Brian Clough had won the Division One title with Derby County
Clough always had a strained relationship with Derby chairman Sam Longson and his board of directors. Several incidents led to Longson losing patience with Clough and trying to get him removed from his position.
At the start of the 1972-73 season, Longson refused to allow Clough to take his family on a pre-season trip to the Netherlands and West Germany saying it was a working trip and not a holiday. In response, Clough refused to go on the trip and put Peter Taylor in charge of his team instead.
Less than a month later, Clough and Taylor signed Leicester forward David Nish for a record fee of £225,000 without informing his chairman. Clough was warned by a director that there would be no more expensive signings.
Clough ignored those comments though, and a year later he bid £400,000 for Bobby Moore of West Ham but was told the player was unavailable. Again Clough didn’t inform his chairman who only heard of the bid through a chance conversation with West Ham’s secretary several months later.
Clough’s outspoken nature also got him in trouble with his board at Derby on a regular basis. After a narrow 2-1 victory over Liverpool in 1972, Clough criticised Derby’s fans saying; “They started chanting only near the end when we were a goal in front. I want to hear them when we are losing. They are a disgraceful lot”.
After winning the title, Derby competed in the European Cup where they were eventually eliminated by Italian giants Juventus. After losing the tie 3-1 on aggregate Clough told the Italian media; “No cheating bastards do I talk to. I will not talk to any cheating bastards.” before going on to question the bravery of the Italian’s during the Second World War.
In August 1973 Clough put his name to an article in the Sunday Express that criticised Don Revie and his Leeds team for their unsporting behaviour. Clough added “The men who run football have missed the most marvellous chance of cleaning up the game in one swoop. The trouble with football’s disciplinary system is that those who sat in judgment being officials of other clubs might well have a vested interest.”
Leaving Derby after one fall out too many
In October 1973 Clough was a guest pundit for the crucial World Cup qualifier between England and Poland, a game England had to win to progress. Clough famously called the Polish goalkeeper, Jan Tomaszewski, a clown for his unorthodox and reckless play. Tomaszewski went on to play brilliantly and hold England to a 1-1 draw and knock them out of the competition.
These series of incidents left the Derby board embarrassed and angry. Sam Longson ordered Clough to stop making TV appearances and writing newspaper articles in a bid to put a stop to the controversy and trouble Clough was causing with his outspoken views. Longson also had the bar at the club closed to stop both Clough and Taylor drinking.
In April 1972 Clough and Taylor had briefly resigned from Derby, but they were quickly re-instated after receiving more money from Longson.
Eighteen months later though, they resigned for good. Derby fans were outraged and demanded the two be reinstated and the board step down but it wasn’t to be, after six years in charge and leading the club to promotion and a Division One title Brian Clough left Derby.
The night he left Derby, Clough was a guest on Michael Parkinson’s chat show and attacked football directors for their lack of knowledge of the game.
Clough went on to manage Division Three side Brighton along with his right hand man Peter Taylor and his entire backroom staff who had walked out on Derby when he left. However, Clough and his team couldn’t repeat the success they had at Derby on the South Coast and stayed for only 32 games, winning 12 of them.
Disaster at Leeds – Read more