Brian Clough: The Wisest Man in Football

Brian RhodesSenior Analyst IApril 10, 2009

7 Nov 1994:  Portrait of Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough during his book launch at the Grosvenor Hotel in London. \ Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK /Allsport

Following on from the Favourite Footballing Chants, I have compiled a few Brian Cloughisms with a lot of help from a friend Eastbourne Tiger.

“If God had wanted us to play football in the sky, He'd have put grass up there.”

“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.”

“Who the hell wants fourteen pairs of shoes when they go on holiday? I haven't had fourteen pairs in my life.”

“I'm dealing with my drinking problem and I have a reputation for getting things done.”

“I can't even spell spaghetti never mind talk Italian. How could I tell an Italian to get the ball? He might grab mine.”

“If a chairman sacks the manager he initially appointed, he should go as well.”

“Football hooligans—well, there are 92 club chairmen for a start.”

“At last they've got a manager who speaks better English than they do.”

“No cheating bastards will I talk to; I will not talk to any cheating bastards!”

“I like my women to be feminine, not sliding into tackles and covered in mud.”

“Anybody who can do anything in Leicester but make a jumper has got to be a genius.”

“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.”

“The river Trent is lovely, I know because I have walked on it for 18 years.”

“I wouldn't say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one.”

“When you get to a certain age, there is no coming back.”

“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.”

“We used to go to the pictures every Saturday night but we had to leave a little bit early and get home and watch Match of the Day—and my wife still complains she missed the last five minutes of every film we saw.”

“If I had an argument with a player we would sit down for twenty minutes, talk about it and then decide I was right!”

“I gave my players a version of the same message at ten-to-three every Saturday: 'I would shoot my granny right now for three points this afternoon.' They knew how important it was to give everything in the cause of victory. Every time. That's why my granny enjoyed more lives than my cat.”

“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.”

“Beckham? His wife can't sing and his barber can't cut hair.”

“I have no idea what kind of advice my father would have given me, were he still around. More than anything, I wish he could have been present at our press day. Then, everyone would have wanted to talk to him and it might have taken some of the attention away from us.”

“If God wanted us to play football in the air, then he would have built a pitch in the clouds.”

“Don't send me flowers when I'm dead. If you like me, send them while I'm alive.”

“I've decided to pick my moment to retire very carefully—in about 200 years time.”