Brian Clough: The legendary coach and his outstanding quotes

brian clough coach

On 20 September 2004, the football community mourns the loss of a great coach, and especially man, Brian Clough.

Ingenious, dynamic, outspoken, unconventional, yet stubborn (nicknamed Big Head), the British manager is one of the most charismatic figures who ever appeared in English football.

Brian Clough, was the creator of Derby County in the early 70s, where raised the team in the first category, won the first championship in its history, but also with the amazing Nottingham Forest at the end of the decade, where he won two consecutive League Cups.

His character, hopelessly cranky. From Hartlepool, where he began his career, until his beloved Nottingham (which ended his coaching career), Clough never hold back his words, even though he knew it would cause reactions from the conservative minds of English society. His criticism was about players, colleagues, and even the Federation national team of his country.

His personality has inspired articles, books, documentaries and a film, since his failed career in Leeds, transfered as a movie to the big screen.

Brian Clough 's death in 2004 due to stomach cancer, scattered grief in the world of football, a man who was the epitome of "genuine man".

The following quotes belong to Brian Clough, and you can imagine what kind of person he was...

Brian Clough quotes

1. "If God had wanted us to play football in the clouds, he'd have put grass up there." On the importance of passing to feet.

2. "I bet their dressing room will smell of garlic rather than liniment over the next few months." On the number of French players at Arsenal.

3. "I wouldn't say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one." Looking back at his success.

4. "I can't even spell spaghetti never mind talk Italian. How could I tell an Italian to get the ball - he might grab mine." On the influx of foreign players.

5. "Who the hell wants fourteen pairs of shoes when you go on holiday? I haven't had fourteen pairs in my life." On the contents of Posh Spice's missing luggage.

Brian Clough

6. "On occasions I have been big headed. I think most people are when they get in the limelight. I call myself Big Head just to remind myself not to be." Old Big 'Ead explains his nickname.

7. "At last England have appointed a manager who speaks English better than the players." On the appointment of Sven Goran Eriksson as England manager.

8. "Manchester United in Brazil? I hope they all get bloody diarrhea." On Man Utd opting-out of the FA Cup to play in the World Club Championship.

9. "If he'd been English or Swedish, he'd have walked the England job." On Martin O'Neill.

10. "Anybody who can do anything in Leicester but make a jumper has got to be a genius." A tribute to Martin O'Neill.

11. "The ugliest player I ever signed was Kenny Burns." A Clough complement for a talented player.

12. "Stand up straight, get your shoulders back and get your hair cut." Advice for John McGovern at Hartlepool.

13. "I'm sure the England selectors thought if they took me on and gave me the job, I'd want to run the show. They were shrewd, because that's exactly what I would have done." On not getting the England manager's job.

14. "Take your hands out of your pockets." More advice, this time for a young Trevor Francis as he receives an award from the Master Manager.

15. "The Derby players have seen more of his balls than the one they're meant to be playing with." On the streaker who appeared during Derby's game against Manchester United.

16. "I only ever hit Roy the once. He got up so I couldn't have hit him very hard." On dealing with Roy Keane.

17. "Walk on water? I know most people out there will be saying that instead of walking on it, I should have taken more of it with my drinks. They are absolutely right." Reflecting on his drink problem.

18. "I'm dealing with my drinking problem and I have a reputation for getting things done." A comment which speaks for itself.

19. "Rome wasn't built in a day. But I wasn't on that particular job." On getting things done.

20. "Don't send me flowers when I'm dead. If you like me, send them while I'm alive." After the operation which saved his life.

Brian Clough at Wembley
Brian Clough at Wembley Stadium

21. "Players lose you games, not tactics. There's so much crap talked about tactics by people who barely know how to win at dominoes." Reflecting on England's exit from Euro 2000.

22. "We talk about it for twenty minutes and then we decide I was right." On dealing with a player who disagrees.

23. "I want no epitaphs of profound history and all that type of thing. I contributed - I would hope they would say that, and I would hope somebody liked me," On how he would like to be remembered.

24. "It was a crooked match and he was a crooked referee. That was a tournament we could and should have won." On the 1984 UEFA Cup semi-final Forest lost to Anderlecht.

25. "You don't want roast beef and Yorkshire every night and twice on Sunday." On too much football on television.

26. "I'm not saying he's pale and thin, but the maid in our hotel room pulled back the sheets and remade the bed without realising he was still in it." Referring to former Forest player Brian Rice.

27. "If a chairman sacks the manager he initially appointed, he should go as well." On too many managers getting the boot.

28. "I thought it was my next door neighbour, because I think she felt that if I got something like that, I'd have to move." Guessing who nominated him for a knighthood.

29. "He should guide Posh in the direction of a singing coach because she's nowhere near as good at her job as her husband." Advice for David Beckham.

30. "Barbara's supervising the move. She's having more extensions built than Heathrow Airport." On moving house in Derbyshire.

31. "For all his horses, knighthoods and championships, he hasn't got two of what I've got. And I don't mean balls!" Referring to Sir Alex Ferguson's failure to win two successive European Cups.

32. "I like my women to be feminine, not sliding into tackles and covered in mud." On women's football.

33. "That Seaman is a handsome young man but he spends too much time looking in his mirror, rather than at the ball. You can't keep goal with hair like that." On England goalkeeper David Seaman.

34. "I've missed him. He used to make me laugh. He was the best diffuser of a situation I have ever known. I hope he's alright." On the late Peter Taylor.

35 ."He's learned more about football management than he ever imagined. Some people think you can take football boots off and put a suit on. You can't do that." On David Platt's first season as Forest manager.

Thanks to an unofficial tribute website to Brian Clough, for the collection of quotes.

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