called into the office. I walked in with a smile on my face, expecting a good pay rise. He was sitting behind his desk. I sat down and Clough said 'Stand up, who told you to sit down?' So I stood up. Then he told me to sit down. Then he stood up! At that point I knew I wasn't getting a rise. Then he said, 'The way you're going you'll be finished before that old man Mackay. Stay in! Now get out!"

The evening had been organised by the supporters group the RamsTrust and raised more than £1,000 for a separate Trust in memory of the Derby councillor Lonny Wilsoncroft. She died last year while waiting for a lung transplant. Other guests at the event were authors Tim Crane (The Life of Brian) and Michael Cockayne (Clough Years, Champions 1974-75). The host was former Derby Evening Telegraph journalist Gerald Mortimer.