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on 15 February 2012
There have been too many books about Brian Clough. And - like many, I think - I've read quite a few of them. I only bought this because it is by Jonathan Wilson: Inverting the Pyramid really is that good. While this one is not a wholly satisfactory experience, it is certainly worth reading. But for me there is a quite superb (and much shorter) book hiding inside it. Wilson has structured his book in five chronological sections, but for this reader it resolved itself into three ... the second of which is excellent:
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.
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on 18 September 2014
Personally I followed Clough's career from 78 onwards closely and as a result have read several accounts of his life before.
So much of the content did not tell me anything new.
The analysis of what might have been going on inside his head was the best part of this book.
There was perhaps too much content in terms of going over all of the games from each season but to be fair it put into context the overall story.
Whilst there are quotes from various people involved, I'd have liked to have seen more in depth interviews included with people still with us as opposed to relying too much on match accounts and text from various autobiographies.
A good book, probably the best biography there can ever be of the man as the key people like Taylor are not around to add anything new to the story. Sadly no one now will ever get the chance to understand the man in full as I feel sure there was another side to him that he managed to keep private that might just have been coaxed out of him had he lived longer.
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on 3 October 2017
I have read 4 or 5 books before relating to Brian Clough but none more exhaustive then this one.
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,
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on 1 October 2017
A must for anyone wanting an in depth biography of Clough from his first steps as a Middlesbrough player.
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on 10 June 2013
A really good read. There has been much written about Brian Clough. Jonathan Wilsons' work is the best yet. It's positive and describes rightly Brian Clough as the man of sporting talent, personality and man manager. As his players attest, teams he built, came to know, love and fear being in his employ.
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on 8 November 2012
This paid homage to Duncan Hamilton's seminal work and other good pieces.
It is an open, honest account and shows all aspects of BC's personality.
A well written assessment of an enigmatic character and his relationships with Peter Taylor and other key players.
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on 26 February 2013
A well-researched piece of biography that paints an interesting picture of a complex character. Equally enjoyable as a piece of nostalgia for those of us who watched soccer when there were four divisions, only one substitute allowed and goalkeepers wore green jerseys!
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on 6 February 2013
Bought this for my father who is a huge Nottingham Forest supporter and a great Brian Clough fan. He was well impressed with this book.
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on 15 October 2016
Brilliant book!
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on 11 February 2013
A quite brilliant book on a manager from what now seems a different era. Far better than Hamilton's book and really well researched. Couldn't put it down
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