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On Target

We've uncovered a great archive photo of Cloughie scoring past his old rival Alex Ferguson. This marvellous image from 1988 shows Old Big 'Ead playing Subbuteo with the Manchester United boss to publicise a charity appeal.

Cloughie and Fergie were among 13 top managers called The Boss Squad who helped to launch the Sport Aid fund-raising campaign. Other managers included Sir Bobby Robson, Terry Venables and Jim Smith. In the photo, Graham Taylor and Billy Bingham watch the Master Manager put one past Fergie.

 


The report which accompanied the photo described how Cloughie had enjoyed returning to his role as a striker. It read: "It certainly looks as though he's up to his old goalscoring tricks with this net-bursting effort that leaves United manager Alex Ferguson helpless in goal."

It continued: "He would like to point out that his thunderous shot came at the end of a run from the half-way line in which he won the ball in the tackle from Norman Whiteside, nut-megged Bryan Robson and left Viv Anderson stranded for pace."


Win Tribute Book

We're giving away a signed copy of a Brian Clough tribute in our latest competition. This copy of 'Young Man, You've Made My Day' is signed by Cloughie's captain John McGovern and the author, Marcus Alton. The book has a foreword by Barbara Clough. We've also announced the winner of our last competition. More details HERE.


The Top Clough Site

Latest figures from Google show that pages on this website were viewed more than 100,000 times in the last year. Thanks for all your support! It just goes to show that this is THE place for Cloughie followers - and it's approved by the Clough family. For our tenth anniversary last year, Mrs Clough wrote a special message of support, saying she hoped the site will continue for many years. And don't forget, you can follow us on twitter.com/1BrianClough and at facebook.com/1brianclough. You can read Mrs Clough's message in full HERE.


All Time Hero

He was a famous voice from children's TV - and a huge Clough fan. Now tributes are being paid to Roy Skelton, who was the voice of Zippy and George on the programme 'Rainbow'. Once interviewed in the role of Zippy, he said: "I've always been proud of my big mouth which is why Brian Clough is my all-time hero." Read more: HERE.


Famous Fan

Celebrity fan Tom Hanks says he'd like Brian Clough to be the next manager of Aston Villa. Well, he can but dream! The Hollywood star was speaking before the London premiere of his latest film (June, 2011). Grant Rollings of The Sun newspaper wrote of the famous Villa fan:

"The club are looking for a new manager but Tom, yet to visit Villa Park, is a tad out of touch when it comes to who should replace Gerard Houllier, asking: 'Is Brian Clough still around?'

When I pointed out the legendary Nottingham Forest manager is sadly no longer with us, Tom finally admitted: 'Sorry, I don't know anything about football.'" Read more: HERE.


BBC TV Doc

If you missed the TV documentary about Cloughie, recently repeated by the BBC, here's what we wrote about it after its first airing in July last year:

'Television audience figures show that more than two million people watched a BBC documentary reflecting on Cloughie's career. Entitled 'Brian Clough - The Best Manager England Never Had?' it was largely a re-production of many previous interviews with family members and former colleagues, plus a wide range of archive material of the Great Man himself.

Among the new content was an interview with the BBC commentator, Barry Davies, who interviewed Cloughie after his final first team match at the City Ground back in 1993. Looking back at the times he had met Brian, Barry commented: "Time in his company would be provoking, interesting and fun - and I think I'm a better person for having known him."

The programme also featured the Brian Clough statue in Nottingham several times and an interview with Barbara Clough which was conducted especially for the statue unveiling in 2008. In the final scenes, the statue is shown while Mrs Clough comments: "He used to say 'I hope I've contributed and I hope somebody liked me' - I think a lot of people did." '


Young At Heart

"It's just one step from slave labour." That was Cloughie's verdict on Nottingham Forest's youth team set-up 23 years ago, as he wrote his programme notes for a semi-final in the FA Youth Cup against Arsenal. He describes how the young players even clean the City Ground toilets as part of their duties. "Toilets are not all they clean either because they work harder than anyone else in the club. Each and every one of them is a dog's body.

"They scrub baths, sweep dressing floors, clean other people's muddy boots, run errands...you name it, they do it. And, oh, I nearly forgot, they also happen to play 60, 70 or 80 games a season. For that privilege they are paid the handsome sum of £35 a week. It's just one step from slave labour," says Clough.

He then asks: "Why do they do it? I'll tell you. They do it because it's their little mini Hollywood. They think that somewhere along the line they might get a chance to perform on a bigger stage and make a living out of the game they love so much."

Cloughie describes how rewarding it is to see youngsters arrive at Forest, straight from school, and go on to make the grade. "It's like watching little crocusses grow," he says. "I would love to do nothing else for two or three months than seeing a shoot come out of the ground, develop into a bud and see it blossom into a lovely, colourful flower. Seeing our kids develop is the nearest I'll get to it because sadly I don't have the time to sit and watch my garden grow."

He also describe it as a pleasure to work with the young players, who go about their work with a smile. "They cheer me up some mornings when I'm not at my best and to see their fresh young faces is one of the reasons why I keep coming into work. As long as they keep smiling, I'll postpone my retirement to watch the crocusses grow for a little while longer." Forest's youth team squad at the time included Steve Stone, Gary Charles and Lee Glover.


Prize Winners

The prize winners in our latest competition have been announced - they're from Kent in the UK and Bangalore in India. Srikanth Tirupattur won a runners-up prize of a Cloughie key-ring and e-mailed: "Wow, thank you! I am extremely delighted to receive something from the people who really support Cloughie and not just make a Facebook page about him. Thank you so much. You have made my day!"

A new competition has been launched, with the prize being the latest Cloughie book. It's called 'All Life's A Game' and has been written by former journalist Trevor Frecknall. There are more details, plus the results of the last competition, HERE.


Don't Slip Up

Former Cloughie player Brian Laws has described how he saved the Master Manager from going onto the pitch at Wembley in his slippers. It was before the FA Cup Final against Spurs in 1991. Recalls Laws: "He was so comfortable in his job that he would wear slippers before the game. He had his suit on and everything was ready to go. He then asked Stuart Pearce, 'Who's the fashion guru in this football club? I want to ask his opinion.'

"Stuart Pearce looked at me - knowing that I am not a fashion guru. I was the worst dresser in the world. So he said, 'It's Lawsy, he'll give you some good feedback.' Laws recalls how Cloughie then asked him about how he looked. "Do you think I look smart?" enquired Old Big 'Ead.

 


Laws replied: "Gaffer, you look a million dollars - but I'm not so sure about the slippers!" Cloughie then made a quick change and put his shoes on before leading his team out on to the Wembley turf, hand-in-hand with Spurs boss Terry Venables (above).

Laws also remembered how Cloughie wore a rosette pinned to his suit which stated 'World's Greatest Grandad'. "He was so proud of being a Grandad," added the former Forest full-back during an interview on BBC Radio Nottingham (April, 2011). The Master Manager is pictured wearing the rosette as he meets Princess Diana, with Laws (left) looking on.

 


Laws was full of praise for his former boss, describing his man-management and psychology as "second to none." He added: "He made us all feel like we were six feet tall and that we could climb Everest, yet we were very average players. But we played out of our skin every week."


The Captain's Pay Day

Cloughie's European Cup captain has revealed how he took a drop in wages to join the Master Manager at Nottingham Forest and end his Leeds nightmare. "I just couldn't wait to get out of there," said John McGovern (April, 2011) as he looked back on his short stay at Elland Road. McGovern went on to sign for Clough at Forest, for whom he twice lifted the European Cup.

McGovern said he endured a difficult time at Leeds, after being signed by Clough who was sacked after only 44 days. He revealed that while the other players had their names on the back of their tracksuits - his remained blank. "The new manager, Jimmy Armfield, wanted me to buy a house in Leeds, but I told him that was a very strange statement to make, when the Leeds fans wanted to hang me from the main stand. I just had to wait until another club came in."

That offer came from Cloughie, who joined Forest in 1975. McGovern had already played for him at Hartlepool and Derby, as well as their short spell at Leeds. "It was a case of going along to negotiate a contract, taking the usual drop in wages to play for Brian - which my other half wasn't too happy about. She gave me a rollicking when I got in. She said 'you just sign anything he puts down in front of you.'

"But at that stage I would have walked to another club just to re-start my career - which had gone pretty well at Hartlepool, winning promotion for the first time in the club's history. And then winning promotion and the First Division Championship at Derby and reaching the semi-finals of the European Cup. And then the sabbatical at Leeds was obviously a big interruption to my ambitions."

McGovern went on to become part of the promotion winning side at Forest, before securing the First Division championship and those back-to-back European Cups. "The success came so quickly, the whole football world was taken by surprise," McGovern told BBC Radio Nottingham.


A Photo Finish

Twenty-three years ago this month, Cloughie was berating a newspaper journalist for printing a photograph of his house in a national paper. Old Big 'Ead used his column in Forest's matchday programme against Manchester United (March, 1988) to make his views clear - and vowed to put a photo of the journalist's home on display in his local post office.

Said Cloughie: "Like the vast majority of people in this country I regard my home as a private place for myself and my family. Don't get me wrong, it's not Fort Knox...we entertain more friends, guests and colleagues than most other families.

"But I strongly object to some photographer pointing his lense through the trees in my garden to get a picture which then appears in a national newspaper." He then says the journalist, who also lived in Derby, can expect to see a photo of his home in the local post office window. In the match programme for the following home game against Derby County, Cloughie confirmed the photo was on display - in two post offices!


Cloughie's Cup Request

A former journalist has described how Cloughie asked him to carry the League Cup that Forest had just won, as they made their way from Wembley. Trevor Frecknall was travelling on the Reds' team bus following the victory over Oldham in 1990. Frecknall says that as Cloughie climbed aboard the coach, he asked him and the club secretary to swap seats.

"Baffled, I dutifully perched on the front nearside seat, immediately behind the door, instantly fearing I was to be evicted at the first railway station. So imagine how I felt when Clough plonked the newly-won Cup on my knee and said: 'Wave that to our supporters, please.'

Frecknall, the former Sports Editor at the Nottingham Evening Post, added: "The huge wooden doors of Wembley swung open, Albert eased the coach out into the throng...and thousands wondered who the hell that was in the Forest bus holding the trophy they had just retained." The memory is included in Frecknall's book 'All Life's A Game' published by Brewin Books at £14.95.


Journalist Remembered

Brian's son Nigel has paid tribute to a journalist who worked closely with his Dad. The former Daily Mail football writer Ray Matts has died at the age of 70 (March, 2011). "Ray was not just respected by his journalistic colleagues, he was equally admired by professionals in the game," said Nigel.

"My father always spoke fondly of him and, as a family, we had a lot of time for him and trusted him. It was not just that he was fair and pleasant to deal with, it was because his knowledge of the subject matter he covered was well sourced. My Dad always had time for Ray. He will be a great loss to the industry and here in the Midlands, his presence in the press boxes will be sadly missed."

Former Forest player Garry Birtles added: "He travelled with Forest and everyone knew him. He was full of life, always had a laugh and a joke. If Brian Clough liked you, that helped a lot and Brian loved Mattsy. But he was also a really good journalist and he didn't pander to anyone. He was well respected." There's a full tribute to Ray Matts HERE.


Tribute Book Offer

To mark what would have been Cloughie's 76th birthday this month (March 21st) you can buy a personally signed copy of the tribute book 'Young Man, You've Made My Day' for half-price, that's just £3.99 (plus postage and packing). Your copy of the book, which has a foreword by Mrs Clough, will be signed by the author Marcus Alton to a name of your choice. This offer is available for a limited time only. More details about the book and how to order HERE.


Vote For Cloughie

Cloughie fans are being urged to vote for the Master Manager in a poll to find the greatest person associated with Nottingham. He's on a shortlist of 25 people which has been compiled by Nottingham City Council. The authority is running the on-line vote. For putting Nottingham on the map with his outstanding achievements at the City Ground, surely Old Big 'Ead should be in the top one? Vote HERE.


Sun On Our Backs

European Cup legend Garry Birtles has been reflecting on how the Master Manager ensured his players weren't overcome by pressure before big matches. He says one of Clough's greatest qualities was his ability to lift that burden off his team.

Said Birtles: "In my day, we would go for a walk along the Trent and have a cup of tea together on the riverbank. Or we would go and train in the park instead, for a change of scene. But what worked best of all was when Cloughie just booked a flight and a hotel and whisked us off to Spain for a few days.

"We got a bit of sun on our backs, we did a little training and we bonded. Yes, by bonded, I mean that we went out and had a good session on the beer together. But there is a time and a place when that is a positive thing.

"We did not go crazy or get into trouble. We just had a normal night out with the boys. And it did bring us closer together. You got to forget about everything that was going off at home. The pressure was forgotten." Birtles was speaking to the Nottingham Post (February, 2011).


Record Signing

Former Clough player Trevor Francis has been looking back on how he became Britain's first £1M footballer, 32 years ago. He remembered how Cloughie arrived late for the press conference - because he'd been playing squash across the road! Francis was interviewed on BBC Five Live (February 2011).

"I'm often asked how I felt about being the first £1M player," said Francis. "But I was more excited about signing for Nottingham Forest, they were the league champions...and another important factor was that I was going to be playing for the most charismatic figure in British football and certainly the best manager, Brian Clough. To think that he was prepared to sign me - well, I was highly excited."

Francis was also asked what he thought about Fernando Torres' record £50M transfer from Liverpool to Chelsea. "I thought it was too much money, just as people thought it was too much when Brian Clough paid £1M for me, but there wasn't the surprise as there was in 1979. Football has become awash with money."


You Make Me Feel So Young

Twenty years ago, Cloughie was reflecting on how much he enjoyed being with his grandchildren - and how they kept him feeling young. In a re-published newspaper column from 1991, Brian is quoted in the Nottingham Post (February 2011) as saying that being with his family was the only thing he enjoyed more that winning three points on a Saturday.

Said Clough: "I was in the garden yesterday with my grandson. I pruned the roses, he held the bucket. When his mother called him for dinner, he yelled back: 'I want to stay with Grandpa.' Blow me. Frank Sinatra couldn't have sung more beautiful music into my ears. After we'd finished, I gave him a kiss, put on my coat and drove to work. Absolutely smashing! Seeing him and his baby sister keeps me young, you know."


Tribute Quote

One of Brian Clough's famous quotes was referred to at the funeral of a former Labour council leader. Sir Dennis Pettitt led Nottinghamshire County Council for 20 years, until he retired in 2001. Paying tribute to Sir Dennis the former Labour MP John Heppell said: "I used to tell everyone that Dennis Pettitt was the best politician I had ever known. Even now, I rank him, like Brian Clough, as being in the top one." (Reported by Nottingham Post, February, 2011).

Cloughie once told a regional TV programme: "I wouldn't say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one." It was a quote originally highlighted only by this website, but - thanks to our quotes page - was repeated by the world's media following Brian's death in September 2004.


Magical Memories

A former Cloughie player has been describing how his career was transformed by the Master Manager. John O'Hare played for Brian at three clubs after being coached by him as a youngster at Sunderland. He went on to win two league championships and two European Cups.

John reflected: "When I started at Sunderland I'd come across Brian as he was coaching the youth team after suffering the knee injury which ended his playing career. Just after he went to Derby as manager I was placed on the transfer list for disciplinary reasons. I was a young lad and I might have been a bit strong headed - stupid, in a way. As soon as it happened, Brian was at my house the next day.

"Basically I didn't really know a great deal about Derby. I didn't really want to leave Sunderland but training had been really enjoyable when I was in the youth team and Brian just had something a bit special about him, a desire to get somewhere.

"Obviously he thought I was a good enough player and he made me feel really wanted. I came down and wasn't too sure, but there was a good atmosphere in the town and I picked up quite quickly that it was definitely a football place."

O'Hare won the league championship with Derby in 1972 and also played in the European Cup, where the Rams were beaten by Juventus. He also played for Scotland, until the arrival of Kenny Dalglish. After following Clough to Leeds, he then signed for the Master Manager again - at Nottingham Forest, where he won another league championship and the European Cup.

Remembering the Forest days, John said: "We had a great crowd of lads. One of the things Brian could do was create a great atmosphere. We always enjoyed training and that spirit really made a difference. He kept the game simple and encouraged us to do what we were good at.

"The European Cup finals were the peak. I was on the bench for the first one in Munich but managed to get on for half an hour or so for the second, which was held at the Bernabeu in Madrid. It was a fantastic experience - a great way to end my career." John was speaking as part of a legends feature on the Sunderland AFC website.


Trophy Update

The Brian Clough Trophy was retained by Nottingham Forest after a 1-0 victory over Derby County at Pride Park (January 22nd, 2011). The trophy is up for grabs each time Cloughie's former sides meet. The Reds' captain Lee Camp showed the trophy to the 4,000 travelling Forest fans after the final whistle. Read more about the cup and see a video of it in the Forest trophy cabinet alongside the European Cup HERE.


Warnock And Son

Controversial manager Neil Warnock has recalled the times he used to meet Cloughie when they were working on opposite sides of the River Trent. Warnock, who was boss at Notts County, says he and the Forest manager would sometimes meet for lunch during the early 1990's.

"He used to call me Neil, I used to call him 'Mr Clough' and in all that time, I never called him Brian," Warnock told the Daily Telegraph (January, 2011). "I used to take James, my oldest lad, everywhere with me. We played Forest one Sunday, our second team against their third team, and Cloughie was in the stand. I went in to do the team talk and I said to James, who was about five, 'just stay outside and wait in the tunnel.'

"I came out, couldn't find him anywhere. I said to the stewards, 'where's my son?' They said, 'Brian Clough has taken him.' After a few minutes, he reappears with parcels, Easter eggs, chocolate, all-sorts. He said to me, 'I've been in Brian's office.' My little boy used to call him Brian but I could only ever call him 'Mr Clough.' He's always been my idol - I loved him."


Mills Memories

Former Cloughie player Gary Mills has been reflecting on the day he signed for the Master Manager. Mills eventually became the youngest player, aged just 18, to win the European Cup when he was part of Clough's Forest team which beat Hamburg in the final in 1980. Mills was a fresh-faced teenager when he joined the Reds.

Looking back at the day he signed for Clough, Mills told the Daily Mail (January, 2011): "I was 14 and Forest had a game that night. The boss took me into the dressing room and stood me in front of Terry Curran, who was popular and a bit of a star. Cloughie said 'Terry, do you know who this is?' and Terry looked at me and said 'no.' The boss said 'this is the lad who is going to take your shirt off you in a couple of years.'

"He brought me in again afterwards and the boss said 'Terry, you did OK tonight' and then he turned to me and said 'are you better than him son?' I shrugged my shoulders and said 'yeah, I think so' and Cloughie laughed and said 'see, there you go Terry. I told you he'll take your place.'"


 

 

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