Brian Clough: The Biography, by Jonathan Wilson
Sunday 01 January 2012
Do we really need another book about Brian Clough? He wrote two autobiographies, and the years since his death in 2004 have seen at least 10 volumes devoted to him, plus a plethora of others in which he plays a major part.
Yet most of these focus on specific areas of his extraordinary career, while Jonathan Wilson has attempted an all-embracing, cradle-to-grave assessment. He had to do so without the co-operation of Clough's family and others still seemed afraid to talk about him, but Wilson tracked down a wealth of witnesses and has marshalled his material with a sure, skilful hand.
There are no explosive revelations but he does nail the myth that Clough was not a tactician, and highlights his capacity for spontaneous acts of great kindness. He also reminds us how astonishing Clough's achievements at Derby County and Nottingham Forest were; in the latter case, to take a deeply parochial club languishing 13th in the old Second Division to a First Division title, two League Cups and, of course, those two European Cups within five years still seems miraculous.
Unsurprisingly, Clough's quixotic nature is dominant. Wilson agrees with Peter Taylor, Old Big 'Ead's Sancho Panza, that iron entered Clough's soul when his playing career was cut short at 27, but that alone doesn't begin to explain the bewildering blend of arrogance, assurance and what Wilson calls "a self-destructive darkness" that had made him a household name many years before he left the City Ground in 1993, a drink-sodden, blotchy parody of his former self.
It is the definitive factual account, yet after 550 pages the real Clough remains curiously elusive, still an enigma. But what an enigma.
Published in hardback by Orion, £20.99
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
The Jump 2015 line-up: Joey Essex, Mike Tindall, Jodie Kidd and co take to the slopes
Game of Thrones: Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson is all for more male nudity – as long as he can keep his clothes on
Martin Scorsese 'in shock and sorrow' after death on set of new film Silence
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures