I love hearing stories about Brian Clough. His genius was in understanding how to get players relaxed and in the right frame of mind to perform for him. He never cluttered minds with complicated information about the opposition. 

  He was a great manager and a great man. He put me back on the straight and narrow and enhanced my career. He was like an adopted father to me. 

  The man was an absolute genius. What he achieved at Forest was unbelievable for a club of that size. I don't think we will ever see his like again. 

GEOFF BOYCOTT:  There were two sides to Brian.  People thought he was all talk, brash and outspoken but they didn't really know him. That was the outer crust of him and sometimes a defensive mechanism. Inside he was a warm, genuine person. Caring, kind with a heart of gold. 

He was a one off. Lots of former players have tried to follow his style in management but no-one could get anywhere near him. Nobody was like Brian Clough.  

I count myself unbelievably privileged to have spent hour after hour, week after week, year after year in his company, not just in Nottingham or Derby but all over the world as I followed Forest and, more importantly, him. As a journalist you knew that wherever he was there was a good tale and in the glorious hey-days you could get a story in every national newspaper in the land by starting it...Brian Clough. 

He was box office - wherever he went. I will be eternally grateful for everything he did for me. He looked at the bigger picture and is probably the best manager who ever lived. 

He was a teacher, as well as a manager. Not just a teacher of football, a teacher of life in general. 

ARSENE WENGER:   People use the word legend too freely but Brian Clough is a true legend of English football and his success in this country and Europe is a legacy for which he will always be remembered.  What Nottingham Forest did under Clough was unbelievable because of the size of the club. I rate highly what Clough achieved. It's huge, incomparable. 

He was such a massive influence, I couldn't thank him enough for what he did for me personally. He should have managed England and he should have been given a knighthood, there is no question of that. He was absolutely sensational and I don't think Brian would disagree with us either. 

If you want to put it pleasantly, it was a case of two strong-willed men coming together. If you don't want to be pleasant, it was a case of Big Head meeting Big Head. But throughout our relationship as manager and player I've got to hold up my hands and admit there was only going to be one winner - and it wasn't Laurence Valentine Lloyd. We may have had our differences, but he was up among the best managers of all-time, if not the very best. I've only got to look at my collection of medals to see what Brian Clough did for me. 

OLIVER HOLT:  Loved by the people and distrusted by the Establishment, the studied eccentricity of the man everyone called Cloughie obscured the fact that he was probably the greatest club boss this country has ever had. 

TREVOR FRANCIS:  It was a privilege and a pleasure to play under Clough. He put me in the reserves as soon as he signed me. There were times his behaviour bordered on eccentric but that was part of his genius. We all had the greatest respect for him. I thank God that I had the privilege of playing for the best manager in the business and look back on my time at Forest as an honour. 


IAN BOWYER:  You could never predict him. You could do something bad and get a pat on he head, something brilliant and get a right rollicking. Working with him was a sheer education - not only in football but in life. When I was captain he used to call me 'Pal', I would like to think he meant it. 

 Only Sir Matt Busby and Bill Shankly can really compare with him - and they achieved their success at big city clubs with massive support, not with provincial clubs like Derby and Forest. How the hell he was never given the England job is a travesty of justice. 

 Brian Clough was like nobody else. He could be tough but he could also be very understanding and I think you need that in order to be a successful manager. I got on with him particularly well. I think we had a lot of things in common. But the one big thing was you could always trust him to be honest. He always treated everybody the same - it didn't matter whether you were one of the star players in the club or whether you were the tea-lady, everybody was treated the same. 

 He taught us how to conduct ourselves on and off the pitch. I was always in absolute awe of him and I will always be indebted to him. My first impression of him was that he had a colossal presence. That first time he walked into the room it struck me and it was a presence he carried throughout his career.  

There are more stories and tributes in the book 'The Day I Met Brian Clough' 

SIR BOBBY ROBSON (RIP):  He would have ruffled a few feathers and disturbed the corridors of power but I think he would have been a good England manager. He had good judgement, knew how to design a team and was a great motivator. 

  Clough's greatest gift as a manager was in persuading players dismissed as has-beens and never-weres that they had the potential to take on and beat the best. If Clough had a genius as a manager it was that he never took a player or a job at face value.  

  His greatest strength was man-management. He was just a natural. He hadn't learned it from books, or from going on courses, he was just a natural. He had a gift of getting 100 per cent from everyone who played for him. 

PETER DAVENPORT:  He was the best manager I ever played for - the best of the lot. I have played under the likes of Ron Atkinson and Alex Ferguson, but his man-management was unique. He could get the best out of any player in the dressing room. He made you feel special when you went out on the pitch. 

NEIL WEBB:  It was a great honour to work for him, you never knew what would happen. He gave you confidence to be better than you probably were. 

JOHN O'HARE:  I first encountered Clough at Sunderland, where he was coaching the youth team after retiring through injury. He could grab our attention in a couple of seconds. He had presence. I was with him at the (Forest) 25 year reunion. He was incredible, he had the audience in the palm of his hand.  

HARRY REDNAPP:   Brian Clough's achievements at Nottingham Forest - an unfashionable club - were phenomenal. He won championships and European Cups. Forest had no right to such success but Cloughie won the European Cup twice. That tells you everything you need to know about the man. There have been great Liverpool managers but Liverpool's a big, big club. Alex Ferguson? Fantastic, but it's another big club. What Cloughie achieved at a club like Forest was nothing short of a miracle. Amazing. 

When I first took over as his secretary he said, 'Welcome to the job, pet. We'll get along fine as long as you don't want to pick the team.' That never came into with me. I just got on with the job that I grew to love very quickly and very much. To be honest, the best bits are the things that the vast majority of people never got to hear about. Like when he set off on a one-man crusade to raise money to buy wheelchairs for seemingly everyone who needed them. The smiles of the faces of kids who used to come to the ground to be presented with their chairs by him, had to be seen to be believed. It was if they had just won the lottery and he made them feel like kings and queens - if just for a day. I've never met anyone who had that kind of effect on people.  


Sources for above tributes: The Day I Met Brian Clough by Marcus Alton (DB Publishing), The Life of Brian by Tim Crane (Football World), Walking on Water Commemorative Edition (Headline), Nottingham Forest matchday programme, Four Four Two magazine.