If imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, Brian Clough must be one of the most exalted managers of all time. He is certainly one of the greatest. Cocky, outspoken and abrasive, 'Ol Big Head's' love of the limelight and penchant for controversy made him football's first celebrity manager, and provided a blueprint for the likes of Jose Mourinho to follow.
Yet while some of Clough's legendary one-liners would make Mourinho appear self-effacing by comparison, no-one could accuse the late, great former Nottingham Forest manager of failing to back up his words with deeds. With Peter Taylor at his side, he led two provincial clubs - Forest and Derby County - out of England's Second Division and onwards to glory, winning the league title with both and claiming two successive European Cups with the former.
Throughout, the secret to his success lay in an
unrivalled ability to motivate players. "He was England's version of
Muhammad Ali," is the view of Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill, who starred for Clough at Forest. "A more charismatic man you could
not meet. He was a truly brilliant manager. I don't
think Brian would disagree with that either... he would have been the first one
to say he was the greatest of all time!"
Clough is certainly destined to remain one of English football's most memorable and beloved characters and, here, FIFA.com invites you to sit back and enjoy some of the classic quips that have helped forge a legend.
"I wouldn't say I was the best manager in the
business. But I was in the top one."
Clough's famous assessment of his standing in the game
"The river Trent is lovely. I know because I walked
on it for 18 years."
Clough evaluates his achievements at Nottingham Forest
"Rome wasn't built in a day. But I wasn't on
that particular job."
Clough on Clough, again
the entire world and his dog how good a manager I was. I knew I was the best
but I should have said nowt and kept the pressure off. Because they'd have
worked it out for themselves."
Clough on his biggest mistake
"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."
Clough on 'staying humble'
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
Clough on being overlooked for the England manager's job
"If I had an argument with a player, we would sit down for 20 minutes, talk about it - and then decide I was right."
Clough on man-management
"I gave my players a version of the same message at
ten-to-three every Saturday: 'I would shoot my granny right now for three
points this afternoon.' They knew how important it was to give everything in
the cause of victory. Every time. That's why my granny enjoyed more lives than
Clough on winning
"If God had wanted us to play football in the sky,
He'd have put grass up there."
Clough's football philosophy
"At last they have appointed a manager who
speaks English better than the players."
Clough on the appointment of Sven-Goran Eriksson as England manager
Robertson was a very unattractive young man. If one day I was feeling a bit
off colour, I would sit next to him. I was bloody Errol Flynn compared to him. But
give him a yard of grass and he was an artist. The Picasso of our game."
Clough's unique tribute to Nottingham Forest's Scottish winger
"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."
Clough on how he would like to be remembered