Dear Brian Clough
Because we both have strong personalities, our association was never destined to be lengthy. Your management style was not based on players giving their opinions, and the more individually minded inevitably found this stifling.
As a 21-year-old with a wife and child and large mortgage, I found it very strange when walking out of the toilets to be asked by you, in all seriousness, if I had washed my hands]
Nevertheless, my brief 15 months under your guidance was the most eventful period of my career. I will be eternally grateful to you for enabling me to become a winner for the first time in my 11 years as a professional - two Wembley finals and two winners' medals. You may have been unorthodox, but, boy, were you successful.
I will never forget the half-time interval of a home match shortly after I had signed for you. You were far from pleased with the performance of a young striker who was considered to have an attitude problem at the time. You approached the player concerned and asked him to stand up.
'Have you ever been hit in the stomach, son?' you asked. As soon as he replied 'No', you delivered a forceful blow to his midriff. He doubled up in pain and let out an agonised groan. 'Now you have, son]' and with that you turned away.
The day I departed for Leeds United turned out to be yet another bizarre and bewildering occasion. You summoned me into your office and sat me down in the corner. To my amazement I found myself in the middle of contract negotiations with a young player who would gain full England honours the following season.
'How much do you think you are worth, son?' 'I don't know,' was the reply. 'Do you like vegetables, son?' The player was puzzled but admitted he did. 'Which ones do you like?' you asked. A stunned silence prompted you to continue: 'Do you like cabbage?' 'It's all right,' was the confused reply. 'What about Brussels sprouts?' 'Yes, I like them,' said the player. 'Well do yourself a favour and go to the greengrocer and buy yourself a big bag of Brussels sprouts]'
Neither the player nor I had the faintest idea what you were going on about, but I'm sure you had your reasons. I felt for that player. He was not the first or the last to go through such an ordeal. But it was typically you, unpredictable to the last.
Your like will never be seen again. Thanks for the memories.
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