Around fifteen thousand fans of Brian Clough gathered with his family and friends to remember the life of the Master Manager (21st October, 2004). In one final piece of miraculous man-management rival fans from Forest and Derby were united in braving the strong winds and heavy rain to pay tribute to their hero.

Derby Cathedral wasn't big enough for all of Cloughie's fans. So they came to a place where he was treated as a god -- a football ground.

A covered stage was placed on the pitch at Pride Park in Derby and a huge screen showed TV clips of Cloughie. The advertising boards at the side of the pitch were covered in shirts and scarves from many different clubs. As well as prayers, hymns and Bible readings, Old Big 'Ead was remembered with poems and music from his favourite singer Frank Sinatra.

Forest & Derby colours
Among the sporting celebrities paying tribute was former Forest player Martin O'Neill. He said: "Brian Clough touched the lives of all of us inside this stadium to one extent or another and we'll never forget him.

"As a player I was terrified of him most of the time, but I'll tell you something, he was a man who, when you felt you couldn't run any more and that your heart was about to burst, you put in your last ounce of endeavour for.
Martin O'Neill pays tribute
"It's fair to say I wasn't exactly one of his favourites, but when he gave you praise he made you feel a thousand feet tall. He was an incredible manager and an even better man." There was laughter after O'Neill added: "I was asked in an interview to sum up Brian in three words. I think he would have been insulted to be summed up in three volumes."

At the start of the service there had been applause to welcome Canon Nicholas Henshall and Canon Elaine Jones, with the choir of Derby Cathedral. Father Frank Daly, who performed Clough's funeral and is a close family friend, said everyone knew the outspoken side of Brian.

"What not many people know are the things he did quietly in so many acts of kindness for very ordinary people, those ordinary people who will miss him because they felt he was their friend," he said.

Father Daly also spoke of Cloughie's uncanny ability to "make men written off as has-beens surpass their expectations and perform like gods."

Indeed, the stand was full of players he had inspired: Roy McFarland, Tony Woodcock, John McGovern, Kenny Burns, to name but a few. More big names included Peter Shilton, Stuart Pearce and Sir Trevor Brooking.
Peter Shilton at the service

Former England cricketer Geoffrey Boycott also paid tribute during the service: "There were two sides to Brian. People who thought he was all talk, brash and outspoken did not really know him. He was also a warm, generous person with a heart of gold." 

Boycott: 'a heart of gold'

"He was a rare and special friend, funny and amusing," said Boycott. "As a football manager he was a charismatic, eccentric maverick. But he had that rare gift for understanding people and getting the best out of them." Former World Cup referee Clive Thomas said Cloughie was unique. "There will never, ever be another. Our lives are richer for having known him."

Brian's wife Barbara read a poem called Cloughie. But before doing so, she raised a laugh from the stands with a comment about the weather. "It was probably Brian's way of saying 'I told you I didn't want any fuss.'"

Barbara Clough with Canon Elaine Jones

A poem read by Barbara included the following lines: "When the Gods apportioned modesty, one boy wasn't there; He was in the queue marked confidence, getting twice his share. With two good feet beneath him, he considered it enough; And so was born the character we know as Brian Clough."  You can read the poem in full HERE.

Barbara was accompanied by grandson Stephen

Brian's son Nigel was accompanied by his brother Simon and sister Elizabeth as he thanked the service's organisers for their hard work and the crowd for attending. There was laughter in the crowd as Nigel referred to his father fondly: "I'm sure he's going to have a bit of an input upstairs about who's running the show up there. We hope he's sat up there with friends in the sunshine, looking down and saying 'Look at those daft buggers sitting in the rain.'"

Nigel remembers his Dad fondly

In an emotional tribute to his father, Nigel said: "Dad had this rare ability to understand human need. He could relate to people from all walks of life. He has left us with a massive gap in our lives and while there were many words spoken tonight, we can't seem to find the right ones to say how much we love him and miss him."

Nigel is watched by sister Elizabeth & brother Simon

A Thanksgiving blessing and the hymn Abide With Me then led to the closing music of Sinatra's Nice 'n' Easy and Nat King Cole singing Let There Be Love.

Afterwards, the former England manager Sir Bobby Robson said: "It was an evening that I wouldn't have missed for the world. As tributes go it was great, there's no other word for it. Brian was a great, great manager and a lovely man. He will never be forgotten by his family, friends or anyone who ever met him.

"For one person to bring two clubs like Derby and Forest together - and boy did he do that tonight - is the ultimate tribute."

Nigel with brother Simon & sister Elizabeth