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Many people’s choice as the greatest manager of all-time, Brian Clough – alongside his brilliant right-hand man Peter Taylor - guided Nottingham Forest to back-to-back European Cup win in 1979 and 1980. Taking a team full of youngsters and older players in the twilight of their careers, he molded them into an outstanding unit where team-work was king, but it was Brian who wore the crown.

Clough was always outspoken, and it was his sharp wit and banter which won over friends and enemies alike. We’ve put together a selection of great quotes from Cloughie, who sadly died in 2004 aged 69.

Cloughie Quotes

‘You’ll get it when you learn how to play with it properly.’ – on Peter Withe’s request for match ball after scoring four goals against Ipswich.

‘I’m not saying he’s thin and pale, but the maid in our hotel made his bed the other day and didn’t realise he was still in it.’ – on Forest player Brian Rice.

‘People said you could drop off the end of the world there. Sometimes I wished I had.’ – on going to Hartlepool.

‘Don’t worry too much about what to do, just give the ball to John Robertson and he’ll do the rest.’ – to first £1m footballer Trevor Francis.

Cloughie & John Robertson
‘Our mam... what a lady. What an example and source of inspiration she was to the entire family. She’s up there with my greatest heroes – just below Len Hutton!’ (Len Hutton was a famous England cricketer).

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‘It was a swanky do with lots of photographers. Roger Moore was there with his wife. I gave him a kiss – he looked a bit surprised!’

‘Taylor always said ‘When you get shot of me there won’t be as much laughter in your life’ and he was spot-on. He did make me laugh a lot.’ - on former partner Peter Taylor.

Bigger than Liverpool

‘Derby should have gone on to be every bit as big as Liverpool – possibly even bigger. And there’s only one man to blame for them not doing that – me!’

‘I’m sure England’s selection committee thought I’d want to run the whole damn show. They were shrewd then, because that’s exactly what I would have done.’

‘I’ll talk to a player for 20 minutes and then we’ll decide I was right after all.’

‘There wasn’t a clash of personalities because half of the people we were clashing with didn’t have personalities.’ – on behind the scenes wranglings at Derby.

‘I took my son Nigel and Roy Keane to visit some handicapped kids. We lit the place up, but they lit us up. When we came out I felt a million dollars.’

keane and clough jnr
Nigel Clough & Roy Keane
‘I paid for that stand and I bribed the erectors because we built in it winter. They said they couldn’t work on it because of ice, so I provided coffee and brandy and sent their wives hampers and all sorts!’

‘I always tell directors and chairmen that they only have one decision to make – to pick someone to do the job they can’t do.’

‘Our team is so young that away trips are like school outings. Our biggest problem isn’t injuries – it’s acne.’

Trevor Francis

‘I was worried early on for Trevor because of the size of the fee. But I quickly saw he was the type to carry it off – infact, he seemed to thrive on it. If it had been me as a player, I’d have worried about it.’

Robbo didn’t look anything like a professional athlete when I first clapped eyes on him. In fact there were times when he didn’t resemble a member of the human race.’ - on flying winger John Robertson.

‘I’ve dropped off to sleep long before Sven Goran Eriksson has finished droning on. There’s more emotion in a dead reindeer.’

Daleks were more emotional than Sven!
‘I felt something worse than misery at Leeds. I was desolate.’

‘They humiliated McGovern at Leeds but he had the last laugh when he lifted the European Cup twice.’

‘We were unconventional to say the least, but boredom was something we wanted to avoid at all costs.’

‘I fight lost causes. It’s just the way I was brought up – the way I am.’

‘When Gazza was carried past me on a stretcher, I turned to our coaches and said ‘He’s finished as a player if he’s got what I think he’s got.’ I wasn’t far wrong.’

Cloughie with some of his trophies!
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Written by Graham Hey