Posts Tagged ‘Derby’

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. 

 

 

Cap’n Bob Stirs Up a Hornets Nest at the Football League

by Richard DJJ Bowdery.

Today oil sheiks, Russian businessmen, US tycoons and Asian multi-millionaires have bought into the Premier League ‘dream’.

Some clubs would have folded without their financial intervention, and others may not have achieved the level of success they have without their monetary input – Hull City and Chelsea come to mind.

MaxwellBut there are strict FA rules in place to stop these wealthy owners from extending their grip in the Premiership. And one famous incident contributed to that stance.

It was 27 years ago this week that Robert Maxwell, one of Britain’s most colourful businessmen, tried to expand his portfolio of clubs by attempting to purchase Watford FC from a Mr. Reginald Dwight, better known as Elton John.

On 20 November 1987 the singer agreed to sell the Hertfordshire club, then playing in the old Division One, to Maxwell’s British Printing and Communication Corporation for £2million.

However, Maxwell already owned Derby County, who he rescued from collapse in 1984 with County in debt to the tune of around £1.5m – chicken feed by today’s multi-million pound deals, but a fortune in the mid-eighties.

Yet just six days later, on 26 November, his deal to buy Watford was dead in the water.

The Football League had stepped in and blocked the sale citing Maxwell’s other footballing interests. Their decision was upheld in the High Court. Maxwell was forced to back down.

Much debate has raged, over the last few years, about the effect of foreign money on the English game. Indeed I have contributed to that debate in this column.

But there is one thing I think we can all agree on: no one person or corporation should be allowed to get a stranglehold on our national sport.

What we have may not be perfect but we should be grateful that the game’s legislators, by and large, have the fans interests and the good of the sport, at heart.

@RichardBowdery

 

Manchester Derby Preview
PLUS: The Magnificent Seven – Classic Matches Over The Years

By Rob Shepherd.

Di Maria is good value at 9/1 to score first

Di Maria is good value at 9/1 to score first

This Sunday’s Manchester derby at the Etihad stadium will be the 166th competitive meeting between City and United, and so far The Reds have secured 69 victories while The Blues have 46 and there have been 50 draws.

City are in desperate need of a win to keep on the shoulders of Chelsea, while a win for United would put them to within one point of City, making Louis Van Gaal’s boast they can still challenge for the Premier League not sound so fanciful.

It would certainly enhance United’s chances of securing a top four place at the end of the season thus achieving LVG’s major objective; regaining Champions League status.

United are 3/1 to with Corals who favour a City win which is 5/6.

The draw is 11/4. On that front Bobby’s Bets likes the look of a 2-2 draw at 11/1.

First goalscorer? Given his form Sergio Aguero has to be worth a punt even at favourite price of 7/2. United’s Angel di Maria is an attractive 9/1.

In these big game clashes, its often a centre-back from a set-piece who breaks the deadlock, so Vincent Kompany at 28-1 is worth a couple of quid perhaps.

For further inspiration here is a trawl back at seven magnificent encounters between the Manchester rivals over the years.

1. Manchester United 4 Manchester City 1, August 1957
Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, David Pegg, Liam Whelan, Duncan Edwards and Tommy Taylor would all feature for United – five months later all of them perished in the Munich air disaster. Goals from Edwards, Taylor, Johnny Berry and Dennis Viollet maintained United’s perfect start to the season in what was the last Manchester derby before the tragedy in Germany.

2. Manchester City 3-3 Manchester United, November 1971
Sheikh Mansour’s deep pockets have led to a return to the days of the early 70’s when the blues and the reds met as equals. United were top and City third when the latter came back from 2-0 and 3-2 down in front of over 63,000 and even won bragging rights at the end of the season, finishing four points ahead of the Old Trafford side (highlights below).

3. Manchester United 0-1 Manchester City, April 1974
If the 5-1 derby victory 15 years later was City’s zenith – until 2011, anyway – then this was United’s nadir. This result, after an ill-tempered affair, led to them to being ingloriously relegated at Old Trafford and their doom was confirmed when Denis Law – the former darling of the Stretford End – famously back-heeled them into the second tier. Law, utterly heartbroken at what he had done, was substituted immediately after and never kicked a ball in league football again.

4. Manchester City 5-1 Manchester United, September 1989
This was the first time in three years the great foes had met, and newly promoted City’s fans were at boiling point. After an enforced break due to crowd trouble the hosts ran riot, with David Oldfield scoring a brace and further goals from Trevor Morley and Ian Bishop, and City fan Andy Hinchcliffe capping a day still spoken of in hushed tones with a lovely fifth (goals are in below link). Sir Alex Ferguson used the pain of this defeat to best their nearest rivals for the next decade and more. The Maine Road Massacre, as it came to be known, would be the last time in 13 years City managed to win against United (their next was in 2002 when Nicolas Anelka and a Shaun Goater double won the game 3-1). Later that season Fergie won his first trophy.

5. Manchester United 5-0 Manchester City, November 1994
In the 1990s City failed to chalk up a single win against United, and this thrashing perfectly illustrated the gulf in class between the pair. Andrei Kanchelskis and the magnificent Eric Cantona starred on this occasion, with the Frenchman opening the scoring and the Ukrainian winger delivering the coup de grâce by scoring a hat-trick, which he completed in the final minute. Mark Hughes, who would go on to manage City eight years later, also found the target.

 

"Sorry pal, are you OK..?"

“Sorry pal, are you OK..?”

6. Manchester United 1 Manchester City 1, April 2001
This game is remembered not for the goals but for the culmination of a long-standing feud between Roy Keane and Alf-Inge Haaland. It started in 1998 when the United captain suffered a cruciate ligament injury when chasing a through ball against Leeds, who the Norwegian Haaland was with at the time. Three years later Keane made an x-rated knee-high tackle on Haaland that would have made Graeme Souness blush. He was sent-off and later admitted in his autobiography that it was a premeditated attempt to injure. He eventually received a £150,000 fine and a five-match ban as punishment.

7. Manchester City 4-1 Manchester United, 2004
It was almost 1989 relived again as United were convincingly humbled once more. A struggling City side somehow lifted themselves to rout the old enemy. United were not at their best but City had Jon Macken, veterans Trevor Sinclair and Robbie Fowler and the erratic Shaun Wright-Phillips – all of whom found the net – meaning this is still one of the most unlikely derby results on record.

@robshepherd5

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

 

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.

@richardbowdery
richardbowdery@live.com

 

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.

 

 

No Penalty This Time for Lee as he Drives a Jaguar XJ Series 1

Francis 'Franny' Lee with his Jaguar XJ Series 1

Here is the legendary Franny Lee, posing à la Steve McQueen in front of his Jaguar XJ series 1 in 1972. It may have been another rainy day in Manchester but this could still be a shot from a movie poster.

Lee had every right to be a trifle smug, after all he had helped City to the league title in 1968, the FA Cup in 1969, and European Cup-Winners’ Cup in 1970 – and went on to represent England at the World Cup that year.

Record

In the 1971–72 season Lee set a British record for the number of penalties scored in a season, with a staggering 15 of his 35 goals scored from the penalty spot.  Some journalists were of the opinion that Lee gained a number of penalties by diving, so they gave him the name ‘Lee Won Pen’ instead!

Lee also holds the record for the most goals in Manchester derbies, scoring 10 goals in all against Manchester United – a tally that equalled Joe Hayes’ record – although Wayne Rooney looks set to eclipse that figure soon as he also has ten.

You can understand why Lee was keen to dress up for this photo. This, after all, had been the car you bought if you’d made it. Whether you were Morecambe and Wise at the height of their fame, or an England international footballer like Franny Lee, a Series 1 would always be in the backdrop.

From the 1968 launch of Sir William Lyons’s final masterpiece, the Jaguar XJ Series 1 was recognised as “the best car in the world”.

His vision of the new XJ (standing for Experimental Jaguar) replacing all of the company’s saloon worked and would in fact support the company until the end of the century.

In later V12 form it was also the world’s fastest saloon, nudging 140mph. Driving a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow felt, in comparison, like a terribly luxurious stagecoach.

Finest Jaguar Ever

The car was introduced in September 1968. Power-assisted steering and leather upholstery were standard on the 2.8 L De Luxe and 4.2 L models and air conditioning was offered as an optional extra on the 4.2 L. Daimler versions.

In a series of television advertisements featuring Sir William he referred to the car as “the finest Jaguar ever”. An unusual feature, inherited from the Jaguar Mark X and S-Type sedan, was the provision of twin fuel tanks, positioned on each side of the boot / trunk, and filled using two separately lockable filler caps: one on the top of each wing above the rear wheel arches.

Victim of its own success, early deliveries were slow as Jaguar’s attempt to meet the demand and were hampered by delays in body manufacturing; the first cars were suffering from quality control problems. Despite these, the XJ6 was so superior to its competition that buyers were willing to wait and could even resell their just delivered XJ6s at a profit should they want to.

In 1972 Jaguar launched the XJ12, which was Sir William Lyons final achievement before his retirement that same year and the numbers speak for themselves: one of the fastest production four seaters in the world at 225 kph and 0-100 times of 7.5 seconds.

Like Mr. Lee, a true classic.

 

Dec 1990: Derby 4-6 Chelsea
BOBBY Recalls Ten Goal Thriller at the Baseball Ground

by Karl Hofer.

Chelsea overcame a resilient Derby side at the weekend in what could have been a tricky encounter in the FA Cup.

Goals from Oscar and a collectors item from John Obi Mikel were enough to see the blues through to the next round.

Whilst it was an absorbing match it did lack the spark of a game played between the two teams back in 1990, one in which an astonishing ten goals were scored as Chelsea won a see-saw game 4-6.

It’s a game I remember with great fondness, because I was there.

In those days I traveled the country watching Chelsea continually flatter to deceive at a variety of grounds, most of which no longer exist.

The Baseball ground was one such stadium. The home of The Rams was a weary place but cloaked in the kind of history none of these modern bowl-type stadia could ever capture. And also unlike many modern grounds it was conducive to a great atmosphere.

G Durie

Durie ran Derby ragged

In what was a lively affair Chelsea started brightly and went ahead after Kerry Dixon converted a cross from Gordon Durie, but within a few minutes Derby had pulled level through Dean Saunders.

The next half hour didn’t provide too much by way of entertainment, and it was at this point my mate Vince who I had traveled with went to queue for halftime refreshments. No sooner had he disappeared under the stand Chelsea were ahead again, Dixon once  more in the right place to tap in after good work from Rodney Trotter (or David Lee as he was also known).

Two-one quickly became three-one after some poor attempts at clearing the ball from Derby resulted in Durie slotting home. Halftime followed and I tucked into my pie trying not to laugh too much at Vince who was fuming that he’d missed the last two goals.

Chelsea’s grip on the game was always a brittle one (as was the way in those days) but the Blues defence completely fell apart after the restart as Ken Monkou had to go off injured. On came Peter Nicholas to replace the big Dutch man but he was unable to offer much by way of resistance.

derby_county_kits_gallery_89_90_home_saunders_470x300

Saunders netted 17 goals for Derby that season

Within minutes Trevor Hebberd fired home after Mick Harford had caused disarray in the box to bring the Rams within a goal. Derby were  then level after the unmarked Saunders rose to head in Callaghan’s excellent cross for his second and fans spilled unto the pitch in celebration.

Celebration turned to jubilation when Gary Micklewhite made it 4-3 and the Derby faithful could not contain themselves, dancing on the pitch in front of the away end.

In a little over 13 minutes Chelsea had turned a winning margin of 3-1 into a 4-3 deficit, and sadly it was Nicholas, in what turned out to be his last appearance for Chelsea, who was getting the blame.

It was pretty grim in the away end at that point, with Chelsea having offered nothing by way of attack since the second half began it was feeling like one of those best forgotten games. Vince was particularly unimpressed having missed Chelsea’s second and third goals but with a splendid view of Derby’s comeback strikes. All was not lost however…

As Derby continued to try and exploit Chelsea’s utter inability to defend in any way, Graham Stuart broke from the back and fed Durie who delivered an inch perfect cross onto the head of the smallest man on the pitch. Suddenly parity had been restored thanks to the head of Dennis Wise. Yes, that’s how bad the defending was in this game.

Back came Derby again, but a long throw from Dave Beasant set Durie loose once more from the halfway line, and this time he advanced on the Derby goal himself to fire Chelsea 4-5 in front. We were delirious!

The icing on the cake came in added time from the young Graeme Le Saux who converted Stuart’s cross to make it six past England’s Peter Shilton (highlights are below).

At the final whistle Vince was smiling – not many away days ended like that I can tell you!

It was a game you could probably label under ‘How Not to Defend’ – which was surprising as Derby’s lineup included two of England’s stars from the World Cup that Summer, Peter Shilton and Mark Wright.

But Derby would win only 5 games all season and finish bottom, relegated along with Sunderland with Luton Town just surviving (only two went down). Top scorer Dean Saunders joined Liverpool for a record fee of £2.9m.

Chelsea would finish 11th that season, level on points with Spurs.

Teamsheet

 

 

Capital Stuff – Edinburgh Showpiece is now Scotland’s Biggest Derby Game

by Karl Hofer.

HIBERNIAN v HEART of MIDLOTHIAN, Scottish League Cup

Wednesday 30th October – Live on BBC Scotland, KO 7pm

With the Auld Firm game currently on hold until the new version of Rangers return to Scotland’s summit, Scotland’s biggest local derby is now the one from the nations capital – and the two rivals will meet again on Wednesday night in the League Cup.

Hearts currently hold the bragging rights after winning the first derby of the season 1-0 back in August with Callum Patersen’s header proving decisive in front of a crowd of over 16,000.

How times have changed. A few generations ago Hibs and Hearts would challenge for the league title on a regular basis and matches between the pair would attract crowds of equal or greater measure than the Auld Firm.

Indeed the largest attendance for the fixture was 65,860 on January 2nd 1950 – this is still the largest attendance for any fixture played outside of Glasgow.

These days nether side is sadly in a position to step into the hole created by the dissolution of Rangers. Hibs are stuck in mid-table mediocrity currently rebuilding with limited resources under Pat Fenlon, whilst across the way Hearts are facing an uphill season long battle against relegation having been docked 15 points for entering administration before a ball was kicked in anger.

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John Robertson netted 22 times in Edinburgh derbies

So perhaps it is fitting that the derby spotlight should fall on these two giants of the Scottish game now, because now more than ever they really need it.

Over the years the record scorer in Edinburgh derbies has been John Robertson, better known to Hearts supporters as ‘the hammer of Hibs’ for his prolific record in this match. ‘Robbo’ notched up 22 strikes against Hibs during his 12 years at Tynecastle, whilst Hibernian’s Gordon Smith rattled in 15 times to be top scorer for the green half of Edinburgh in derbies.

Classic games between the two have  been commonplace since they first met in the 19th century, below we’ve picked out two of the more remarkable Edinburgh derbies in living memory.

Hearts 0-7 Hibernian (January 1st 1973)

There are certainly better ways to begin a New Year then seeing your beloved team slapped at home by your biggest rivals. Conversely, the best possible start to the year for Hibs’ supporters was a record derby defeat inflicted on Hearts at Tynecastle. The goal-scoring heroes of this still-celebrated encounter were Jimmy O’Rourke, Alan Gordon, Arthur Duncan – twice – and Alex Cropley who afforded Hibernian a 5-0 lead by half-time. To make it even sweeter (if that’s possible) Eddie Turnbull’s Hibs side went to the top of the league after the rout.

The Scotsman’s match report read: “Only three excellent saves by goalkeeper Kenny Garland from Pat Stanton, Alan Gordon and Jimmy O’Rourke prevented this first match of the year from being a double-figure tale of woe.”

Hibernian 0-3 Hearts (September 15th 1990)

The Edinburgh derby is always a feisty occasion, this one probably tops the list though. This was the first derby after the highly controversial bid by the then Hearts chairman, Wallace Mercer, to take over Hibs in order to merge the rival entities into one. Mercer required a security guards at his home and did not attend the game on safety advice.

With tensions so high at Easter Road it was perhaps inevitable that bad sentiment spilled over, and after Hearts raced into a 3-0 lead before half-time the players were removed from the field for eight minutes after a pitch invasion and sporadic outbreaks of crowd trouble. Incredibly during the interval, police went into the Hearts dressing room to warn of the potential for further disorder should the lead be extended!

There was no more scoring, but more than 50 arrests and 17 fans taken to hospital with injuries.

Classic

Below is classic archive footage of a 2-2 draw at Tynecastle from September 1959.

The match features Jimmy Murray scoring an equaliser for Hearts after Joe Baker had put Hibs ahead. Ex-Hibs legend Gordon Smith is playing for Hearts in a team that would ultimately be crowned Champions, the last time a side from the capital would fly the Championship flag.

THE ODDS

HIBERNIAN:   4/5   DRAW:   23/10   HEART of MIDLOTHIAN:   11/4

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Hibernian’s James Collins is 9/2 to open the scoring

First Goalscorer:

R0wan Vine (Hibs) –  9/2

James Collins (Hibs) –   9/2

Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) –  15/2

Callum Patersen (Hearts) –  15/2

Liam Craig  (Hibs) – 6/1

Gary Oliver (Hearts) –  9/1

BOBBY’S BET OF THE DAY – Ryan Stevenson to score anytime & Hearts to win: 5/1

 

Odds courtesy of William Hill

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

Remorse

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.

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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.”