Posts Tagged ‘Clough’

Mackay: A Warrior Remembered
Joe Lovejoy pays tribute to the Scottish legend

by Joe Lovejoy.

dave-mackaySo farewell Dave Mackay. Football has lost a true legend, at a time when the term is used much too loosely, and sadly it’s RIP to my boyhood hero – who once tried to throttle me.

Remember the iconic image of the Spurs and Scotland iron man grabbing Billy Bremner, whose white shorts were in danger of turning brown..? Fast forward a few years and Mackay, as manager of Derby County, did the same to young Lovejoy, then of the “Derby Evening Telegraph”, who he thought was in the rebel camp trying to bring Brian Clough back to the Baseball Ground.

He couldn’t have been more wrong. I disliked “Old Big ‘Ead” as a drunken, egocentric boor whereas Mackay had been my idol since Tottenham’s Double days, when I grew up as an ardent Spurs supporter.

Nevertheless the man rightly renowned as the toughest footballer of his generation was intent on doing me some serious damage that day nearly 40 years ago [“I don’t read your effing paper, but I’m told you want me out”], and he would doubtless have done so but for the timely intervention of his assistant, Des Anderson.

As a player, much is always made of Mackay’s intimidating teak-toughness – maybe too much for it has come to overshadow his considerable footballing ability. George Graham, a big admirer, tells a lovely story from their playing days. In 1960 Scotland faced Hungary in Budapest and in that sepia-tinted era the Hungarians were a match for anyone in Europe. A fortnight earlier they had beaten England 2-0 and it wasn’t that long since they had humbled Billy Wright, Stan Matthews, Tom Finney et al 6-3 and 7-1.

Understandably a young Scottish team were in awe of the “Mighty Magyars” – all the more so as they stood on the touchline before the match and watched Florian Albert run through a stunning repertoire of tricks. It was the Hungarians who introduced the “keepy-uppy” and Albert had also learned from the peerless Ferenc Puskas how to strike the ball hard with so much spin that it would return, boomerang-like, to his feet.

Seeing his teammates mesmerised, Mackay sent for a half-crown, then repeated everything Albert had done, but this time with the coin and fully dressed, with his shoes still on! The spell was broken and a poor Scotland team went out and drew 3-3 [they lost their next two games to Turkey and Wales and conceded nine against England less than a year later.]

George Graham is just one of many well qualified judges who testify to Mackay’s ability to use the ball with the same expertise as he won it.

The bare bones of his CV have had a good airing since his recent passing at the age of 80, but a recap is in order here. A native of Edinburgh, he won the Scottish League and Cup with Hearts before moving south to repeat the feat in one coruscating season with Spurs. Bill Nicholson paid what now seems a laughable £32,000 fee to instal him at the heart of a Lilywhite team of fond memory. It has become a lazy or ill-informed cliche to describe Danny Blanchflower and John White as the brains of that side and Mackay the brawn. In reality, as evidenced earlier, he of the barrel chest could cream it around with the best of them.

That famous confrontation with Bremner occurred at White Hart Lane on the opening day of the 1966-67 season. Word has spread recently that he disliked the celebrated photo that captured it so well because it portrayed him as a bully. I don’t know about that. What I do know is that when he opened a bar in his native Edinburgh a mural of it occupied one wall, above the optics, and when I told him how much I liked it he gave me a key-ring which bore the image.

Warrior

At the age of 33, and after nine years of inspirational service Mackay, not Bill Nick, decided it was time he moved on and he was offered the chance to go back to Hearts as player and assistant manager. He was going, but at the last minute was instead persuaded [by a large signing-on fee] to join the Brian Clough Show at run down Derby, who were then in the wrong half of the old Second Division.

A left leg broken twice [it was Bremner’s kick on it on the day Mackay was making his comeback that provoked their photogenic confrontation] and a fondness of his “dram” had seen that barrel chest head south and the old warrior could no longer rampage like he used to, but Clough insisted he didn’t need to. He would be used not in a midfield role but to marshal the defence as sweeper, behind a 20-year-old centre-half by the name of Roy McFarland.

scotland-dave-mackay-19-panini-1920-1990Clough admitted it was Peter Taylor’s idea, and described how the Rams’ renaissance started thus: “It was at Huddersfield I think. Dave Mackay put his foot on the ball under the most intense pressure in his own six-yard area and then calmly and deliberately played us out of trouble with a pass that immediately switched defence to attack. I remember Peter Taylor’s reaction. Somebody else in the dug-out was yelling: “Kick it, get rid.” Taylor whipped round and shouted: “That’s what we bought him for, that’s what we want him to do – put his foot on it. They’ll all be doing it from now on. We’re on our way.” And we were. Confidence swept from one player to another and the successful Derby era was born.”

The “Rams” were promoted as champions in May 1969 and Mackay’s colossal contribution was recognised when, unprecedented for a Second Division player, he was voted Footballer of the Year, jointly with Manchester City’s Tony Book.

Mackay stayed on, helping to establish Derby in the top division before leaving to move into management, first at Swindon, then at Nottingham Forest. His stay at both was brief and unremarkable but in October 1973 Clough resigned in a fit of pique, believing Derby would beg him to go back but he reckoned without an adversary who was his match when it came to bloody-minded antipathy. Sam Longson was a typical chairman of the old school, a local businessman made good who preferred the parsimony that had made him a millionaire to Clough’s extravagance.

The manager’s spendthrift ways were definitely not to his liking, nor was his outspokenness, and he had tried to sack him once before, only to be outvoted by the other directors. Now, in a tacit reference to the sort of financial shenanigans that later saw Clough named and shamed by the Football Association’s “bungs” investigation, Longson said: “We’ll go into the Second Division with our heads held in the air rather than win the First Division wondering whether the club will be expelled from the Football League.”

He refused to have Clough back, claiming “I could manage this lot”, but this time the misjudgement was his. The players and supporters were outraged and, in danger of a public lynching, Longson could think of only one man who might conceivably be acceptable as a new manager: Dave Mackay. He was wrong. The players delivered a letter, which they had all signed, demanding Clough’s reinstatement, then staged a sit-in at the ground and police were called to disperse the crowd that had gathered outside. Roy McFarland, the captain, phoned Mackay and told him: “Don’t come Dave, we don’t want you. We’re going to force them to bring Brian back.”

Courage

Strangely, having witnessed it at close hand on the pitch, Mackay’s erstwhile teammate underestimated his indomitable courage and strength of character. Nobody was going to tell him what he could and couldn’t do and he took the job, strutting into a dressing room seething with disaffection with typical clenched fist disregard for any opposition. When the players threatened to go on strike he snorted and said: “I’ll field the reserves then.”

dave-mackay-derby-countyTo say he experienced a difficult start is like suggesting George Best wasn’t teetotal. Clough was meeting the players in secret, agitating for a return and it was a rebellious team and crowd that “welcomed” Mackay back after little more than two years away. It was against this mutinous background that Derby failed to win any of their first eight games under new management, and it was hugely to his credit that he engineered enough of a revival for a third place finish.

Clough had left the framework of a good team [they had been champions in 1971-72] and for his second season Mackay fleshed it out with the addition of Bruce Rioch and Francis Lee, who between them scored over 50 goals in 1974-75. In tumultuous times, which saw Clough hired and fired in 44 days by Leeds and Bill Shankly quit Liverpool, Derby won the title by a two points margin, Lee contributing 33 goals in all competitions.

It was Dave’s finest hour. The Clough demons were exorcised, temporarily at least, and the players were happy again – as they are everywhere when they are winning.

As champions Derby were able to recruit from a position of strength and now they signed the supremely gifted Charlie George, from Arsenal – another brilliant addition. When they drew Real Madrid in the European Cup they were given no more than a puncher’s chance, but George responded to the big occasion with a hat-trick in the home leg, a 4-1 win inspiring euphoric scenes on a night I was privileged to witness and can still recall vividly, despite the alcoholic haze in which the night finished.

The Fall

After the pride, the fall. The chink in Mackay’s managerial armour was that while he was an inspirational leader of men and knew a good player when he saw one, he was no tactician. Neither was his No 2, Des Anderson, and instead of having a plan to stymie Real in the return, at the Bernabeu, Derby were told to go out and repeat what they had done at home. They lost 5-1 and were eliminated.

It was not a one-off aberration by management. I remember Mackay’s cavalier approach [“Just go out and play, we’re better than them”] getting embarrassingly exposed on a more mundane occasion, against newly-promoted West Brom. In those days Albion had one outstanding player, Johnny Giles, who could boss any game, given the chance. Most opponents would man-mark him, but Mackay disdained the idea and the Irish playmaker was the man of the match at the Baseball Ground, making both his team’s goals in a 2-2 draw.

Dave was no disciplinarian either and knew that two of his signings, Francis Lee and Rod Thomas, could usually be found propping up the bar at the Midland hotel, opposite the station, after training or playing. Mind you, the boss could only have complained on a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do basis, having done much the same as a Derby player. As manager, too, there were occasions when I went to the ground in the morning for the “Derby Telegraph” and found him shaving in the gents toilet next to the main entrance. He would sleep in his office after a particularly convivial night out.

There were no complaints about such things in the good times, but recreational behaviour became a stick with which to beat him when results deteriorated, as they soon did.

In defence of their title, Derby finished a disappointing fourth in 1975-76 and a poor start the following season saw Mackay sacked in November 1976 and replaced briefly by his reserve team coach, Colin Murphy.

Sadly, it was a downward spiral after that, undistinguished sojourns at Walsall, Doncaster and Birmingham interspersed with lucrative spells coaching in Kuwait, Egypt and Qatar. But if Dave was bitter at the way his management career petered out you would never have guessed it. He was always good, lively company and I’m glad to say our contratemps in the Baseball Ground corridor was eventually put to bed in May 1986 when, over a glass or seven at Mortons club in London’s West End, all was explained.

Dave and a friend, Jimmy Burton, told me that night that George Graham was about to be named manager of Arsenal. I should have run the story in the “Mail on Sunday”, for whom I was working at the time, but when I phoned David Dein to check it out he said: “Joe, if you print that you are going to look very silly”, and the sports editor wouldn’t publish my “exclusive” without confirmation from the club [how times have changed].

Three days later Arsenal appointed Graham and Mackay concluded he was wasting his breath telling this mug anything!

I’m proud to say we remained friends after that and I will always treasure that key ring.

@Joe_Lovejoy

A former Chief Football Writer for The Sunday Times & The Independent, Joe Lovejoy now covers matches for The Guardian & The Observer and is an author of five books. 

 

 

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.

@RichardBowdery

 

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.’

 @robshepherd5

 

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

CloughJemsonMcGrath

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.

CloughDerby

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?”

brian_nigel

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.

@RoyDalley

CloughLastGame

Clough Appointed Boss of Leeds: Football World Stunned!

The 20th July is the 40th anniversary of the appointment of Brain Clough as manager of Leeds United.

The always controversial Clough was dismissed from the post on 12 September 1974, a contentious and now legendary 44 days later.

Norman Hunter, Joe Jordon and the Leeds squad make Brian Clough feel welcome.

Norman Hunter, Joe Jordon and the Leeds squad make Brian Clough feel welcome.

Clough took over at Derby County in May 1967 with The Rams then languishing in the Second Division. He had been one of the youngest managers in the league when Hartlepool gave him a shot at managing the team in 1965 when just 30 years old.

Clough, along with assistant manager Peter Taylor, turned Derby around and not only led them back to the top flight but incredibly to the First Division title in the 1971-72 season. Clough and Taylor had a falling out with Derby’s Board of Directors over a series of issues, not least Clough’s inability to keep out of the headlines, and the pair resigned in October 1973.

After a brief and unsuccessful dalliance at Brighton & Hove Albion Clough took over at Elland Road, with Taylor opting to remain at Brighton.

The appointment of Clough was more than a little surprising as during his time at Derby Clough had been especially critical of Leeds and their previous manager, Don Revie. Never shy to forward an opinion, he often claimed Leeds ‘played dirty’ and even ventured to suggest that the Yorkshire giants should be relegated and Revie fined.

Clough’s new role as manager of Leeds didn’t stop him from continuing his criticism of Revie and Leeds’ prior tactics, and before too long he had alienated himself from many of the team’s star players, including the influential midfield pair of Johnny Giles and Billy Bremner.

Clough’s Leeds side won only one and drew two from its first six games, after which he was promptly sacked.

thedamnedunited3dThe dismissal only seemed to spur Clough on to greater success. In 1975 he reunited with Taylor and moved to Nottingham Forest, and just as he had done with Derby, he led them from mid-table in the Second Division to promotion and then the Division One title in 1978.

But Clough went one better by achieving his crowning glory; back-to-back European Cup triumphs in 1979 and 1980.

Ill health ravaged Clough and he retired as manager of Forest – and from football – in 1993 and passed way in 2004.

But despite his many trophies and incredible feats as a manager its his 44 day stint as boss of Leeds United that people never forget.

Author David Peace published a fictionalized account of Clough’s time at Leeds – The Damned Utd – in 2006. Although the book met with critical acclaim, Clough’s family and former players (including Giles) claimed Peace’s versions of events were inaccurate and painted Clough in too negative a light.

In 2009 a film version of the book was released with Michael Sheen as Clough. Despite some criticism from the football world over a number of ‘factual inaccuracies’ the film was very well received – with Sheen’s performance drawing particular praise.

 

 

The Technical Area: A Modern Day Theatre for Managers to Strut Their Stuff

by Rob Shepherd.

SOCCER Newcastle 135156 Football Newcastle United v Sunderland - Premier League.

Pardew has a history of touchline histrionics

Even if Alan Pardew’s face off with Hull’s David Meyler was a more head putt than a head butt, the FA appointed independent commission had no option to slap the Newcastle manager in the face with a record seven game ban.

Sensibly Pardew accepted his punishment of being barred from the stadium for three games and four from the touchline.

He has even suggested he may consider extending his exile from the dug out and the so-called technical area for much longer. Let’s hope Pardew sets a trend.

The sight of managers prancing around the technical area ranting and raving at referees or shouting instructions and gesticulating at players is becoming tiresome and often embarrassing.

It’s as if managers now feel they have to put on a sideshow to prove a point to the fans and their bosses up in the directors box of how clever or how good they are and how much they care. The technical area, which was brought in for sound reasons, has been turned into a stage where managers melodramatically strut their stuff.

TV plays its part, constantly zooming in and aware of this many managers play to the cameras as well as the crowd. Some even seem to be afflicted by a form of Tourette’s syndrome during the course of the game.

It gets ever more embarrassing.

Clough and Taylor work their magic calmly from their seats

Clough and Taylor work their magic calmly from their seats

After all, if a manager feels the need to bark constant instructions to his players from the off it raises the obvious question: What on earth has he been doing on the training ground all week and why didn’t he get his point across in the pre-match meeting and team talk?

The great managers like Sir Alf Ramsey, Bill Shankley, Don Revie and Brian Clough would sit still and silent for most of the game knowing that once the players had crossed the white line then there was little they could really do to change the course of things.

The preparation was done and dusted and any major changes to a game plan would have to wait until half-time.

Yes, they would stand up and shout something if they could effect a tactical tweak during play but in essence they knew that once the game had started most words shouted from the sidelines would fall on deaf ears.

Back then there was only one substitute so there was an obvious limit to how much a manager could change. But in that sense managers now have greater ability to alter the course of the game – but they can do that sitting down with a sense of calm and purpose, not like they are about to explode.

Jose is the master of touchline theatre

Jose is the master of touchline theatre

Besides, now as then, in the heat of battle it’s hard for players to take on too many new instructions; indeed information overload can have a negative impact on concentration and confidence.

The most telling time to change the course of a match tactically is still at half time. Deep down Jose Mourinho knows that, and he is a master at making decisive substitutions or tactical changes, especially at the interval.

But he can’t resist playing to the gallery either.

Recently he spoke of modern players looking in the mirror before they leave the dressing room… not for introspection but to check the hair do and so on. Yet many managers must do the same. A slick designer suit, the latest tie knot and cool overcoat, is de rigeour for more and more who sometimes give the technical area the look of a catwalk.

Some, like Roberto Mancini go the extra mile in search of cutting the right image for the cameras – and thus potential sponsors – by adorning a trendy retro scarf as fashion statement.

Looking back it was probably Kenny Dalglish who started it all, in the cross over period when still as player/manager of Liverpool he began to start more game games on the bench. But instead of sitting down like Shanks, Bob Paisley or Joe Fagan before him, Dalglish began the trend of the manager standing up to get a better view of the game.

Kenny Dalglish as then Liverpool manager in 1991-833869

Dalglish: Stood to get a better view of the game

More and more head coaches followed suit and now we have the era of the peacock managers who prance and prattle on the touchline.

But it was only a matter of time before one of them went beyond spitting feathers as did Pardew did.

As a consequence it is to be hoped other managers take note and take a step back from what has become an egotistic sideshow.

It would indeed be great if the technical area was scrapped.

I doubt that will happen, but you never know. Pardew might actually find that sitting up in the stands will give him a far better overview of the game and given how easy it is now to communicate with the coaches down on the bench enable him to make better judgements. And thus make him a better boss and maybe then starting a new trend of managers taking a back seat where they can use their heads, rather than lose their heads.

 

Brian Moore: Our Quintessential Commentator

“After a goalless first half, the half time score is 0-0.” – A look at one famous voice behind our national game

by Richard D J J Bowdery
BrianMoore_306x423Had he lived, the 28 February would have been Brian Moore’s 82nd birthday. For many he was our quintessential commentator, a gentleman behind the microphone.

Who can forget his dignified remonstrations with Brian Clough prior to the England versus Poland World Cup qualifier in 1973? You will recall Clough called the Polish keeper a clown much to Moore’s chagrin.

Brian Moore was unflappable, at least that is how he came over to me. His unruffled manner and calm yet authorative voice made his presentation seem effortless and knowledgeable.

Early Career

Brian started his journalistic career working for the newspapers, latterly with The Times before moving to BBC Radio as a football commentator and presenter.

While at the Beeb he covered the FA Cup Final from 1964 to ’67; the European Cup Winners Cup Final in 1963, won by Tottenham Hotspur and 1965 when West Ham United were the winners; and the 1966 World Cup. He also covered Celtic’s triumph in 1967 when the Lions of Lisbon lifted the trophy.

His successes behind the microphone got him noticed by a new boy on the footballing block.

The Big Match

Moore was enticed from the BBC to London Weekend Television (LWT) by Jimmy Hill, their Head of Sport, to anchor a new hour-long football programme called The Big Match which was launched in August 1968.

Aired weekly on Sunday afternoons during the football season it was LWT’s answer to the BBC’s Match of the Day.

Like Match of the Day it was a highlights show and it superseded Associated Television’s Star Soccer which had been broadcasting to viewers in the London area.

The first programme was to feature Spurs versus Arsenal and be transmitted on Sunday 10 August. But because of industrial action it never aired.

The same thing happened the following week, when the selected match, Chelsea versus West Bromwich Albion also failed to make the small screen: again because of industrial action.

But at the third time of trying, on the 24 August, Brian Moore presented and commentated on Queens Park Rangers versus Manchester City. It ended 1-1 with Bridges netting for Rangers and Doyle for City.

Jimmy Hill and Brian Clough

Jimmy Hill was not only LWT’s Head of Sport – until he left in 1973 to front Match of the Day – he was also appeared alongside Moore as the match analyst; a forerunner of the pundits that are obligatory for all football coverage today.

To replace him the London TV broadcaster turned to Derby County manager Brian Clough – not a man short of opinions. His outspoken comments led to County’s chairman asking Clough to cease all his newspaper and TV work. Instead Brian Clough resigned his position as manager. His next job was at Brighton and Hove Albion, two divisions below Derby.

ITV make-up artist Linda King powders the face of Brian Clough in preparation for his debut appearance as an analyst on ITV's On The Ball programme, as Brian Moore looks on. Photograph: PA

ITV make-up artist Linda King powders the face of Brian Clough in preparation for his debut appearance as an analyst on ITV’s On The Ball programme, as Brian Moore looks on. Photograph: PA

Moore also hosted a Saturday lunchtime football preview programme ‘On The Ball’ as well as commentating on international matches, FA Cup finals and Thames Television’s Midweek Sports Special.

Nearly Retired

In 1998 he retired from ITV. This came about partly because of a health scare which had resulted in his undergoing heart surgery.

However, he didn’t totally forsake his time behind the mic and in front of the camera. During his ‘semi-retirement’ he presented programmes for Talk Sport, BBC Radio Five Live, and Sky Sports.

His retirement also gave him more time to watch his beloved Gillingham FC.

“Goodbye and thank you for watching” – These were the words I remember him saying as he signed off at the end of each programme.

In the end Brian’s poor health got the better of him and he died on 1st September 2001, aged 69. He was buried in the church near his home where he had worshipped for many years.

At the funeral service his close friend and sports journalist Norman Giller said: “Brian was a refined, modest man whose next boast would have been his first. Yet he had much to boast about, a supreme commentator, consummate broadcaster, and, above all, a caring, considerate human being, loyal colleague and devoted family man. A bright light has gone out on the worlds of sport and broadcasting.”

Giller took the words right out of my mouth.

Oh, and about the quote at the head of this column. It wasn’t a Colemanballs, it really was Brian Moore; proving that even the very best can have an off day.

 

richard@bobbyfc.com

 

The Shortest Reigns in Club Management + Who’s Next Up at Sunderland..?

RDM

Di Matteo would be a popular choice with Sunderland fans

from Rob Shepherd.

Gustavo Poyet has emerged as the new favourite to succeed Paolo Di Canio in the Sunderland hot seat. Poyet has moved ahead of former Chelsea team-mate and initial favourite Roberto Di Matteo.

Di Canio was sacked after a player revolt following a showdown meeting on Sunday in the wake of Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at West Brom.

It hardly came as a shock given the constant rows Di Canio has had with his players since he took over towards the end of last season.

As predicted in a previous article in BOBBY (look for an archived piece in Now and Then) it was always going to be a roller coaster ride.

Initially the adrenalin rush Di Canio injected with his volatile, impassioned nature gave Sunderland the boost they wanted following the end of Martin O’Neill’s relatively short rein and the threat of relegation was averted.

But the start to this campaign has been disastrous and Di Canio’s power-crazed showboating style of management was destined to hit the buffers.

And when a manager loses control, the respect of the dressing room AND the faith of the fans it’s always going to be curtains.

And so Di Canio’s tenure becomes one of the shortest ever in English football. It lasted 175 days – although in effect it was less than that in the respect that it also spanned the close season.

But compared to the shortest reigns ever Di Canio lasted quite long.

Here BOBBY looks back at those managers who got the axe before getting their feet settled under the table.

FA Cup: Torquay United v Birmingham City

Rosenior: The ten minute man

Leroy Rosenior, lasted just 10 minutes in his second spell as Torquay boss. In may 2007 Rosenior signed on the dotted line. But the club was in the process of being taken over by a new consortium and 600 seconds later the former Fulham and West Ham striker was shown the door.

Back in the late Fifties Bill Lambton last only three days at Scunthorpe.

Dave Bassett lasted just four days at Crystal Palace in 1984 after leaving Wimbledon. The contract was signed but he didn’t like what he saw under Ron Noades so jumped ship and went back to the Dons.

Tommy Docherty was another of the shortest reigns in the top flight; he led QPR for four games in 1968 before resigning following a dispute with Rangers chairman Jim Gregory.

Paul Hart managed a bit better (but only just) at QPR being given the boot in January 2010 after  only 28 days in charge following a bust up with Adel Taarabat. Chairman Flavio Briatore intervened and sided with the player.

Les Reed was given only eight games in charge of Charlton before the axe fell.

henning-berg-blackburn-rovers

Henning never got going at Blackburn

More recently Henning Berg was reluctant to take charge of Blackburn last year and his fears were confirmed. After opting to to take the job he went after 57 days.

Colin Todd got the bullet as Derby boss in 2002 after 98 days.

But the brief reigns of two of the biggest managers of all time remain best remembered and were recently featured on BOBBY FC (This Was The Week).

The 44 days of Brian Clough and Jock Stein at Leeds are still the most remarkable.

The majority of the Leeds squad could not accept the manner in which Clough took over from Don Revie who had been given the job Clough really wanted in 1974 – that of the England manager.

Clough was in charge for just eight games over those 44 days before a players revolt – a bit like the one Di Canio suffered – brought his tenure to an end.

Stein resigned after only ten matches in 1978 to take charge of Scotland.

The Odds

Tony+Pulis+Stoke+City

Pulis has recent Premier League experience and could represent good value at 9/1

Victor Chandler offers these odds  to be the next Sunderland manager;

Poyet 1/3

McClaren 9/1

Pulis 9/1

Di Matteo 9/1

McCleish 16/1

Ince 25/1

Hoddle 50/1

Warnock 66/1

Redknapp 66/1

 

 

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.

CloughLeeds

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.

CloughCussins

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.