Brian Clough – Manager of Leeds for 44 days

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Brian Clough had left Derby County after winning the League title

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Peter Shilton

Brian Clough
Falling out with directors
Disaster at Leeds
City Ground legend
Football’s Greatest Managers

In July 1974 Clough was surprisingly appointed as manager of Leeds United after their manager Don Revie left to manage England. This time Peter Taylor didn’t join him as his assistant.

Clough had previously criticised Leeds and their players for their unsporting behaviour and Clough openly disliked Revie and his philosophy on the game.

Amazingly as soon as he arrived at the club, Clough told Leeds’ players they should take their medals and throw them in the bin as they had only won them by cheating. This immediately alienated the players and the team’s form dipped dramatically under Clough’s management.

From a possible 12 points available, Clough’s Leeds only won four and he was sacked after 44 days in charge. It was clear to the Leeds board that the players were unwilling to play for him. Clough’s contract was terminated with a compensation of £98,000 reportedly paid to him.

Whether Clough’s views were right or wrong, telling experienced internationals such as Billy Bremner and Johnny Giles they had cheated for everything they had ever won backfired on Clough and he never got to change the club into his own.

The publishers of The Damned United were successfully sued by Irish midfielder Johnny Giles who 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.”

“Players lose you games, not tactics. There’s so much crap talked about tactics by people who barely know how to win at dominoes.”
Brian Clough

His short stint as Leeds boss was so famous it inspired the book “The Damned United” which was later made into a film. The book caused great controversy though as to whether it was supposed to be an actual account of Clough’s time at Leeds or a piece of fiction. The Clough family deny the accuracy of the details in both the book and the film.

Fantasy football at Nottingham Forest

In 1975 Clough returned to management at Second Division side Nottingham Forest. Clough recruited old pal Peter Taylor, who had narrowly missed out on promotion in charge of Brighton, to be his assistant for the fourth time.

The two transformed Forest and gained promotion to Division One by finishing third in 1977 to start an unbelievable spell of success. In their first year in the top flight, Forest won the title comfortably finishing seven points ahead of second placed Liverpool. Forest also won the League Cup that year beating Liverpool in the final.

In the summer of 1978 Clough made Trevor Francis the first £1 million footballer when he signed him from Birmingham City. Francis repaid the fee by scoring the winning goal in the European Cup final against Malmo. Forest missed out on the league, finishing second to Liverpool but they did successfully defend the League Cup by beating Southampton 3-2 in the final.

The following year Forest won the European Cup for the second season in a row when they beat German giants Hamburg 1-0 in the final.

Forest may well have won the trophy for a third time in succession but were beaten controversially by Anderlecht in the semi finals in 1981. The game saw several key decisions go against Forest and it was later revealed that the referee had received a £27,000 “loan” from the Anderlecht chairman.

During this period of unprecedented success at the City Ground, Forest set a record of going 42 league games unbeaten between 26th November 1977 and 9th December 1978. The record stood until 2004 when Arsenal went 49 league games unbeaten. City Ground legend – Read more

Brian Clough
Falling out with directors
Disaster at Leeds
City Ground legend
Football’s Greatest Managers

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