September 20th, 2004
I'm not sure he'd have made a success of managing England, since he thrived in environments where he was in total control; even if the FA had let him have his way he just wouldn't have had the same sort of control over his players. Still, it would have been enormous fun to see him try to do for England what he did for Derby and Nottingham Forest.
The various tributes in tomorrow's newspapers will no doubt include some of his most famous quips:
"We talk about it for twenty minutes and then we decide I was right" – on dealing with a player who disagrees.
"I wouldn't say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one" – looking back on his managerial career.
I happened to be listening to Radio Five Live this afternoon when Simon Mayo broke the news. In the ensuing discussion about Clough's career one of their journalists related my favourite Clough anecdote of the afternoon. Brian Clough was a big fan of Frank Sinatra, and on one occasion Clough managed to get backstage and meet his idol who, as you'd expect, was unaware of his fan's own claim to fame. Discussing Sinatra in later years, Clough would say of Sinatra, "He's met me, you know."
They don't make 'em like Cloughie any more.