The Master Manager was in fine form when he appeared on another radio phone-in. He reminded listeners of his ability to walk on water, joking about the time he feared Larry Lloyd was going to throw him into the River Trent.

The first caller to the phone-in on 106 Century FM (November 2001) said it was an honour to speak to 'a living legend'. During the hour-long chat, Clough answered questions about various topics including managerial sackings, player discipline and the fortunes of Forest and Derby. When asked how he was feeling, he replied: "I'm in good nick. I'm on top of the world."

Clough was asked for his opinion on Manchester United's poor start to the season. He said Sir Alex Ferguson had seemed to have "lost the plan."

"His goalkeeper has let him down a bit and he's transferred the centre-half for no apparent reason. He has not got the formation. I built my sides around a goalkeeper, centre-half and centre-forward. He seems to have lost the plan."

He said he was delighted to see other teams beating United for a change. "It is part of our nature in this country that we get sick of people winning everything. It's good to see someone from the lower end of the league put one over the big boys."

Clough was asked whether he thought Colin Todd was the right man to succeed Jim Smith as Derby manager. "Only time will tell whether he is going to be a good manager. If he can get across to the players all the things he believes in, then he's got a chance. But you'd be amazed by the number of managers who can't impart the knowledge they've got.

"It will take time for Toddy to get used to management. I know he had a little bit of experience at Bolton, but he's with the big boys now, at a club with a lot of tradition. He has got to come and do it...and I hope he does."

But when pushed on how Derby would cope this season, Clough added: "There are grave doubts in the town that they won't get out of the cart."

As for Forest, Old Big 'Ead said they lacked the killer instinct. "I am delighted by the way they're playing, but I don't think the strikers are getting hurt enough. That may sound silly because no-one wants to see anyone get hurt. But you have to get hurt to get a goal.

"If you get a centre-forward who gets hurt and gets a goal, then you'll get another and another. They are taking four passes when three will do. They're not killing them off in the penalty area."

When asked about the Forest boss, Paul Hart, the Master Manager was full of praise: "He's got all the credentials, the pedigree and he's well liked. He's got everything going for him."

And referring to the pressures of management, he joked: "He's lost a few strands of hair since I last saw him on television."

The spate of managerial sackings brought more sharp comments. He described it as "a barmy situation" and said the chairmen were "a pack of wolves devouring everything in sight."

He added: "The chairmen are not making any improvements because all they're doing is sacking the present managers and re-engaging those who've already had the sack from another club.

And he suggested a plan which many Clough fans will have heard before: "There should be a rule that if the manager goes within a year, then the chairman goes with him."

Clough was also asked for his thoughts on the lack of discipline on the field. He said some managers found it a difficult issue. He said rules had to be enforced, by use of fines if necessary. Even if the player is six foot five!

"I used to look up at Larry Lloyd and think that one of these days he's going to belt me and I'll finish up in the Trent. But I would have had no trouble in the Trent because I had a path I used to walk across."

Yes, Brian Clough really did walk on water.