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Brian Clough: Nobody Ever Says Thank You: The Biography Hardcover – 10 Nov 2011
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A comprehensive new biography (SPORT MAGAZINE)
(This) is the most comprehensive account we have had of this remarkable man so far. (Rod Liddle SUNDAY TIMES)
There's no question, Wilson's done a hell of a job. Look no further for this year's must-have Christmas book. (SEATPITCH)
The most researched BC book ever penned (Shortlist)
The definitive tome, a massive undertaking that charts his entire life rather than snippets of his career (Ben East METRO)
This is the first work to document properly Clough's early life, and indeed the complete life, from childhood in Middlesbrough to the booze-sodden befuddlement of early old age. As such, it is the first complete biography and Wilson, whose father watched Clough play for Sunderland at Roker Park in the early 60s, is a natural choice to write it. (Barney Ronay THE OBSERVER)
Painstakingly researched, it's a hugely intimate portrait, with the mental impact of his ruined carer providing most intrigue. (FOUR FOUR TWO)
Wilson's book covers 30 years of Cloughie's grandest deeds, and yet perhaps the most interesting thing about Clough is how his legend endures to this day. (Tristan Freeman SUNDAY EXPRESS)
Wilson tracked down a wealth of witnesses and has marshalled a his material with a sure, skilful hand. (Simon Redfern THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)
Wilson has made his reputation as a highly original football writer with a series of books displaying a healthy, and rare, obsession with tactics. His Clough book benefits from this unusual approach. (Mark Perryman MORNING STAR)
The final word on Brian Clough.See all Product description
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Found it quite dry in places but overall you do feel he was a one off and a genius and very much a flawed person,
The first couple of hundred pages cover Clough's childhood, playing career and management up to the Derby title win in 1972. It's done well, with some elegant and pithy writing: the reference to the "triangle of loathing" between Clough, Don Revie and Bob Stokoe is a good example. But all this is well-worn ground, and to be honest Wilson seems to add little to what's already out there, while relying heavily on contemporary press reporting. It has to be said, though, that having set out to write a full-length biography, it is difficult to see what else he could have done here.
The book really takes off with the 110-odd pages covering the final period at Derby to the end of the Leeds affair. Equally well-worn material of course, but Wilson produces the most even-handed, entertaining and convincing treatment I've read in a section that reads like a good novel while dispassionately sticking to the evidence. Quite a feat.
The third section - the rest of the book - doesn't quite hit that standard, but it keeps you reading. The handling of the break with Taylor, and of the final events at Forest in 1993, are particularly illuminating. Rather oddly, though, the book pretty much ends there. Aside from a perceptively analysed description of a 1995 Clough TV appearence, the last 11 years of his life are covered in a couple of paragraphs. It would have been interesting to know if - and, if so, how - Clough looked back critically on his career and his persona in that time. Maybe there's just nothing to say?
In sum, then, this is a very good biography. If I'd been Wilson's editor, I might have been tempted to suggest that he should publish just the 1972-74 section as a monograph. And, if I were a reader who's pushed for time, I might be tempted to start the book at page 229. All that said, though, I'm glad I read it.
Probably the best part is the first part up to the end of his playing career. I knew very little about this, and the book fills this in well. But I can't get away from the tedium of constant short match reports while skirting around what else Clough is doing alongside the club management. There really ought to be a better, shorter, biography than this.
Ultimately though balance comes to the fore. Peter Taylor's contribution in their most productive phase starts to get the recognition that hasn't really been seen in other works. Equally, the lack of recognition he received (not just from other writers and career stakeholders, but from Clough himself) is redressed somewhat. Everything the pair touched ultimately did not turn to gold and on several occasions both their personal and professional judgements are called into question. Clough's final phase at Forest, without Taylor, although destined to end in the ignominy of relegation in 1993 is covered with critical acclaim. Whilst many suggest that Clough achieved little without Taylor by his side, Wilson profers that actually this was Clough's third great phase. Trophies may have been largely lacking, (League Cup and other assorted meaningless pieces of silverware nothwithstanding) but the quality of football and a couple of genuine Championship near misses on meagre resources, place it into a much more positive light than perhaps only the most ardent of supporters have previously suggested.
This is a labour of love, both from the author and the prospective reader. It is neither boring nor a re-hash of previously published work. If you want the most detailed and perhaps most balanced Biography of Brian Clough this is it. I completed it the same committed fan that I was at the start, albeit better informed and with a more balanced view.
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