Clough family condemn defamatory Brian Clough book..

It’s odd timing, really – since the book in question has been out for a while – but the local media picked up this morning that the great man’s widow, Barbara Clough, has recently discovered the David Peace fictional work “The Damned United” – a book charting BC’s tumultous 44 days in charge of Leeds United.

The books is one that’s been ‘on my list’ for a while to read – but since picking up Duncan Hamilton’s ‘Provided you don’t kiss me’ I’ve resisted – and I think given this feedback from somebody who knew him better than anybody else, I will give it a miss in the end.  I’ll be in good company, Brian’s two sons Nigel and Simon have both vowed to ignore the work completely.

I suppose this media outburst (and indeed, my collusion in reporting it) gives further publicity to the book, and indeed the proposed film that the BBC of all people want to make of it.  The main crux of the criticism is that it portrays Clough as little more than a potty-mouthed trouble causer – which is perhaps not surprising when you consider Peace is a staunch Yorkshireman (that said, Brian would describe himself also as this).

Whilst I doubt that many people would deny Clough was capable of the occasional swearword, he was fundamentally a witty and intelligent exponent of wordplay – have a look around YouTube for a few interviews if you have any doubts on this front, so it’s understandable why Peace’s dark and very one-dimensional portrayal of him has offended those who knew him best.

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22 Responses

  1. Well, what do you expect from the BBC, Leeds and a Yorkshire slant….maybe they should all look in the trophy rooms for 1979 – 1980 and work out what they missed out on.

  2. Odd timing indeed… I’m actually reading it now and I can understand why Barbara may be offended, if she’s been told about it’s contents. It’s a no-holds barred dramatisation of the early part of BHC’s managerial career, before he proved that he was no flash in the pan by winning a clutch of cups with Forest, with the emphasis on drama.

    It makes many assumptions about Clough and Taylor that make great reading but are of corse pure conjecture – However, I would disagree that it portrays him as a one dimensional swearing trouble causer, I think the book tries to paint picture of football in the 70’s using the events of the 44 days that he was in charge at Leeds to examine the era, it’s a book that’s at times evocative and others verges on pure nostalgia, but if Mr Clough comes out of it looking bad so does everyone else in the game – players, managers, the FA, violent fans, unscrupulous owners – the lot of ’em, not least LUFC.

    For that reason I would say read it and make your own mind up, for what it’s worth I think it’s a great book and it hasn’t diminished my respect or affection for the man.

  3. I suppose you’re right.

    I’ve had very mixed feedback from folks who have read the book though, ranging from disgust to admiration, so I was a bit intrigued. I may still be yet, although I won’t be buying it, I’m sure I’ll find someone I can borrow it from if I get the urge.

  4. I have read the book and would seriously recommend reading it. As a Forest fan i could never be `tricked` in to thinking Brian was just a drunk who sat in his office and made phone calls but some of the things regarding his time at leeds are quite interesting. Whether these stories are true or not- it is good to read and remember the great man.
    It is sad to read that the Clough family is upset, but such a charismatic man will be written about after all.

  5. I absolutely love the book – it’s one of the best I’ve read in years.

    WARNING: spoiler up ahead …

    The only “negative”, from my point of view, is that it ends with him laughing at the amount of money he got for his pay-off.

    Apart from that it’s fantastic to read a (fictional) insight into a great man actually failing – his fears and insecurities – the things you don’t normally associate with BC. Every failure at Leeds is contrasted with a success at Derby.

    Far be it from me to cross the Cloughs but I have to recommend it.

  6. Bogger that, I won’t read it.

  7. I think you are right .Just ignore it!!!!

  8. It is a great read. Though fictional provides a good insight into football prior to Sky, prima donnas and the premier league money. Read it and make your own mind up.

  9. Ah Baz, have you not read Duncan Hamilton’s book? Clough, by his own admission, was in fact delighted by the rather hefty pay-off he received from Leeds (if Hamilton is to be believed). Ask RKB to lend you his copy…

  10. The payoff left Clough financially secure, according to the great man’s autobiography.

    He didn’t actually have to work again.

  11. Of course he was delighted to receive a hefty pay-off. If your employers and staff treat you like shit you’d want a few quid, wouldn’t you?
    Let’s face it, the man went on to become one of the greatest managers this country has ever seen. No wonder anyone with a Leeds connection is pissed off, they realise that but for a little arse-hole like Billy Bremner they too could have gone on to conquer Europe twice.
    Sorry if that’s upset some of you Leeds boys, but although I fully respect what you’ve achieved so far this season I do believe Leeds have a massive bag of potatoes on their shoulder.

  12. I can understand why the book is disliked, but it’s on my all time top ten. A fantastic piece of work.

  13. Read it! It’s a great book. It’s a great read. It’s a fiction that is based on a real-life character, which makes it better fiction. Novelists have to do that more these days, because people are a lot more demanding from fiction than they used to be.

    David Peace made it clear that he was going to limit his research because he wanted to tell a story about a moment of crisis (for Leeds) – I can understand why people close to Cloughie would be upset by the book, and that’s another matter.

    Perhaps you take the view that “I won’t read a really good book because it has upset someone who doesn’t deserve to be upset” – and that’s a rational response. But I don’t think that if anyone who reads this blog reads the book, that Mrs C, Nigel or Simon will be any less upset by it.

  14. you’d be missing out to not read it. it’s AWESOME.

  15. I came here to complain about not very nice comments about Leicester City, and did that. Then I found this…

    Sorry, but criticism of The Damned United is absolute rubbish. David Pearce’s book is a fantastic portrait of a flawed genius. It doesn’t touch on his Forest years, but it shows how he came to be what he was to you lot. You can see in Martin O’Neill and John Robertson all of his and Peter Taylor’s skills in picking average players and polishing them into world beaters. I was there in the 70s, and The Damned United brings it all back – including the lying, cheating, bastards who played under Revie.

    Read it.

  16. I do intend to read it, honest – after I have I’ll post a more informed opinion 🙂

  17. I can’t believe you’ve not read it. I have a copy here you can read, and you can get a flight from East Midlands to Carcassonne on Wednesday. And my local bar is run by a 21yo Forest fan who gave me a cuddle yesterday. Up the City!

  18. Haha! I will, I’ll avail myself of it and read it during the time I had set aside for the playoffs… and I’ll post more in depth about what I made of it… Carcassonne sounds bloody tempting, too!

  19. Be interested in your comments. It really is superb and paints a wonderful picture of the man.

    I met John Robertson during the time he and Martin O’God and Steve Walford were in charge at City, and he told me how much he and O’Neill had learned from Clough. One wonderful cameo, when we came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Chelsea (player managed by Ruud Gullitt. Robbo told me t hat all O’Neill did was walk into the dressing room at half time, look at the players, wait for 15 seconds and say “You lot spend too much time reading the papers. Eleven of them, eleven of you. No more.” He then paused, turned to Robertson and said “Tell them.” and walked out. Brilliant.

    You’re welcome here. Email me.

  20. […] Damned United.. I’ve mentioned David Peace’s novel based on Clough’s famous 44 days at Leeds United, but always from […]

  21. The best sports book I have ever read.

  22. Hi all ! I need this book! Where is find this book! Please…….Thank you very much for answer!
    Good luck! Brian Clough is and a was the best manager of the world !

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