Friday, January 25, 2008

Larger than Life Cloughie to stand eight-feet tall...

Designs have been unveiled for an eight-foot-high bronze of soccer legend Brian Clough who I'll always remember for his life-long support for ordinary working people...

After the great man died from cancer in 2004, the main A52 which connects Nottingham with Derby was officially and appropriately renamed and re-signed "Brian Clough Way".

Loud-mouth Cloughie brought unprecendented footballing glory to the East Midlands, turning both Nottingham Forest and Derby County from unfashionable second division clubs into international world beaters.

He was arguably the best football manager ever. And he knew it, famously once saying: 'I wouldn't say I'm the best manager in the business, but I'm in the top one...!"

Cloughie was certainly the best manager England never had: He claimed that the Football Association wouldn't give him the job because they were frightened he would take charge. He added that the FA were very perceptive - that's exactly what he would do!

There's already a statue of Cloughie in football kit in the Middlesbrough park near his childhood home. But it's about time he was properly honoured here in his adopted East Midlands, where he'll always be a hero to so many people.

I'm not a huge footie fan, but I'm delighted that the new statue is to be erected in Nottingham City Centre and that he'll stand head and shoulders above the crowd.

Cloughie never forgot his roots. He became my hero during the first ever national provincial journalists strike in the 1970s. Nottingham journalists produced an alternative newspaper to raise funds to support the strikers' families - and Cloughie provided the first splash - the fantastic exclusive that he'd signed Trevor Francis to Forest as the first million pound player in the country.

After the national dispute was finally settled, 28 journalists on the Nottingham Evening Post were disgracefully sacked by a feudal management.

I went back to work at the Lincoln Chronicle and for month after month helped organise weekly trips to Nottingham to support our sacked colleagues and picket the offices of Post owners T. Bailey Foremans.

For more than a year, Cloughie supported the campaign to 'Reinstate the Twenty-eight' and refused to speak to the main evening paper which covered the Reds.

A true legend. Rest in peace Cloughie.


Anonymous said...

Still waiting for your views on Peter hain Phil.

Aaaah bless... just another nail in the coffin for the Brown project.

Bob Piper said...

The man was indeed a legand, Phil, and the best English football manager ever in my opinion. But.... the statue? The pose is brilliant, but it looks like the sculpture has put Trevor Francis' head on it for some reason.

Paul E. said...

"He was arguably the best football manager ever."

Arguably? I'd be interested to hear the counterarguments ;-)

Anonymous said...

The statue is made of chocolate and in a witty reference to Brian's modesty, it features someone else's head.

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