Brian Clough's family, who have expressed their displeasure at David Peace's novel 'The Damned Utd', about his disastrous 44 days at Leeds, may be surprised at how well he comes out of the filmed version (on general release from Friday week), thanks largely to an endearing performance by Michael Sheen.
Clough's memory will, however, be well served by two favourable forthcoming productions. On Wednesday week ITV are screening a sympathetic documentary, and on 5 June the Theatre Royal in Nottingham will stage the celebratory 'Brian Clough's Way', in which former players including Tony Woodcock, Kenny Burns and John McGovern take part on stage. But McGovern is not among those who will be rushing to see the film. "People write things like that which are lies and I don't want to support anything like that," he told this column. Meanwhile, Nigel Clough, despite having succeeded his dad as manager of Derby, turned out last week for Burton Albion reserves, who still hold his registration as a player. The attendance was 40. Clough Jnr is 42.
No cup of joy for Southgate
Middlesbrough's manager, Gareth Southgate, trying to talk up his team's prospects ahead of last weekend's game at Everton, claimed that in the FA Cup sixth round a high proportion of quarter-finals seemed to be won by the away team. Was he correct? Essentially, yes. Over the past 10 seasons, including replays, away teams have won 21 of the 45 matches, which is a much higher proportion than in League games, where the average is between one-quarter and one-third. The only qualification is that the sort of upsets that occurred last year, when Portsmouth won at Old Trafford and Cardiff beat Southgate's Middlesbrough at the Riverside, are unusual: of those 21 away successes, only four or five could be termed surprises. And the stats didn't help the Boro this time when they went down 2-1 at Goodison Park.
EFC 1, BNP 0
It is to be hoped that nobody turns up at Goodison today hoping to see Everton play Stoke City, as some newspapers were still advertising at the beginning of the week. The confusion arose after Merseyside police said they could not staff the game on the same day as a local rally by the British National Party, and it had to be moved to today. The BNP then tried to claim the moral high ground by changing their date, which is why the game was put back to yesterday as scheduled. As an Everton spokesman put it: "The BNP were looking to use this to claim they were friends of Everton and Stoke City. They posted messages on our internet forum saying as much but we deleted them, because we want nothing to do with the BNP."
Steaks are high for Fergie
Enough food stories this week for an edition of 'Ready Steady Cook'. Indeed Sir Alex Ferguson – he of the iron fist inside the velvet oven-glove – may be auditioning for the above. He appears on MUTV tonight cooking a meal of steak and foie gras for Denis Law. Arsenal's Robin van Persie and Kolo Touré (left) will not be after the recipe; Van Persie says the Gunners have cut down on their meat intake after "being told" that doing so would help reduce muscle injuries. Meanwhile, Slim Sam Allardyce says players are brought up on far too many sugars, "like kids"; and Holland's Pies – in best football tradition – have appointed a panel to find "football's perfect pie". In the catering bars, presumably, rather than the players' dining room.
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