Brian Clough, football player and manager, Died at 69


Brian Howard Clough on the 20th of September 2004 at the age of 69, he was an English football player and manager.

Born at 11 Valley Road on the 21st of March 1935, an interwar council house in Grove Hill, Middlesbrough, Yorkshire 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”.

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 numerous 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.

In July 1974, Clough (by now a tabloid regular dubbed “Cloughie”) left Brighton to manage Leeds United, a First Division team left leaderless after the legendary Don Revie left the club to manage the England national team.

Clough’s decision to go to Leeds went against the wishes of his longtime assistant Peter Taylor, and ultimately Taylor did not follow Clough to his new post. In the past, Clough had been exceedingly critical of both Don Revie and the direct and physical style of play he had instilled at Leeds.

This had proved hugely successful but Clough blasted the style as unsportsmanlike. During the first meeting with his new team, Clough was reported to have said, “You can all throw your medals in the bin because they were not won fairly.”

After 44 days of near-constant clashes with players and directors, and an unimpressive record of just one win out of six games played, Clough resigned as Leeds’ manager and walked away from the job with a handsome payout.

It was perhaps fitting that a movie made decades later about the Clough’s stint at Leeds was called The Damned United.

In the 1978–79 season, Clough signed the 24-year-old Birmingham City striker Trevor Francis, Britain’s first £1 million footballer.

Forest missed out on the league title, finishing as runners-up to Liverpool, but made amends by retaining the League Cup with a 3–2 victory over Southampton and reaching the European Cup final (knocking out defending champions Liverpool en route), which they won 1–0 against Malmö FF, with Francis scoring the winner.

A year later, Clough guided Forest to a second successive European Cup success, this time beating Hamburger SV 1–0, and a third successive League Cup final, though they were defeated by Wolverhampton Wanderers 1–0.