Legend English Manager:Brian Clough

"More an alchemist than a manager, he took the base metals of the likes of John McGovern and Larry Loyd and turn them into champions. Winner of the league at Derby and two European Cups at Forest, he transformed the ordinary with his extraordinary genius."
The Independent - The Ten Best Managers in British Football

Only in British football? If you ask my opinion, he is one of the best ten managers in the world, not only in Britain. Just lets take a look at todays managers, how many of them took a team from lower divisions, and turned them into a European champions? Can you think of a manager nowadays, who will manage a team in second division, then make them to promote first division, then make them league champions, then make them European champions? If you cant think, then just read the article. That manager is Brian Clough.

Brian Clough
                           Brian Clough

He was charismatic, cynic, outspoken, Mourinho's updated version! Although he was one of the greatest managers in England, he never managed the England national team. Why? Here is the answer of Brian Clough: "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." Sure outspoken, isnt he?

He was born in March 1935, in Middlesbrough, as the sixth of nine children of the family. He was accepting that Middlesbrough wasnt the nicest place in the world but he was saying ''But to me it was heaven". He left school in 1950 without any qualifications, and started his player career as a striker. He played for Billingham Synthonia between 1953 and 1955. After doing his National Service, Clough started to play for his hometown club Middlesbrough. He scored 197 goals in 213 league matches for his team. Then he signed for Sunderland and scored 54 goals in 61 league games. But his playing career ended when he was only 27, cause of a knee injury during a match against Bury. Two years later he tried to return, but he could play only 3 games more, then announced his retirement.

Clough had a successful, but interesting management career

Clough became a manager starting at Hartlepools United with Peter Taylor as his assistant manager from October 1965. At the age of 30, Clough was then the youngest manager in the league. In 1967, after guiding Hartlepools to a finish of 8th in Division 4, they had problems with the chairman, who tried to sack them. So Clough and Taylor joined Derby Country as manager and assistant manager. At those times, Derby was outside the top flight for long years.

In his first year Clough couldnt help Derby to get a better position in the league. But next season, he started to sign several new players like John O'Hare, Alan Hinton and Les Green. He resigned with 11 players, fired the club secretary, the groundsman and even two tea ladies cause he saw them laughing after a Derby defeat.
With the additional signings of Dave Mackay in July 1968 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. Derby's first season back in Division One saw them finish 4th, 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.

During 1971-1972 season, Derby was in a close race with Leeds United and Liverpool for the title. Leading the table by one point having played their last match, a 1–0 win over Liverpool, Peter Taylor took his players on holiday to Majorca, where they learned that both title rivals had failed to win their final matches, meaning that Derby became champions for the first time in their then 88-year history. Clough was not with the squad at the time, instead holidaying in the Isles of Scilly with his family and parents when he received the news.

In middle 1972, Clough refused to on a pre-season tour with his team unless he could take his family with him. Derby Chairman Sam Langson told him that it was a working trip not a holiday trip, so Clough didnt go for the pre-season tour and stayed with his family. Instead of him, Taylor went with the team.
In 1972, Clough and Taylor signed David Nish from Leicester City with a record transfer fee without consulting the board.  So they got warned by the board and told that they are not allowed to sign players on their own. In 1972 Clough also attacked some Derby fans, blaming them that they support the team only when they win, not when they loose. Clough attacked the clubs board directors too.

Clough and Taylor
Clough and his best friend Taylor

Derby finished the league in 7th position that season., but reached semi finals of  the European Cup. They knocked up by Juventus, Clough blamed Juventus team with being cheaters.
On 5 August 1973, Clough wrote an article in the Sunday Express which savaged Leeds United's disciplinary record, stating that Don Revie should be fined and Leeds relegated to Division 2. Days afterwards, Clough was charged with bringing the game into disrepute, but he was cleared after he had resigned from Derby. In September 1973, Clough travelled to Upton Park and made a £400,000 bid for Bobby Moore, a player he admired, and Trevor Brooking. But Clough never told the Derby board about the bid. Derby Chairman Langson found out about he bid after four months, he wanted to sack Taylor and Clough, but couldnt get the support that was needed to do so cause of the 1-0 victory against Manchester United in Old Trafford.

In 1973, Clough and Taylor demanded the resignation of the board, but instead of that they had to be the ones who resigned from the club in October 1973. That day, Clough appeared on a TV show and attacked footboll directors.

After that Clough and Taylor signed Brighton & Hove Albion, a Division 3 club, but could win only 12 of 32 games. Only 8 months before he was managing a team playing against Juventus in European Cup semi finals, he was now manaing a team which was struggling in Division 3.

Clough's 44 day long Leeds United adventure

Clough managed Brighton & Hove Albion less than a year. In 1974, Leeds United manager Don Reive left the club to become manager of England. Brian Clough became the new manager of Leeds United, but this time his long time friend and assistent Taylor did not join him.

The Damned United
                           ''The Damned United''-Movie about Clough's
                         44 days at Leeds-Micheal Sheen as Clough''

Media and fans were surprised with Cloughs move to Leeds, cause he was knows with his criticisms about Leeds United, Don Reive and his tactics. He had problems with star players like Johnny Giles, Norman Hunter and Billy Bremner. He could win only 1 match from six games and became Leeds United's least successful permanent manager. In September 1974, he was sacked by Leeds board.

Nottingham Forest-From down to top

Clough signed with Nottingham Forest in 1975. Clough's first game was against Tottenham in F.A. Cup, and Nottingham Forest won the match 1-0 with the goal of Neil Martin. That season Nottingham finished Second Division on 8th position.
In 1976, at the begining of the new season, Peter Taylor joined Clough's Nottingham Forest. Two friends started to work together again. That season Notthingam Forest finished 3rd and won promotion to Division One.This made Clough the first manager since Herbert Chapman to win the English League Championship with two different clubs.
In February 1979 Clough signed the 24-year-old Birmingham City F.C. striker Trevor Francis - Britain's first £1 million footballer—although Clough insisted that the fee was actually £999,999 and tax brought it over the £1 million mark.
That season they finished the league as runners-up to Liverpool, but won the European Cup with a 1-0 victory against Malmö FF in the final. One year later, in 1980, Clough's Nottingham Forest again won the European Cup, beating Hamburger SV in the final.

Trevor Francis scores for Nottingham in European Cup final match
Forest-Malmö match, European Cup Final 1979

Clough's team made a record breaking unbeaten run between 26 November 1977-9 December 1978. The team went undefeated for 42 league games (but a month before Clough's death in 2004, Arsenal broke the record 49 league games without defeat).
With Nottingham Forest, Clough won 9 trophies. He won the European Cup twice, won the European Super cup once in 1980, won the League Cup for 4 times and became champions in First Division and Charity Shield in 1978.

John Robertson
Forest players celebrating the victory

Clough's relationship with Peter Taylor, his friend and long-time assistant at Derby, Brighton and Forest, was damaged permanently in May 1983 over the transfer of John Robertson. The two fell out when Taylor, who had retired in May 1982 but then become manager of Derby six months later, signed the Forest winger without telling Clough beforehand. Robertson's transfer was contested, with the fee set by a tribunal, although Robertson was injured soon after joining Derby and never found his form. The rift had not been repaired by the time Taylor died in October 1990, but Clough and his family attended Taylor's funeral. When the assistant coach at Forest telephoned Clough to inform him of Taylor's death, he did not say anything and put the phone down. He cried heavily after this and his bad feeling over the unreconciled rift increased Clough's already heavy drinking. Clough was never as successful a manager without Peter Taylor.

Brian Clough

Retirement and death of a legend

He retired as manager of Nottingham Forest in May 1993. He spent his retirement years with fight against his alcoholism, which was a problem for him since 1970s. In 2002 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 recognition of his huge impact as a manager.
After 30 years of heavy drinking, Brian Clough died cause of stomach cancer in 2004 at the age of 69.

Brian Clough Statue
     Brian Clough Statue

After a long process of fund-raising, his home town of Middlesbrough commissioned a statue of Clough, that was unveiled on 16 May 2007.[32] Although there was a movement to erect a statue in Grove Hill, his birthplace, the site chosen was Albert Park, Middlesbrough through which he usually walked on his way from home to Ayresome Park, Middlesbrough's former stadium.
Derby Country and Nottingham Forest fans will never forget him...

You can read about the movie ''The Damned United'' by clicking here.

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