There is "unfinished business" at Derby County for the Clough family, Nigel Clough admitted last night, also revealing that his father had been "very tempted over the years" to return to the club as manager after his dramatic walk-out more than 34 years ago.
Clough, as he was presented as Derby's new manager, insisted that he did not feel he was about to try to complete the sense of unfulfilment felt by his late father, indicating that it had died with him, but added that he had had to "take the emotion out of the equation" before accepting the job himself. "I know he said never go back but he was very tempted over the years to come back because he felt there was unfinished business," the 42-year-old said when reminded of his father's declaration, three years after his departure, that he would not return to Derby.
Naturally Clough's first press conference was dominated by questions and recollections of Brian Clough with his son embracing the legacy, rather than trying not to talk about it. "Seeing the photos and everything, well we've got those at home," he said when reminded of the images that adorn the stadium, including one in the press room of Nigel himself, as little more than a toddler, sitting on his father's desk as he, holding a golf club, smiled at him. "We are surrounded by them at home anyway so seeing them here is a nice thing, a positive and we embrace it."
But does he hope that one day he will not be talked about as "son of"? "I don't think that will happen and in some ways I hope it doesn't because that would mean people will have forgotten about my dad," Clough said of the man who spent six years at Derby, taking the club out of the second tier of English football, where they are now, and winning the First Division title in 1972, also taking them to the semi-finals of the European Cup.
But what would his father have said of the appointment? "I haven't got the foggiest to tell you the truth," Clough said. "We would have said don't be so stupid. But I hope it would have been a positive response. I'd like to have him around for a bit of advice."
Nevertheless, he had sat down, naturally enough, with his family, including his mother, to discuss the move after 10 years in charge of non-league Burton Albion, just down the road from Derby. "We sat down and tried to take the emotion out of the equation which is difficult because there was both in leaving Burton and coming here,"
Clough, who has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract admitted. "We talked about it on its merits and came up with an overwhelming yes. If there was one club it was worth leaving for, it was here."