Tuesday, January 6, 2009

BIG Shoes To Fill

Brain Clough was one of the greatest managers in English history. If you don't believe me then click here and see for yourself. He once said "I wouldn't say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one." Whether or not his son Nigel has the same talent to succeed in the big leagues is up for debate. But he will get a shot. He was just named manager of Derby County after 10 years with non league Burton Albion.
Is he ready? Nigel Clough has made it the big time and he leaves his non league team at the top of the Blue Square Premier, 13 points to the good and looking up at League football for the first time. He must be good right? His old man certainly was. Brian Clough managed Derby for 6 years and now son Nigel will get a go. Nigel is only 42 but has 10 years experience as a manager already. This move has to be a risk for Derby. No doubt that Clough has done a super job at Burton, but this is Derby County and not a non league side filled with builders, roofers, car dealers and salesmen. His new players have big wage packets and egos to match.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for me and one that I relish. I know the club inside out. It has always had a special place in mine and my family's heart, and I know that this is one of the most exciting jobs in football. Derby County has everything - tremendous support, a first-class stadium, magnificent training facilities and an ambitious ownership group looking to grow the club even further. Also, we have a terrific squad of players already here and I can't wait to start working with them" - Nigel Clough today.

Derby are sure they have the right man and Chairman Adam Pearson spent the afternoon singing Clough's praises.

"He is right man for this club at this time, he has created a fine legacy at Burton and wants to do exactly the same at Derby. He sees it very much as a long-term project. There was no sentiment or romance involved in the appointment, you can't have that in football. He's tough enough to take the club forward in his own style." - Derby Chairman Adam Pearson.

The younger Clough followed his old man into football and started his career at his dad's club, in his dads old position. He scored 102 goals as a striker at Forest in 317 games. Short stints at Liverpool and Manchester City followed before Clough took over at Burton Albion as player manager. Clough made 300 appearances for the non leaguers and was still registered as a player this year. He leaves Burton riding high with a good shot at making League Two and professional football for the first time.

Brain Clough managed Derby but it was at the Rams big rivals, Nottingham Forest that he made his name, winning the European Cup twice. His team also went 42 games without a defeat. The equivalent of a whole season. A record that stood until Arsenal bettered it with a 49 game run back in 2004. The year 'Old big ead' died at the age of 69.

Clough senior was a real character and always good for a quote. He once said "Telling 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 'cos they'd have worked it out for themselves."

His son is the opposite and a quiet character, but he seems to have the same confidence of the old man. He will need to be a chip of the old block if he is going to succeed with Derby. They are currently 22 points from Reading in second place and just 5 from the drop.


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