'I was asked in an interview to sum up Brian in three words. I think he would be insulted to be summed up in three volumes.'
Martin O'Neill had a point. Brian Howard Clough was never less than a complex man; the sum of a contradictory bunch of impulses, desires and drives. Jonathan Wilson, in this first full, critical biography draws an intimate and powerful portrait of one of England's greatest football managers, and his right-hand man, Peter Taylor, and reveals how their identities were forged in the unforgiving world of post-war football, a world where, as Clough and Taylor's mentor Harry Storer once said, 'Nobody ever says thank you.'
Clough's playing career was famously and brutally cut short in the sleet and mud at Roker Park on Boxing Day, 1962. It was at that point that Peter Taylor remarked the iron first entered into his pal's soul. But as the likes of Inter Milan became a familiar sight in the mud of the Baseball Ground, and the residents of Nottingham were soon accustomed to floodlit nights of European glory by the misty banks of the Trent, Clough, incredibly, brought the gleam of silverware to the depressed East Midlands of the 1970s.
Initial triumph at Derby was followed swiftly by the high drama of sudden departure and a traumatic 44 days at Leeds. By the end of a frazzled 1974, Clough, always mindful of his austere roots in a Middlesbrough council estate, was set up for life financially, but also hardened to the realities of football. By the time he was at Forest, Clough's mask was almost permanently donned: a persona based around an exaggerated brashness and seemingly unquenchable thirst for conflict. The mask, though, doubled as a shield behind which lurked a more insecure, less confident being, a man who while craving company was frequently alone . . . Drink fuelled the controversies and the colourful character; it heightened the razor-sharp wit and was a salve for the highs of football that never lasted quite long enough, and for the lows, wh