The wit and wisdom of Brian Clough

By PA Sport Staff
PA Media: Sport

Brian Clough, who would have been 85 on Saturday, was renowned as one of football’s most outspoken and quick-witted managers.

Here, the PA news agency recalls some of his sayings.

On how he rated himself: “I wouldn’t say I was the best manager in the business, but I was in the top one.”

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On the importance of passing to feet: “If God had wanted us to play football in the clouds, he’d have put grass up there.”

On the influx of foreign players in the British game: “I can’t even spell spaghetti never mind talk Italian. How could I tell an Italian to get the ball? He might grab mine.”

Clough (left) was known as ‘Old Big ‘Ead’ (PA)
Clough (left) was known as ‘Old Big ‘Ead’ (PA)

Explaining his nickname Old Big ‘Ead: “On occasions I have been big-headed. I think most people are when they get in the limelight. I call myself Big Head just to remind myself not to be.”

On Martin O’Neill: “If he’d been English or Swedish, he’d have walked the England job.”

On the streaker who appeared during a Derby game against Manchester United: “The Derby players have seen more of his balls than the one they’re meant to be playing with.”

On dealing with Roy Keane: “I only ever hit Roy the once. He got up so I couldn’t have hit him very hard.”

On his drinking: “Walk on water? I know most people out there will be saying that instead of walking on it, I should have taken more of it with my drinks. They are absolutely right.”

Clough won trophies with Derby and Nottingham Forest (PA)
Clough won trophies with Derby and Nottingham Forest (PA)

On not getting the England manager’s job: “I’m sure the England selectors thought if they took me on and gave me the job, I’d want to run the show. They were shrewd, because that’s exactly what I would have done.”

On too many managers getting the sack: “If a chairman sacks the manager he initially appointed, he should go as well.”

Referring to Sir Alex Ferguson’s failure to win two successive European Cups: “For all his horses, knighthoods and championships, he hasn’t got two of what I’ve got. And I don’t mean balls!”

On women’s football: “I like my women to be feminine, not sliding into tackles and covered in mud.”

On dealing with a player who disagrees: “We talk about it for 20 minutes and then we decide I was right.”

On then England goalkeeper David Seaman: “That Seaman is a handsome young man but he spends too much time looking in his mirror, rather than at the ball. You can’t keep goal with hair like that.”

On Eric Cantona’s infamous kung fu kick at a fan: “I’d have cut his balls off.”

On how he would like to be remembered: “I want no epitaphs of profound history and all that type of thing. I contributed – I would hope they would say that, and I would hope somebody liked me.”

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