Football: Men who have crossed football's great divide

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The Independent Online


The rivalry between Newcastle and Sunderland is fierce. However, since Clark moved from St James' to the Stadium of Light last year, he has experienced no hatred; merely bewilderment that a Geordie and self-confessed "Mag" could want to play for the "Mackems". He followed a trail blazed by Len Shackleton, who derided Newcastle as "a chocolate club... they melt under pressure" after defecting.


(Derby/Nottm Forest)

Clough's situation when he arrived in Nottingham 25 years ago mirrored Graham's in one critical respect. It gave him the opportunity to show Derby, whom he had led to the championship in 1972 but left after falling out with chairman Sam Longson, what they were missing. As the Rams slid towards the Third Division, Clough and Peter Taylor took Forest, barely 15 miles away, to the title and the European Cup.



For Spurs fans of a certain vintage, Conn typifies "the Tottenham Way" for which they now fear. His flair illuminated a dark era at the Lane, though he is best remembered for representing both of the Old Firm. Before coming to London he scored for Rangers in a Scottish Cup final win over Celtic. After leaving Spurs for Celtic - provoking bitter sectarian bile - he won the Cup again... against Rangers.


(Man Utd/Man City)

Few footballing ironies remotely compare with that of Law back-heeling the last-minute winner for City which relegated his beloved United in 1974. It was the final goal of a glittering career which included two spells at Maine Road, but despite his sadness over being released after a glorious decade at Old Trafford he felt no sense of vindication. "Seldom have I been as depressed as I was that weekend," he reflected later.



When Spurs gave their manager's job to Neill, an ex-Arsenal captain, there was no media frenzy to compare with yesterday's - despite the fact that he was replacing the Double-winning Bill Nicholson. Neill did not come with the Graham stigma of bungs and boring football yet he was never quite accepted by Spurs' fans. He quit after two years, promptly taking over at Highbury and staying seven years until 1983.