Brian Clough - My Fake Diary

Friday, 24 August 2012

Of all that I've read from books, columnists etc about myself, I think the Mail online got it right:

"Clough has been immortalised in print and on film, but to see what he really stood for, you should step through the doors of the City Ground.

The home of Nottingham Forest is an unpretentious, unspectacular stadium by modern standards. Nevertheless, Clough's name is still written all over it.

Just as they are now, Forest were struggling in the old Second Division when Clough arrived in January 1975 following his disastrous 44-day spell at Leeds. A little over five years later, they had won the European Cup. Twice.

'I can remember his first day,' says winger John Robertson, who was on the transfer list before Clough arrived. 'I was sat in the dressing room facing the doors and, bang, they flew open.

'He took off his jacket and in one movement flung it on to a peg. I didn't even know the peg was there, so how did he? You could feel the electricity.

'There were no pleasantries, no introductions, no shaking hands. He just told us we were going training. After that we all bucked up. We had no choice.'

Clough's style of management relied heavily on surprise, unpredictability and impulse. Kenny Burns, a decent centre forward who was transformed into a title-winning central defender, was once fined £25 just for playing a square pass across goal; his partner Lloyd was once substituted before kick-off just because he had his socks rolled down.

Then there was striker Garry Birtles, a carpet fitter before joining Forest for £5,000 and who went on to play for England. He was ordered to shave before boarding the bus to the 1980 European Cup final in Madrid ('He could see I was nervous and wanted to take my mind off the game,' said Birtles).

Clough's style did not change much as he moved from Hartlepool to Derby, Brighton, Leeds and then Forest, from where he retired in 1993.

Spot on that one!


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