Grassroots Coaching

A true and very funny Brian Clough Story

Charismatic, outspoken and often controversial, Brian Clough is considered one of the great managers of the English game. His achievements with Derby and Forest, two struggling provincial clubs with little prior history of success, are rated amongst the greatest in football history.

He was also a very strong disciplinarian who ruled his clubs with a rod of iron, but there is a famous, reputably true story about Brian Clough and his time at Nottingham Forest. Forest had won the European Cup, beating Malmo in the final and Mr. Clough was at the peak of his powers. His word was to be obeyed to the letter by everyone at the club. Well maybe not everyone!!

A young 16 year old apprentice is cleaning the home team dressing room one afternoon. Other apprentices are employed elsewhere, cleaning boots, replacing divots on the pitch, sweeping the terraces; such was the way back in the day.

There is a phone in the home dressing room, it rings, and the young apprentice stops his cleaning and answers it. The familiar, famous voice says, “Young man I want a pot of tea and six cups bought to the boardroom, now”, it commands.

“Sorry”, responds the young man, “I’m busy” and puts the phone down.

The phone immediately rings again. “Young man, I don’t think you understand. Stop what you’re doing and make a pot of tea and bring it up to the board room, with six cups. NOW”

“Sorry”, he says,” I don’t think you understand, I’m busy” and again puts the phone down and returns to his cleaning.

The phone rings for a third time. “Young man” says Brian, slowly and with menace. “Do you know who this is on the phone?”

“Yes” says the young player, “the Manager Mr. Clough. “Do you know who I am” the young man enquires of the greatest and most powerful Manager in England at the time. “No” admits Mr. Clough.

“Well make your own f……. tea then” he says, puts the phone down and runs.

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