Clough is Derby’s chosen one..

Following his the footsteps of his father..

Following in the footsteps of his father..

Sometimes the ‘what might have been‘ question is never answered, and sometimes it is.  Certainly the ballad of the Clough family and the endless (and, in this author’s opinion, fairly tiresome) tug-of-warring over the right to their legacy took a very interesting twist tonight as Nigel Clough is set to be unveiled as the replacement of Paul Jewell at Pride Park.

Part of me really wanted Forest to take the plunge and go for Nige (assuming he wanted the role, of course).  It would have been wonderfully poetic and he did represent one of the few candidates who, whilst not fully accepted as a serious choice by a huge number of fans, would have earned both respect and patience from our fans.  However, mainly he represented a massive gamble which – given our precarious league placing this season – was a risk too far in my opinion.

Just as Derby fans got to see what might have been come true at their hated rivals, so it comes to pass that Forest fans can observe the same thing for the next generation.  Nigel Clough’s ten years at Burton Albion has constantly been seen as a first step on a road to league management – ironically, had he stuck it out ’til the end of this season he looked almost certain to attain league status for Burton in their own right.

I’ve got real mixed feelings.  Ultimately I’m happy to see Derby go through the experiment, because their league position isn’t much less precarious than ours – and I wouldn’t have been happy to gamble Forest’s future on somebody who has only managed at a much lower level at a practically part-time basis – but as with any gamble, the potential gains are huge – and certainly for a set of fans desperate to lay claim to the Clough name, they will see this appointment as a real opportunity for bragging rights.

So Derby’s chairman has half shown some real bollocks by doing this – but also has potentially been backed into a corner, unrest caused by poor recent form under Paul Jewell, followed by his departure and Forest’s attainment of Billy Davies – a man, loathe as many are to admit it, would have been welcomed back to Pride Park by a fair proportion of the crowd.  Perhaps Pearson felt that playing ‘the Clough card’ was the only option he had left, in so doing he has potentially undermined his own position should Clough Jnr fail to turn around Derby’s fortunes.

The tittle-tattle over the Clough name will intensify now, and frankly I can’t be arsed with it – Forest fans are bad enough with the obsession, but Rams fans do take it to another level; and psychologically it is understandable – what perfect poetic justice it would be for them to, as they would see it, nick the son of Clough who played to distinction for their rivals, their rivals who Clough Senior took to the highest of heights having fallen out with the then Derby board.

It is going to be a very interesting end to the season – just the fact we are in the same division made it interesting, bring in the Commons/Earnshaw factor and it made it positively tasty – well now, it’s verging on the bloody  incestuous!  When we head to the Sheep Dip on 23rd January for our now televised FA Cup clash it will be all the more eagerly anticipated, which makes it unsurprising that Setanta has immediately secured the game to show on TV.

For Nigel the role is a bit of a no brainer – a gargantuan step up from non-League to a decent sized club in an area he can get to easily from his home, a set of fans who will give him patience on account of his parentage – all in all, very little to lose.  For Derby, they appoint a man who probably wouldn’t even have been in the running for the role but for his surname, which whilst an evocative one, is just a name after all.

Pearson will either end up a hero down the A52, or a reactionary fool – history will tell us which, I for one will be watching with interest – and perhaps a touch of relief that it’s not my club who is gambling their future on somebody so untested – however, I of course reserve the right for that feeling to change to intense envy should he turn out to be any good!

I could never bring myself to dislike our Nige, as such a notable member of the Forest side I grew up watching it would take a lot to do that – but equally, I can’t really bring myself to wish him much success in this particular role.  It remains to be seen whether he can live up to his name or not, the very fact he is expected to – and that his Dad gets as much mention in the reports of his appointment as he does – is perhaps already an obstacle that he will immediately face.

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43 Responses

  1. Nffc – great commentary as ever. I think Derby are taking a huge gamble in appointing “our Nige” – probably even bigger than Ince’s appointment at Blackburn. After 10 years at Burton Albion, he has certainly served his apprenticeship, but (and for me, it’s a very big but) I think the step up will be much too much, and too quickly.

    We should know from our own experience of this season that the change from Lge 1 to the Championship is, in itself, too big a jump for some people and whilst Nige is undoubtedly a shrewd individual, he has no knowledge of the Championship, its’ players and how to do business at this level.

    Like you, I don’t wish him to fail, but I hope he doesn’t succeed too much either.

    Undoubtedly time will tell, but I have to comment that I am increasingly impressed by BD and his approach and whilst I understand the PR coup of having Tys sign a new contract on day 2 of his ‘reign’, I am delighted that he has and I believe it to be a very positive sign about how the players are responding.

    Therefore, by inference, I also believe that Nigel Doughty and Mark Arthur were correct to specify someone who not only has experience at this level, but who also understands how to work with and encourage younger players. We have a fantastic Academy and that work must continue if we are to stand a chance of really competing again in the future.

    The future is going to be very interesting and I hope my next 30 years of supporting Forest are as rewarding as the last!!

  2. Well said nffc and SB i echo your sentiments but i do have mixed emotions for our nige as he was a great red and is a forest fan i believe but business is business the games gonna be a cracker @ derby with lots of niggle BRING IT ON I SAY.

  3. I wanna cry…

    more later as I’m off somewhere ….

  4. lets hope the true red in “our nige” comes out and he totally destoys them buying planks and dropping fat boy commons to their reserves!!!GOOD LUCK NIGE!

  5. Interesting, eh, nffc? I don’t think it’s quite a s wacky as you or SB are saying, however.

    He is undoubtedly a gamble, I’ll go that far, but it’s a bit like betting on Murray against Federer – there is more than an outside chance he can succeed. Right from his first senior game he showed he has a head on his shoulders, and he earned his way to everything he achieved.

    It could be that he will take a couple of seasons to get up to pace, I’ll grant you – but he must have man management skills or Burton would not be where they are. He’s worked with below-conference level players, and made them into worthy promotion candidates. The risk as you have said is that in that period you get relegated – but neither Derby nor Forest should be serious contenders for the drop. With recent results, we should be gaining confidence, and with that comes results. As has been said elsewhere, Davies should sort out the team and avoid the drop, but the cost in terms of football may be heavy.

    I could wish that the two clubs had got the other manager.

    If anyone can bring good football back to our club it’s Nigel – it is the way he thinks, as far as I can tell. That said, we have McBilly, so I hope he shows up my poor understanding of the game and his character, and we play sweet, flowing football week after week, scoring goals a-plenty until we long for route-1 football for a change, and a 1-0 scoreline.

    I hope Nigel does really well (but his team come off second best in a 9 goal thriller on the 23rd) – he doesn’t owe us at all. Once he’s got used to the differences between Championship and Non-league football, perhaps Derby would be good enough to sack him, and we can have him!

    Billy Davies’ Red and White Army!

  6. Like you NFFC, I remember Clough when he first started out and grew up with him as a regular in the side for many years. I even remember in the year that Forest were relegated under Brian, Nigel was the only one who played for the team, in defence or as striker. He really is a legend, Trent side. But unlike many Forest Fans, I think it irrelevant to continue to live in the past in the sense of continuously linking our glorious past to our pretty non-descript present. We are a Championship team fighting for survival because we deserve to be (thanks a plenty to Platt, Kinnear and Megson for that). Forest are a very different team from the one 20 years ago and with the bitter rivalry that exists, I won’t be hoping he succeeds at all. I do however understand his wanting the job as Footbal is nothing more than a business in entertainment and you take the best jobs you can get when you can so in that sense, he was right to take it. I do think it verging on suicide though as he really has a name only because of his dad and if Derby should get relegated this season, all the better. No offence Nige!!!

    Oh the irony that not only do we see so much transaction between the two clubs this season but we get to face them in a couple of weeks in the Cup.

    All I can say is:

    If I had the wings of an Eagle,
    if I had the arse of a crow,
    I’d fly over Derby County,
    and shit on the bastards below!!!!

    UUuuu rrreeedddssss!!!!!!

    P.S. Great news about Tys!

  7. I think time will show that this was a brave move by the Derby and exposes our own Chairman’s fears. Clough will, given time, be a success at Derby and we may be looking down the A52 with envious eyes for years to come. Maybe the shoes at Forest were just too big to fill, the pressure to succeed at Derby will not be as great, but the real reason he is not our new manager is that he is not a ‘yes’ man that Doughty and Arthur can control.

    Clough would bring success to Forest, but would also become too popular and in any disagreement would always have the backing of the fans. Kinnear, Megson, Calderwood and now Davies, are never going to be loved by the Forest faithful and when times are tough it is easy for them to take the rap and pressure away from those really responsible for the poor performance for many years now.

    Who was the last manager to become popular and stand up to Nigel Doughty over disagreements on transfer policy ? Paul Hart and we all know what happened to him.

    Nigel Clough was not even shortlisted for our manager’s position !

    I think we will take the first blood in the FA Cup, but long term I think the sheep shaggers will be quietly confident.

    Not happy.

  8. McGaribaldi, I think you are right that Clough will succeed at Derby, however I dont think it is as big a risk as people make out.
    Clough is;
    a clever man
    a clever football man
    many years football experience, growing up within the game, playing at the highest level, 10 years management experience.
    consistant success over 10 years.

    Also Forest did not approach Clough as they saw BD as the safest bet, forget long term forget decent football.

    I wish Nigel Clough all the success in the world, and mark my words he will succeed.

  9. As most who’ve commented on this site I too grew up with the “number 9” in the Forest team & would probably count him as my all-time favourite Red. However, l agree with NFFC that if you look at the appointment dispassionately it’s a massive gamble. Whilst everyone seems to be trading off the Clough name, maybe some of you need to remember that whilst success has eventually come for our Nigel @ Burton it has taken a very long time & also a good deal of financial backing by his chairman. Make no bones about it this is a massive gamble by the Sheep!
    Gutted about visiting the sheep dip on a friday night as I’ve planned a suprise trip to Italy for me & my Mrs whose flight returns at 6.00 pm that night @ East Mids! What happens if the flights delayed? Then again it was a suprise so she’d never know if I cancelled it….

  10. I agree with many good points that NFFC makes. Why appoint our Nige?

    The fact is that Pearson (Sheep Chairman) to me looks as honest as a 9 bob note. They must, must have a big financial issue if they do not get promoted within 2 years (e.g. Charlton, Southampton). Perhaps they simply could not afford the the quality Manager they need to get promotion, so what do you do? You take a gamble, but play the sympathy vote at the same time.

    Pearson plays the “it’s a footballing decision” card ….. MY ARSE. Fact is DCFC are partly owned by Pearson, but mainly by the Yanks and they’re only interested in a quick financial kill (you all know it if you’ve worked with them).

    It will be weird wanting to applaud a Derby Manager though ……..

  11. I think we all share similar views on here – except I don’t accept McG’s assertion that BD is a yes man – and you’re article is a well thought, balanced view of the situation. We have to live in the ‘now’ and right now survival is number one priority and as much as my heart said ‘yes please’ my head said clearly NC wasn’t the right man for us now. Having supported Forest since the early 70’s, NC is one of those great players and I was more saddenned by his loss than Keane when first relegated. As for now, I wish him well (but only a little bit)!!

  12. Hmm, mixed feelings about the whole thing.

    The Derby and Burton Chairmen are pals, and had a good relationship. So you can imagine the Burton reaction if ND had called. Especially if Pearson had already suggested a nice package if Clough were to stay put until Derby rang….

    And I have to say the whole “who did Clough love the most” thing is beyond me.
    I look at his record with us compared to them and the trophies will do for me. And his son played wonderful football for us for many years, achieving yet more trophies. For that I am thankful. Because during that period the sheep won jack shit.
    And yes, long-term he may prove to be a success at Derby.
    LONG-TERM.
    That is not something most forest fans are familiar with. 6 months down the line and we have scraped safety but are still not quite firing do you not agree that a good lot of our wonderful home support would’ve turned on him?

    Lets applaud the man for his loyalty to us during his playing years, but hope he doesn’t turn out to be quite as good as we fear he may be.

    Then we can have a go at getting behind our lot for a change.

    Sorry if that sounds like a rant, but whats done is done, and we need to continue to galvanise OUR troops!!

  13. Of course Darren Fergusson is just down the road, so let’s see where we are in 18 months time, and let’s see what he has achieved. His dad’s done something as well …. Time to move on, I’ve still got those 2 stars on mi shirt.

  14. As great a player NC was during his time with us i agree with NFFC the risk was to much,we have had three seasons in Div 1 what would the reaction be if we dropped to that level again ,no man will ever achive what Brian did with two clubs such as ours and the sheep,BD was picked as the new man for the job,like him or not he is proven at this level,nothing will give me more pleasure come May than us mid table and the sheep go down………..YOU REDS.

  15. NFFC, I thought that was one of the best pieces I have read on the Clough/Derby situation – well done young man.

    Pearson has obviously played what he thinks is a trump card with the appointment and it will mask other problematic issues at the club for the time being. Derby fans will be more patient with Nigel than say Chris Hutchins or Paul Ince and they will on the whole be united behind the new manager. Although there are some on the 606 boards that were against the appointment.

    There is obviously very little money to spend or they would have gone after a more experinced candidate who knows how to spend well and has knowledge of the CCC. It is a big risk and one that might back fire, because even if your name is Clough eventually fans these days will turn on you if you do not achieve success they believe they deserve.

    Nigel, I grew up watching you and wish you well.

  16. Becoming incestuos NFFC? Surely not! Where’s our Derby lad hero Lee Camp to add a further set of keys to the bowl? Or will it be the other Derby goalie we are apparently now after?!!!

    I think that if we’d have appointed Nigel we would all be very excited at the prospect rather than talking about it as too much of a gamble. He is perhaps the nicest bloke in football, (not at all like his dad!) but I’m sure he will prove to be a good manager in the long term. I won’t feel any sympathy for him if he takes them down though – that’s football!

    So, we should sing ‘Nigel, Nigel’ very loudly on our friday night out at Prideless Park when we give his team a good spanking (not like that!). Then once he has served his apprenticeship at our ‘management feeder club’ he will follow his dad’s footsteps all the way down, erm, Dad’s Way!

    Nigel, Nigel!

  17. D’oh! How could I forget about Camp too? 😆

  18. Has anyone noticed the date????? Coincidence or not????? Is somebody somewhere (on a much higher plane than ours) trying to tell us something????

  19. Well. I’d have to say top marks to pearson for having the balls to go for Nigel. Actually, you can’t really see who would have suited prideless park because there’s very little proven quality managers available. We got the only one with a track record..

    Its interesting to note there’s more than a few Forest fans who wanted Nigel as no2 with Pearce No1, that could still happen in the future.
    In some ways I hope I’m wrong, but I think its a huge step too far for Cloughie. Derby fans are going to have to give him plenty of time if they really want him to succeed

  20. I think Derby have taken a gamble but so did Sunderland with Keane and he didn’t have any managerial experience what so ever. He may of left under a cloud but he left them in a much better state than when he got there. Clough has 10 years of managerial experience, yes its in non league but your not telling me that that doesn’t count for anything. O’Neil did the same at Wycombe and that stood him in good stead for his managerial career.

    What I won’t like about the whole thing on a purely selfish point of view is that in the past I’ve always liked looking out for Ex- Forest players results as managers at Burton, Sunderland, Villa, Celtic and Man City and hoping they did well. Now I’d like Nigel to be a success but not at Derby. I hated it when O’Neil and Robertson were at Leicester but now I really hope he breaks into the top 4 with Villa. So all I can wish for Nigel is mid table mediocrity, I don’t want Derby to go down cos I love the games against them but I certainly don’t want them to be competing for honors at the end of any season. Especially with him in charge. I’ve also thought of something really horrible… What if he asks Pearce to help him out? That would be too much to bare.

  21. I’m really pleased with the tone of this. All the fighting over Brian is more than tiresome, it’s downright insulting to his memory. His life was his life, he was entitled to it as history records. It was clear the way things finished for him down the A52 left him with lasting regret (how could it not?), but that in no way diminished his pride at what Forest achieved. The stars on our shirts still shine as bright. Both sets of fans deserve their memories, the great man was worth it.

    Good luck Nigel, my love of Forest far outweighs my dislike of your new employers. You’re not following in any footsteps, just like as a player you’re big enough to stamp your own. No matter how things turn out you’re always welcome Trentside, no matter what capacity you visit in.

    There really would be no better thing than the away end at Pride Park come 4th round day letting him know that his Dad wasn’t the only family he had at the City Ground.

  22. May 2009.

    After a major battle to avoid relegation led by Nigel, the sheep are relegated on the last day of the season on goal difference by a single goal conceded in the 7th minute of injury time !!

    The following message will self destruct in 20 seconds!! –
    Come home Agent Clough your work is done.

    We can all dream!!

  23. dare i say exactly its wot ive been thinking/feeling all afternoon nffc, bin out for a pint and discussed the events at prideless park, agree totally with regards that it’s them taking the gamble and not us – quite rightly in my personel opinion , as for pearson, cant help but think as you’ve pointed out he’s played one of his, probably last trump cardsafter jewell and if anything he will surely shoot himself in the foot if the gamble fails according to my optimistic derby mates ! – made a joke about it earlier and redash commented on the joke, but the more i think about it what jonn michael white says in the last post sums it up completely for me – as does mattyboy for his take on burton/derby chairmen friendship. yours totally torn -clough sucsess, derby failure !!!! but forever forest .

  24. URED – that’s exactly wot i’m talking about m8 – but BD has a job to do and deserves our support so i’m afraid that “our nige” is probably in it for the long haul at derby !!and wont be coming HOME just yet – goodnight all

  25. I posted a comment on here about a week ago when BD was appointed asking how long we were all going to put up with the joke of a broard we have? When “our nige” becomes a huge success at the sheep (and if the people on here are honest we all know he will be) and were stuck watchin shit long ball football, what then? All the club have done for years is try and pull away from our past, when i for one dont want to!Wouldnt we love to see an ex hero back at the city ground?

    Guess well never see it though so well all just keep bending over and takin it everytime we turn up and pay are money.

    U REDS!!!!!

  26. Like everyone,mixed feelings. I wish he had taken over another team and succeeded,but I can´t wish him success with the sheep.
    A relegation for the sheep,which is quite possible, would help him get his league experience in div.1 instead of div 2 with Burton so he can try to get the sheep promoted back into the championship next year….

  27. Friend of mine made a good point earlier: Not sure our Nige’ would have taken the job even if he was offered it. Imagine sitting in that dug out at the City Ground staring up at your dad’s name on the stand if things are going wrong on the pitch… that’s a lot of pressure.

  28. its true he may not have taken it, but we will never know. That’s what makes me angry.
    We have idiots in charge that cannot see he should have been considered, if he would have said thanks but no thanks then job done, we would have done the right thing and found out where we stood.
    I think now he would have took it, the pressure would have been in the same league as taking the derby job, I know its not completely equal but the fact he took the Derby job makes me think he would have took the forest job.

    Oh well time to “reach for the skies” !! and try to find the ball at the CG !!!

  29. I’m not bothered that Nigel did not become our new manager. I would have loved it if he had but am really not arsed that he didn’t. I’m really not that bothered that he’s become Derby boss either. I truly wish him well – finishing one place below us each season will do just fine.

    URED: Agent Clough – Brilliant. Love it.

  30. For those who never tire of lambasting ND and MA….ever stopped to consider that Nigel wasn’t offered the job because the aforementioned already knew he wouldn’t take it? And when I say ‘knew’ I mean just that, and not ‘didn’t think’. NFFC – absolute top blog.

  31. Nigel may or may not be a success at Derby, but I wish him well.

    The point is though if his name wasn’t Clough, Derby would not have appointed him and the Forest fans who moan that he wasn’t approched would never have suggested Burton Albions manager. Anyone fancy appointing Steve Fallon ?(Histon FC manager 2nd in conference) ?

    Take Nigel out of the equation, if we or Derby had appointed another manager from the conference all hell would have broken loose with the fans!!!

  32. I reckon, whilst a step up for young Clough that he’s going to do well. He’s got hte big man in his blood (RIP) has sat next to him and been bought up all around football. A learning curve yes, but he’s been in the game all of his life. Still gutted though.

  33. Off the subject.Sorry to hear about Chic Thompson.
    Very nice guy who I knew quite well.
    Condolences to his familly. Alan

  34. Lots of very good points in nearly all the posts above which were no doubt triggered by nffc’s well written thoughful piece on the situation (well done mate, top marks as ever). I think Paul makes a key point which I mentioned in a previous nffc blog page – we wouldn’t be having this discussion if his name wasn’t Clough but that doesn’t make him Cloughie!!

    Either way, the deals are done & there is no point going on about ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’. Them that had to make the call made it, we have our man and the important thing is to concentrate on our business, deal with what we have, get behind BD, the team and stay in the Championship. Dreaming about the next season is a pointless exercise at this point in time.

    Bloody good read above nevertheless!

  35. We all have favourite players, past and present…

    I’m too young for Ian Storey Moore, Duncan McKenzie, Zigger Zagger etc but remember the talk about them. I was in Primary school when we won the European Cup with Robertson et al and I can still name the first XI, but for me the era that really was my era was when I was 18 in 1988 and it was Psycho, Keane, Walker and Clough that mattered.

    Of them some loved Psycho for his passion, tackling and clenched fists, others went for Keane the talented nutcase or for ‘you’ll never beat Des Walker’, but I always admired Nigel Clough, not just for his intelligent passing football, what he lacked in stature and speed he made up in guile and intelligence. What people forget or overlook is his mental toughness. His father’s favourite photograph of him is when he goes for a diving header in the six yard box, Nigels head, a collection of size ten boots, but his eyes are wide open, focused and ready to finish. That is what makes him a good manager, he is a tough little f**ker, but a calm and intelligent person.

    Good luck Nigel, I hope you come to Forest one day.

  36. Beaten Utd in first game! We have been robbed of our clubs destiny in my eyes. Gutted. Still gonna do em in the cup!

  37. I wish him all the best and same for Derby. If we both got promoted over the next few years, can you imagine the Derby games and funds generated by them for the club?
    I am still a big fan of Nige and always will be and hope fans give him a cheer in FA Cup.
    I’m gutted we did not get him.
    Do you remember his goals at Old Trafford for that 2-3 win? What a guy!
    We want you here next. Come home.

  38. f****n gutted !

  39. I don’t think Nigel would have become Forest manager had the job been offered and don’t think he ever will. The pressure of following his dad, tainting his legacy as a legend (see Hoddle at Spurs) but most importantly, he believed that Forest as a club didn’t give his dad the respect he deserved in retirement and as a whole treated him pretty shoddily. Remember Clough Snr didn’t come to the City ground to watch matches and his memorial service was held at Pride Park. Clough Jnr is loyal to his family and probably as stubborn as his old man. By the by I think he will do a good job at Derby but I don’t think that automatically means he would have done a good job at Forest.

  40. United fans are saying it´s the worst they have played for years , saving themselves for the chelsea match, and even made the sheep look good….The spanish commentators here kept playing the goal by you know who…..Nice for cloughie though.
    As long as we finish above the sheep this year I´ll be happy.

  41. Nigel was quoted in one of today’s nationals as saying Derby is the ONLY team he would have left Burton for. So two fingers up to Forest then I guess.

    Clough Snr was Derby thru and thru and I KNOW that he would have left Forest to go back to Derby were it not for certain facts that were held over him that he didnt want releasing into the public domain by a senior member of the Forest board. I know this because I personally knew the board member at that time.

    Anyway f*ck Nigel and f*ck Derby. I’m not going to get all slushy just coz he used to play for us.

    Remember what Pearce said…..he’d rather be on the dole than work for the Sheepshaggers. If Nigel doesnt feel the same way….he can live with the consequences!

    U REDSSSSSSSSS

  42. Harold Larwood knocked Bradman’s head off in the body line series. When he emmigrated to “the other side” a number of years later the Aussie captain greeted him and his family at the quayside.

    We have a statue to salute Brian in the Market Square (paid for by the fans), a stand named after him, a bronze bust of him in reception and we instigated the re-naming of the A52 linking us with “the other side”.

    I am from Nottingham and proud of it.

  43. I SEE FOREST HAVE WON AN AWARD FOR THEIR PERFORMANCE AGAINST CITY.
    I HOPE DAVIES IS GRACIOUS ENOUGH TO ALLOW PEMBO TO COLLECT IT AT THE CEREMONY.

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