Brian Clough

Brian Clough
Clough as Nottingham Forest manager in 1980
Personal information
Full name Brian Howard Clough
Date of birth (1935-03-21)21 March 1935
Place of birth Middlesbrough, England
Date of death 20 September 2004(2004-09-20) (aged 69)
Place of death Derby, England
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Playing position Striker
Youth career
1951–1953 Middlesbrough
1953–1955 Billingham Synthonia
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1955–1961 Middlesbrough 213 (197)
1961–1964 Sunderland 61 (54)
Total 274 (251)
National team
1957–1958 England U23 3 (1)
1957 England B 1 (1)
1959 England 2 (0)
Teams managed
1965–1967 Hartlepools United
1967–1973 Derby County
1973–1974 Brighton & Hove Albion
1974 Leeds United
1975–1993 Nottingham Forest
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Brian Howard Clough, OBE[1] (/klʌf/ KLUF; 21 March 1935 – 20 September 2004) was an English football player and manager. As a player he was a prolific goal scorer whose career was shortened by a serious injury. As a manager, Clough's name is closely associated with that of Peter Taylor, who served as his assistant manager at various clubs in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. They achieved great successes with Derby County and Nottingham Forest. Clough is also remembered for doing frequent radio and television interviews in which he made controversial remarks about players, other managers, and the overall state of the game.

As a striker, Clough was a prolific goalscorer with Middlesbrough and Sunderland, scoring 251 league goals from 274 starts, making him the third most prolific scorer in the league, with a conversion rate of 91.61%. He also won two England caps, both in 1959. Clough retired from playing at the age of 29, after sustaining anterior cruciate ligament damage. He remains one of the Football League's highest goalscorers.

In 1965, Clough took the manager's job at Fourth Division Hartlepools United and appointed Peter Taylor as his assistant, the start of an enduring partnership that would bring them success at several clubs over the next two decades. In 1967, the duo moved on to Second Division Derby County. In 1968–69, Derby were promoted as Second Division champions. Three years later, Derby were crowned champions of England for the first time in the club's history. In 1973, they reached the semi-finals of the European Cup. However, by this point, Clough's relationship with chairman Sam Longson had deteriorated, and he and Taylor resigned.

This was followed by an eight-month spell in charge of Third Division Brighton & Hove Albion, before Clough (without Taylor) returned north in the summer of 1974 to become manager of Leeds United. This was widely regarded as a surprise appointment, given his previous outspoken criticism of the Leeds players and their manager Don Revie. He was sacked after just 44 days in the job.

Within months, Clough had joined Second Division Nottingham Forest, and he was re-united with Taylor in 1976. In 1977, Forest were promoted to the top flight and the following season won the league title (the first in the club's history), making Clough one of only four managers to have won the English league with two different clubs. Forest also won two consecutive European Cups (in 1979 and 1980) and two League Cups (1978 and 1979), before Taylor retired in 1982. Clough stayed on as Forest manager for another decade and won two more League Cups (1989 and 1990) and reached the FA Cup final in 1991, but could not emulate his earlier successes. Forest were relegated from the Premier League in 1993, after which Clough retired from football.

Charismatic, outspoken and often controversial, Clough is considered one of the great managers of the English game. His achievements with Derby and Forest, two struggling provincial clubs with little prior history of success, are rated amongst the greatest in football history.[2] His teams were also noted for playing attractive football and for their good sportsmanship.[3][4] Despite applying several times and being a popular choice for the job, he was never appointed England manager, and has been dubbed the "greatest manager England never had".[5]

In January 2017, Clough was named among the 10 greatest coaches since the foundation of UEFA in 1954.[6]


Born at 11 Valley Road, an interwar council house in Grove Hill, Middlesbrough, North Riding of Yorkshire,[7] Brian Clough was the sixth of nine children of a local sweet shop worker, later sugar boiler and then manager. The eldest, Elizabeth, died in 1927 of septicaemia at the age of four. When talking of his childhood he said he "adored it in all its aspects. If anyone should be grateful for their upbringing, for their mam and dad, I'm that person. I was the kid who came from a little part of paradise." On his upbringing in Middlesbrough, Clough claimed that it was not the most well-appointed place in the world, "But to me it was heaven". "Everything I have done, everything I've achieved, everything that I can think of that has directed and affected my life – apart from the drink – stemmed from my childhood.[8] Maybe it was the constant sight of Mam, with eight children to look after, working from morning until night, working harder than you or I have ever worked."

In 1946, Clough failed his Eleven-plus examination and attended Marton Grove Secondary Modern School.[9] He later admitted in his autobiography that he had neglected his lessons in favour of sport, although at school he became head boy. Clough stated in his autobiography 'Walking on Water' that cricket, rather than football, was his first love as a youngster, and that he would have far rather scored a test century at Lord's than a hat-trick at Wembley. Clough left school in 1950 without any qualifications, to work at ICI[10] and did his national service in the RAF Regiment between 1953 and 1955.[11]

Playing career

Clough played for Billingham Synthonia before his national service in the RAF between 1953 and 1955. Following this, he became a prolific striker for his home town club Middlesbrough scoring 204 goals in 222 league matches for Boro,[12] including 40 or more goals in four consecutive seasons. However Clough also regularly submitted transfer requests and had a tense relationship with some of his fellow players. He was especially irked by Boro's leaky defence, which conceded goals as regularly as he scored them. After a 6–6 draw against Charlton Athletic, Clough sarcastically asked his teammates how many goals they would have to score in order to win a match.[13] He also publicly accused some of his teammates of betting against the team and deliberately letting in goals.[14] While at Middlesbrough, Clough became acquainted with goalkeeper Peter Taylor, with whom he would later form a successful managerial partnership at various clubs. Clough played twice for the England national football team, against Wales on 17 October 1959 and Sweden on 28 October 1959, without scoring.

In July 1961, one of Clough's transfer requests was finally accepted and he moved to Boro's local rivals Sunderland for £55,000. With Sunderland, Clough scored a total of 63 goals in 74 matches.[12] In the 1962–63 season, Clough had scored 24 league goals by December as Sunderland pushed for promotion. In a match against Bury at Roker Park on 26 December 1962, in icy conditions and torrential rain, Clough was put through on goal and collided with goalkeeper, Chris Harker. Clough tore the medial and cruciate ligaments in his knee, an injury which in that era usually ended a player's career. He returned two years later, but could manage only three games and then retired from playing at the age of 29.

Clough's manager at Sunderland was Alan Brown, a disciplinarian credited as a big influence on Clough. Brown inspired fear, imposed a strict code of conduct and would fine players for minor transgressions. He once upbraided Clough for talking to a friend during a training session. Such traits would later be adopted by Clough himself when he became a manager.[15]

Of the players that have scored over 200 goals in the English leagues, Clough has the highest goals-per-game ratio of 0.916,[16] and has the second highest ratio in the list that includes the Scottish leagues.

Management career

Hartlepools United

After a short spell coaching the Sunderland youth team, in October 1965, Clough was offered the manager's job at Hartlepools United (the club's name was changed in 1968 to Hartlepool United). He accepted and immediately asked Peter Taylor (then managing non-league Burton Albion) to join him as his assistant. At the age of 30, Clough was then the youngest manager in the league. Hartlepools were perennial strugglers and had repeatedly had to apply for re-election to the Football League, having finished in the bottom two of the Fourth Division five times in the past six seasons. Such was the club's perilous financial state, Clough had to tour local pubs raising money to keep the club afloat and even applied for a coach driver's licence to drive the team to away matches.

On 15 November 1966, the then chairman, Ernest Ord, who was known for playing mind games with managers, sacked both Clough and Taylor. However, after their dismissals, there was a boardroom coup which saw Ord ousted as chairman and Clough and Taylor reinstated. Hartlepools' fortunes gradually improved and the club finished in a creditable eighth place in 1966–67. Their Hartlepools team featured two players who would play for Clough and Taylor at other clubs in the future: Les Green, who would be goalkeeper in Derby's promotion-winning side of 1969, and a 16-year-old John McGovern, who would later be signed by Clough at Derby County, Leeds United and Nottingham Forest, winning several major trophies in the process. In May 1967, the duo then joined Second Division side Derby County as manager and assistant manager. In the following season, Hartlepools were promoted for the first time in their history.

Derby County

Derby County had been rooted in the Second Division for a decade before Clough's arrival, and had been outside the top flight for a further five years, their only major trophy being the FA Cup in 1946.

In Clough's first season, the club finished one place lower than in the previous season, but he had started to lay the foundations for his future success by signing several new players, amongst them Roy McFarland, John O'Hare, John McGovern, Alan Hinton and Les Green. Of the inherited squad, 11 players departed and only four were retained: Kevin Hector, Alan Durban, Ron Webster and Colin Boulton. Clough also sacked the club secretary, the groundsman and the chief scout, along with two tea ladies he caught laughing after a Derby defeat.[17] With the additional signings of Dave Mackay and Willie Carlin in 1968, Clough and Taylor's management led Derby to become champions of Division Two, establishing the club record of 22 matches without defeat on the way.

Clough was universally seen as a hard but fair manager, who insisted on clean play from his players and brooked no stupid questions from the press. He was famous for insisting on being called 'Mr Clough' and earned great respect from his peers for his ability to turn a game to his and his team's advantage. Derby's first season back in Division One saw them finish fourth, their best league finish for over 20 years, but, due to financial irregularities, the club was banned from Europe the following season and fined £10,000.

In 1970–71, the club finished ninth. In February 1971, Clough bolstered his squad by signing Colin Todd for a British record £175,000 on the same day Clough had denied that Derby were about to buy Todd. In the 1971–72 season, after tussling with Liverpool, Leeds United and Manchester City for the title, Derby finally topped the league table by one point after playing their final match, a 1–0 win over Liverpool. Manchester City did temporarily top the league after playing their last match, but had no chance of actually winning the title due to outstanding fixtures between the clubs directly below them. Both Liverpool and Leeds United had a chance to overtake Derby by winning their final matches (played a week later due to fixture congestion) but Leeds lost to Wolves and Liverpool drew at Arsenal, meaning Derby were league champions for the first time in their 88-year history. Peter Taylor took the players on holiday to Majorca. Clough was not with the squad at the time, instead holidaying in the Isles of Scilly with his family and elderly parents when he received the news.

Feud with the Derby County board of directors

In August 1972, Clough refused to go on an arranged pre-season tour of the Netherlands and West Germany unless he could take his family with him. Derby chairman Sam Longson told him that it was a working trip and not a holiday, so Clough put Taylor in charge of the tour instead and refused to go. The club did not contest the FA Charity Shield that year.

On 24 August 1972, Clough and Taylor signed David Nish from Leicester City, for a then-record transfer fee of £225,000, without consulting the Derby board.[18] Afterwards, Jack Kirkland, a director, warned Clough and Taylor there would be no more expensive buys like Nish. Then, on 3 September 1972, after the team had defeated Liverpool 2–1 at the Baseball Ground, Clough criticised the Derby County fans, stating that "They started chanting only near the end when we were a goal in front. I want to hear them when we are losing. They are a disgraceful lot". In the same interview, Clough also verbally attacked the club's board of directors for their policies. The following day, board chairman Sam Longson apologised to the fans and dissociated himself from Clough's remarks.

That season, Derby failed to retain their title, finishing seventh, but reached the semi-finals of the European Cup in April 1973, when they were knocked out by Juventus 3–1 on aggregate.[19] After the game, Clough emerged from the dressing room and told the expectant Italian reporters "No cheating bastards do I talk to. I will not talk to any cheating bastards"[20] and then questioned the Italian nation's courage in the Second World War.[21] It was these sorts of frequent, outspoken comments – particularly against football's establishment, such as the FA and club directors, and figures in the game such as Sir Matt Busby, Alan Hardaker, Alf Ramsey, Don Revie and Len Shipman, along with players such as Billy Bremner, Norman Hunter and Peter Lorimer – combined with Clough's increased media profile, that eventually led to his falling out with the Rams' chairman, Sam Longson, and the Derby County board of directors.

On 5 August 1973, Clough put his name to an article in the Sunday Express which savaged Leeds United's disciplinary record, stating that Don Revie should be fined for encouraging his players in their unsporting behaviour and Leeds relegated to the Second Division. Clough also said that "The men who run football have missed the most marvellous chance of cleaning up the game in one swoop" and went on to say "The trouble with football's disciplinary system is that those who sat in judgement being officials of other clubs might well have a vested interest."

Days afterwards, Clough was charged with bringing the game into disrepute, but he was cleared after he had later resigned from Derby. In September 1973, Clough travelled to West Ham United's Upton Park and made a £400,000 bid for Bobby Moore, a player he admired, and Trevor Brooking. West Ham manager Ron Greenwood told Clough that neither was available but that he would pass his offer onto the board of directors. Clough never told either his chairman, secretary or other board members at Derby about the bid. Longson found out four months later during a chance conversation with Eddie Chapman, West Ham's secretary at the time, but by then Clough was no longer the Derby County manager.

On 11 October 1973, Longson called for both Clough's and Taylor's sackings at a board meeting, but did not gain the support that was needed to do so. Two days later, following a 1–0 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford, Jack Kirkland demanded to know what Taylor's role within the club was. Kirkland instructed Taylor to meet him at the ground two days later to explain. On the same day, Longson accused Clough of making a V-sign at Sir Matt Busby, and demanded that he apologise. Clough refused to do so, as he vehemently denied making the V-sign in the first place.

In the week before this incident, Longson had demanded that Clough stop writing newspaper articles and making TV appearances, and had the grille pulled down on the bar to stop both Clough and Taylor drinking.

Resignation from Derby County

In April 1972, four weeks before taking Derby to the league title, Clough and Taylor had briefly resigned for a few hours to manage Coventry City before changing their minds after getting more money from Longson. This time, it would be final. Both Clough and Taylor resigned on 15 October 1973, to widespread uproar from Rams fans, who demanded the board's resignation along with Clough and Taylor's reinstatement at the following home game against Leicester City five days later. That evening, Clough appeared on Parkinson and attacked football directors for their apparent lack of knowledge of football.

Earlier that week, Clough, as a television pundit, memorably called Poland goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski a "circus clown in gloves" before the crucial World Cup qualifier with England at Wembley.[22] The match, which England had to win to advance, ended 1–1, and Tomaszewski made several great saves, some of them unconventionally. When commentator Brian Moore said "You call him a clown, Brian, but he saved his side", Clough replied "Would you want him in your team every week?", to which there was no answer.

The six years at Derby County had brought Clough to the attention of the wider football world. According to James Lawton, "Derby was the wild making of Brian Clough. He went there a young and urgent manager who had done impressive work deep in his own little corner of the world at Hartlepools. He left surrounded by fascination and great celebrity: abrasive, infuriating, but plugged, immovably, into a vein of the nation."[23]

Derby won the league title again the following season under Clough's successor, Dave Mackay, but failed to remain competitive with the leading First Division clubs during the second half of the 1970s, and was relegated to the Second Division in 1980. In 1984, having narrowly avoided going out of business, they were relegated to the Third Division; but by 1987 they were back in the First.

Brighton & Hove Albion

Such was the loyalty to Clough that, along with himself and Taylor, scouts and backroom staff completed the walk out, following the pair for their brief spell with Brighton & Hove Albion.[24] He proved less successful on the south coast than with his previous club, winning only 12 of his 32 games in charge of the Division Three side. Whereas eight months earlier Clough was managing a team playing Juventus in the European Cup, he was now managing a club who, just after his appointment as manager, lost to non-league Walton & Hersham 4–0 at home in an FA Cup replay. On 1 December 1973, his side lost 8–2 at home to Bristol Rovers. Albion eventually finished in 19th place that season.

Leeds United

Clough left Brighton less than a year after his appointment, in July 1974, to become manager of Leeds United, following Don Revie's departure to become manager of England, though this time Taylor did not join him. Clough's move was very surprising given his previous outspoken criticism of both Revie, for whom Clough made no secret of his deep disdain, and the successful Leeds team's playing style, which Clough had publicly branded "dirty" and "cheating".[25] Furthermore, he had called for Leeds to be demoted to the Second Division as a punishment for their poor disciplinary record.

He lasted in the job only 44 days before he was sacked by the Leeds directors on 12 September 1974, after alienating many of Leeds's star players, notably Johnny Giles, Norman Hunter and Billy Bremner.[26] During one of the first training sessions he took for Leeds United, he reportedly said "You can all throw your medals in the bin because they were not won fairly."[27] Until Darko Milanic's winless six games in 2014,[28] he had the unenviable record of being Leeds United's least successful permanent manager, winning only one match from six games. Leeds were fourth from bottom in 19th position with only four points from a possible 12, their worst start since their last relegation campaign 15 years earlier. His pay-off was estimated at £98,000, a huge amount at the time.[29]

Clough discussed his short reign at Elland Road with Yorkshire Television's Calendar.[30]

Nottingham Forest

Brian Clough replaced Allan Brown as manager of Nottingham Forest on 6 January 1975 twelve weeks after the end of his 44-day tenure as manager of Leeds United.[31] Clough brought Jimmy Gordon to be his club trainer as Gordon had been for him at Derby County and Leeds United.[32] Scottish centre-forward Neil Martin scored the only goal beating Tottenham Hotspur in Clough's FA Cup third round replay first game in charge.[33]

Ian Bowyer was already at Forest and had won domestic and European trophies with Manchester City. Clough signed Scots duo John McGovern and John O'Hare in February who both were part of Clough's Derby County 1971–72 Football League title win. He then brought John Robertson and Martin O'Neill back into the fold after they had requested transfers under Brown.[34] Viv Anderson had previously debuted for the first team and became a regular under Clough.[35] The young Tony Woodcock was at Forest but was then unrated by Clough and was to be loaned to Lincoln City.[36] Forest were 13th in English football's second tier when Clough joined. They finished that season 16th. Forest signed Frank Clark in July of that close season on a free transfer.[37] The season after Forest finished eighth in Clough's 1975–76 Football League first full season in charge.[31] It was in this season Clough made McGovern long standing club captain, taking over from a game in which Bob Chapman and Liam O'Kane were both injured.[38]

On 16 July 1976 Peter Taylor rejoined Clough, becoming his Assistant Manager, which he had been when winning the league at Derby.[31] Taylor included being the club's talent spotter in his role. After assessing the players Taylor told Clough "that was a feat by you to finish eighth in the Second Division because some of them are only Third Division players".[39] Taylor berated John Robertson for allowing himself to become overweight and disillusioned. He got Robertson on a diet and training regime that would help him become a European Cup winner.[40] Taylor turned Woodcock from a reserve midfielder into a 42 cap England striker.[41] In September 1976 he bought striker Peter Withe to Forest for £43,000, selling him to Newcastle United for £250,000 two years later.[42] Withe was replaced in the starting team by Garry Birtles who Taylor had scouted playing for non-league Long Eaton United. Birtles also went on to represent England.[43] In October 1976 Brian Clough acting on Peter Taylor's advice signed Larry Lloyd for £60,000 after an initial loan period.

Together Clough and Taylor took Forest to new heights. The first trophy of the Clough and Taylor reign was the 1976–77 Anglo-Scottish Cup. Forest beat Orient 5–1 on aggregate in the two-legged final played in December 1976.[31] Clough valued winning a derided trophy as the club's first silverware since 1959. He said, "Those who said it was a nothing trophy were absolutely crackers. We'd won something, and it made all the difference."[44]

On 7 May Alan Moore's own goal meant Forest in their last league game of the season beat Millwall 1–0 at the City Ground.[45] This kept Forest in the third promotion spot in the league table and dependent on Bolton Wanderers dropping points in three games in hand in the fight for third place.[46] On 14 May Kenny Hibbitt's goal from his rehearsed free kick routine with Willie Carr gave Wolves a 1–0 win at Bolton.[38][47] Bolton's defeat reached the Forest team mid-air en route to an end of season break in Mallorca.[38] Forest's third place promotion from the Second Division was the fifth-lowest points tally of any promoted team in history, 52[31][34] (two points for a win in England until 1981).

Taylor secretly followed Kenny Burns and concluded Burns's reputation as a hard drinker and gambler was exaggerated. Taylor sanctioned his £150,000 July signing. Burns become FWA Footballer of the Year in 1977–78 after being moved from centre-forward to centre-back.[48][49] Forest started their return to the top league campaign with a 3–1 win at Everton. Three further wins in league and cup followed without conceding a goal. Then came five early September goals conceded in losing 3–0 at Arsenal and beating Wolves 3–2 at home.[50] Peter Shilton then signed for a record fee for a goalkeeper of £325,000. Taylor reasoned: "Shilton wins you matches."[51] 20 year old John Middleton was first team goalkeeper pre-Shilton. Middleton later in the month went in part exchange with £25,000 to Derby County for Archie Gemmill transferring to Forest.[52] Gemmill was another Scottish former 1972 Derby title winner.[48][53]

Forest lost only three of their first 16 league games, the last of which was at Leeds United on 19 November 1977. They lost only one further game all season, an 11 March FA Cup sixth round defeat at West Bromwich Albion.[50] Forest won the 1977–78 Football League seven-points ahead of runners-up Liverpool. Forest became one of the few teams (and the most recent team to date) to win the First Division title the season after winning promotion from the Second Division.[nb 1] This made Clough the third of four managers to win the English league championship with two different clubs.[notes 1] Forest conceded just 24 goals in 42 league games.[51] They beat Liverpool 1–0 in the 1978 Football League Cup Final replay, despite cup-tied Shilton, Gemmill and December signing David Needham not playing.[54] Chris Woods chalked up two clean sheets in the final covering Shilton's league cup absence. McGovern missed the replay through injury, and Burns lifted the trophy as the stand-in captain. Robertson's penalty was the only goal of the game.[44][55]

Forest started season 1978–79 by beating Ipswich Town 5–0 for an FA Community Shield record win.[31] In the 1978–79 European Cup they were drawn to play the trophy winners of the two previous seasons, Liverpool. Home goals by Birtles and Colin Barrett put Forest through 2–0 on aggregate.[56] On 9 December 1978 Liverpool ended Forest's 42 match unbeaten league run dating back to the November the year before.[31] The unbeaten run was the equivalent of a whole season, surpassing the previous record of 35 games held by Burnley in 1920–21.[57] The record stood until surpassed by Arsenal in August 2004, a month before Clough's death. Arsenal played 49 league games without defeat.[58]

In February 1979 Taylor authorised the English game's first £1 million transfer, signing Trevor Francis from Birmingham City.[59] In the April European Cup semi final home first leg against 1. FC Köln Forest were two goals behind after 20 minutes. Forest scored three to edge ahead, but Köln equalised. Thus the German side started the second leg ahead on the away goals rule. Ian Bowyer's goal, the only one of the game, put Forest through. Günter Netzer asked afterwards, "Who is this McGovern? I have never heard of him, yet he ran the game." Forest beat Malmö 1–0 in Munich's Olympiastadion in the 1979 European Cup Final. Francis on his European debut scored with a back post header from Robertson's cross. In addition, Forest beat Southampton in the final 3–2 to retain the League Cup. Birtles scored twice, and Woodcock once. Forest finished second in the 1978–79 Football League, eight points behind Liverpool.

Forest declined to play in the home and away 1979 Intercontinental Cup against Paraguay's Club Olimpia. Forest beat F.C. Barcelona 2–1 on aggregate in the 1979 European Super Cup in January & February 1980. Charlie George scored the only goal in the home first leg. Burns scored an equaliser in the return in Spain.[60] In the 1979–80 Football League Cup Forest reached a third successive final. A defensive mix up between Needham and Shilton let Wolves' Andy Gray tap in to an empty net. Forest missed numerous scoring chances and lost 1–0.[61] In the 1979–80 European Cup quarter final Forest won 3–1 at Dinamo Berlin to overturn a 1–0 home defeat. In the semi final they beat AFC Ajax 2–1 on aggregate. They beat Hamburg 1–0 in the 1980 European Cup Final at Madrid's Santiago Bernabéu Stadium to retain the trophy. Robertson scored after exchanging passes with Birtles.[62] Forest finished fifth in the 1979–80 Football League.

In the 1980–81 European Cup first round Forest lost 2–0 on aggregate, losing 1–0 both at home and away to CSKA Sofia.[63] McGovern subsequently said the double defeat by CSKA affected the team's self-confidence in that they had lost out to modestly talented opponents.[38] Forest lost the 1980 European Super Cup on away goals after a 2–2 aggregate draw against Valencia C.F., with Bowyer scoring both Forest goals in the home first leg.[64] On 11 February 1981 Forest lost 1–0 in the 1980 Intercontinental Cup against Uruguayan side, Club Nacional de Football. The match was played for the first time at the neutral venue National Stadium in Tokyo before 62,000 fans.[65]

The league and European Cup winning squad was broken up to capitalize on player sale value. Clough and Taylor both later said this was a mistake.[32] The rebuilt side, comprising youngsters and signings such as Ian Wallace, Raimondo Ponte and Justin Fashanu, did not challenge for trophies. Taylor said in 1982,[66]

"For many weeks now I don't believe I've been doing justice to the partnership and I certainly haven't been doing justice to Nottingham Forest the way I felt. And consequently after a great deal of thought, there was no option. I wanted to take an early retirement. That's exactly what I've done."

Jimmy Gordon retired in the same close season.[32]

Anderlecht beat Forest in the 1983–84 UEFA Cup semi finals in controversial circumstances. Several contentious refereeing decisions went against Forest. Over a decade later it emerged that before the match the referee Guruceta Muro received a £27,000 "loan" from Anderlecht's chairman Constant Vanden Stock.[67] UEFA subsequently in 1997 banned Anderlecht for one year from European competition. Muro died in a car crash in 1987.[68]

Forest beat Sheffield Wednesday on penalties in the Football League Centenary Tournament final in April 1988 after drawing 0–0.[69] Forest finished third in the league in 1988 and made the 1987–88 FA Cup semi finals. Stuart Pearce won the first of his five successive selections for the PFA Team of the Year.

On 18 January 1989 Clough joined the fray of a City Ground pitch invasion by hitting two of his own team's fans when on the pitch. The football authorities responded with a fine and touchline ban for Clough.[70] Forest beat QPR 5–2 in that 1988–89 Football League Cup tie.[71]

Forest beat Everton 4–3 after extra time in the 1989 Full Members Cup final. They came back to beat Luton Town 3–1 in the 1989 Football League Cup Final. Nigel Clough scored two and Neil Webb one. Forest chased a unique cup treble but tragedy struck a week after the League Cup win. Forest and Liverpool met for the second season in a row in the FA Cup semi-finals. The Hillsborough disaster claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans. The match was abandoned after six minutes. When the emotion-laden rescheduled game took place Forest struggled and Liverpool won 3–1. Forest finished third in the First Division for a second successive year. However they were unable to compete in the UEFA Cup. The 1985 post Heysel Stadium Disaster UEFA competition ban on English clubs still had one season to run. Des Walker won the first of his four successive selections for the PFA Team of the Year.

Nigel Jemson scored as Forest beat Oldham Athletic 1–0 to retain the League Cup in 1990. Brian Clough reached his only FA Cup final in 1991. Pearce put Forest ahead after 16 minutes direct from a free kick against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley. Spurs won 2–1 after an extra time own goal by Walker. Roy Keane declared himself fit to play in the final and was selected in preference to Steve Hodge. Keane later admitted he was not fit to play and that was why he had such an insignificant role in the final.[72] English clubs were re-admitted to Europe for the 1990–91 season. English places in the competition were initially limited. 1990 League Cup winners Forest were not included. The only UEFA Cup place that season went to league runners-up Aston Villa.

In the summer of 1991 Millwall's league top scorer Teddy Sheringham set Forest's record signing fee at £2.1 million. In that 1991–92 season Forest beat Southampton 3–2 after extra time in the Full Members Cup Final. Brian McClair's solitary Manchester United goal beat Forest in the 1992 Football League Cup Final. Forest had played in seven domestic cup finals at Wembley in five seasons winning five of the finals. Forest finished eighth in the league that season to earn a place in the new FA Premier League.

Walker transferred in summer 1992 to Sampdoria. On 16 August 1992 Forest beat Liverpool 1–0 at home in the first ever televised live Premier League game. Sheringham scored the only goal against Liverpool. Sheringham transferred a week later to Tottenham. Forest's form slumped meaning Brian Clough's 18-year managerial reign ended in May 1993 with Forest relegated from the inaugural Premier League.[73] The final game of that season was away at Ipswich. Forest lost 2–1 with his son, Nigel, scoring the last goal of Clough's era.[34] Relegation was followed by Keane's £3.75 million British record fee transfer to Manchester United.

Clough was a popular choice to be appointed England manager throughout the 1970s and 1980s. However, it was widely felt that the FA were uneasy about appointing him on account of his numerous outspoken comments about the English football authorities. He was interviewed for the job twice, in 1977 and 1982, but lost out to Ron Greenwood and Bobby Robson respectively. Such was the demand for Clough to be given the job that incumbent manager Robson told then-FA chairman Sir Bert Millichip: 'I'm having a rough time and everybody wants Brian – give the job to him. If he's successful, everybody's happy. If he fails, that's the end of the clamour for Brian Clough to be England manager'."[74]

Clough was still a popular choice to be given the job of England manager before Graham Taylor's appointment in 1990.[75] Clough himself quipped: "I'm sure the England selectors thought, if they took me on and gave me the job, I'd want to run the show. They were shrewd because that's exactly what I would have done."[76] He has been called the "greatest manager England never had."[5]

In 1977 Clough was reportedly interested in the Everton manager's job, but Gordon Lee was appointed instead.

Following Mike England's dismissal as manager of Wales in February 1988, Clough was offered the position as manager of Wales on a part-time basis, something later done with John Toshack. Clough was keen on the chance to become an international manager, but the directors of Nottingham Forest refused to let him split his loyalties.[75] In April 1986, Clough had declared that he intended to spend the rest of his managerial career with Nottingham Forest.[77] In June 1986, Clough was linked with the job of Scotland manager, but the vacancy was filled by Andy Roxburgh (a long-serving member of the Scotland coaching set-up) instead. Clough had also been linked with the Republic of Ireland job the previous year, before it was filled by fellow Englishman Jack Charlton.[78]

Rift with Peter Taylor

Peter Taylor, Clough's friend and long-time assistant at Hartlepools, Derby, Brighton and Forest, retired from football in 1982, bringing to an end their partnership. Several events had strained their friendship in the past: while at Derby, Taylor was riled when he learned that Clough had accepted a pay rise from Sam Longson without telling him; Taylor did not get one. Then, in 1980, Taylor released a book, With Clough, By Taylor, which detailed their partnership, but he had not told Clough that he was writing the book.[79] Six months after retiring, Taylor was appointed Derby County manager. When their teams met in the FA Cup third round on 8 January 1983 at the Baseball Ground, the two managers ignored each other and did not speak. Derby County won the match 2-0.

When Taylor signed John Robertson from Forest without informing Clough on 21 May 1983, it was, according to Robertson, "the straw that broke the camel's back"[80] and the two men would never speak again. 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."[81] 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."[82]

The rift had not been repaired by the time Taylor died in October 1990, but Clough and his family attended Taylor's funeral. According to Taylor's daughter Wendy, Clough was "deeply upset" by Taylor's death and telephoned her when he heard the news.[83] Clough dedicated his autobiography in 1994 to Taylor, and he also paid tribute to him when he was given the freedom of Nottingham, as he did in September 1999 when a bust was unveiled of Clough at the City Ground.

Corruption allegations

In the 1990s, Clough was implicated in the "bungs" scandal which emerged in English football, and which in 1995 cost the Arsenal manager George Graham his job. Under particular scrutiny was his involvement in the transfer of Teddy Sheringham from Nottingham Forest to Tottenham Hotspur in 1992. Then-chairman of Tottenham, Alan Sugar, claimed under oath to have been told by Spurs manager Terry Venables that Clough "liked a bung", an illicit payment made to ensure a transfer deal went through.[84] Sugar sanctioned a cash payment of £58,750, which he believed would be paid to an agent, but instead it was handed over to Ronnie Fenton, Clough's assistant at Forest.[85] Sugar, protected by legal immunity as a court witness, never repeated the allegation out of court during the rest of Clough's life.

Clough was also alleged to have made illegal payments to players and backroom staff in breach of FA rules, something confirmed by former Forest chief scout Alan Hill.[85][86] Clough himself denied the allegations, saying "Asking me what it's like to make money out of transfers is like asking 'What's it like to have VD?' I don't know, I've never had it." Clough was charged with misconduct by the FA, who later dropped the case due to Clough's ill health. Former Premier League chief executive, Rick Parry, who led the inquiry, said: "On the balance of evidence, we felt he [Clough] was guilty of taking bungs. The evidence was pretty strong."[85]

Personal life and family

Clough was a lifelong socialist,[87] often appearing on miners' picket lines, donating large sums to trade union causes, canvassing for his local MP, and being the chairman of the Anti-Nazi League.[88] On two occasions, he was approached by the Labour Party to stand as a parliamentary candidate in general elections, but he declined in order to continue his managerial career in football.[89]

On 4 April 1959, Clough married Barbara Glasgow in Middlesbrough. He later said that meeting Barbara was "the best thing I ever did". They went on to have three children; Simon, born on 15 June 1964, Nigel, born in 1966 and Elizabeth, born on 31 May 1967. Nigel also became a professional footballer and played for his father at Forest in the 1980s and 1990s. He then moved into management and in January 2009 followed in his father's footsteps when he was appointed manager of Derby County.[90]

In 2011, his family and friends contributed memories to a book entitled The Day I Met Brian Clough which also included recollections from fans and journalists.[91] His widow, Barbara, died on 20 July 2013 at the age of 75, nine years after Brian Clough himself died. Her death was revealed to have been the result of a head injury suffered when she fell over in a car park of a hospital where she was being treated for cancer.[92]

A lover of cricket, Clough was good friends with Yorkshire and England cricketer Geoffrey Boycott.

Later life

Much of Clough's retirement was spent concentrating on his fight against alcoholism, ill-health and corruption allegations. His battle with alcoholism dated back to the 1970s and was chronicled in part by Duncan Hamilton in his award-winning book Provided You Don't Kiss Me: 20 Years With Brian Clough.[93][94] He considered applying for the job as manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers on the sacking of Graham Taylor on 13 November 1995. Nothing came of it, however, and Clough's managerial career was over.

In November 1994, Clough caused Controversy over comments he made about the Hillsborough disaster, he wrote in his autobiography: "I will always remain convinced that those Liverpool fans who died were killed by Liverpool people they brought the tragedy on themselves they were drunk, unruly and disorderly." He later reiterated his comments on the Clive Anderson chat show. In 2001, he said: “I now accept the investigations have made me realise I was misinformed. I wasn't trying to be vindictive or unsympathetic, but my opinion has altered over the years. It was never my intention to hurt anyone".[95]

Nottingham Forest honoured him by renaming the City Ground's largest stand, the Executive Stand, the Brian Clough Stand. Clough was made an inaugural inductee of the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002 in recognition of his huge impact as a manager. In 1993, he was awarded the freedom of the city of Nottingham.[96] In 2003, the city of Derby followed suit.[97] He wrote a column for FourFourTwo magazine up until his death.


In January 2003, the 67-year-old Clough underwent a liver transplant; 30 years of heavy drinking had taken its toll and doctors said that Clough would have died within two weeks without a transplant, as his liver was severely damaged. The transplant gave Clough a new lease of life for the next 20 months; he took up light exercise again and appeared happier than he had for many years. Clough died of stomach cancer on 20 September 2004, on Ward 30,[98] in Derby City Hospital, at the age of 69, having been admitted a few days earlier.[98] Such was his popularity, fans of Derby County and Nottingham Forest, usually the fiercest of rivals, mourned together following his death. A memorial service was held at Derby's Pride Park Stadium on 21 October 2004 which was attended by more than 14,000 people. It was originally to have been held at Derby Cathedral, but had to be moved because of demand for tickets.[99]


In August 2005, the stretch of the A52 linking Nottingham and Derby was renamed Brian Clough Way.[100] His widow Barbara expressed her gratitude to Nottingham City Council, saying: "Brian would have been amazed but genuinely appreciative". Since the opening of the Nottingham Express Transit system, tram No. 215 has been named Brian Clough.[101]

After a long process of fund-raising, his home town of Middlesbrough commissioned a statue of Clough, which was unveiled on 16 May 2007.[102] Although there was a movement to erect a statue in his birthplace at Grove Hill, the site chosen was the town's Albert Park through which he usually walked on his way from home to Ayresome Park, Middlesbrough's former stadium.[103]

In August 2000, a tribute website was set up in honour of Clough with the backing of his family. This helped to raise money for a statue of Clough, which was erected in Nottingham's Old Market Square on 6 November 2008.[104] In December 2006, the Brian Clough Statue Fund in Nottingham announced it had raised £69,000 in just 18 months for a statue of Clough in the city. The winning statue was selected from a choice of three designs in January 2008. The site chosen for the statue was at the junction of King Street and Queen Street in the centre of Nottingham. On 6 November 2008, the statue was unveiled by Mr Clough's widow Barbara in front of a crowd of more than five thousand people.[105] [106] The tribute website is still attracting visitors from around the world and was praised by Barbara Clough on its tenth anniversary in 2010. Mrs Clough said she hoped it would continue to be a success for many years. "Brian Clough Tribute Website".  [107] In 2007/08, a redevelopment scheme building new houses on the old Middlesbrough General Hospital site named roads after famous former Middlesbrough F.C. players including Willie Maddren, George Camsell and Clough.

Derby County and Nottingham Forest competed for the inaugural Brian Clough Trophy at Pride Park Stadium on 31 July 2007.[108] In future, any league, cup or friendly game played between Derby and Forest will automatically become a Brian Clough Trophy game. Proceeds from the games will go to charities in the East Midlands.[109][110]

In April 2009, Derby County announced that they would erect a statue of Clough and Peter Taylor at Pride Park, with sculptor Andy Edwards, who previously produced the Steve Bloomer bust already in the stadium, commissioned for the statue.[111] The Brian Clough and Peter Taylor Monument was officially unveiled in a family service on 27 August 2010 and publicly on 28 August 2010.[112]

The Damned United

The story of his short spell in charge of Leeds United was the subject of a novel by David Peace, titled The Damned Utd. The publishers of the novel were successfully sued by Irish midfielder and former Leeds player Johnny Giles. He wrote: "Many of the things Peace talks about in the book never happened and, for that reason, I felt it necessary to go to the courts to establish that this was fiction based on fact and nothing more."

The Clough family have expressed disappointment at the publication of the book.[113] It includes a scene with Clough in the Elland Road car park burning Don Revie's old desk, for which there is no factual source. The book was adapted into a film called The Damned United, starring Michael Sheen and released in 2009.[114] The Clough family declined to co-operate with the film, despite efforts by the film-makers to lighten the dark tone of the novel.[114]

Career statistics

As a player

Club[115] Season League FA Cup League Cup Total
Middlesbrough 1955–56 Second Division 930093
1956–57 Second Division 4138324440
1957–58 Second Division 4040224242
1958–59 Second Division 4243104343
1959–60 Second Division 4139114240
1960–61 Second Division 403410124236
Total 2131978512222204
Sunderland 1961–62 Second Division 342940554334
1962–63 Second Division 242400442828
1963–64 Second Division 00000000
1964–65 First Division 31000031
Total 615440997463
Career total 2742511251011296267

As a manager

Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record
Hartlepools United 29 October 1965 5 June 1967 85 37 14 34 043.5
Derby County 5 June 1967 15 October 1973 332 161 78 93 048.5
Brighton & Hove Albion 1 November 1973 20 July 1974 34 12 9 13 035.3
Leeds United 30 July 1974 12 September 1974 8 1 4 3 012.5
Nottingham Forest 3 January 1975 8 May 1993 994 464 263 267 046.7
Total[115] 1,453 675 368 410 046.5


As a manager

Derby County[116]

Nottingham Forest[117]


See also


  1. The others were Liverpool in 1906, Everton in 1932, Tottenham Hotspur in 1951 and Ipswich Town in 1962. Forest remain the only club to achieve this feat having not been promoted as champions.


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