Posts Tagged ‘Brian Clough’

When an Unstoppable Force Meets an Immovable Object
Clough & Taylor Leave Derby

by Richard DJJ Bowdery.

Brian Clough summed it up when he said: “We’re tired of grovelling. My knees are sore.”

It was the 15 October 1973 and Clough, along with Peter Taylor, had decided enough was enough and walked away from the dugout at Derby County FC.

The pair had transformed this average club into a super power in British and European football.

To Derby County fans they virtually walked on water. But over time, those in the boardroom began to take an altogether different view. And they weren’t about to back down from it.

Something had to give.

The catalyst, as in most conflicts, was a breakdown in communications, well according to Cloughie anyway.

CloughDerbyDerby County chairman Sam Longson saw things differently. He was concerned over his manager’s television commitments and his vocal dismissal of other managers, in particular Don Revie.

Add to the mix a new director, Jack Kirkland, who allegedly said he would bury Clough, and you knew there would be tears before bedtime.

Clough and Taylor claimed that the breakdown in communications had prevented them from doing their job properly. The board saw it differently.

When the pair resigned the fans went wild, calling protest meetings and even suggesting the players should go on strike. It was all to no avail.

Eight days later Dave Mackay resigned as manager of Nottingham Forest to take up the reins at the club he served with such distinction as a player.

Ironically Clough and Taylor would find themselves taking the reverse route when later, after a sojourn at Brighton and Leeds, they took the helm at Forest, guiding them to glory beyond their fans wildest dreams.

But for eight days in October 1973 the saga was all the media could write about, dominating the front, as well as the back pages of most papers.

By comparison, the little matter of the Israel-Egyptian war was just a footnote. Such is life.



From Brown Envelopes to Kickbacks Cloughie Came From The Era Before Legalised Bungs

by Rob Shepherd.

Brian Clough - N.Forest Pic : Action Images  Nottingham Forest

Clough: Accused.

I was stunned to see a an article last week which on the 10th anniversary of Brian Cough’s death chose not to praise the great man but rake over dirt with regards to allegations of bungs.

Now I have heard most of the stories about Clough and many others with regards to clandestine meets at Service stations and brown envelopes stuffed with ‘Bullseyes’ – Not saying it was right, but it went on all right.

A few decades ago the way to lure a talented kid from one club to another was to buy a washing machine for the mum and a sheepskin coat for the dad.

Yes, that really did happen. I’ve seen it. Then as agents started to emerge there were all sorts of sweeteners to make a deal happen.

When the figures escalated and greed set in then there was always going to be tipping point. As George Graham discovered.

There were many stories about Clough and others to suggest that George ended up carrying the can for the bung culture. But was it such an heinous crime..?

In big business now and then you have to oil the wheels to get a deal done.

And if someone wants to get serious about assaulting the memory of a deceased man such as the great Brian Clough OBE (aka Old Big ‘Ead), then perhaps they should examine how some transfers work now.

There are no longer pound note bungs as such. But there are commissions, which are in most cases technically legal, with money paid to agents, agency corporations, whereby I have heard it alleged that there are substantial kickbacks for managers and even chairman.

They are often executed by electronic transfer to offshore accounts.

You see once the sweet smelling lawyers are involved – not the sweaty men of football from the street – it’s all perfectly OK, even if you could argue that ‘above board’ is actually underhand.

Or as one of the first football agents to hit the scene in the early Eighties put it to me the other day: ‘I believe Falcao’s agent got 5m euros for arranging a loan deal to Man United. Then I read someone slaughtering Brian Clough. Five million euros. Listen, I’ve never been adverse to a pound note but that’s wrong.

‘Cloughie just wanted to get a deal done to improve his team and give a few people a drink out of it. But now..? I’ll tell you this, the balance sheets of many football clubs would look a hell of a lot better, my boy, if they brought back the brown paper envelopes. It would be much cheaper for one. Plus you might actually see a winning team like Clough produced. I did a few deals with him. Can’t believe someone has p****d on his grave.’



Peter Thomas Taylor; Probably the Best Number Two in the Business

by Richard DJJ Bowdery.

“I’m not equipped to manage successfully without Peter Taylor. I am the shop window and he is the goods.” So said Brian Clough about his right-hand man who died on 4 October 1990, while on holiday in Spain.

Taylor made this observation of his relationship with Clough: “My strength was buying and selecting the right player, then Brian’s man management would shape the player.”

But whatever words they used to describe this unique partnership, it was their team on the pitch which spoke most eloquently about the pair.

CloughTaylor1The two men first become acquainted at Ayersome Park, home of Middlesborough FC, in the late 1950’s. It was a relationship that was to last 30 odd years, with a major hiccup along the way.

Taylor was a goalkeeper in his playing days. He saw service between the sticks at Nottingham Forest, Coventry City, Middlesborough and finally Port Vale.

After retiring from the playing side of the game in 1962 he went into football management at Burton Albion where he achieved some considerable success.

Then in 1965 Clough, manager at Hartlepools United (as they were called in those days) came calling, and the rest, as they say, is history.

While Cloughie was the charismatic, outspoken, ‘ole big ‘ead’, Taylor was the quiet man pulling the strings in the background. They were as different as chalk and cheese which is why they gelled together so well.

Their management partnership took them from Hartlepools to Derby County, Brighton and Hove Albion, and finally to Nottingham Forest.

In between Clough took a 44 day sabbatical at Leeds United while Taylor stayed on at Brighton.

It was at Forest that Taylor (and Clough) achieved their greatest success in management, winning back to back European Cups against Malmo in 1979 and Hamburg in 1980.

In 1982 Taylor returned to Derby County as manager before retiring two years later.

Sadly, their relationship soured in 1983. There are many reasons given for this and now is not the time to rake over old coals. Suffice to say, it is reported that they never spoke again.

CloughTaylorSix years later, one half of one of football’s greatest management teams, was dead, the result of a Pulmonary Fibrosis, a respiratory disease.

It is reported that when Clough was told of Taylor’s death he broke down and wept. His feeling of loss would haunt him for the rest of his life.

When Clough was awarded the freedom of the city of Nottingham in 1993, he said: “I have only one regret today, and that is that me mate isn’t here with me.”

In his autobiography, published the following year, Clough wrote: “To Peter. Still miss you badly. You once said: ‘When you get shot of me there won’t be as much laughter in your life’. You were right.”

Clough paid one final tribute to Taylor in September 1999 when he said he would like the ‘Brian Clough Stand’ to be renamed the ‘Brian Clough and Peter Taylor Stand’, to recognize what a huge contribution Taylor had made to their managerial partnership.

Taylor might well have been the ‘quiet one’ but never again will Brian Clough be mentioned without reference being made to his old mate, Peter Taylor.



Brian Clough: Through The Eyes of Former Forest Forward Nigel Jemson


Brian Clough gets to grips with new signing Nigel Jemson, alongside then Preston manager John McGrath

As a highly sought-after teenager Nigel Jemson had the option of joining either Manchester United or Nottingham Forest, both came with the opportunity to play under a legend of the managerial game. Looking back he says he has no regrets about his choice.

It would be understandable for him to be a little bitter at some of the treatment he got from manager Brian Clough – which included a punch in the stomach – but nothing of the sort.

“I loved every minute from first to last,” he said. “It is a myth that I never got on with the boss.

“People think that because he once punched me that he did not like me!

“But most of what he said was just banter. It was his way of keeping a cheeky 20-year-old in check.

“Brian and his wife sent my mum and dad a Christmas card every year. Would he have done that if he didn’t like me..?

Jemson began his career with his local club Preston North End whom he joined after originally been taken on as a YTS trainee. New manager John McGrath led the club to promotion with important contributions from Jemson.

McGrath opted for some experience up front and Jemson lost his place to the veteran Frank Worthington. But by that stage he had already done enough to attract the attention of some top flight clubs and Alex Ferguson invited him to train with United for a couple of days.

“I wasn’t a United fan so I wasn’t that keen,” admitted Jemson. “I went the first day but I didn’t enjoy it, so I didn’t bother telling them that I wasn’t going back!

“That night Brian Clough phoned and said ‘I hear you want to sign for me. See me at the City Ground at 9am. Don’t be late.’

“I went down with John McGrath and my mum and dad. What happened next was quite bizarre. Cloughie told me to take his dog for a walk and his PA, Carol, showed my parents around the Lace Market. John McGrath did the deal. There were no agents in those days.”

Jemson’s Forest debut came in a 1-1 draw at Luton Town and soon after he scored his first goal for the club in a 2-0 victory at rivals Derby County.

Jemson was starting to make a name for himself, scoring one of the goals as Forest won an exciting League Cup quarter-final at Spurs 3-2 and then netting the only goal of the final against Oldham Athletic.

Jemson started the next season on fire, scoring five goals in the first four games and earning selection for the England U21 team. But injuries would halt his progress however, and despite banging in a hat-trick against Southampton in a FA Cup replay, by the time of the cup final he was not in the side as Forest lost to Terry Venables’ Tottenham.

The writing was on the wall for Nigel with the arrival of new signing Teddy Sherringham, and he was soon on his way to Hillsborough for £800,000. Jemson says he never wanted to leave the City Ground but the opportunity to play under Trevor Francis, and alongside striker David Hirst at Wednesday was just too good to turn down.

“Yes, he sold me to Sheffield Wednesday, but I wasn’t pushed out of the door. I could have stayed.”

Wednesday went on to finish third in his first season at Hillsborough, but Jemson was only a peripheral figure. He was involved in a nasty car crash which kept him out for most of the season and his place in the team went to Mark Bright.

Jemson never recovered the form and promise he showed at Forest and his career went in a mostly downward trajectory, with spells at Notts County, Rotherham, Oxford, Ayr United, Bury and Shrewsbury among others.

There were some highlights – such as scoring both goals for Rotherham in the 2-1 Auto Windscreens Shield win over Shrewsbury at Wembley, and doing the same for Shrewsbury in a famous FA Cup win over an Everton side that featured a young Wayne Rooney – but the toll of injuries meant the Jemson never quite fulfilled all that potential.

Clough once said that Jemson was the only player in football who had a bigger head than him.

“He was unpredictable, a one-off,” said Jemson. “He never told me the reason he left me out of the Cup Final. He just said, “because I wanted to.”

“But I am proud to have played under him.

“People talk about Sir Alex Ferguson but in my opinion Brian Clough was the best.”




A Decade Departed
We Should All Be Grateful For The Brian Clough Way

by Roy Dalley.

Brian Clough ForestBrian Clough is still dividing opinion 10 years after taking his place in the Great Dug Out In The Sky. To many (this correspondent included) he was the greatest manager England never had. To others he was an arrogant alcoholic ass (and that’s just a few A-words…).

Certainly the evidence available online is conflicting and contradictory. His critics are still queuing up to condemn his uncompromising attitude towards Justin Fashanu, football’s first openly gay player, while others recall his penchant for greeting friends and acquaintances alike with a theatrical kiss on the cheek.

He told the Leeds United team he inherited from Don Revie to throw their medals in the bin because of their blatant foul play, then years later cuffed a fan for running onto the pitch during a match (a dispute that was later settled, obviously, with a kiss).

The bare facts, however, are indisputable. Indeed his managerial career was so wondrous his astonishing achievements as a centre-forward are often overlooked. Who knows how many goals Clough could have scored were it not for a serious cruciate ligament injury he sustained when he was just 26..? More than two years of rehabilitation proved fruitless and Clough had to settle for just the 251 League goals from 274 matches with Middlesbrough and Sunderland.

Hartlepool United called themselves Hartlepools United back in the days when they gave Clough his entry into management in 1965. It must have seemed like winning the pools for some, not least Clough himself, who immediately made perhaps the wisest decision of his career by appointing former Boro team-mate and goalkeeper Peter Taylor as his assistant.

It was a double act something akin to Good Cop-Bad Cop… or Hinge and Brackett, depending on your point of view. Certainly the pair generated drama, controversy, and pure comedy gold as they went about shaking the foundations of the English game.

They fell out with Hartlepools chairman Ernest Ord (though were re-instated after a boardroom coup resulted in Ord’s departure) while discovering a teenager named John McGovern.

They fell out with Derby chairman Sam Longson after guiding them from the old Second Division to the League Championship.

And they finally fell out with each other, but only after an ever greater transformation of Nottingham Forest, this time stretching the journey from Division Two to the League title and beyond, all the way to two triumphs in the European Cup.


For context, try to imagine Steve McClaren winning the Premier League with Derby… or Stuart Pearce leading Forest to not one but two Champions League triumphs… and all within five years of their appointments!? These are the sort of time frames during which Clough and Taylor were writing their own Mission Impossible scripts in the East Midlands.

Taylor had an almost unrivalled eye for spotting potential, and a contacts book second to none. As the cliché goes he was the goods to Clough’s shop window.

The examples of Clough’s bluster and blarney are numerous, and will no doubt be wheeled out again by the football media over the weekend. The Guardian’s Daniel Taylor got in there first a few days back with his wonderful account, and I empathised while reading of his first encounter with Clough: “It would be a lie to say your heart is not racing. Your palms are sweaty… yet there is also that rare appreciation of being in the presence of authentic greatness.”

My feelings exactly when I first spoke to Clough some 30 years ago (and in my case, over the ‘phone, I was foregoing the added pressure of having to look him in the eye). The call was on behalf of the Daily Express and before answering any questions he put one to me: “Are you the cleaner?”


Clough was a big fan of his ‘number 9’

Yet for all the chat it was Clough’s footballing philosophy that separated him from the pack and placed him, in his own words, in the “Top One” of English managers. Simplicity was the key, perfectly encapsulated in the playing style of his son Nigel, who was as technically adept as just about any other English footballer of the era. An assured first-touch with either foot, and the eye and ability for an early accurate pass to feet, Clough Junior was the antithesis of the long-ball game being served up elsewhere. Indeed were it not for a distinct lack of pace he would surely have won more than 14 England caps.

That’s 12 more appearances than the Old Man at international level, but it probably wasn’t a fact often repeated from son to father, who would no doubt have responded with a finger pointing reminder that Nigel had merely been fortunate to have had the better teacher.

In many ways Clough became a victim of his own success at Forest, who soon became little more than a feeder club for Manchester United. Garry Birtles, Peter Davenport, Neil Webb and Roy Keane all left for large transfer fees and higher wages at Old Trafford.

Clough found himself left with a young team, including Nigel, that stubbornly fought against the tide of idly punting the ball into a “position of maximum opportunity” as the FA’s antiquated coaching manual of the time preached.

I had the opportunity to watch the Old Master at close quarters during those final years, when he took Forest to Selhurst Park. It could have been a fixture against Crystal Palace, or even Wimbledon or Charlton (who both ground-shared at their South London neighbour in those austere days before the Premier League and Sky tv)… dunno!

The press box was situated just behind the visitors’ dug-out, and Clough’s presence on the touchline soon became the main point of interest. There he was in his white tennis shoes, dark blue trackie bottoms and green rugby jersey, white collar upturned.

But the stereotyping ends there. Clough wasn’t raging, nor berating the ref, nor even head-butting his opposite number. He stood still, arms folded, watching his young team pass their way around the pitch. His only movement consisted of gaining eye-contact with a player then lifting his right forefinger toward his eye (translation: Look!) or toward his forehead (translation: Think!)

No histrionics. No abuse. No drama.

I wish I could add it was a pleasure to attend his last match in charge, in 1993, but alas it was anything but. Forest lost to Sheffield United and their place at football’s top table was gone with their manager. His post-match press conference was memorable only for the sad, sorry figure who stood before us; his once sharp facial features now puffed and hideously reddened by alcohol abuse. He was thin and his patter was thinner. He was not yet 60 years old, yet in truth looked much older.

Clough died on September 20, 2004, aged 69, but the legend lives on via book, film, sculpture, silverware and, even, geography. The road that links Derby and Nottingham was called the A52 during his lifetime… now it’s known as Brian Clough Way.

It’s probably fair to say the travelling footy fans of the East Midlands wouldn’t want it any other way.



Clough Was Taylor Made – The Story of Peter Taylor

October 4th is the anniversary of the death of Peter Taylor, Brian Clough’s right hand man throughout the most successful spell of his managerial career. Here KARL HOFER pays tribute to the often unheralded number two.

“I’m not equipped to manage successfully without Peter Taylor. I am the shop window and he is the goods.” Brian Clough.

Sport. Football. pic: circa 1980. Peter Taylor, Nottingham Forest Assistant Manager (who had a successful career at "Forest" working with the Manager Brian Clough).

Peter Taylor

You have to wonder if there was ever a better number two than Peter Taylor..? Assistant managers are not the men that go down in the history books as the ones who delivered success to a club or have their names sung by the adoring crowd, but those in the game will appreciate what they bring to the table.

It’s a strange existence for sure, never heralded when times are good but just as culpable as the boss when things go wrong, the number two rarely stays when the manager exits…

But every great man needs a rock behind them and that’s exactly where Taylor, who died on October 4th 1990, came in.

Brian Clough is universally regarded as one of the truly great managers and arguably the most fascinating character in English football history. He has roads and stands named after him, statues erected in his honour, countless books written and films and TV documentaries made about him.

And rightly so.

It would be wrong to say that Taylor’s role in the success story that was Brian Clough’s career has largely been ignored, but it cannot be over stated.

As a player, Taylor’s career was pretty uninspiring. He played less than 250 games as a goalkeeper for Coventry, Middlesbrough and Port Vale before hanging up his gloves and taking charge of Burton Albion in 1962.

The most significant period of his career was his spell at Boro, that was where he met an up-and-coming striker by the name of Brian Clough. When Clough’s career was curtailed by injury he took over as manager of Hartlepool and Taylor was quick to join him.

Perfect Partners

They quickly established a successful partnership, and soon found themselves at Derby County, where they won promotion to the First Division in 1969 and incredibly brought the Championship to the Baseball Ground two years later, the first league title of the Rams’ 88 year history.


The pair celebrate Derby’s first ever league title

So it was quite a coup for third tier Brighton & Hove Albion to have the pair take charge of the South coast club after Clough’s mouth led to them leaving Derby. After eight not so successful months Clough left to replace Don Revie for an ill-fated 44-day spell at Leeds United, but Taylor stayed on the south coast, building a team that went on to win promotion the season after he left to join Clough at Forest.

Much as they are now, Forest were struggling in the second tier when Clough arrived in January 1975. A little over five years later, they had won the European Cup. Twice.

Clough had enjoyed a steady first season at the City Ground with Forest finishing in 8th spot in Divsion Two, but when Taylor joined him in July 1976 the clubs fortunes enjoyed a meteoric rise.

Forest were promoted the next season and in their first season back in the First Division Forest romped home to the title, finishing seven points clear of runners-up Liverpool. The next season they won the European Cup and would go on to retain it the year after, going down in history as the only club in Europe that has won the European Cup more times than their domestic league.

Fall Out

The twin European Cup successes were the pinnacle of the pair’s relationship. Relations began to deteriorate and Clough and Taylor had an almighty falling out following the publication of Taylor’s autobiography in 1980, that was entitled “With Clough by Taylor”. Clough was incensed that Taylor had not consulted him over the book

Six months after retiring Taylor became manager of Forest’s biggest rivals, Derby County.  And when Taylor signed John Robertson without informing him, Clough was incensed, seeing this as the ultimate act of betrayal. Clough and Taylor never spoke again.

When their teams met in the third round of the FA Cup in January 1983, the two managers ignored each other.


Cracks in their relationship were starting to appear

In a tabloid article, Clough called Taylor a “snake in the grass” and declared that “if his car broke down and I saw him thumbing a lift, I wouldn’t pick him up, I’d run him over.” Taylor retorted that Clough’s outbursts were “the sort of thing I have come to expect from a person I now regard with great distaste.”

One of the most incredible double acts in British football was no more. Taylor once described their working relationship like so: “We just gelled together, we filled in the gaps… My strength was buying and selecting the right player, then Brian’s man management would shape the player.”

Following the falling out Clough’s Forest side, although often successful, would never hit the heights of the halcyon days of his partnership with Taylor. Just a year before his untimely death, Taylor wrote an article encouraging Clough to retire gracefully, before he was either forced out by his chairman or his ill-health got the better of him. Clough responded that Taylor’s comments were not fit to be in the “wrapper that we used to eat fish and chips in Middlesbrough.”

Taylor proved to be right.


Peter Taylor died suddenly whilst on holiday in Majorca at the age of 62. Sadly the rift between the pair had not been repaired, and when Clough was told of his death on the telephone he fell silent, hung up and wept.


The statue of Clough and Taylor outside Pride Park

Clough attended Taylor’s funeral but couldn’t bring himself to sit near the front. The grief he felt at the death of his great friend was palpable. It’s hardly a coincidence that Clough turned to the bottle a lot more in the years immediately after Taylor’s death, the deterioration in his health was public and obvious.

You can hear what Clough truly thought about Taylor from his words. He later said of Taylor’s knack of finding players: ‘He was always 24 hours ahead of me when it came to seeing things and spotting players. I don’t like to name drop, but Frank Sinatra once told me that the written word is the first thing in his business and the music comes later.

‘Well, in football, the man who picks the players comes first. All the bullshit comes later.’

Clough later dedicated his 1994 autobiography to his former assistant. “To Peter,” it read. “Still miss you badly. You once said: ‘When you get shot of me there won’t be as much laughter in your life.’ You were right.”


Brian Clough Sacked! Brian Clough and Leeds United: Divorced almost before they married

Jock Stein and Brian Clough. Two very different characters. Two different paths to the very top of their profession. And two significant common denominators:

• Jock Stein was offered the manager’s job (and declined it) at Leeds before Brian Clough was appointed – though he did accept the post in August 1978.
• Both men, astonishingly, reigned at Leeds United for just 44 days.


Clough: My players are right behind me

But whereas Jock Stein resigned the manager’s role to fill the vacant Scotland post and left Yorkshire amicably, the same cannot be said for Brian Clough who, on the 12 September 1974, was unceremoniously sacked.

Though this cloud did have a silver lining. He left with a handsome payoff of around £100,000 which set him up for the rest of his life.

To many it seemed a strange appointment. Why would Leeds employ a man who had been highly critical of previous manager Don Revie (who had left to manage England) and had branded the Leeds style of play cynical and dirty – which Clough felt undermined the more skilful football they often produced.

And why, after such criticism would Cloughie take the job? He must have known it could be a poisoned chalice. Perhaps not because later he said he didn‘t realise the extent of the dislike and resentment waiting for him at the club.

In his defence Clough said he took the job so he could try to win the European Cup (as League champions Leeds had already qualified for the competition).

Looking back he could see the funny side of the experience when he wrote in his autobiography in 1994, “Did I say the European Cup? I hardly lasted long enough to be given my own teacup at Leeds.”

His brash style upset a team of seasoned professionals almost from day one when he reportedly told them that they could throw their medals in the bin because they had not won them fairly. But then Clough was never short of an opinion or two.

Yet such was the enigma of the man that before the Charity Shield match in August against Liverpool he telephoned Revie, a man he held in disdain, to ask if he would like to lead the team out at Wembley as it was Revie’s team that had won the league the previous May. The offer was declined. And Liverpool won 6-5 on penalties after the match finished all square at one goal apiece.

Things didn’t really improve after that. During Clough’s time in charge Leeds won only once in six league outings and sat in 19th place in the table with just four points. It was the club’s worst start in 15 years. Something had to give.


Brian Clough is warmly welcomed to Elland Road by Leeds chairman Manny Cussins. The young lad with the ball at the front is the current Derby County manager Nigel Clough, then 8 years old.

Leeds chairman Manny Cussins acted swiftly and wielded the sword. Cloughie was on his way after just 44 days in the job.

He left Elland Road with his ego dented. But he wasn’t known affectionately as ‘ole bighead’ for nothing. After his experience at Leeds many clubs wouldn’t touch Cloughie with a barge pole. However one did, Nottingham Forest. And the rest as they say is history.

But what of Jock Stein? He steered Scotland to within touching distance of the upcoming World Cup in Mexico. Then on the 10th September 1985 at the end of a World Cup qualifying fixture against Wales at Ninian Park Stein collapsed. He died a short time later from a heart attack. Sadly he didn’t get to see the fruition of his labour in the Mexican sunshine, the task of guiding the team at the finals fell in the lap of a certain Alex Ferguson, then manager of Aberdeen.

by Richard Bowdery.