touchline ban

Brian Clough

Brian Howard Clough, OBE (21 March, 193520 September, 2004) was a successful footballer and subsequently football manager, most notable for his success with Derby County and Nottingham Forest. A charismatic and often controversial figure, Clough is widely considered to be one of the greatest managers of the English Game. His achievement of winning back-to-back European Cups with a provincial side - Nottingham Forest, is considered to be one of the greatest achievements in football history.


Born at 11 Valley Road, an interwar council house in Grove Hill, Middlesbrough, Brian Clough was the son of a local sweet factory worker, and the fifth of eight children. When talking of his childhood he said he "adored it in all its aspects. If anyone should be grateful for their upbringing, for their mum 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 nicest 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. Maybe it was the constant sight of mam, with eight children to look after, working from morning till night, working harder than you or I have ever worked".

Playing career

Clough appeared for Billingham Synthonia, before his national service between 1953 and 1955 in the RAF. Following this, he became a prolific striker for his home town club Middlesbrough scoring 197 goals in 213 league matches for Boro. He then signed for Sunderland and scored 54 goals in 61 league games. Unfortunately for Clough on 26 December 1962, he injured his knee during a match against Bury after colliding with the goalkeeper. It turned out to be a cruciate ligament injury, which usually ended a player's career at that time. Clough returned two years later but could only manage three games before retiring.

He played twice for England, against Wales on 17 October 1959 and Sweden on 28 October 1959, without scoring.

Management career

Derby County

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 of the league. They guided Hartlepools to a finish of eighth in their first full season, before they both joined Derby County as manager and assistant manager in May 1967. Derby finished 18th that season and up to Clough's arrival were frequently involved in relegation battles to Division Two. Clough brought in several new players,amongst them Roy McFarland, John O'Hare, John McGovern, Alan Hinton and Les Green. Eleven players departed and only four were retained: Kevin Hector, Alan Durban, Ron Webster and Colin Boulton. Clough also fired the club secretary, the groundsman and the chief scout along with two tea ladies he caught laughing after a Derby defeat.

In 1968, Derby finished 18th, but after signing Dave Mackay and Willie Carlin, Clough and Taylor's management led Derby to become champions of Division Two a year later. Clough was universally seen as a hard but fair manager, who insisted on clean play from his players and brooked no stupid questions with 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. He took Derby to fourth place in Division One in 1970 but due to financial irregularities, the club were banned from Europe that season and fined £10,000.

During the 1971–72 season, Derby tussled with Liverpool and Leeds United for the title. Leading the table by one point having played their last match, having beaten Liverpool 1–0, Peter Taylor took his players on holiday to Spain, 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 history. Clough was not with them at the time. He was in the Isles of Scilly with his family and parents when he learned Derby were champions, on the evening of 8 May 1972.

The following season Derby reached the semi-finals of the European Cup, but were knocked out by Juventus 3–1 on aggregate in very controversial circumstances. It later emerged that the West German referee had received gifts from the Italian side before the match. Clough himself accused the Juventus team of being "cheating bastards" and then questioned the Italian nation's courage in the Second World War. Clough's frequent outspoken comments against football's establishment, such as the FA and club directors, and figures in the game such as Sir Matt Busby, Sir Alf Ramsey, Don Revie and Alan Hardaker eventually led to him falling out with Rams chairman, Sam Longson, and the board of directors at the club. Clough and Taylor both 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.


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. 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 Walton & Hersham 4–0 at home in an FA Cup replay. Albion eventually finished in 19th place that season.

Leeds United

Clough left less than a year after his appointment 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 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 was on record as stating to be not only overly aggressive but also effectively illegal in his opinion.

He lasted in the job only 44 days before he was sacked by the Leeds' directors after alienating many of Leeds's star players, notably Johnny Giles, Norman Hunter and Billy Bremner. He has the unenviable record of being Leeds United's least successful permanent manager winning only one match from six games. Leeds were placed fourth from bottom in 19th position with only 4 points from a possible 12, their worst start in 15 years. However, he left the club an extremely wealthy man as his pay-off was estimated at £98,000, a huge amount at the time.

Clough told ITV Calendar his short reign at Elland Road was due to bad results.

The story of his short spell in charge is being adapted into a film called The Damned United for release in 2009, based on a book of the same name.

Nottingham Forest

On 6 January 1975, Clough made a quick return to management with Nottingham Forest, who at the time were an unremarkable Division Two side, replacing Allan Brown. Clough's first game in charge was the third round F.A. Cup replay against Tottenham Hotspur, a 1-0 victory thanks to a goal by Scottish Centre Forward Neil Martin..

In July 1976 Clough was joined by his old assistant Peter Taylor from Brighton.

They transformed the club's fortunes rapidly: the first success at the club came in Clough's second full season (1976–77) when they won promotion to Division One, finishing third. In their first season after promotion they won the League Cup, beating Liverpool 1–0 in a replay at Old Trafford, and were crowned champions of Division One, finishing seven points clear of nearest challengers Liverpool.

This made Clough the first manager since Herbert Chapman to win the English League Championship with two different clubs. During the 1978–79 season, on 9 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. Forest retained the League Cup with a 3-2 victory over Southampton, but finished as runners-up to Liverpool in the league. The season was rounded off with victory in the European Cup final, thanks to a 1–0 victory over Malmö FF. A year later, Clough guided Forest to a second successive European Cup after victory over Kevin Keegan's Hamburg and a third successive League Cup final, though this time they were defeated by Wolverhampton Wanderers 1–0.

Despite winning the European Cup twice, Clough regarded his greatest achievement to be the record breaking unbeaten run his team set between 26 November 1977 and 9 December 1978, the team went undefeated for 42 league games - the equivalent of a whole season. The record stood until August 2004 when it was bettered by Arsenal, who went on to play 49 league games without defeat.

It was not until 1988–89 that Clough and Forest would enjoy another major trophy success, this time over Luton Town F.C. in the League Cup again. For a time, Forest were on course for a treble that season, but ultimately had to settle for third place in the league and a defeat in the FA Cup semi-finals. Clough had to manage the team from the stands in the latter half of the season as he was serving a touchline ban after hitting a supporter who had invaded the pitch. A year later, Clough guided Forest to another League Cup victory with a 1–0 over Oldham Athletic. In 1991 Forest reached their first FA Cup final under Brian Clough but lost 2–1 to Tottenham Hotspur. They reached the League Cup final again in 1992, but lost 1–0 to Manchester United

The 1992–93 season was Clough's 18th with Forest – and his last. They were one of the 22 clubs in the new Premier League, but the sale of key players like Teddy Sheringham and Des Walker, combined with the manager's increasingly uncontrolled alcoholism, saw the club's fortunes take a sharp decline and they were bottom virtually all season. Just before a 2–0 defeat against Sheffield United confirmed the club's relegation after 16 years in the top flight, Clough announced his retirement as manager.


Clough retired as manager of Nottingham Forest in May 1993 to be succeeded by then Leyton Orient manager, and European Cup-winning Forest player under Clough, Frank Clark. Clark was able to achieve an instant return to the Premiership when the club finished Division One runners-up at the end of the 1993-94 season.

Much of Clough's retirement was spent concentrating on his fight against alcoholism which had plagued him since the 1970s, a battle chronicled in part by Duncan Hamilton. He considered applying for the job as manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers on the resignation of Graham Taylor in October 1995. However, nothing came of it and Clough's managerial career was over. 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 the early 1990s, Clough was implicated in the "bungs" scandal in English football involving then Tottenham Hotspur manager Terry Venables and chairman Alan Sugar and particularly the transfer of Teddy Sheringham from Forest to Tottenham. Clough was alleged to have received illegal payments during transfer negotiations and making illegal payments to players.. Owing to Clough's declining health when the case was put together, he was never formally charged by the FA.

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 didn't say anything and put the phone down. He allegedly cried heavily after this and his bad feeling over the unreconciled rift increased Clough's already heavy drinking. Clough dedicated his autobiography in 1994 to Taylor and when he was given the freedom of Nottingham he also paid tribute to him, as he did in September 1999 when a bust was unveiled of himself at the City Ground. Clough was never as successful a manager without Peter Taylor.

In August 2000, a tribute website was set-up in honour of Clough. It has the backing of his family. The website is also the official site of the Brian Clough Statue Fund, which raised money for a statue of the master manager, to be placed in central Nottingham.

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 and cancer had been found within it. 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's reputation for never sitting on the fence and strong views on all manner of football issues translated into an entertaining and sometimes controversial column which he wrote for Four Four Two magazine up until his death.

Death and legacy

Brian Clough died of stomach cancer on 20 September 2004, on Ward 30, in Derby City Hospital, at the age of 69, having been admitted a few days earlier. Such was his popularity, fans of Derby County and Nottingham Forest, usually the fiercest of rivals, mourned together following his passing. 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 be held at Derby Cathedral, but had to be moved due to demand for tickets.

In August 2005 the stretch of the A52 linking Nottingham and Derby was renamed Brian Clough Way. His widow Barbara expressed her gratitude to Nottingham City Council, saying: "Brian would have been amazed but genuinely appreciative". Additionally, since the opening of the Nottingham Express Transit system, tram #215 has been named Brian Clough.

After a long process of fund-raising, his home town of Middlesbrough commissioned a statue of Clough, that was unveiled on 16 May 2007. 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.

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 is at the junction of King Street and Queen Street in the centre of Nottingham.

In April 2007, Derby County announced that a square in their new Pride Plaza redevelopment will be named after Brian Clough, in honour of his achievements at the club, in which there will also be a statue of Clough.

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

A recent petition has been launched by Derby fans requesting a statue of Brian Clough outside Pride Park Stadium.

Clough in popular culture

  • In the 1970s the New Statesman, a British magazine, ran a competition to suggest "uncharacteristic remarks" that might be made by people. Three separate contestants all put in the same entry: "Brian Clough: No comment".
  • On the 1972 Monty Python album Monty Python's Previous Record, Eric Idle appears as Brian Clough in the intro to The Yangtze Song, which parodies the Team anthems common in English Football.
  • In September 1989, British punk band the Toy Dolls, released the album Wakey Wakey, featuring a song entitled "Cloughy is a Bootboy!", which describes an altercation between a fan and the resulting court case.
  • In 1993 the Irish band The Sultans of Ping FC released their debut album "Casual Sex in the Cineplex" which contained the song "Give Him a Ball and a Yard of Grass", the title and lyrics of which were well known Clough quotations.
  • In June 2005 the Nottingham Playhouse premiered a play called Old Big 'Ead in The Spirit of the Man, by the Nottingham-born playwright Stephen Lowe, in which Brian Clough "takes to the stage.. quite literally!", portrayed by actor Colin Tarrant.
  • In 2000, composer Robert Steadman wrote a song called "Brian Clough's CV" as part of his Nottingham Songbook which was premiered in the Millennium Dome.
  • David Peace's 2006 novel The Damned Utd. is a fictionalized account of Clough's 44 days as manager of Leeds United, written from the perspective of Clough. Although well received by critics, the book did not find favour with Clough's widow. The story of his short spell in charge is being adapted into a film called The Damned United for release in 2009.
  • In 2007, sports journalist Duncan Hamilton wrote a critically acclaimed book - Provided You Don't Kiss Me - about his 20-year association with Clough, which described working with him on a day-by-day basis. This book won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year on 27 November 2007.

Personal life and family

Clough was a committed socialist, often appearing on miners' picket lines, donating large sums to trade union causes, and being a sponsor of the Anti Nazi League.. On two occasions he was approached by the Labour Party to stand as a Parliamentary candidate in General Elections, although he declined in order to continue his managerial career in football.

He is survived by his wife Barbara and three children; Simon, Elizabeth, and Nigel. The latter was also a professional football player and currently manages Burton Albion.


"I certainly wouldn't say I'm the best manager in the business, but I'm in the top one."

"Get in there - that's what I pay you for!" - to Derby County players at a training session.

"As far as I'm concerned you can throw all those medals you've won in the bin, because you won them all by cheating" - to the Leeds United players on his first day as manager.

"They say Rome wasn't built in a day, but I wasn't on that particular job".

" This is a terrible day.....for Leeds United" - exiting Elland Road after being sacked after 44 days as manager.

"If a chairman sacks a manager that he initially appointed, then he should go as well."

"John Robertson was a very unattractive young man. If, one day, I was feeling a bit off colour, I would sit next to him. I was bloody Errol Flynn compared to him, but give him a yard of grass and he was an artist. The Picasso of our game."

"If God had intended for us to play football in the clouds he wouldn't have put grass on the ground." - referring to the long ball game.

"If a player had said to Bill Shankly 'I've got to speak to my agent', Bill would have hit him. And I would have held him while he hit him."

"It was like a morgue in the dressing room after the game, and it's still like a morgue now. If that's what defeat feels like, we don't want to go through it again - oh, it's rotten" - interview with ITV after defeat for Forest in the 1980 League Cup final.

"I'm a Derby man. Derby County were here a long time before Robert Maxwell" - on agreeing with a protest by Derby fans against Maxwell's ownership of the club.

"They thought I was going to change it lock, stock and barrel. They were shrewd because that's exactly what I would have done" - on why he was rejected by the FA for the England job.

"I'd ask him how he thinks it should be done, have a chat about it for twenty minutes and then decide I was right" - on dealing with players disagreeing with his methods.

"I like my women to be feminine and not rolling around in mud" on what he thought of women's football.

"Don't send me flowers when I'm dead, send them to me now if you like me."

"I want no epitaphs of profound history or all that kind of thing. I contributed, I hope they would say that and I hope that somebody liked me."

"For all his horses, knighthoods and championships, he hasn't got two of what I've got. And I don't mean balls." - on Sir Alex Ferguson's failure to match his record of two European Cup wins, prior to Ferguson's second in 2007/2008.

"Who thought Derby County could be turned into League champions; that any manager could bounce back from getting the bullet after 44 days with a great club and go on to prove himself among the best managers of all time; that what was done at Derby could be repeated at Forest; that after winning one European Cup, we could retain it; that a brash, self-opinionated young footballer, cut down by injury in his prime, would go on to achieve more impressive fame as a brash, highly successful manager?"

"It only takes a second to score a goal."

"If a player is not interfering with play then he shouldn't be on the pitch." - referring to the application of the off-side law. * Also attributed to Bill Shankly

" what I tell my players about defending a lead is this: 'if YOU have the ball and you are in THEIR half'... THEY CANNOT SCORE"

"There are more hooligans in the House Of Commons than there are at a football match." - on football hooliganism.

During a press conference when Nottingham Forest had signed Trevor Francis, the first £1 million pound footballer: Journalist - "When will you be making your debut for Nottingham Forest?" Clough - "When I pick him."

During a televised 1986 England World Cup game:

Mick Channon: "We've got to get bodies into the box! The French do it, the Italians do it." Clough: ''"Even educated fleas do it."

Managerial stats

Team Nat From To Record
G W D L Win %
Hartlepool United 1 October 1965 1 May 1967

84 35 13 36 %
Derby County 1 June1967 15 October 1973

289 135 70 84 %
Brighton & Hove Albion 1 November 1973 20 July 1974

32 12 8 12 %
Leeds United 20 July 1974 13 September 1974

7 1 3 3 %
Nottingham Forest 6 January 1975 8 May 1993

907 411 246 250 %


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