Top critical review
Not a Damned good read
on 19 April 2008
I found this a pretty depressing read. Mind you England in those days could be a pretty depressing place under Edward Heath with 3 day weeks, the oil crisis, miner strikes et al so this book could be seen as a reflection of those troubled times.
None of the main characters come out well - even Dave Mackay, Clough's Cantona signing at Derby, who came back to take his job despite massive team and fan opposition. His loyal (supposedly only) friend Taylor comes across as weak and needy and just about every "dirty" Leeds player (with the exception of Alan Clarke) is tarred with the same foul brush as Revie. Every club board member, perhaps with the exception of Brighton's unfortunate Mike Bamber, is a self serving, money-grabbing idiot (ok, he may be right here...).
"Cloughie" was definitely a one-off but gets little sympathy from the author - his drinking, ill-humour, obstinacy and alleged corruption appearing throughout the book in spades. There is little room for the warmer, more humorous side to the man which is a pity.
Every section of his mutually hated tenure at Leeds is alternated with parts describing his equally well loved position at Derby; the team he took from the second division to the first division title in two miraculous seasons. The contrasts are startling and make good reading but there is a lot of padding too.
A brave book, over-rated and one which does not quite work in my opinion. Reading this, it is obvious to see why the Clough family wanted nothing to do with the book or film and Forest and Derby fans may not like what they see written about their legendary boss. Personally, I was quite glad to be out of it, in the same way you're glad to be out of a cheap hotel.
(For the record, I'm a Millwall supporter)