Brian Clough and Derby County: Letters sell for £8,000

Sam Longson with Brian Clough Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Derby County chairman Sam Longson with Brian Clough in 1967

Two letters connected to Brian Clough's departure from Derby County have sold at auction for £8,000.

Clough, and his assistant Peter Taylor, left the Rams after leading the club to its first league championship in 1972.

In one letter the players demand the pair are reinstated, while the other is an unseen reply from club chairman Sam Longson, who criticises the manager.

They were from the private collection of Gerald Mortimer, who was the Derby Telegraph's Rams reporter for 32 years.

Estimates on both letters, ahead of the auction by Hansons in Derbyshire, were between £600 and £800, but they sold for £4,000 each.

Image copyright Hansons
Image caption A letter signed by Derby's players (left) and Sam Longson's response to Clough's resignation

Clough and his assistant Peter Taylor had a difficult relationship with Mr Longson, despite the success they brought to the club.

Mr Longson's letter detailed his disapproval of Clough's attacks on the Football Association, his TV work and salary demands.

Clough was also alleged to have made a "Harvey Smith gesture" (a V-sign) to the chairman of Manchester United and their former manager Sir Matt Busby.

Image caption Sam Longson did not approve of Clough's media work

Mr Longson concluded his letter by saying: "Nobody regrets the current situation more than I do. I brought him here, I have glorified in his success and I leave it to the supporters of Derby County to judge me and my board.

"I must stress the point that Derby County will always survive and that no individual is bigger than the club."

Anton Rippon, who wrote a book about Clough, said the statement had never been published before and it backed up what he had been told by the players.

The football collection belonging to Mr Mortimer, who died in 2013, included old match programmes and ticket stubs.

A Derby County book of minutes which dated back to 1888 when the club joined the league also sold for £4,000.

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