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Brian Clough was a British professional soccer player and later coach, best know for his work with Derby County and Nottingham Forest.
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In 1972, Derby County's third season under Clough in the top flight, the club won the league in dramatic fashion when rivals Liverpool and Leeds both lost on the last day of the season. The title was the first in Derby County's long history, dating back to the late 19th century. The next year saw the Rams reach the semifinals of the European Cup before crashing out in a defeat to Italian giants Juventus. Clough's celebrity increased as he gained a reputation as a brash, outspoken and fearless figure,
both alienating and inspiring Derby fans, players and staff.
Eventually, amidst continued tension and conflict with Derby's board of directors, Clough and Taylor resigned from their posts in 1973. The club's fans protested and the players threatened to strike, but the rupture proved permanent. The two newly minted celebrities moved on to take up management of Brighton & Hove Albion. However, with the obscure club mired in the depths of the Third Division, it wasn't long before Clough expressed frustration and made the most controversial and memorable move of his career.
In July 1974, Clough (by now a tabloid regular dubbed "Cloughie") left Brighton to manage Leeds United, a First Division team left leaderless after the legendary Don Revie left the club to manage the England national team. Clough's decision to go to Leeds went against the wishes of his longtime assistant Peter Taylor, and ultimately Taylor did not follow Clough to his new post. In the past, Clough had been exceedingly critical of both Don Revie and the direct and physical style of play he had instilled at Leeds. This had proved hugely successful but Clough blasted the style as unsportsmanlike. During the first meeting with his new team, Clough was reported to have said, "You can all throw your medals in the bin because they were not won fairly." After 44 days of near-constant clashes with players and directors, and an unimpressive record of just one win out of six games played, Clough resigned as Leeds' manager and walked away from the job with a handsome payout. It was perhaps fitting that a movie made decades later about the Clough's stint at Leeds was called The Damned United.
After his disastrous month and a half at Leeds, Clough returned to management in the middle of the 1974-75 season at Nottingham Forest, a team then languishing in the bottom half of the Second Division. Much like at Derby County before, Clough was able to revolutionize the club, soon lifting Forest to almost unbelievable heights. Clough followed a similar blueprint for success, bringing in trusted former players, recognizing untapped young talent and bringing Peter Taylor back on board to assist. Clough favored a style of play based on keeping the ball on the ground, emphasizing dribbling and short passing rather than knocking long balls through the air. He once said, "If God had wanted us to play football in the clouds, he'd have put grass up there."
Under Clough's management, Nottingham Forest won an incredible haul of silverware: promotion to the First Division in 1977, champions of the First Division in 1978, four-time League Cup winners and back-to-back European Cup champions.
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