Clough: Confidential, by Dave Armitage: Sequel to popular 150 BC reflects perennial appetite for Brian Clough stories


Given that everyone in football of a certain vintage seems to have a Brian Clough story to recall it is not surprising that there have been around 20 books written about the late former Derby County and Nottingham Forest manager.

From the first biography, penned by broadcaster Tony Francis in 1987, to the latest -- and certainly longest -- account of his life and career, exhaustively researched and painstakingly documented by Jonathan Wilson, Clough has remained an enduring source of fascination.

Wilson manages to explode a few anecdotal myths in his 566-page tour de force but it is hard to imagine that the appetite for Brian Clough stories, apocryphal or otherwise, will ever be sated.

Midlands football writer Dave Armitage found that to be the case when he assembled 150 gems gleaned from press room colleagues and a host of figures from within the game under the imaginative title 150 BC.

It was a collection of amusing, amazing and sometimes touchingly poignant tales that proved very popular, so much so that the stories he reluctantly left out were soon supplemented by many more as memories were jogged and more classic Cloughie moments came to light.

Armitage, who publishes under his own Hot Air imprint, sensed a sequel in the offing and the end result was Clough: Confidential, which brings together almost as many snapshots of Old Big ‘Ead as the first volume.

'Best book on Brian Clough' -- Kenny Burns

"There was never a plan for a second volume until the stories kept coming in," Armitage says.

"Forest legend Kenny Burns kindly took time to tell me he felt it was the best book on Clough he had ever read. A number of people who knew Cloughie exceptionally well took pains to say how much they had enjoyed it and were happy to give up even more of their memories."

It’s a sparkling read, naturally dominated by the years at Derby and Forest for which Clough was clearly famed most but not without reference to his briefer tenures -- very much briefer, in one instance -- at Brighton and Leeds.

John Vinicombe, the former Brighton Argus reporter -- who passed away last year, sadly -- provided a taste of how the Clough effect manifested itself by tripling the gates at Albion’s old Goldstone Ground and how the Clough Era is still talked about on the south coast, even though it lasted only eight months.

And Norman Hunter, hardly a fan as a first-hand dressing-room witness to Clough’s disastrous 44 days at Elland Road, recalls that, on the day he was sacked, Clough walked into a meeting of his testimonial committee and implored them to “raise all the money you can for this man because he deserves it.”

Hunter says: “I find myself strangely protective towards the memory of Brian Clough despite the fact that it took him until the 44th day of his reign to say anything nice about me.”

Buy Clough: Confidential and 150 B.C.: Cloughie - the Inside Stories direct from Amazon.

Further reading
More Cloughie tales on way as Armitage scores a go-it-alone hit

Learn more about Jonathan Wilson's biography of Brian Clough...
Unravelling the real truth behind the legend of Brian Clough
Clough, Taylor and why Sunderland still wonders what might have been

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