1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Big mouth, larger than life – all he did was to
Speak his mind to the fawning, eager media.
His own career cut short in agony on a frozen
Boxing Day. But did he make ’em pay – the
So-and-sos; found a soul mate in Peter Taylor,
And boy did he need him, when the going got
Tough. But they were bold, they were different,
A two-man crusade to the top of the pile. First
At Hartlepool. then onto Derby; ambition the key.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 Always made the very best of what they had
To use…Hinton, Hector and O’Hare; Mackay
Provided the fire, the steel. And one night, it
Finally came true. Champions of all the Football
League; a modest provincial club, no frills – just
The Rams, their whole greater than the sum of
Their parts; notwithstanding Todd – pure class –
as was McFarland, and Gemmill to keep it all
Ticking over; Tough Clough, smooth-talkin’ Pete.

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 But he got too big for his boots, as TV pundit and
Outspoken raconteur. Belittled people, and they
Lapped it up. Mr Controversy, he ridiculed the
Pole in goal – and got his bluff called by Longson.
Jobless, Pete-less, making sand castles at Brighton.
Then, the most shocking move of all – to Leeds, his
Sworn enemy. It could never work, a mutual hatred
Twixt seasoned pros and their vitriolic Boss; he tried
and failed. Out the door, on the dole, A wealthy man.

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 He came back; another small-time East Mids. outfit,
The partnership revived, his sidekick in tow. Slowly,
But surely they clawed Forest up the same greasy
Pole to the summit – bullying, coaxing, making gems
From cast offs – laced with big-money names. It all
Went to plan – top of the tree, even beating Liverpool.
The England job never came, but two European Cups
Were some sort of consolation. The fabled double act
Kept rolling – ’til a fateful, wounding split over Robbo.

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 Still, he went on – past his sell-by date some thought.
The Socialist in a green jersey, endlessly opinionated,
But a man of the people to the end. Bungs and booze
Took their toll; a life on his own terms, uncompromising
To a fault. He took it all, he spat it out; he spoke his mind
So be damned. A motivator without peer, ‘My Way’ his
Theme tune. Proud, unique, independent, charismatic,
Defiant, dogmatic – single-minded, headstrong; not one
To cross; King Cloughie – a man of his time, for all time.



A flawed genius – the last great English manager ?

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/clough/