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Customer Review

on 14 January 2010
It's a real shame that top-notch performances from Michael Sheen (as Clough) and Colm Meaney (as Revie) are so deeply undermined by a script full of missed opportunities and jarring inaccuracy.

This film's crime isn't so much that it makes things up - lots of classic bio-pics have done that - it's that it ignores truths that are far more compelling and dramatic than the fabrications.

One of the worst offenders for me is the injured players splayed out on the floor outside the dressing room after Derby's brutal encounter with Leeds. It followed scenes of players being stretchered off with blood pouring from open wounds and resembled some sort of bizarre spoof of a war movie rather than a football match. It's then implied that Derby suffered an early exit from the European Cup days later because the team was so depleted by injuries. But the European game in question happened weeks after the Leeds match and Derby fielded a full-strength team.

The real life events surrounding Derby's exit from the European Cup against Juventus were in reality far more dramatic.

In the film Clough blames Revie, Leeds and the shortcomings of his chairman, Sam Longston, for defeat. Whereas in real life he blamed corrupt match officials - or as he famously told the Italian press after the game: "I don't speak to cheating bastards." He then went off on one about Italy's military record in World War Two. Pure Clough! (And of course history proved him kind of right - Juventus were later proven to be habitual match-fixers and the referee was later found guilty of taking bribes.)

The worst travesty of all though is the depiction of the TV debate between Clough and Revie at the end of the film. It has Revie putting his nemisis firmly in his place and makes Clough out to be a broken man. This is pretty much the opposite of what really happened.

Buy the DVD of ITV's excellent "CLOUGH" documentary. The entire Clough/ Revie TV debate is on the additional features. It's half an hour of sustained verbal combat between two men who loathe each other - and Clough destroys Revie. Watch the real thing and it makes you wonder how a feature film can fail to recapture an ounce of the real-life drama.

This film makes Clough look like pompous twerp who's constantly out of his depth and hell-bent on self destruction.

The real Clough was far more complex and far more fascinating.

No wonder the Clough family are upset.
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