Whether it was winning league championships, landing back-to-back European Cups or riding the tidal wave of booze that washed him out of the game in 1993, there has never been any question of Brian Clough "quietly" getting on with things--and retirement hasn't changed that, as his boisterous new autobiography Cloughie--Walking on Water
The man who in the twilight of his successful and controversial managerial career habitually proffered a paternal cheek for embarrassed reporters to kiss goodbye, has clearly lost none of his distaste for any convention he hasn't started himself, or his delight in causing a stir. The book is crammed with frank opinions, fruitily expressed: from analysing today's game (Arsene Wenger's all-conquering Arsenal: "a bad-tempered, bad-mannered team" that "leave a nasty taste"); pithily settling ancient scores (on how he became Hartlepool manager: "Their chairman, a little bloke called Ernie Ord who turned out to be an absolute shit, offered me the job."); or taking the "broad view" of the game in general (coaches stepping up to be managers: "by and large these are men who tend to drown in their own self-delusion").
Certainly, much of the history in this book got pretty solid coverage in his original autobiography nearly 10 years previously, but an older, wiser Cloughie has had time to consider matters. On the whole he's still sure he was right all along, but now there are counter-melodies to the familiar trumpeting. Some bitterness, some regret, too, at cruelties he perpetrated, or allowed to stand; at his swan-song season, when, grip loosened by drink, he let his beloved Forest slip out of the Premiership; and mostly that he never orchestrated a reconciliation with deceased sidekick Peter Taylor, after a petty dispute had poisoned the most important relationship of his football life.
It's this flavour of lament in the blend of rheumy-eyed reflection and full-flowing rant, that reminds us they just don't make them like Brian any more. Yes, Cloughie sometimes loses its way--lurching from one subject to another, or going back over the same ground-and the trademark boasting has long since become a rather boring self-parody, but the light still burns, and it's not hard to feel grateful for that. --Alex Hankin
A superb read...Cloughie doesn't pull any punches (Front
The football book of the year (Sun
Cloughie excels as an analyst of football management and coaching, his thoughts and case studies worth the price alone ... He's one of a kind. (Mat Snow, FourFourTwo
Clough plays to his strengths, admits his weaknesses and is never short of an opinion (Warren Shore, Sunday Times
Entirely absorbing (Tim Rich, Independent