Grass in the clouds

by Chris Bertram on September 20, 2004

bq. “If God had wanted us to play football in the clouds, he’d have put grass up there.”

The “BBC reports”: that “Brian Clough”: has died. A sad loss after a sad decline. But his “achievements”: — including back-to-back European Cups with an otherwise unexceptional team — speak for themselves. Bill Shankly said of him “He’s worse than the rain in Manchester. At least the rain in Manchester stops occasionally.” Now he’s stopped forever.



Peter Briffa 09.20.04 at 5:32 pm

I feel gutted. Sick as a parrot, even.


John Isbell 09.21.04 at 12:00 am

It’s a game of two halves, innit?


nick 09.21.04 at 8:31 am

I think it’s worth pointing out that Cloughie’s final years, after leaving Forest, represented a reversal of his decline: being out of management made it easier to give up the bottle, and without the bottle, the old wit came back: or rather, the generosity behind the wit.

He made his peace with a lot of people: not least, with his home town. Steve Gibson, as a true fan, was the first to invite him back to Middlesbrough FC as a VIP, and Clough accepted graciously. Afterwards, he did lots of book signings and civic events on Teesside — his last was only six months ago — and his death is quite a shock.

Though he called himself a ‘Derrrby man’ for his adopted home, he was always a Grove Hill lad. My dad’s about a decade younger, from the same part of town; when Cloughie walked to Ayresome Park, he’d always have a bit of banter with the kids who’d end up watching him later that afternoon. My dad was always ‘Curly’ to him.

And his notable quotables rose way above the cliches of Ron Manager.


Thlayli 09.22.04 at 1:02 am

Great manager — just ask him.

I enjoyed his column in FourFourTwo, although he was apparently incapable of going two consecutive months without mentioning that he won the European Cup twice.

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