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Ten Things You Should Know About ...Brian Clough

Updated on January 4, 2014

Without question one of football’s greatest ever managers, Brian Clough was as charismatic as he was successful. Never afraid to speak his mind, Clough’s achievements stand comparison with any.

The one and only Brian Clough

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Whether you loved him or loathed him no one can deny that there was only one Brian Clough.

A true giant of football he dominated the backpages for decades. He was a dream for headline writers and hacks who brought Clough's unique style to a voracious public. So surely you know everything that there is to know about him? Think again.

Here's ten things that you should know about Brian Clough:

#1. He was born Brian Howard Clough on 21 March 1935 in Valley Road, Middlesbrough to parents Sarah and Joseph.

He died in Derby on 20 September 2004.

#2.One could never accuse Brian Clough of false modesty. “Ah yes, Frank Sinatra. He met me once y’know?” Little wonder that even Clough described his O.B.E. as standing for “old big ‘ead”!

#3.Clough’s managerial pinnacle was winning the European Cup twice (1979,1980) with unfashionable Nottingham Forest. He also won the League with Forest (1977-78), and League Cup (1978,79,89,90). Whilst at Derby County he won the League (1971-72) having brought them up as champions of Division 2 (1968-69).

If that was not enough he collected the now defunct Texaco Cup and Watney Cup whilst with County (1971,1970) and equally the Full Members Cup, and Anglo-Scottish Cup with Forest (1989,92,77). Any more? You bet: FA Charity Shield (1978), and European Super Cup (1979).

Perhaps the most surprising statistic is that he won the Manager of the Year only once (1977-78). Considering his achievements with two relatively modest clubs, in terms of financial resources, he surely deserved more.

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#4.Clough's aura was legendary. It was his way or no way. There was no better evidence of this than when dealing with players with demands. "We talk about it for twenty minutes and then decide that I was right."

#5. Brian Clough believed that his sport should be played in a particular way. He derided the long ball game: "If God had wanted us to play football in the clouds, he'd have put grass up there."

#6. Now revered in history, Clough was not universally loved during his career. Abrasive, confrontational, egotistical are all descriptions that were aimed at Clough. Most famous of his contretemps was his time as Leeds United manager. Clough took over from the hugely successful Don Revie and clashed straightaway with United’s established stars. Something had to give and after 44 days it was Clough

#7.The Brian Clough Way links the cities of Derby and Nottingham. Testimony to the esteem that two fierce rival clubs and cities held for the man.

Statue of Brian Clough, in Middlesbrough
Statue of Brian Clough, in Middlesbrough | Source

#8. Clough broke the British transfer record when he bought Trevor Francis from Birmingham City. In doing so Francis became the first £1million pound player. He rewarded Clough’s faith with the winning goal against Malmo in the 1979 European Cup final.

#9. Although history remembers Clough as a great manager, he was actually a fine centre-forward too. He scored 54 goals for Sunderland and 197 goals for Middlesbrough in only 61 and 213 appearances respectively. It is a goal to game ratio that stands comparision with the greats.

Such feats understandably brought England recognition but only for two non scoring appearances.

#10 Without question,Clough was a football genius. But his success also owed a lot to his association with Peter Taylor, as Clough acknowledged. Taylor was his trusted assistant who joined him at Hartlepool and stayed for many of the later glory years. Sadly they had a falling out that had not been healed by the time Taylor died. It was something that Clough bitterly regretted,and subsequently he paid tribute to the contribution of his long term friend.

And here’s one more to make it a football eleven:

#11. "I wouldn't say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one." The one and only…Brian Clough!

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