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Provided You Don't Kiss Me: 20 Years with Brian Clough Hardcover – 1 May 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (1 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007247109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007247103
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.8 x 28.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 220,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Anyone who remembers Clough should read this book, and one can only hope the younger generation of fans will seek out the tale of one of the true characters of the game that existed before Sky TV. While accepting the enigma of Clough will endure, Hamilton has probably come closer than anyone ever will to distilling a remarkable football coach and unforgettable man.' Sean O'Connor

'This gem of a book successfully casts fresh light on numerous facets of Clough's complex personality and managerial style. A brilliantly insightful, superbly crafted book and essential reading for anyone who wonders what made the great Brian Clough tick.' Jon Spurling, FourFourTwo. ***** 'Best Book'

'He drank on duty, punched employees, called journalists "shithouses", produced classic one-liners and was rumoured to like a bung – but he got results. No, not Gene Hunt from Life on Mars, but another Seventies icon, Brian Clough. Playing the Sam Tyler role here is Duncan Hamilton, a teenage reporter on the Nottingham Evening Post. Readers of David Peace's novel “The Damned Utd”, set in 1974, will be familiar with Clough's boozy, brilliant, bombastic world. Hamilton's reality is just as entertaining.' Pete May, Independent

'”Provided You Don't Kiss Me” is a case of great title, great book.' Sunday Express

'What I enjoy most about this beautifully written and tender account of the relationship between a nervous young provincial reporter and a football genius is the sense of genuine proximity to its subject, so that Clough's obvious flaws seem forgivable and even beguiling, rather than cruel and unbearable. Wonderful book.' Russel Brand, Guardian

‘1970s England, damp and grey is beautifully evoked.’ Will Cohu, in the Daily Telegraph ‘Books of the Year’

'Exhibiting a refreshing turn of phrase, Hamilton explains why the mercurial Clough would not survive in today's game.' Arena

From the Publisher


The National Sporting Club, Annual British Sports Book Awards 2008 WINNER - BEST FOOTBALL BOOK

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is the book that Duncan Hamilton was born to write - at least, that's what Cloughie must have told him when he sat him down, offered him a glass, scared the wispy moustache off the young journalist's top lip, and instructed 'You can put this in the book' almost as soon as they first met.

Much has been written about the Great Man and his sidekick, Peter Taylor (including 'With Clough, By Taylor' which, as we learn, was the beginning of the end for the greatest ever double-act in English football). This biography is up there with the best of them - but it' s no hagiography. As someone else mentions, this is warts-and-all stuff - there's a lot about the booze, the short temper and the unpredictable behaviour, knocking players down a peg or two or putting the Directors in their rightful place. However, it becomes clear why Clough was, and still is, so revered by the people of Nottingham. We see the warmth of the man - handing a few twenty pound notes to a hard-up fan for his young son, or planting a kiss on anyone lucky enough to cross his path. Nice!

This is the world of football pre-Premiership and Sky Sports, ie a time when Forest were actually good. I'd advise all Trickies to get their hands on it and wallow in a dose of nostalgia. And if you're not a Forest fan, enjoy some of the eccentricities of one of the most charismatic Englishmen of recent years.

There have been some great books written recently about football - Gordon Burn's 'Best and Edwards', Richard Williams on 'The Perfect 10' for example. Both those books feature some of football's greatest characters, but they don't come much greater than Brian.
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By Bantam Dave TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Aug. 2007
Format: Hardcover
Brian Clough was a real character, much missed when modern day football is full of dull, two dimensional players & managers. Not only was he a character though, he was first and foremost a very, very good manager. Even today his management feats at two such unlikely teams like Derby County & Nottingham Forest - two league championships and two European Cups - is remarkable. His partnership with Peter Taylor, who this book quite rightly stresses played a vital role in those successes, was without equal in the world of football.
Unfortunately the latter years of his managerial career, when alcohol finally got the better of him, as taken a little of the gloss off of Brian Cloughs achievements.
This book, whilst excellent, is to me also very sad book as it explains better than anything else I have read the decline of Brian Clough. The author, Duncan Hamilton, obviously got very close to his subject and he could watch at first hand the ravaging effect that whisky and vodka had on Brian Clough. His descriptions of his fading management skills and increasingly bad judgement are very poignant, as are the chapters regarding Brian Cloughs death and its aftermath.
No book about Brian Clough cannot be without humour and this book is no exception, as it is full of stories that portray Brian Cloughs eccentric style of management, but it is the bad times that this book best describes.
This is a must read for all those football watchers who admired Brian Clough and miss his presence in todays game.
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Format: Paperback
Excellent, straightforward sports biography, distinguished by Hamilton's closeness to his subject and the resulting intimacy of the portrait. No tricks, no fiction or imagined scenes, just sensitive writing and informed analysis of the Clough career and of a very different time in British football - a big enough story in its own right to require very little embroidery.

Duncan Hamilton makes no bones about how fortunate he was to be allowed unparalleled access to the force of nature that was Brian Clough. The portrait that emerges seems to come from something for which 'love' is maybe the only appropriate word; it's to Hamilton's credit that it never seems like obsession as, throughout, he is remarkably clear-eyed about Clough's weaknesses as well as his astonishing triumphs. The excellent and detailed accounts of how Clough took not one but two poor-to-middling English clubs to the heights of European glory (a feat that one struggles to imagine being repeated today) are balanced by an understanding of his very human insecurities and frailties, and by an increasingly dominant subtext - a (literally) sobering account of how low even a character as powerful as Clough could be laid by alcohol.
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Format: Paperback
I grew up in Australia. And in my `formative' years in the 1970s and 80s, soccer was a foreign game in every possible sense. The only soccer broadcast on television was relegated to late night television and month old episodes of Match of the Day. English football was the only version of the game that we were exposed to, and then in only brief one hour weekly slots.

Match of the Day, with its addictive theme music most often featured the great Liverpool sides of the period, and then only occasionally Man U, Arsenal, Spurs and sometimes Man City.

Nottingham Forest was the other side that was occasionally featured - it seemed when Liverpool wasn't.
And through the tyranny of distance, Nottingham Forest it seemed was famous for Robin Hood and its mercurial manager Brian Clough.

Clough was simply fascinating, and that aura seems to have strengthened in recent years.

I was reminded by Brian Clough when I picked up a copy of Damned United. I struggled through the book, not confidently knowing the intimate details of Clough's history pre-Forest, which involved the turbulent 44 days at Leeds. My only childhood memory of Clough was him wearing a green goalkeeper's jumper when managing Forest, while all other managers were resplendent in suits.

I found Hamilton's book in a bookseller at Heathrow, as I prepared for the long flight back to Australia. As with many sports/football biographies I expected a chronological account of Clough's football biography.
What I found was a beautifully written work, and a carefully and intimately crafted analysis of both Clough's professional life and personality.

Hamilton writes about his face to face contact with Clough over a 20 year period.
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