LONDON: Legendary manager Brian Clough, who led Nottingham Forest to two European Cup titles, has died aged 69 yesterday.
Clough, a great motivator and tactician who led Forest to two European Cup wins in 1979 and 1980, was a controversial character but also universally admired for his contribution to English football.
Clough, who has struggled with health problems the last few years and had a liver transplant in January this year, died of stomach cancer. His family was with him by his bedside.
A memorable episode came in 1989 when Clough fondly known as Old Big Head was fined £5,000 by the FA after striking two fans who ran on to the pitch at Forests City Ground after their League Cup quarter-final victory against QPR.
Former Forest and England striker Gary Birtles paid handsome tribute to Clough, under whose guidance he won the European Cup and never replicated his form once he moved on to Manchester United.
I remember him with great fondess and great affection, Birtles told Sky News.
I received a call from Nigel (Cloughs son and former Forest player) to tell me the news. However he should have managed his country. To have achieved what he did was remarkable.
He was fine if you toed the line, he would let you know in no uncertain terms what he thought if you crossed him. But he was a winner and he was a genius.
Well never know really everyone in England wanted him to have the job. Shame we never saw what he would have been capable of. He would have rocked the FA from top to bottom if he had got the job and that is something they would not have wanted.
Another former Forest stalwart, Frank Clark, said Clough had been an outstanding talent in getting the best out of limited players.
He was a tremendous man manager and great motivator and he got 100% from everyone who worked for him. He never made it too complicated and stands up there with the greatest. As for his drinking well all managers make mistakes and he dealt with his demons like we all do.
Seasoned British football reporter Steve Curry however told Sky News that he did not think he would have thrived in the England job.
Im not sure he would have been a good England manager because one of his strengths was working with players on a day-to-day basis, Curry said.
He was no respecter of reputations and had his own way of doing things. I dont think working with players for a short period of time would have worked for him.
Apart from the European Cup wins, he also led Derby to the Division One title, and as a player, he won two England caps and scored 251 goals in 274 games as a striker for Middlesbrough and Sunderland.
Clough, who retired from football after a 41-year career in 1993, admitted in his autobiography published last year he had let drink get the better of him.
His greatest coup was to guide Forest to victory in the European Cup against Malmo in 1979 and to retain the title the following year against Hamburg. AFP