Exclusive interview about Cloughie tribute evenings


Cloughie actor Colin Tarrant recreated the role of the Master Manager during a special tribute event in Nottingham. He performed alongside European Cup legends who recounted memories of working for Old Big 'Ead.

'Brian Clough's Way' was staged at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham and Derby's Assembly Rooms. In Nottingham, Colin appeared with Tony Woodcock, Garry Birtles, Larry Lloyd, John McGovern and Kenny Burns. There was also a surprise appearance by John Robertson.

McGovern was also part of the Derby event alongside Roy McFarland, John O'Hare and Roger Davies. The host for both events was the BBC's Pat Murphy who interviewed Cloughie many times and wrote a biography about the Great Man.

Colin Tarrant orignally portrayed Cloughie in the tribute production at Nottingham Playhouse, 'Old Big 'Ead in the Spirit of the Man,' in 2005 and 2006. Welcoming Tony Woodcock on to the stage, Colin referred to the former striker's long hair. "I hear that this night was all your idea, young man," he said. Woodcock confirmed it was. "In that case, there is a brain under that barnet. Now, get your hair cut!"

Pat Murphy asked each player where they were when they heard the Great Man had died. Larry Lloyd said he was in an apartment in Spain. "I was absolutely gutted. We were not the best of pals but I'll never forget what he did for me. He was a genius of a man - and there are not too many of those around."

Colin wore the trademark green jumper (originally made for the Nottingham statue fund's money-raising campaign). In an exclusive interview before the show, Colin told this website: "I'm absolutely delighted to be coming back to play Mr Clough. It's going to be a wonderful trip down memory lane.

"I'm trying not to be overawed by performing alongside my heroes. We're not going to script anything. It's going to be a spontaneous evening. I want the evenings to belong to the players. I'll support them and give them a nudge along the way, in Mr Clough's own style."

Colin explained he had been approached by former Forest star Tony Woodcock to take part in the events. "There was a similar event for West Ham featuring former Hammers players and that went very well," said Colin. "Tony thought we could do the same for Forest and Derby."

Tony said he was keen that fans would hear true stories about Brian Clough. "Over the last few years we have been doing interviews about the past and Brian Clough and then you start reading things - some of which are true, some aren't. So what's said at our evening will be 100-per-cent true - it acually happened."

Tony and the former Forest players have teamed up with the football-experience company footballforfans.co.uk to stage the production. Jeff Garner from the firm is pictured below with former players and Colin Tarrant. Kenny Burns told BBC Radio Nottingham that Cloughie liked to keep football simple. "Everyone could relate to Brian Clough. He was the people's manager."

From left: Colin, Garry Birtles, John McGovern, Jeff Garner, Kenny Burns & Tony Woodcock.

Garry Birtles told the BBC: "He used to get us running through nettles, but you did it because you knew he would make you a winner." John McGovern said he first met Cloughie when he was just 15 and a player at Hartlepool. "He frightened me to death to begin with. As a young boy I was very shy and his character was very over-powering to start with.

"You couldn't get a better tutor for football," McGovern continued. "I know that what he taught me initially I was still using when I was 32 as a player."

The event at the Royal Concert Hall was held on June 5th, 2009. The Derby evening was held at the Assembly Rooms on July 2nd.