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You are in: South Yorkshire > SY People > Profiles > Brian Laws: In profile

Brian Laws pictured during his playing days

Laws at Forest

Brian Laws: In profile

Sheffield Wednesday manager Brian Laws takes us through his life and career, from his boyhood days in Newcastle, playing under Brian Clough, moving into management and more...

Brian Laws was born on the 14 October, 1961 in Newcastle's Wallsend district. Laws first signed for Burnley as an apprentice in 1979, then joined Huddersfield (1983 - 85) then Middlesborough (1985 - 88) before joining Nottingham Forest.

He then was player manager at Grimsby (1994 - 96), then moved to manage Scunthorpe (1997 - 2006) before taking over the role at Hillsborough.

Boyhood days

"My claim to fame I suppose more than anything at Wallsend was Wallsend Boys Club, which was a production line of many talented footballers.

"Steve Bruce, Peter Beardsley, Paul Gasgoine, Steve Watson... Alan Shearer, we've had some massive names.

"It was a very small place, very deprived, but one thing's for sure, they have a lot of pride, particularly the young kids.

"Reputation grew in the early '80s when it first opened because it took a lot of the kids off the street. That was its main purpose... it had a sports hall where kids could play five-a-side football and get off the streets.

Nottingham Forest - 88 to 94

"They were exciting times, I had six great years with Brian Clough at Nottingham Forest. I was working with a man that was probably the most unique manager in the country... that will never be replicated by anybody.

Stuart Pearce

Forest legend Stuart 'psycho' Pearce

"We had some fantastic players, Neil Webb, Steve Hodge, Stuart Pearce the roving left-back who trampled on everybody and everything. Nigel Clough, Des Walker at the back, Steve Chettle, Mark Crossley and Steve Sutton... old one eye.

"I was in awe of the football club when I first walked in. Not only was I under a manager that everybody wanted to play for, but the players that were there were fantastic.

"It was the best move I've ever made, and it was certainly the most enjoyable and successful time I've had in football.

"The pinnacle was the FA Cup final. One game that eluded Brian Clough was the FA Cup. We thought our best chance was the year of the Hillsborough disaster, Liverpool at Hillsborough. That was the year we were absolutely on fire.

"Of course tragedy happened at Hillsborough, and what a sad, sad day that was. I was taking a throw in right near the Leppings Lane end. I was just gonna throw the ball into Nigel Clough and a supporter ran across me, and another and another.

"The noise was so loud it was almost like they were on the pitch to ruin the game rather than a tragedy happening, and they were just coming over the fence one after another, and the referee took us off and at that stage we knew nothing.

"The chief inspector of the police walked in and said 'Mr Clough, I think we're going to have a slight delay, could take a bit longer than expected, there's been a fatality.'

To which Clough said 'the game won't take any longer, it's off. My boys aren't going out'.  Minutes later someone came in saying it was five or six with all sorts of mayhem going on, and Cloughie turned around and said 'that's it, we're going home'.

Flowers outside Hillsborough

The nation mourned the disaster

"The inspector was trying to stop us getting out and Cloughie just wasn't having it. We didn't know ourselves what was happening, and panicked 'cause we had family out there... we had no idea it was somebody being crushed.

"I walked down the tunnel and all you could see were a mass of bodies... I'll never forget it, as long as I live I'll never forget that day... it really knocked everybody back. It's still fresh in my mind, I can picture peoples faces, that's how clear it is. I know a lot of players had counselling, we just couldn't comprehend it.

"We said afterwards we can never win this game, ever because the whole country will want Liverpool to win this game, and it was true, we lost it. To be honest I believe I gave Liverpool a helping hand in the fact that I scored an own goal.

"But we did fight hard to get back there because we knew Cloughie had won everything except the FA Cup. In 1991 we managed to get there.

"It seems to be the same teams that are getting back... very rarely are you gonna get the underdog there now, the divide is so big. In 1991 there wasn't that divide and it could have been anyone, but we managed to get there against Spurs.

"That Wembley occasion was something that we really wanted to give to Brian Clough. We knew he weren't gonna last any longer in that game, he was ready to retire and we wanted to send him off.

Paul Gasgoine tackles Gary Charles

Gazza's wreckless challenge on Charles

"Unfortunately the sending off wasn't the appropriate word I suppose, it was more talked about, the Paul Gasgoine scenario than about the game. We all remember Paul Gasgoine and his ridiculous challenge on Gary Charles and him snapping his ligaments.

"The game really was pretty poor... but it was one that we started well, from that free kick Stuart Pearce smashed one in the top corner, again something that we never practiced, he just went out there and hit the damn thing [laughs]... unfortunately you don't remember much about the losing team.

"It's no coincidence that the disappointment followed us the following season to our relegation. It was Sheffield United at the City Ground... that was the game that we lost 3-1 and it sent us down. That was the last game for Brian Clough. It was a bad year and one that Nottingham Forest has never recovered from."

last updated: 21/05/2008 at 15:18
created: 02/03/2007

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