It’s hard to talk about Nottingham Forest without talking about Brian Clough, no more so when it comes to books. Inevitably, Clough dominates the past four decades of the club so, with a heavy slant towards ‘the greatest manager who ever lived’, Seat Pitch brings you another 10 of the best…
1. Provided You Don’t Kiss Me: 20 Years With Clough
By Duncan Hamilton
Hamilton’s evocative account of his years as the Nottingham Evening Post‘s Forest reporter stands up as one of the finest books about Clough and the club. His personal relationship with Old Big ‘Ead provides more insight, stories and revelations than practically every other book claiming to offer the same. As well as myriad accolades it won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award in 2007 and a British Sports Book Award in 2008. Essential for any football fan.
2. Brian Clough: Nobody Ever Says Thank You
By Jonathan Wilson
Recently reviewed on Seat Pitch, Wilson’s lengthy biography goes into greater detail than any before and benefits from, not only an outsider perspective, but the authoritative hands of one of the finest football writers around. Following meticulous research with nearly 200 interviews as well as hours upon hours of time scouring newspaper reports and numerous biographies, the man who brought you the definitive tactics book, Inverting the Pyramid, has, in 550 pages, written the definitive Clough biography.
3. Deep Into The Forest
By Daniel Taylor
Now the Guardian‘s chief football writer, Taylor rounds up an all-star XIV of Forest’s best ever players — from John Robertson and Ian Storey-Moore to Des Walker and Neil Webb — with lengthy interviews with all but the elusive Roy Keane. While the exhaustive research stands out it’s the insights into how the game used to be, the little details the players reveal and, of course, the Clough anecdotes. The standout line though is Larry Lloyd’s opinion of David Platt: “He’s a dickhead.”
4. Cloughie: Walking On Water
By Brian Clough
In his own words, as told to the Sun‘s former chief sports writer John Sadler, Clough is open and honest about his life before, during and after football. Notably he’s had time to consider matters since his first autobiography, nearly 10 years previously, and talks about his battle with alcohol and his regret at never orchestrating a reconciliation with Peter Taylor. And, of course, he’s opinionated about the modern game, as it was a decade ago, in the way that only Old Big ‘Ead could be.
5. The Damned Utd
By David Peace
Not even actually about Forest, this fictional account of Clough’s infamous 44 days at Leeds United is rightly regarded as one of the best, most compelling football reads of the past decade. The film, good as it is, is a heavily watered-down version of the no-holds barred character created by Peace, based on meticulous research. The two alternating strands switch between his route to the Leeds job following injury and a day-to-day account at Elland Road. The warts-and-all inner voice is clearly controversial but it’s a brilliant read.
6. Psycho: The Autobiography
By Stuart Pearce
One of Forest’s greatest players, and certainly the most iconic of the past 30 years, tells the story from his days as a part-time electrician playing for non-league Wealdstone to playing for Clough. The England left-back’s characteristic honesty shines through and he recalls those he’s met during his career — from Hoddle to Gullit. It’s a great insight into one of the country’s best-loved players and the life as a footballer, delivered with wit, humour and the inevitable punk music.
7. Super Tramp: My Autobiography
By John Robertson
Forest’s best ever player? Many people think so and this recent biography charts his career as an out-of-sorts journeyman to European champion, courtesy of you know who. The man who made the goal for the first European Cup, and scored the goal for the second, went on to strike up a hugely successful managerial partnership with Martin O’Neill at Leicester, Celtic and Aston Villa. Alongside personal heartache, this autobiography is a humorous and touching memoir which reveals one of the greats in the club’s history.
8. With Clough by Taylor
By Peter Taylor
Now out of print, and hard to come by, this is the other side of the famous partnership in his own words. Sadly, Taylor has never received the recognition he deserves for dragging a provincial club out of the Second Division to the lofty heights of European champions. This was the book that was the beginning of the end for the Clough-Taylor relationship, one, that sadly, never recovered after Taylor signed Robertson for Derby. But the stories are what makes this book what it is — if you can get hold of it.
9. 150 B.C.: Cloughie — The Inside Stories
By Dave Armitage
All the anecdotes, stories, tales and more from the man himself, compiled by Armitage who got to know Clough personally during his 25 years as a football writer. As the title suggests, there are 150 intimate and revealing stories with first-hand accounts from the likes of Peter Shilton, Trevor Francis, Larry Lloyd, Teddy Sheringham, his gardener, secretary and more. If you thought you’d read everything about the great man, there’s even more revelations here as well as 32 pages of photos.
10. Nottingham Forest: On This Day
By Pete Attaway
Going back into the archives, Attaway’s covers nearly 150 years of the club’s history with stats, facts and figures for every single day of the year. Clough, of course, dominates but it’s a timely reminder that there were successes pre-1975 as well as the obvious lows. Remember when Forest were rock bottom of the entire Football League? Or what about the question of who won the club’s inaugural Players’ Darts Tournament? And, naturally, there’s the FA Cup Final wins in 1898 and 1959.
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