An email conversation with Double European Cup winner Larry Lloyd: 'Shankly and Clough were similar – all motivation, no tactics'

Top honours with Liverpool and Forest; The hooligan element in Anfield legend; Ups and downs of a warts-and-all life


This year is the 30th anniversary of Nottingham Forest's only League title win, which launched them to two European Cup wins. Is there a reunion planned, and what are your abiding memories of that season? I keep in touch with our captain, John McGovern, who arranges these things, but nothing so far. That season, we had no fear. We'd just scraped promotion, so didn't even expect to be in the division. Brian Clough added three players in the summer, Archie Gemmill, Kenny Burns and Peter Shilton, and we had good youngsters like Viv Anderson, Martin O'Neill and Tony Woodcock. We just went out and attacked. It paid off. People kept saying, "Forest can't go on". But we did.

You won the title and the Uefa Cup with Liverpool in 1973, and a title and two European Cups among other things with Forest. But what do you consider your greatest achievement? I've was lucky, or talented enough, to win quite a few things. 1973 was the first time Liverpool won the domestic title and a European trophy in the same season. But then at Liverpool success was expected. At Forest, it was all quite an achievement. The 1979 European Cup stands out, because it was the first, although a poor game against Malmo. The second, against Hamburg, was more impressive. But if there's one single occasion that sticks in my mind it's the 1979 semi-final against Cologne, second leg, away, having had a 3-3 draw at home. We thought conceding three away goals meant the end. But we went over there, and won 1-0 in probably the best performance in my time. That set up everything else.

You've just written your autobiography. Why now? And why should we read it? Because I'm 59 and it's a proper autobiography about someone who's actually had a life in and out of the game. These days it seems every 23-year-old with nothing to say has a book out, and so does his effin' girlfriend, who has even less to talk about. Mine's about football, of course, winning it all, but it's about life, all the ups and downs, and I've had my share, from struggling at Bristol Rovers, to Liverpool, Forest. My father being blind and never seeing me play, which gutted me. This is a proper life story, warts and all.

You sold all your medals, didn't you? About eight years ago. I was absolutely skint. I'd lost my job as a radio show host in Nottingham. I blamed David Platt, the Forest manager at the time. Forest were having a dreadful time, the fans had their say on my phone-in. They slagged him off, I let them. Platt said if it carried on, the club wouldn't cooperate with the station. I lost my job. I was very low. My second marriage was in trouble. I sold the medals: two European Cups, two championships, a Uefa Cup, two League Cups. I got £12,000 altogether. Awful. But I needed the money. It was January, freezing. I logged on the net, looked at property agents in Spain, bought a bar. That lasted about six months. I still live in Spain, but I'm in property now.

You played under some truly great managers: Bill Shankly, Brian Clough, Alf Ramsey. Compare them. Shankly and Clough were similar characters, all motivation and hardly any tactics, although Shanks did the occasional bit. If Shankly hadn't been in football, he would probably have been a hooligan! He had so much pent up energy. He motivated us, though. One match, 10 minutes before kick-off against Ipswich, he shouted: "Everyone! Shirts off!" We did as we were told, gave our football shirts to Ronnie Moran. Shankly told him: "Throw them on the pitch, Ronnie. Our shirts are good enough to beat this lot without players inside them." And Ronnie did! Crazy, but it worked. Alf Ramsey was totally different. I never heard him raise his voice. He quietly explained to each player what he wanted.

And Cloughie? His man management was extraordinary. He knew who to bollock and who to put his arm around, and when. Him and I were never great pals. I was fined repeatedly. I once said to him: "I have great respect for you as a manager, but if I'm having a quiet pint and you come in, I walk. I don't want be around you." Of course, he has the last word. He said: "I feel the same about you." But when I was fit and not suspended, I was always in the team. He knew what I could do for him in football, and I knew what he could do for me.

Which of your Forest team-mates do you still see? John Robertson. We speak every week. John McGovern. I see Kenny Burns when I come over. I've spoken to Martin O'Neill now and then. But Martin's got his own agenda now as a football manager. He's in a league of his own and doing fantastically.

You managed at Wigan and Notts County. Why did you leave football? On reflection, I should have stayed in the game longer. These days you get sacked and you find another job. But I was disillusioned. I went to run a pub, The Stage Door, in Nottingham.

Didn't you throw Roy Keane out of there once? Once. It was Forest's Christmas party, and let's just say I thought Roy was being a bit naughty. I asked him to leave. He gave me some lip. I had a word with his captain, Stuart Pearce, and asked him to get Roy to leave. Stuart said: "He's no harm". So I chucked all of them out.

Do you ever see another club getting promoted and winning the Premier League the next season? Never. That would need some sugar daddy.

'Hard Man, Hard Game' by Larry Lloyd (John Blake Publishing, £17.99), will be published on 3 April

Attachment

* Born Laurence Valentine Lloyd, 6 October 1948, Bristol

* Playing career

1967-69 Bristol Rovers (43 games, 1 league goal)

1969-74 Liverpool (150, 4)

1974-76 Coventry City (50, 5)

1976-81 Nottingham Forest (148, 6)

1978 Houston Hurricane (loan)

1981-83 Wigan Athletic (52, 2)

1971-80 England Under-23s (8, 0)

England (4, 0)

* Managerial career

1981-83 Wigan Athletic

1983-84 Notts County

* HONOURS

League title 1973, 1978

Uefa Cup 1973

League Cup 1978, 1979. Runner-up 1980

Charity Shield 1978. Runner-up 1971

European Cup 1979, 1980

European Super Cup 1979. Runner-up 1980

FA Cup runner-up 1971

Intercontinental Cup runner-up 1979

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