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Clough times at Derby

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Paul Fletcher | 13:45 UK time, Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Derby County manager Nigel Clough paused and momentarily collected his thoughts before commenting on the arrival of former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson as director of football at nearby Notts County.

"I hope Ian McParland is happy with it because after all he is the manager," Clough eventually told me as we talked football in the comfortable surrounds of his office at his club's Moor Farm training facility.

"I would like to see Sven at Accrington Stanley on a Tuesday night, see if he fancies going up there to watch his team."

It has been a busy summer at the Nottingham end of the A52 - what with an intrigued media trailing in the wake of Eriksson's arrival, while Nottingham Forest boss Billy Davies has been spending like Montgomery Brewster as he remoulds his squad.

What has happened over the summer at the other end of The Brian Clough Way might be far less spectacular but to my thinking is no less fascinating.

Clough was appointed Derby boss on 6 January, sparking inevitable comparisons with his father Brian's successful tenure at the club from 1967-73. It was a great story that generated huge interest but Nigel is a very different character to his father and is managing in a different era. So what has he done since taking over at a club that was struggling to avoid relegation to League One?

Derby County boss Nigel CloughFirstly it must be pointed out that Clough achieved his critical aim of avoiding the drop - but there is much more to it than that. It seems to me that he quickly concluded after arriving through the doors at Pride Park in January that he had taken over a bloated club.

Since then Derby County have been on a crash diet.

Clough estimates that he inherited 39 professionals and a huge scouting network. Split training sessions were held to accommodate all the players and the manager, used to working with a tight but trim squad in the region of 19 at Burton, found it difficult to work out his best team.

"It was different to what we anticipated," said Clough diplomatically of what he found upon arrival. "There was a very fractured group of players, with 28 of them unhappy as soon as we put the team up for the weekend."

It was the legacy of years of instability, of spending to try to scramble back to the Premier League and then to paper over the widening cracks.

"It was not sustainable," argued Clough, who might not possess his late father Brian's charisma but exudes a calm, thoughtful intelligence.

"The size of the squad, the wage bill and the amount spent on transfers - money was spent and it did not work so now we start again."

By March, Clough had worked out who he wanted to keep - and who he didn't. Since the end of the season the pruning has been brutal.

The likes of Andy Todd, Paris Simmons, Nathan Ellington, Mile Sterjovski, Tyrone Mears, Przemyslaw Kazierczak, John Eustace, Nacer Barazite, Barry Bannan, Liam Dickinson and Tito Villa have all gone (though as several people have pointed out below some were at the club on loan).

I saw goalkeeper Roy Carroll wandering around the corridors at the training ground but he has been told he won't play first-team football again at Derby and is looking elsewhere. The same applies to Jordan Stewart and Martin Albrechtsen. Furthermore, Derby hope to soon sort out a settlement with defender Claude Davis, who I've heard might end up wearing a Crystal Palace shirt this coming season.

The scouting network has also been scaled right back, with Clough and his backroom staff busy taking in games to monitor prospective signings.

Someone asked me after I met Clough whether I thought he was tough enough to manage in the Championship. Clough does seem to be a slightly unassuming individual, especially when compared to his father. But that does not mean to say he will not make tough decisions to achieve his aims. His radical overhaul of his squad speaks for itself.

There is also a slight but unmistakable steel to Clough when he discusses what makes a successful professional.

It was fascinating to hear him explain how he has found that lots of players can do similar things on a football pitch - what separates them is knowing when to do what at the appropriate time.

"The mental strength to keep doing the right thing day after day, match after match, is a major difference," he said.

Not long after he took over at Derby he travelled to Blackpool to watch them play Birmingham. At half-time an old man approached him and asked Clough how he was finding his new job. After a few brief pleasantries the man said to Clough: "They don't work as hard, do they." The Derby boss was momentarily confused but soon realised the old man was referring to Championship players compared with professionals from the lower divisions.

"The willingness to work is much greater but without the same quality," said Clough of the contrast between managing Derby and his former club Burton. "At Burton there was far more enthusiasm and a better work ethic. We are trying to get that willingness to work but with the required quality."

Quite simply, Clough is trying to construct a team rather than a collection of individuals. He illustrates his point by referring to an article he recently read in the Non-League Paper.

The piece was about last season's team of the season - there were no Burton players in the XI named and yet the Brewers had won the Blue Square Premier.

"That article summed it up - we did not have the best individual players at Burton but we had the best team and that goes a long way," commented the Rams boss.

Clough has trimmed down his squad and wants to operate on a pool of about 20 professionals with several potential loan signings in mind that he can try to bring to the club in the event of injuries. He is working hard with his squad to get to the stage where everything is second nature, repeating the same things over and over on the training ground.

There is now a blend in the squad between youth and experience, with an increasing emphasis on young, hungry players. Clough points to Wolves and Burnley as examples of what a club can achieve when a squad is built around the right type of young player. The Clarets cropped up several times during our conversation as Clough stressed that spending money guarantees nothing.

"If you can get a tighter squad it is easier to build team spirit because they are involved all the time," he said. "I don't think you need a much bigger squad in the Championship than the Blue Square Premier, it is a matter of keeping them fit mentally and physically. It gives you a continuity of putting out roughly the same side every week." Shaun Barker (left), Dean Moxey (centre) and Lee Croft

Winger Lee Croft, 24, has arrived on a free transfer from Norwich, 26-year-old defender Shaun Barker recently signed for £900,000 from Blackpool, while left-sided Dean Moxey, 23, has arrived from Exeter. Clough has also brought in defender Jake Buxton, 24, from Burton and is close to signing keeper Saul Deeney from the same club. Ben Pringle has also arrived and Clough is waiting to hear from a couple of Premier League clubs about season-long loan deals.

Looking around some Derby messageboards it is obvious that some supporters seemed a little under-whelmed with the summer signings, especially when contrasted with the outlay at rivals Forest.

But there is no doubt that Clough has been thorough in his research. I mentioned to him that I saw Moxey's last game for Exeter, at Rotherham on the final day of last season. Clough replied that he had him watched that day and the defender did not lose a header throughout the entire match.

Clough can see more hunger in his squad now and is hopeful that Barker and Miles Addison will provide some missing steel in defence. He is also confident that Croft and Gary Teale will provide plenty of crosses from out wide for strikers Chris Porter and Rob Hulse.

But as Clough assesses Derby's pre-season so far he confesses to only being relatively happy, with injuries the chief cause for concern. Hulse is not back after an operation, Kris Commons has yet to kick a ball while Porter and Dean Leacock have not played much football as they return from injury.

Burnley, it is worth noting, enjoyed a relatively injury-free season as they won promotion to the top flight last term - and it is a point that is not lost on Clough.

I asked Clough if he felt that at Derby he would be given the time and opportunity to see through the rebuilding job he has undertaken. His response was to laugh before he added "that would be nice".

He knows that his surname brings with it expectations. Having lived in Derby for most of his life he also understands the club and the fans. If anything, he said, it makes him more determined because if it goes wrong he cannot just disappear home up the motorway. But Clough is adamant that somebody - hopefully him - needs to be at the club for a period of time, to bring a sense of stability back to Pride Park.

So what would represent success during the forthcoming season, which starts with a fixture against Darren Ferguson's Peterborough?

Clough points out that of the 10 seasons he spent at Burton the club failed only once to improve on the position they achieved the previous campaign.

"We will just try to improve every season, there are no timescales" said Clough with characteristic common sense. "We are looking for some signs that we have got a team coming together.

"I think sustained success is built like that."


Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    A sustainable business plan.... who knew there was any logic left in football!?

  • Comment number 2.

    It'll be interesting seeing how Derby fair against Forest given their differing approaches to pre-season squads, and the fact Billy Davis "was" at Derby....

    ...noticed you mentioned Darren Ferguson too. A lot of eyes will be on he and Clough this season to see how well they can do at this level (considering this is Clough's first full season with his own squad).

    I can certainly see both managing in the Prem at some point.

  • Comment number 3.

    I will settle for a step in the right direction this term, mid-table mediocrity being more than acceptable. Next year is when we need to kick on and I still believe Clough is the man. Here's hoping the aura around the man continues to grow throughout the season, and the signings arrive over the next 18 months to take us back where we belong.

  • Comment number 4.

    Good to see The Mighty Rams getting some positive coverage.

    Us fans are very excited, not about the coming season but the next 5 seasons. Clough will undoubtedly be given time as he has the full backing of the fans.

    I believe we had the 12th highest average attendence in the country last season which speaks volumes for the following we have.

    In Nige we trust.


  • Comment number 5.

    Why, oh why does he have to manage derby. I love Cloughie, I think everybody in Nottingham does and i'd love to wish him well and all the best, but i just can't do it!! Derby have to fail and then he can look to great success at his next club.

  • Comment number 6.

    "I believe we had the 12th highest average attendence in the country last season which speaks volumes for the following we have."


    That's impressive. Good luck for the next few seasons - hopefully you can improve on those figures and keep on climbing the division!

  • Comment number 7.

    5. At 3:26pm on 28 Jul 2009, Albertaforestfan wrote:
    Why, oh why does he have to manage derby. I love Cloughie, I think everybody in Nottingham does and i'd love to wish him well and all the best, but i just can't do it!! Derby have to fail and then he can look to great success at his next club.

    Shame on you, wishing Nigel bad luck. Not bitter you ended up with Billy are you? If you had approached him first you would have him. Short sightedness by the Forest board in my opinion.

  • Comment number 8.

    It was this kind of simple logic that made Brian Clough easy to admire, and it's also why Burton were the most attractive 'team' to follow when I moved to the Midlands a decade ago.

    Despite myself, I'm willing Derby to do well under Clough.

    Best wishes to all Rams...

    and keep the faith.

  • Comment number 9.

    "I believe we had the 12th highest average attendence in the country last season which speaks volumes for the following we have."


    It's all well and good having good support, but look at Newcastle?!!? It seems to me like Clough is future proofing in trimming the wage bill in all departments.

    There's no point in spending big and failing....

    ...once the big spenders get bored and go off elsewhere, where will that leave the likes of Liverpool, Utd, Chelski and Man City?... probably bankrupt.... this would leave a more level playing field (pardon the pun). Maybe that'll take us all back to the era in the 70s and 80s where there were several different winners and runner's up of the top division, including Derby.

  • Comment number 10.

    Rams fans consider yourselves very lucky....... you have a gem in Nigel. Time and patience and you will be back in the Premiership. No doubt about it.

  • Comment number 11.

    Not a bad blog Paul but I think you need to do more research before posting it. As you said that Clough has done some brutal pruning and then listed a number of players including Nacer Barazite who was in fact a loan player from Arsenals youth Academy gaining more experience. How many others were on loan from other clubs?

  • Comment number 12.

    I hope he has a good season.

    I suspect he'd accept 12-14th, be content with 7-9th and happy with a play-off spot.

    He'd probably be surprised with automatic promotion but football's sometimes a funny game.........

  • Comment number 13.

    I asked Clough if he felt that at Derby he would be given the time and opportunity to see through the rebuilding job he has undertaken. His response was to laugh before saying "that would be nice".


    I think the board at Derby knew that they had reached the point of no return following Paul Jewell's disappointing tenure. The club is going for a different approach, Clough was a risk worth taking, and I very much like his emphasis on teamwork.

    No mention made of Clough's plans for the Academy in an interesting blog/article, hopefully the manager will develop this element of the club, so that good young players will learn the right techniques, mental & physical, to become members of the first team squad. That will take time.

    I hope at Derby that we give him time & patience and that he can benefit from some better fortune, like a relatively injury-free squad, unlike the last two months of last season which saw him lose key members of the team. Nigel Clough is also correct about timescales; we had an infamous three-year plan under Billy Davies, who achieved success in one but the platform & experience was not there to support it. Off the field matters also need to tally with on field success.

    The PL is not going to run away, better to become a good Championship club, and one that is well-run, in a very competitive division.

  • Comment number 14.

    The problem Derby face is expectations.

    Cloughie II may well take you down. Or, if not that, you may well spend a few seasons in the relegation zone.

    BUT, if you stick with him, he will build (build, mind) you a PL club. Not buy one off the shelf. But build one.

    Will Derby fans be patient enough?

    I have my doubts. Too many fans, at too many clubs, want success NOW whatever the price.

  • Comment number 15.

    We have had a lot of stick from them down the road, but the truth is they need major surgery to not be in a relegation fight again this season.
    Derby however need to keep key players fit this forthcoming season, to improve on last season.
    We'll see if the lower league players are up to the CCC.

  • Comment number 16.

    4. "I believe we had the 12th highest average attendence in the country last season which speaks volumes for the following we have"


    I believe you may have achieved this by giving away FREE tickets each week, did you not?!?!

  • Comment number 17.

    As an Exeter City fan, I know exactly where Nigel Clough is coming from.

    In Paul Tisdale we have a man who thinks long term from the clubs perspective, but when it comes to the team he will focus all his efforts on extracting every ounce of ability possible from each player, and when they reach their limit he will look for a new player, provided they improve the squad.

    Clough built Burton Albion up bit by bit, and progress was slow given their size but it's certain that he has left an impression on the club which will last a long time. Derby fans may need patience and to accept another season in the Championship, whether they'll have that patience I don't know. It's good to see these young intelligent English managers coming through and hopefully they will go on to be successful at the highest level and one day, we may even see an Englishman in charge of a successful National team again!

  • Comment number 18.

    Nick_Hove_Actually - it is a fair point you make, although the list is of all the players who have gone since the end of the season, whether loan signings or otherwise. I wanted to list them all so that people got a sense of the extent to which the squad size has been reduced. Don't you think he has been pretty decisive?

    CapnBob - Clough did not talk about his broad plans for the Academy but he was very illuminating in what he had to say about younger pros at Premier League and Championship clubs.

    The gist was that too many of them have reached 19 or 20 and hardly played in any tough, meaningful fixtures in which the result really mattered. They are thus lacking both mentally and physically and it is therefore difficult to promote them to the first team. He said reserve team football is not what it was and thus long-term loans to gain experience are very valuable.

    He pointed out that some young players from higher league clubs had arrived at Burton in non-league on loan thinking it would be easy - and it most definitely wasn't.

    Reading between the lines I would thus expect Clough to ensure his young players have a real and purposeful development.

  • Comment number 19.

    I understand Clough's vision and appreciate his candour and honesty. What concerns me deeply as a Derby fan and has since the first day Nigel took over was his complete lack of experience at the league level and the fact that our current ownership believe the fans will just keep coming in huge numbers no matter what our position in the Championship table.
    Nigel may well develop into an excellent manager and hopefully not 'do an Ince', but how long will 30,000 fans trot out to Pride Park to see mid-table mediocrity and an almost total lack of investment from our Yankee owners?

  • Comment number 20.

    Props to Nigel Clough, doing it the hard way. 10 years at Burton deserves respect in itself.

  • Comment number 21.

    Good article Paul, good read

    I believe that us Derby fans have been through enough torment and ups and downs over recent seasons to be in exactly the right mood for some stable planned growth - I have yet to meet a fellow fan who either expects next season to be a promotion one - or will be disappointed if it is not.

    We have an intelligent and skilled manager and a board that want to put us on a firm financial footing - this is exactly what we need and most fans know it.

    Oh, by the way

    At 4:23pm on 28 Jul 2009, SupaMarrio22 wrote:
    4. "I believe we had the 12th highest average attendence in the country last season which speaks volumes for the following we have"


    I believe you may have achieved this by giving away FREE tickets each week, did you not?!?!


    The answer to your question is NOT - this is a myth perpertrated by fans of a certain other East Midlands club and I would challenge anyone to find significant numbers ( i.e. more than 100 fans ) who had ever received free tickets.

    One of our sponsors pays the club full value for tickets which they then give away with a premium phone package - if that is what you mean by free it is neither free for the fans or a giveaway for the club

  • Comment number 22.

    As an avid Newcastle fan born in Derby I can say that I am jealous just hearing the sensible words coming from Clough. He is aiming for a solid base before trying to achieve what he really wants - promotion and Premiership stability. Too many clubs try to buy instant success and the majority fail - my club being the prime example.

    Derby have been run badly in the past so I hope that the guys in charge now act sensibly and give Cloughy the time to succeed. When the initial anger with KK leaving and Ashley planning to sell started last year there were four managers I wanted to be approached - Martinez, Ferguson, Tilson and Clough, as they are four young managers who approach football in a sensible way (looking to build from the bottom up). Obviously as my club is ran like a train wreck this was never going to happen (and even if it would the fans demanding instant success would see them sacked within a year)!

    Clough was a great appointment for Derby after the surprisingly poor Jewell reign and I think the club has a bright future.

    Derby are my second team and I think that it is they who have the better season ahead of them!

    Good luck lads

  • Comment number 23.

    Paul, overall a good article but it reads a little like Nigel is slow and methodical when in fact he is building a team in the same way that his father did, the right way.

    There is a lot of instant gloss applied to modern football but fundamentally the game hasn't changed at all. Good teams, like houses, are build on solid foundations.

    Also the comment regarding Sven going up to Accrington Stanley on a Tuesday night could almost be his father talking, cuts through the facade perfectly.

    Good luck to Nigel, I hope he does well.

  • Comment number 24.

    With a Dad like Brian it's not difficult to understand that Nigel is a sensible individual, no nonsense and honest. I like it too that he is well grounded and not a chancer, certainly not a poser. If I were a Derby fan I would be delighted to have him as manager and would certainly be prepared to give him five years because you just know he is going to be successful.

    I experienced first hand Brian's handling of players who thought they were more important than the club, I saw and heard his put down to those who became greedy, " Here, have a beer and shut the door after you " If Nigel has a fraction of his man management skills then he will be a winner.

  • Comment number 25.

    "Clough was a great appointment for Derby after the surprisingly poor Jewell reign and I think the club has a bright future."


    I find it strange you'd be suprosed at a poor Jewell reign. He's only ever managed one decent sized club before and that was sheffield wednesday and that went a wee bit wrong and it was hillarious to watch him produce a similar train wreck at derby.

    As for short signtedness in appointing Billy, couldn't agree more. While i'm excited at what Billy is going to achieve at I wish our board had the insight to go for a young unproven manager, but we've done this once before with a certain David Platt and that went horendously.

  • Comment number 26.

    Paul for your information....Barry Bannan is an Aston Villa player & was only on loan to Derby until the end of the season. Even if Derby wanted to keep I very much doubt that MON would have agreed to that. Maybe if the Villa sign a few players before the start of the season then he may allow Bannan to go back there as by my recollection he was one of their best players when playing there & Nigel Clough wanted to keep him.

  • Comment number 27.

    26. At 5:04pm on 28 Jul 2009, Pacmans_a_Legend wrote:
    Paul for your information....Barry Bannan is an Aston Villa player & was only on loan to Derby until the end of the season. Even if Derby wanted to keep I very much doubt that MON would have agreed to that. Maybe if the Villa sign a few players before the start of the season then he may allow Bannan to go back there as by my recollection he was one of their best players when playing there & Nigel Clough wanted to keep him.


    Bannan was never a starter let alone one of our best player.
    In addition we could of had him this year but declined to follow that route as we need someone a little more physical and perhaps experienced.

    In respect of MON not allowing it, he and Nigel are best buddies and he would definitely help him out.

  • Comment number 28.

    This is a very good and insightful piece.

    I'm in no doubt that, given time, Nigel will build a top-flight team at Derby. Given his success both as a player and as a young manager at Burton, it's surprising that a job like this didn't come sooner.

    Well done to Derby for appointing him - if you give him time, he'll take Derby to the Premier League, and will do it without taking the club deeply into debt. I wish him, and Derby, all the best.

  • Comment number 29.

    You can't help but admire the way Clough comes across when he's interviewed - very pragmatic, very assured and knowledgable about the game - and I've always respected the fact that he stuck with Burton Albion for all that time when his contemporaries were looking at the Championship/Premier League as the first rung on their managerial careers.

    The trouble he's going to have is the inevitable comparisons with his dad, along with the usual unrealistic expectations of the fans and, quite probably, the board, especially given what's happening down the road from them.

    Derby are a LOOOONNNNNG way from even considering promotion, yet I've seen rumblings already about the length of time it could take and the effect it could have on attendances. Of course it's understandable that fans want success (as a Liverpool fan I've had more than my fair share) but surely success at Derby at the moment would be not being relegated and spending 3-4 seasons building a solid base from which to launch themselves?

    In the meantime, surely it's beholden on the fans to support the club and its manager through the bad times - and there will be plenty of them - as well as the good which will surely come from a man who's spent a long time learning his trade and is showing such a pragmatic approach to long-term success as opposed to trying to build a castle on a sand dune?

    Good look, young man - at least you're your own boss, too, which is possibly more than can be said for Ian McParland.

  • Comment number 30.

    I like the way Clough goes about his business and I think Derby will have a very good season, even possibly challenging for a play off place. Stability is very important, just ask Newcastle fans.

  • Comment number 31.

    Newcastle fans don't know about stability - I was in Amsterdam at the weekend, 3000+ Sunderland fans there for the tournament and we spotted a Mag walking around the town with 'Duff' on the back of his shirt.

    How stable is that?

  • Comment number 32.

    Stevie S - Wee Billy's Super Reds (Comment 23) - I'm sorry you feel like that, it almost makes me think I've slightly failed with the article in terms of what I was trying to say. I don't think Nigel Clough is slow, lumbering or methodical. On the contrary, to me he seemed bright, realistic and sensible.

    He is not trying to kid anybody that there will be a quick fix. Clough believes the Derby fans understand the need for stability but also realises that they will not wait for ever for success. Derby is a club that needs steady and solid progress and that is exactly what he is trying to deliver.

  • Comment number 33.

    With my wife's family being Rams through and through it is so good to see some sense being talked in Pride park. Like my beloved Owls, (who could of sacked Brian Laws a couple of seasons ago after 6 defeats on the spin), patience and slow continuous improvement is essential to build the club up again and Nigel Clough is the perfect man for this.
    Clough's relationship with the fans mean he should get the time to achieve his goals, a valuable commodity not afforded to most managers. As so many Newcastle fans have mentioned, it is a model they desperatly need to follow to stablise a club with massive expectations. If Alan Shearer (like KK before him) is the only man the fans will give time to build, he must be appointed.

  • Comment number 34.

    Yes Clough Snr and Clough Jnr may be different animals when it comes to the vocals, but the same steely approach and methodology still apply. Didn't BC bring the two England centre backs McFarland & Todd from lower league clubs, as well as many others McGovern etc. I see exactly the same principles applied by Nigel. Get out the players with over inflated egos & wages to match but no wish to fight for the club and build a solid affordable platform with a good academy system to back it up. I was amazed to hear the other night that Sir Bobby Robson only bought 14 players in 13 seasons at Ipswich, the rest being from their academy system, just look at the success they enjoyed.
    Heres hoping for a top half finish this season with no relegation worries.

  • Comment number 35.

    Have to say that I am very happy with Clough and his solid plan for us, i really like how he goes about the job.

    My one qualm is with the lower league signings! I can't imagine many of them doing that well, but the squad is ok anyway, and a season or two of building should hopefully see us challenging

  • Comment number 36.

    Dean_Sturridge - I did ask Clough about the signing policy. He had plenty to say. For instance, Derby have spent money in the recent past and it has not worked. He also argued that players from lower leagues have a hunger and desire - and scope to improve if you sign the right ones. He pointed out some that had joined Burnley and Wolves as examples.

    Also, he was quick to point towards the £900k spent on Shaun Barker recently, arguing that was decent money. To buy anyone else, however, players will have to leave first.

    In my opinion Forest have, on paper, bought well. If they all gel then Billy Davies' team will have a tilt at promotion. Clough does not have that sort of money but is not worrying about it. He is looking for a steady progress, with his cloth cut according to his resources.

    It would be interesting to see what Clough would do if Derby did have a much bigger transfer budget as he would definitely be on new ground then.

  • Comment number 37.

    Further to No 17 : H E - H Y H T T B I T W ( re Clough at Derby, Tisdale at Exeter ) I also think the same ike about the above and Martinez now Wigan EX Swansea and Stimson at Gillingham - THEIR ALL EXPECT THEIR PLAYERS TO EARN / RESPECT THEIR SALARIES, BE IT SMALL OR ALOT

  • Comment number 38.

    Great Blog.

    I'm an Everton fan, so i know how a team with the correct work ethic instilled by a manager can go a long way. I'd really like to see Clough succeed and do well not only at Derby but also the rest of his management career (unless he goes to liverpool).
    Not only is he a young English manager, but i also like the fact that he didn't leave Burton at the first chance he got. He stayed with them and built up the club whilst also learning the craft of management. This is something too many managers don't do now and it never works out if they rush (Shearer, Ince et al)

  • Comment number 39.

    As a Forest fan, I hope Nigel Clough is a disaster at Derby. He burnt his bridges with this club, along with Gary Crosby and Johnny Metgod when he put pen to paper on a job at Derby.

    I really am reading some of these comments in disbelief. Why oh why are some people disappointed we didn't go for Clough? It took him nigh on a decade to achieve anything at Burton and he will be found at this level. Billy Davies however, has done it. Took Motherwell into Europe before moving to England. He's managed three full seasons in this league and has achieved three top 6 finishes, one being a promotion with a very, very poor Derby side. Billy worked wonders at Derby.

    Whilst Nigel Clough is busy signing non league players such as Ben Pringle and Jake Buxton (who even Mansfield Town were relieved to get shot of when he went to Burton), Billy Davies is signing players with experience and a capability of playing at this level. The likes of Paul Mckenna, the fantastic Chris Gunter (who for me is the CCC signing of the summer so far), Dexter Blackstock, David Mcgoldrick etc are all good additions at this level.

    I really can't see anything but Clough's appointment at Derby ending in disaster. A small time manager with no real big ideas. The man is out of his depth.

  • Comment number 40.

    In Brian Clough's first season at Derby, they finished eighteenth in the Second Division (what is now the Championship). In his second season he won the Second Division title.
    In Nigel Clough's first season at Derby they finished . . . eighteenth.
    Boom Tish!

  • Comment number 41.

    39. At 8:16pm on 28 Jul 2009, nottinghamshire_red wrote:
    As a Forest fan, I hope Nigel Clough is a disaster at Derby. He burnt his bridges with this club, along with Gary Crosby and Johnny Metgod when he put pen to paper on a job at Derby.

    What a small minded contribution to an excellent article that has drawn some thoughtful comments from a number of supporters of different teams

    Still, that's the beauty of the blogosphere....

  • Comment number 42.

    Great Blog Paul.

    Despite these bitter Forest fans, which is just typical of what anyone with sense might predict, it is really great to see a big article on Derby County. It is a special club. I like what Nigel's tone is implying. We haven't had anyone of late who looks at the infrastructure of the club inside-out. It is incredible that we had split training sessions and lack of discipline in professionalism through many areas, including diet and training.

    We aren't signing the 'big' names but I'm fine with this. What NC is doing is implicit to the proper way a club should be run. The team will bond far better and with work-rate levels and hungry, younger players a main focus of his aim, team-spirit and players playing to the best of their capability should ensue.

    Father and Son are not that similar in obvious ways but Brian used exactly the same types of methods and look what happened! I'm not suggesting we will be winning leagues any time soon but the recipe for success includes common sense and being simplistic and disciplined in what you are trying to do. That way, everybody knows where they stand and what their role is.

    Top stuff.

    Oh and COME ON YOU RAMS!!

  • Comment number 43.

    As a Shrewsbury fan, I too have followed the career of Clough with interest. For any club to be successful, you have to have a well run club and a well backed boss, as we are finding out. Pual Simpson did wonders for us last season, as Clough will do for you.
    All the best.

  • Comment number 44.

    I'm a Forest fan. I'm also a football fan and have great admiration for "my number 9" sticking with Burton, when he no doubt had many offers to manage in the League. Perhaps the shadow of his Father was a lot to overcome in his early management years, perhaps he thought it would be better to get some experience along the way. Either way, I wish him the best of luck, and I'm sure he'll do a decent job. The way Billy Davies is spending money, we soon will have a first team squad of 39. Doesn't he realise they can't all play at once? I can't wait for the new season to start.

  • Comment number 45.

    39. Nottinghamshire_red

    I read these blogs and comments all the time and your comment is by far the stupidest comment I have ever read. You are clearly plankton.

    I'm not a derby or forest fan - but can't believe how stupid that comment is. You should forever be thankful for what Nigel clough and his family did for forest.

    Now please crawl back under your stone.

  • Comment number 46.

    I would like to distance myself from nottinghamshire_red's views about Clough's burned bridges with Forest. All sensible Forest fans are not so foolish as to disregard anyone with a connection with Derby (Notably Billy Davies and of course Old Big 'Ead).

    However I do agree with nottinghamshire_red's analysis of signings so far. Nottm Forest appear to have brought in some decent names in the right areas whereas Derby have acquired players "with potential". I know what I would prefer.

    Another good point is that a successful, experienced campaigner at this level (such as Billy Davies) is where I would prefer to place my trust, rather than someone with no league experience before this job.

    But this fine blog is about Derby, not the comparisons between Nottm Forest and Derby. For what its worth, I don't think Derby will challenge for promotion next season, but I can't see them seriously being threatened by relegation either

  • Comment number 47.

    By the way, just in case you're interested, Derby defeated Notts County 3-2 in a pre-season friendly on Tuesday evening at Meadow Lane, with Kris Commons scoring the winner as he closes in on a return to fitness.

    I'm not sure whether Nigel met Sven....

  • Comment number 48.

    Paul, Sorry. Having just re-read the article I was maybe a little harsh to say that it made him seem "slow and methodical" though it could be argued that these are not bad things to be at times.

    I think I was hoping for a bit more from the man himself about how he has reshaped things which is undoubtedly very similar to the way that his father managed clubs. A player who played under both Clough Sr and Jr recently said that although the delivery was different, the things they said and the simplicity of how they said it was almost identical.

    By the way if you haven't read it, "With Clough by Taylor" is brilliant insight into how Clough and Taylor built teams from the ground up. The chapter on Hartlepools (not a typo as they did have an "s" at the end in those days) is truly inspiring. Sadly it's out of print which is criminal but it can sometimes be found second hand on popular auction sites and some online book shops.

  • Comment number 49.


    The mere fact you said you have no connection to either club explains why you simply don't understand.

    A lot of Forest fans were disappointed that Clough joined Derby but not angry. Not until the way they saw Nigel celebrate a Derby winner at The City Ground. His reaction showed no respect to the football club that made him the player he was. There were a few thousands reds that night giving knock off Nigel some real abuse after the incident.

    I'll always be grateful for what Brian Clough did for Nottingham Forest. Nigel Clough, however, is a different kettle of fish. The most embarrasing thing i've seen Forest fans do is applaud Nigel Clough as he stepped out of the tunnel emblazened in the Derby County badge. Fair enough if you still respect the man but applauding the manager of Derby County before a big East Midlands derby was stupid. How intimidated he and his team must of felt...

    Saturday, August 29th 2009...Nigel Clough, Gary Crosby and Johnny Metgod:

    Welcome to hell.

  • Comment number 50.

    Brilliant blog on a most interesting man, Nigel Clough will get it right at Derby. I think he is a breath of fresh air in todays football. I am a Nottingham Forest supporter and I hope Nigel is a success at the club. Hopefully not as successful as I expect Forest to be.

  • Comment number 51.

    "That article summed it up - we did not have the best individual players at Burton but we had the best team and that goes a long way," commented the Rams boss.

    Superb observation - Shankly and Paisley knew it - so does Sir Alex. Look at the Liverpool of the 80's and the ManU teams now. Ok so some big names but how many players left the club from championship winning sides and were never heard of again? It's a team game and no-one should lose sight of that.

    Well done Nigel - I hope Derby get back to where they once were.

  • Comment number 52.

    Looking forward to the day when our A52 rivalries are again resumed in the premiership. That day is nearing !!

    As both a Forest fan and Clough fan I found myself in the strange position of softening towards our greatest foes around the beginning of the year...

    Fortunately a 2 - 3 home FA cup exit provided a suitable antidote and normal service has been resumed.

    Now looking forward to providing Derby with a 'dish that is best served cold'... next season....

  • Comment number 53.

    the definition for director of football is kinda vague nowadays, not too sure how ian parland would think to have former england manager sven as his director of football.

  • Comment number 54.

    What's that? Derby BEAT notts county? Surely we can't beat a League 2 team with all our 'non-league players'?

    Anyone know how Notts Forest got on against Notts County?


  • Comment number 55.

    49. Nottinghamshire_red
    I understand the reasoning for you to be annoyed at some of the forest fans applauding Clough and his Derby side before the match, as this should be the time to create the atmosphere and intimidate etc! Perhaps some football fans should take a leaf out of cricket fans. Whilst the game is on, the England fans sledged Ricky Ponting, but after all the dust had settled and Ponting gave an interview on the pitch he recieved a respectful applause from all the fans in the ground, because they respect his talent as a sportsman!!!
    However i believe that the Clough commands your respect and should be recognised after the game. He has been one of your best players of all time and what he and his padre achieved there was pure exelence. It should be irrelevent that he is managing Derby, and the truth is if your Director didnt want and instant fix with Billy Davies then Clough would have been asked and he would have said yes.
    My biggest concern about Derby (i'm a DCFC fan by the way) is that some of the fans will not have the patience or knowledge to understand how long this will actually take Clough to achieve. I am under no illusions to think that we will be flying high in the PL in 3/4 years time, i dont even expect us to gain promotion in that time. But as Clough states as long as we are improving season by season, the players get the work ethic installed into them and we can hopefully hold on to as many gems as Clough unearths i will be a very happy ram!
    There is no doubt the Billy Davies knows what he is doing to get a club up in the play offs, he does buy decent players and he gets them playing well together. My only concern for Forest is that he will continue buying players if some dont work out and you will have a massive squad with 20 or so players turning up to work with faces like thunder. He will fall out with some of the players and he will eventually create mass divides in the squad. Billy Davies for me is like going out on the lash, it's all good when your having a good time dancing with all the pretty girls, but he will give your club a massive hangover which will take you a while to get over!!
    Great blog Fletch and it is very nice to see some comments from proper football fans from numerous clubs.

  • Comment number 56.

    Sorry for the spacing. Preview button duped me into thinking i wrote something that doesnt look awful

  • Comment number 57.

    This is a very interesting article, especially the first half, which is exactly what Forest have been through over the last few seasons.

    Derby fans should just be glad they didn't get relegated and have to do all the squad rebuilding in League 1. As we found out, it's football hell!

    Forest might have spent big this summer, but it's because we only had a VERY small squad of good young players to build, that we brought up from L1. We had a lot of loan players last summer. It's all about the rebuilding, which we've been doing since the Megson era and Billy Davies is continuing.

    Luckily for Derby they've had a slight head start, but here's hoping to some big derby games in the Premiership in the coming years!

  • Comment number 58.

    I'm a Burton fan and was sad to see Cloughie leave before we won promotion. But i could see his reasons too.

    I hope Derby give him the chance to be a long term appointment starting from scratch with his own players and building from there improving each year as he did with us.

  • Comment number 59.

    Compliments to Paul Fletcher on an excellent blog.

    Here's hoping Act 2 of the Clough managerial story is as entertaining and special as the first.

    Good luck Cloughie.

  • Comment number 60.

    As a Forest fan it sticks in the craw but I do wish Nigel Clough all the best, mainly with the Derby board as they have got to have the bottle to keep faith with a manager who WILL work out for them in the long run.

    It's a shame that we don't have Nigel at Forest and the jury is out on Billy Davies, could be we are in for an interesting rivalry over the next couple of seasons where if we are honest neither team will be promotion contenders.

    Good Luck Cloughie except on certain Saturdays and in certain situations!

  • Comment number 61.

    Great article - the comparison with his dad is intriguing. A mate of mine had a trial at Forest while Clough was manager. He skinned Stuart Pearce who ended up kicking him into touch in frustration (surely not!). He thought he'd done well and was expecting some positive feedback from the great man. Instead Clough walked into the dressing room and said, "Short hair, young man, I like that." That was it, no contract, nothing.
    Whilst I suspect Clough Junior has a slightly more mainstream approach, the principles of keeping it simple and doing it right are still there. I'm not worried about non-League signings - remember Roger Davies and John Robson? Creating a team is far more than just buying some mercenary has-beens (Dexter Blackstock anyone?). We all KNow when the manager has lost it and starts to buy people like Ravanelli and Carbone - let's not go down that route again.
    Some patience and even a visit to a lower league might be required but whilst the Premiership is a farce, that's not so bad. You can actually have more fun at places like Accrington than Chelsea and even get a result.

  • Comment number 62.

    I suspect he'd accept 12-14th, be content with 7-9th and happy with a play-off spot.

    He'd probably be surprised with automatic promotion but football's sometimes a funny game.........

    I doubt that he'd want automatic promotion. Billy Davies took up a team who were mid-table Championship level at best and over acheived - it backfired when they became the worst Premiership team ever. If Nigel gets them up this year the same thing would likely happen. Have to agree with ilicDCFC who alluded to this with his assessment of Billy Davies (but probably couldn't stomach saying the rest of it). I think that Nigel will consolidate and finish somewhere just inside the top half, depending on injuries. Forest will likely fare better but as you said it will be a Billy Davies high, not a wholesome return to good times. I just hope that the board don't have the wooly thinkers that they usually have on the wrong side of the A52 - the sort of thinking that got his dad sacked for thinking that he ran the place!

  • Comment number 63.

    nottinghamshire_red wrote:

    Saturday, August 29th 2009...Nigel Clough, Gary Crosby and Johnny Metgod:

    Welcome to hell.


    Perhaps if nottinghamshire_red did his research, he'd remember that Clough and Crosby have supposedly already been to "hell" twice, on February 4th 2009 and February 21st 2009, to take on the experience Billy Davies who has the 'most amazing Championship record ever'. Both Clough and Davies had been at their respective clubs less than two months.

    Forest 2-3 Derby, Forest 1-3 Derby. Hell sounds like one amazing place.

    Anyway, good blog. Interesting comment about Carroll, given how much he's apparently being played surely it would be better keeping him properly involved until he finds a new club? Still, I'll defer to Young Man's better judgement.

  • Comment number 64.

    "Billy Davies however, has done it. Took Motherwell into Europe before moving to England. He's managed three full seasons in this league and has achieved three top 6 finishes, one being a promotion with a very, very poor Derby side. Billy worked wonders at Derby."

    I'd like to point out that Billy Davies didn't take Motherwell into europe. He almost did and he should have done but managed blow a 12pt(approx) lead over Hearts at the turn of the year to miss out on the last day of the 99-00 season. He was not by any stretch a good manager for Motherwell, he benefited from John Boyle chucking for us loads of money at him and when the money started to get cut back the team plummeted like a stone.

    In his defence it was his first job and I don't think he had complete control with a lot of signings having the smell of chief exec Pat Nevin all over them. Since then he has had an excellent managerial record but doesn't seem to have been able to maintain good relationships at boardroom level. Derby sacking him was a disgrace in my opinion a victim of his own success getting the team promoted to early without the resources to make the leap to premiership level.

  • Comment number 65.

    I support Burton Albion, when Cloughie took over we were in the Conference South, he soon got us promoted to the conference and after 10 years at Burton Albion we were something like 20 -30 points ahead in 1st place of the Blue Square Premier in January! And we were virtually promoted already. Then he left and after that we lost almost every game but, still came 1st. I think Nigel will be amazing for Derby, just give him a bit of time. He is a vey intelligent and disciplined manager.If there is any one in the team that isn't performing he will let them know .

  • Comment number 66.

    "Clough points out that of the 10 seasons he spent at Burton the club failed only once to improve on the position they achieved the previous campaign."
    I'm a Reading fan, but credit due where it's fully worth - if you think about it, that's a pretty amazing period of rolling upwards and upwards. Is there any one team in the league that could put a claim like that? I doubt it ...

  • Comment number 67.

    I think the point which seems to be missed by most people is that this is NIGEL CLOUGH... with emphasis on capital letters...

    The fans know he was raised in Derby... he was there when his dad's side won the championship... he's lived in Derbyshire for pretty much his whole life...

    I think you'll be amazed at how patient the Derby fans will be with Nigel... I think 10 years is not an unreasonable time-scale to leave him in charge for!

  • Comment number 68.

    At 11:52am on 29 Jul 2009, Malky79 wrote:
    "Derby sacking him was a disgrace in my opinion a victim of his own success getting the team promoted to early without the resources to make the leap to premiership level."

    Thanks for the background on Billy's time at Motherwell Malky, over the years we Rams fans have spoken with a lot of Preston fans and got the lowdown on his time there but I personally knew very little about his time at the 'Well

    To say that Billy was sacked at Derby is not entirely true though - in the transfer windows of Jan 07 & Summer 07 he spent approx £15 million on transfers ( not much by top 4 standards but a lot for us ) and also increased the wage bill from an annual £13million to £26 million - he was backed as much as our club could reasonably afford and he did not improve the quality of the team spending £millions on players who were not upto the standard required - Claude Davis, Eddie Lewis, Benny Fielharber ( who never got a chance really )to name but three and perversely not selecting our record signing a certain Mr Earnshaw

    When the season started going pear shaped it was clear that Billy was engineering his exit and any Rams fan who saw the interview after the Chelsea game where he made certain claims about the Chairman was not surprised in the least when he left some days later

    As ever with Billy - there is always more to it than meets the eye...

  • Comment number 69.

    65. At 12:03pm on 29 Jul 2009, Bazza18NUFC wrote:

    I support Burton Albion, when Cloughie took over we were in the Conference South, he soon got us promoted to the conference and after 10 years at Burton Albion we were something like 20 -30 points ahead in 1st place of the Blue Square Premier in January! And we were virtually promoted already. Then he left and after that we lost almost every game but, still came 1st. I think Nigel will be amazing for Derby, just give him a bit of time. He is a vey intelligent and disciplined manager.If there is any one in the team that isn't performing he will let them know .

    Sorry to inform you we've never been in the conference south, it was formed after we had been promoted to the conference proper. Spent a while in the doc martins prem and then switched to the unibond prem and got promotion from there the first time of asking!

    But I certainly agree with the sentiment, we were very very lucky to have Cloughy for the time we did. He did everything the right way, was financially prudent and brought success to Burton all built on solid foundations.

  • Comment number 70.

    Best of luck to Cloughie!

    By the way, I think i'm right in saying that Brentford went up from League 2 as champions with perhaps 1 player in the League 2 'team of the season'. Credit must go to Andy Scott for being as good - if not better - than Cloughie at building team spirit and hopefully we'll see Brentford in the championship soon as well.

  • Comment number 71.

    63 - Rammie09

    Not at all. The reception for Clough and Crosby was relatively warm until their over zealous celebrations at Kris Commons' winner, showing absolutely zero respect.

    When they arrive on Trentside next month, the reception for the pair won't be as nice.

  • Comment number 72.

    Thanks for all the comments. There seems to be generous support for Nigel Clough - even from a lot of Forest fans!

    I think that what he is trying to do is build a team, it sounds simple and obvious but I think that what it boils down to is that he wants a whole that is more than the sum of its individual parts. In this regard - and as several people have quite rightly pointed out - there are definite similarities with his old man. This takes time - developing the required level of understanding and familiarity is no simple task.

    Clough has stated that he wants to see an improvement on last season. Given Derby finished 18th you could argue that is not the hardest task in the world. I don't think anyone at the club is expecting a serious crack at promotion, more a top 12 finish with plenty to build on the following season.

  • Comment number 73.

    - nottinghamshire_red -

    In fairness to them Clough and Crosby, everyone gets a bit excited about derby matches. Regardless of the fact that Nigel used to play for Forest, he had every right to celebrate a goal scored by his team. That's the thing about working in football, you have to put aside your allegiences and in Nigel's case, it's arguable to say that he probably feels as associated with Derby as he does Forest. I know this may be difficult for you to understand being a fan but it would have been strange if he hadn't celebrated. This doesn't show a lack of respect, it shows a passion for the game and for his job. Turning your back on Clough is your choice but it shows a blinkered short-sightedness and a lack of gratitude for everything he was integral in achieving at Forest with his dad. He's the Derby manager now, get used to that but don't forget what he did for you in the past.

    With regards to the blog in general, i thought it was well written and insightful. We have known since Nigel took over that his intentions were long-term and there would be no quick fix. We too have some blinkered fans but as a group of supporters I am hopeful that we will back Nigel and the club all the way with this sustainable growth. If we improve by 1 or 2 places a season and we can see the club is going in the right direction and stablising we'll all be there cheering them on. That's what supporting a club is all about, for better or for worse! We all think better times are ahead and will wait as long as it takes!!

  • Comment number 74.

    A great blog this, nice to hear that other people in the football world are watching young Nigel go about his business in the right manner and are expecting the steady progress that we Rams fans have seen from him at Burton. By not spouting about what he will/will not do in the coming season he keeps his dignity and gets respect from the football world, he expects his team to do his talking, a complete opposite to previous managers Davies and Jewell, Davies it seems can make his mouth say anything! At the moment the Nottingham public have been sucked in by his enthusiasm and a few signings (in the main strikers) but he hasn't yet attended to last seasons problem of conceding goals that nearly took them back to League 1 for another stint, Billy has them downing the cocktails at the moment but the hangover is to follow as it always does with Mr Davies.
    It is a shame that some of their fans feel a need to come on here and voice their hatred of all things Derby but for anyone not from the area you must understand that they have been living in the Rams' shadow for so long now there is a desperation to finish above us or even beat us in a competitive game as they have not had their hands on the Brian Clough trophy yet, and over the past 10years or so have had to watch the Rams open a new stadium and brand new training facilities that are as good as any in the country, they have watched us win the play-off final at Wembley and play in the Premiership which they have missed for 10 years, and the levels of support are miles apart with Derby averaging 30,000+ and Forest home games averaging 21,000 or so. They are desperate to try and wrestle back some pride and see our ex manager as the man to do it, strange that they don't see our ex employees as being soiled goods as they have signed Camp, Earnshaw etc., but they despise anyone who chooses our great club over theirs (Commons the obvious one and more recently Shaun Barker who chose to join us from Blackpool even though he was a boyhood Forest fan). They were spoiled in the late 80's and early 90's by the great Brian Clough (another ex-Ram who continued to live in Derby throughout his term as Forest manager) and cannot come to terms with the mediocrity that has returned following the steady demise since his departure.

  • Comment number 75.

    As a Forest fan of over 30 years I have two comments to make about the article.
    1 - I wish Nigel all the best and I hope in the next 5-6 years he makes Derby a great team, as I believe he will then become a manager at a bigger club, and hopefully in 10-15 years - if he wants - England.

    2 - I fear for Forest, we have just got ourselves straight and we are now big spending again. I hope that we can get top 10 this season and top 6 the following, else it will be loads of debt and back to watching League one in a few years.

  • Comment number 76.

    I am an Everton fan living in the midlands and looking forward to seeing how both Forest and Derby get on this season.

    I think Nigel Clough will do a great job for the club and know a number of Forest fans were disappointed they didnt take a chance on him.

    I just hope the Derby faithful have the patience in him that we have shown in David Moyes. Moyes always said he had a plan over a number of years to the develop the club as a whole and we have seen that with improved training facilities, investment in youth players and he has built a team around a good team ethic with players picked up from the lower leagues Cahill, Jagielka, Lescott. This plan seems very similar to the approach Clough is talking about and I hope it wont be too long before we can see at least one club from the region back where they belong.

  • Comment number 77.

    Thanks Paul for your feedback regarding Clough's plan for young players.

    I think the board are also supportive of the approach and direction in which Nigel Clough is taking the club, working together in tandem.

    Adam Pearson's comments made in recent programme notes were illuminating; he praised our matchday opponents Bristol City and how Derby hoped to emulate their recent progress by building a core squad, where the playing staff had built up an understanding of each other, and then City developed their squad by adding to it when necessary rather than making wholesale changes. This echoes your comments about building a team being a gradual process.

    Finishing in the top 12 would be definite progress for the club after two turbulent seasons.

    Interesting times ahead for DCFC.

  • Comment number 78.

    Great blog.

    As a Derby fan, i'd be more than happy to give Clough time to bring success. I don't expect promotion this season, and i think if we were to get it, we'd be close to beating our lowest points record, because we just aren't ready yet.
    An awful lot has been said about his transfer policy, and how he's signing lower league players, but i agree with what he's doing. I'd much rather take a gamble on Ben Pringle for example, spending a small fee and not breaking the bank for his wages than spending £3million on Claude Davis who turned out to be a disaster. Just because they've come from Ilkeston Town or Exeter, doesn't mean they're poor footballers, it just means they are playing for Ilkeston Town or Exeter.

    Also, nottinghamshire_red... You mentioned Clough burning his bridges with Forest because of his celebration when Commons scored the winner, but, what else could you expect? We were 2-0 and managed to take a 3-2 lead. Any manager would do the same. And i'm sure if the shoe were on the other foot, and it was Forest who took the 3-2 lead, and Billy Davies celebrating, you'd say he had every right.

  • Comment number 79.

    I am a forest fan and although Nige is at our biggest rivals I can't and won't forget what he and his dad did for us. I still wish him all the best for the coming season but please for god sake not at our expense! :)

  • Comment number 80.

    It's the old Cloughie magic that just won't go away. The fact that he's different from his dad gives it all a bit more sparkle. You can't but not admire Nigel's attitude and way of thinking about football. Of course, it makes sense, and of course it's the old simple things that are important. Let's hope he'll be successful cos a lot of what he says runs against the grain of modern football: the super signings, the star element, the quick fix - just look at Man City - the mega bucks always coming out on top.

    Good luck, Nigel.

  • Comment number 81.

    Interesting interview.
    Pleased to see intelligent responses. That is apart from some immature Forest fans.
    What is it about modern football fans that makes them need to hate another team to give themselves an identity?
    I am old enough to have been a regular at BBG in the days of Brian Clough (actually I go back to Harry Storer!)and I admired him so much that I got great pleasure out of enjoying his success at Forest.
    Try enjoying good football even if it is played by a team other than your own and you may find that you get more out of the game.
    Good luck to Nigel Clough and to Billy Davies- remember Derby fans he did get us into the Premier League.
    P.S. Can somebody explain to me why Forest have more money than Derby?

  • Comment number 82.

    The celebration of Commons had more to do with abuse he recieved (he did say he expeced it) & object's being thrown at him.

  • Comment number 83.

    JorvikRammer(Wenn sie Brust schwimmt ist das schn),
    I apologise, it was a poorly written comment. I was referring to nottinghamshire_red's comment about Clough celebrating the winner at the City Ground, which happened to be Commmons' goal, and how Clough had every right to celebrate in such fashion because his team and come from 2-0 down.

  • Comment number 84.

    *his team had come from 2-0 down.

  • Comment number 85.

    No offence but he has so far done teh easy job.

    Any amateur Championship Manager veteren could take over a club and spot the dead wood that needs to be got rid of, the only reason the previous manager never gets rid of it is loyalty.

    Has he actually even trimmed the squad at all? Ignore the loanees and the number of players moved on is roughly equivalent to the number brought in. His speech about 20 pros sounds good to a fan who is desperate for change but the truth is that Derby will start the season with closer to 35 still.

    He did alright at Burton, but then he has a famous name, rubbish players always try harder if they have someone that they respect ordering them around and believe me, the Conference is a rubbish league full of rubbish players who have either failed to make the grade or likely never will. At championship level his name means next to nothing so all he has is his ability as a coach, he will be tested for the first time this season and we should withiold any judgements (including praise) for him until next July.

  • Comment number 86.

    I concede your comment was more about Clough's celebration, as you say his team did indeed come from 2-0 down & any manager will be happy to see his charges regain the initiative.
    A lot of their fans can see that when you are a professional sportsmen, whether player or manager,old allegiances go out of the window, alas some of them can't see past their nose & are deluded.

  • Comment number 87.

    *A lot of their fans can't see *

  • Comment number 88.

    87. JorvikRammer

    Please don't say 'professional sportsmen' as if all of them or the same.

    Stuart Pearce has gone on record saying he'd rather go on the dole than work for Derby. You'd never catch Neil Lennon working for Rangers, Maldini for Inter, Ranieri for Lazio, Le Tissier for Portsmouth etc etc...The list is endless.

    Loyalty is a big part of a mans charachter. Some of them, the real good, honest professionals, have it in abundance.

  • Comment number 89.


    You could do with looking at a guy who can play at either right back, central defence or in midfield - by the name of Chris Blackburn - currently at Aldershot. Reckon he could play at championship level.

  • Comment number 90.

    Great article Paul. I am a Rams fan living in Nottingham so see both sides of the divide and it is surprising how many of my Forest fan mates are only anti-Derby for show and when we get into the discussion actually recognise the merits/weaknesses of both teams. I suspect that it is similar in Derby. Don't we all want both teams in the Premiership.

    As for Clough's approach, I think he will be given time at Derby. We have had very poor football at Derby since George Burley, and although Davies was a succes, it was terrible to watch. That is my fear for Forest, the trade-off between instant success and good entertainment. A lot has been made of Clough's goal of creating the core squad and building gradually, all of which is very admirable. However the single biggest reason Clough will be given time is down to the entertainment factor. Towards the end of last season and in the pre-season matches so far, the style of play and the performances have been good - even when we have lost. Derby fans will put up with mid-table if they see that the club is playing the right way and is progressing.

    I went to the Notts County match on Tuesday, and the keeper did not kick the ball out of his hands once. The players passed the ball around and didn't just hoof it into the box. It was great to watch (Notts played well too). There were the usual defensive lapses but the entertainment was there.

    Well done Clough. I cannot wait for next season, even though I do think Forest will finish higher than us.

  • Comment number 91.

    Congratulations Nigel, you're on the from page of BBC football... you've earned it.

    As you know everyone loved your dad and everyone loves you too for sticking with Burton and above all, being different to your dad.

    You don't need me to say, "stick with it mate", you can't go wrong.

  • Comment number 92.

    Hey everyone, just to say i am a longlife fan of Derby and i hope Mr Clough jnr is gonna have all the time he needs to make our club even greater than it already is.... we might not be at the top of the premier league and we might not get into the prem for a while but Derby County is big great club and the fan base must be one of the biggest in the country if not europe,,, would chelsea get as many supporters as Derby if they ever decline and end up in the championship ? talking of great clubs i still consider the Red team over the M1 as great club too,, i hope i am still around when BOTH teams are playing in the prem again no matter who is in charge or whoever is playing for them, theres nothing like a Derby -Forest game to attract supporters into a ground...

  • Comment number 93.

    Great article.
    Interesting to read some of the comments - particularly Everton fans. Though I have no allegiance to your team it is great to see what they have achieved under a great manager like David Moyes. Like many above have said about "my number 9" Moyes has built the club in a sporting way to compete at the top level not just bought it as we see Man Cit(amongst others) attempting to now. I sincerely hope you break into the top 4 this year (at anyone's expense I don't care)or next.
    Back to Nigel - any fan of Derby County worth their salt will completely trust him to develop and run our football club and give him the time that he requires. I have absolute faith in him and his signings - as someone said if you are going to gamble, gamble prudently. I haven't yet spoke to any Derby fans who aren't proud to have Nigel at the club as we know that the fit is right.
    So let's enjoy the ride - the ups and downs of the next few years because it from the looks of things recently - good football is back at Derby!!!

    Come on you RAMS!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 94.

    Notts red,
    Is that why there is a picture of Pearce kissing the Ram badge on the Derby shirt he was wearing in Ted McMinns benifit match?
    Lennon probably wouldn't play for Rangers, but there have been plenty of who have played for both Celtic & Rangers, Mo Johnson & Kenny Miller for two examples.
    You call it loyalty, I call it narrow mindedness & bitterness.

  • Comment number 95.

    A sensible article again turned into a slanging match ...Forest fans seem to be slightly upset by Mr Clough Jnr deciding on Derby County , whilst they suffer under Mr Davies. It's sad to see but we both know the future only looks bright for one of us ! UTR .

  • Comment number 96.

    "He's managed three full seasons in this league and has achieved three top 6 finishes, one being a promotion with a very, very poor Derby side."

    I'm sorry!? I'm flabbergasted with this comment! A poor Derby side? A poor Derby side, which HE, William Davies built! He bought the players that got us relegated. It was he who constructed the promotion side of 2007, and constructed the relegation side of 2008.

    He spent big on poor signings in the January transfer window of 2007, Jon Macken,, and then spent big again, on poor quality players for the assault on the Premiership, i.e Claude Davis, Eddie Lewis, Robert Earnshaw.

    He WILL do the same to Forest, where the playing squad will become so obese, the wage bill, will cripple the team. Long contracts, and over-inflated wages are William Davies' favourite past time, as we have seen here in Derby, i.e Claude Davis

    I can see this happening again down Brian Clough Way, where there will be enough professional's on the books, to fill 4 team sheets! Thats what Clough is trying to reduce here, and its the Davies era players that is holding him back to sign players who WANT to play football, and not see it as a past time.

    I will give Clough all the time in the world, we have go through too much as Derby fans of late, stability is what I, and the club crave.

  • Comment number 97.

    94 - JorvikRammer

    I don't think you understand. Stuart Pearce kissed the derby badge in jest. He was getting abuse from the Ram's fans that night. He states in his autobiography that he would NEVER work for 'that club'. What a man.

    There haven't been 'many' players who have played for both Rangers and Celtic at all, only a handful.

    It's not narrow mindedness at all. It's loyalty. And the people with this loyalty should be applauded. It's not just a paycheck to some of the guys that work in football and they're a credit to the game. They really are.

  • Comment number 98.


    We're not suffering under Billy at all. Far from it. After saving us from the drop last season, he's quickly brought in some quality players at this level and we're all eagerly anticipating August 8th.

    You say Clough 'decided' on Derby as if he chose them over Forest. Forest were simply never interested in bringing Clough here. He's a small time manager with little ambition. It'll take you a decade to get into the playoffs if Clough's track record is anything to go by.

    You can't honestly tell me you'd rather sign Jake Buxton, Ben Pringle and Dean Moxey instead of Chris Gunter, David Mcgoldrick and Paul Anderson. Can you....?

  • Comment number 99.

    You forget we have seen Billy's managerial skills before , winning at Wembley and he wishing it was Preston.
    Players cost money at the present time we as a club are a bit short , but £50 million debt is now £15 million, i would gladly suffer as a supporter for another 2 years to get the debt to zero.
    Dont forget if Forest move grounds they will have to pay for that somehow .Derby may be signing lower league / non league players but as a Derby fan i realise WHY !

  • Comment number 100.

    97 & 98 nottinghamshire_red

    Following your persistence on the loyalty theme, were you happy with Brian Cough's appointment as your manager or was this against your beliefs?

    As far as not suffering under Billy, as another contributer put it, you're still drinking the cocktails & as with all binge drinking sessions you WILL get Billy's hangover... its gonna come, believe me.


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