Forgotten hero: in memory of Peter Taylor

It’s probably fair to say that in life he was often in the shadow of Brian Clough, and the same can certainly be said of him in death – but I think it’s high time the contribution Peter Taylor made to the great history of Nottingham Forest is more readily recognised, certainly by the club itself.

When the Executive Stand was renamed the Brian Clough stand, of course only a fool would argue against such an honour being bestowed upon the greatest manager the game has ever seen, I would have preferred the ‘Clough and Taylor’ stand – the stand itself was built in the early 1980′s and is a very real monument to the achievements of both men.  The first stand to have coloured seats to spell out the name of the club in the country, and has proven a template for many modern day stadiums until we entered the flat-pack wraparound age.

Taylor worked with Clough right from his days at Hartlepool, and indeed met him when both were still players at Middlesbrough.  He was a calming influence in the dressing room to Cloughie’s fire, he was a peerless scout and ultimately an essential piece in the Forest jigsaw.  I reckon most fans old enough to remember his time here with Clough readily acknowledge his value to the operation, but the club seem to almost deny this due to the acrimonious nature in which Taylor and Clough parted company.

Taylor retired as Clough’s assistant in 1982, only to return to management 6 months later at Derby County, and as if to rub salt into the wounds,  he took prize asset John Robertson to Derby from Forest.  The aftermath of this resulted in Clough not speaking to Taylor again.  Taylor died in 1990 whilst holidaying in Majorca.  Clough attended the funeral, and later dedicated his autobiography to him.  Whilst Clough did have a secondary great side without Taylor, it’s clear he was never able to reach the heights he did with his second in command alongside him.

So when you see the Brian Clough statue in Nottingham once it is in place, spare a thought for his right hand man, without whom I don’t think the great Brian Clough would have been quite as successful.  When Forest redevelop the Main Stand (which won’t be for some time, since a precursor for this is being established in the Premiership!) there are tentative plans for a better memorial to Brian Clough, I would urge the club to also suitably acknowledge the contribution of Peter Taylor. 

I can visualise a statue of them both, perhaps holding a European cup between them, as we’ve seen on so many photographs in our history books, that would be an imposing sight on entering the gates at the City Ground for any team bus coming to face us!

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10 Responses

  1. What an excellent read which sparks in to light from the very off!

    The idea of having a statue of both Taylor and Clough at the entrance (if the day should ever arise) of the new “main Stand” would truly be amazing.

    This would signify the true value of what these two-fantastic men “together” achieved the English game, for the history of Nottingham Forest FC but more importantly an acknowledgement the crucial role in which the Taylor of those men really played during the crazy heights in which we reached.

    The sad irony of this is that we could all be in for a long wait for such happenings as without the floored personalities in Taylor & Clough the days of a “second coming”
    Seem rather ill fitting grey.

    May the “new world” of Calderwod’s upbeat calmness, along with Pleats tapping into the scouting would of “youth” bring us salvation because it’s awfully lonely down here.

  2. Apologies for the grammar!

  3. Spot on about Taylor.

    I remember the first home match after he died where due to Clough’s intransigence there wasn’t even a minute’s silence. It’s time that Peter Taylor’s pivotal role is recognised by the club

  4. You’re spot on with that analysis. Undeniably great tho’ he was, Cloughie was never as effective as when he had Taylor alongside and that’s not just at Forest. Of course, the reverse applies. They were a very effective partnership and Peter’s contribution to our success should be more widely recognised.
    Having read the 3 biographies of Brian Clough plus his own autobiography this Taylor factor is certainly acknowledged – particularly in Patrick Murphy’s book. I agree, it’s a pity that the club hasn’t sought to make more of Peter Taylor’s input to THE team of the 70s.

  5. Sadly it will never happen. Taylor went to manage our most hated rivals, that will never be forgotten by the club.

  6. If the fans can remember the bigger picture, I see no reason why the club can’t.

  7. [...] well as taking a few moments today to think about Brian Clough, I’ll also be thinking about Peter Taylor, for it was the magnificent partnership these two formed that was the alchemy for the true heights [...]

  8. I am an arsenal supporter but I have to say that this duo formed a formidable team and nottingam forest were a team to be feared under Brian and Peter. I remember seeing teams jump for joy when they beat nottingham forest in a regular game but to them it was like winning the world cup! Great team and great partnership. I really enjoyed watching them.

  9. Peter Taylor & Brian Clough were head and shoulders above their contempories, the success they jointly brought to both Derby County & Nottingham Forest deserves recognition in tandem. Whilst Brian had a unique management style , an outspoken character with immense carisma whose magnetic TV presence could be felt as if he were with you in the living room. Peter was quite the opposite , a quiet yet unassuming man who without doubt substantially contributed to the successes at Derby and Nottingham. It is right and proper to honour the ‘greats’ of our era and Peter Taylor was part of the great Clough era – let him be honoured and remembered too!

  10. [...] On a completely unrelated note, Derby have been on a further distract-everyone-from-matters-on-the-pitch charm offensive, but quite a nice one I think.  They have officially announced plans to have a statue of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor that will be placed at Pride Park in the future.  A nice gesture, and well, my views on Forest’s stance on the subject of Peter Taylor are well-documented already. [...]

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