By 90Min
July 29, 2019

Brian Clough is number 15 in 90min's Top 50 Great Managers of All Time series. Follow the rest of the series over the course of the next three weeks. You can find Ed Alexander's Brian Clough career overview here


Brian Clough was a masterful man-manager. He just knew how to get the best out of each and every one of his players.

Combine the Yorkshireman's coaching skills with the superb talent at his disposal and you have a magical combination. Yes, Clough was the architect of Nottingham Forest's miraculous rise from Second Division mediocrity to kings of the continent, but he would have been unable to do so without a stellar squad that could turn his dreams into reality.

John Williams/GettyImages

Likewise, Derby County would not have lifted the 1972 top-flight title if they couldn't select men like John McGovern in their lineups, though it was the Rams' new boss who brought the midfielder to the Midlands.

The Scot was one of the finest footballers to play under Clough, which is high praise considering the competition; 'Old Big 'Ead' spent time with some marvellous individuals.

Here's a look at the best XI to work with the maverick manager and his esteemed assistant Peter Taylor.


Goalkeeper & Defenders

Evening Standard/GettyImages

Peter Shilton (GK) - The most capped player in English footballing history had made a name for himself at Leicester City and Stoke City, but reached new levels following a £250,000 switch to Forest. He was named PFA Player of the Year in his first season, European Player of the Year in his third and was included in the PFA Team of the Year in each of his five campaigns at the City Ground. Not bad for a goalkeeper.

Viv Anderson (RB) - Remarkably and disappointingly, no black footballer had ever represented the Three Lions until Anderson's debut in 1978. He more than deserved the call-up for his diligent performances in one of the nation's most iconic teams, the right-back holding down a starting berth as the Reds lifted an array of European and domestic silverware.

Roy McFarland (CB) - Persuaded to move to the Baseball Ground in 1967, McFarland's transfer from Tranmere Rovers was one of the greatest decisions he could have ever made. He was a giant in Derby's backline, dominating opponents and marshalling teammates as the Rams went from second tier to the First Division summit in the space of five years.

Colin Todd (CB) - Then 23-year-old Todd became the most expensive defender in Britain when he linked up with Clough at Derby. The £175,000 fee was well worth it, the centre-back forging an immense partnership with McFarland. His coach was so impressed, he made sure Todd joined him at Forest, a decade on from their splendid league victory.

Stuart Pearce (LB) - 'Psycho' missed out on the glory days at the City Ground, yet he still collected two League Cup winner's medals during his 12-year stay with the Tricky Trees. He's widely regarded as a club legend for his fearlessness and hammer of a left-boot, whilst his quality is confirmed by a total of 78 appearances for England.


Midfielders

Mark Thompson/GettyImages

Martin O'Neill (RM) - You'd think 10 seasons of service on the field would have bought O'Neill some more time in the dugout. You'd be wrong. Nevertheless, his regrettable five-month tenure does nothing to damage a well-earned legacy; the Northern Irishman will be always be remembered for his guile on the wing and undying devotion to the team.

Roy Keane (CM) - Here is a man who needs no introduction. Keane is often mentioned in debates over the Premier League's GOAT and he is a worthy nominee. He was outstanding in his handful of campaigns for Forest, but the bulldozer was raised to god-like status during Manchester United's era of dominance.

John McGovern (CM) - Another who spent time with Clough in both Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, McGovern was handed the captain's armband as the Tricky Trees surged to European supremacy. He was the complete midfielder.

John Robertson (LM) - Like his namesake McGovern, Robertson turned out for the Rams and the Reds during his career. Like his namesake, the Scot was exquisite for either side. Like his namesake, he was arguably the best in the world in his position.


Forwards

Getty Images/GettyImages

John O'Hare (ST) - 14 goals in 101 league outings for Forest is hardly a jaw-dropping return for a striker. The 65 that O'Hare netted in 258 Derby games isn't much better, nor is his sole score for Leeds United in six appearances. However, at each of those clubs, the forward was given a particular role by Clough, one which involved plenty of off-the-ball work. Without his energy, supposedly flashier players wouldn't have been able to strut their stuff.

Trevor Francis (ST) - Clough convinced the Reds board to fork out £1m for Francis, making his the biggest ever transfer on these shores. Nodding home the winner in the European Cup final probably single-handedly pays that back, the frontman powering a header past Malmo's Jan Moller as half-time loomed to give his team a lead that they would not let slip.


Number 50: Marcelo Bielsa: The Argentina Manager's All Time Best XI

Number 49: Vic Buckingham: The English Manager's All Time Best XI

Number 48: Claudio Ranieri: The Tinkerman's All Time Best XI

Number 47: Bill Nicholson: The Tottenham Legend's All Time Best XI

Number 46: Sven-Goran Eriksson: The Former Lazio Manager's All Time Best XI

Number 45: Sir Alf Ramsey: The World Cup Winer's All Time Best XI

Number 44: Antonio Conte: The Fiery Italian's All-Time Best XI

Number 43: Kenny Dalglish: The King of Anfield's All-Time Best XI

Number 42: Massimiliano Allegri: The Six-Time Serie A Winner's All-Time Best XI

Number 41: Sir Bobby Robson: The Legendary Fighter's All-Time Best XI

Number 40: Luis Aragones: Spain's Most Important Manager's All-Time Best XI

Number 39: Herbert Chapman: The Yorkshire Tactician's All-Time Best XI

Number 38: Carlos Alberto Parreira: The World Cup Hero's All-Time Best XI

Number 37: Franz Beckenbauer: Der Kaiser's All-Time Best XI

Number 36: Viktor Maslov: Dedushka's All-Time Best XI

Number 35: Rafa Benitez: The Likeable Spaniard's All-Time Best XI

Number 34: Zinedine Zidane: The French Magician's All-Time Best XI

Number 33: Luiz Felipe Scolari: Picking Big Phil's All-Time Best XI

Number 32: Jupp Heynckes: The German Master Tactician's All-Time Best XI

Number 31: Vicente del Bosque: The Moustachioed Mister's All-Time Best XI

Number 30: Arsene Wenger: The Legendary Arsenal Manager's All-Time Best XI

Number 29: Udo Lattek: The Inspirational Leader's All-Time Best XI

Number 28: Jock Stein: Big Jock's All-Time Best XI

Number 27: Vittorio Pozzo: Il Vecchio Maestro's All-Time Best XI

Number 26: Jurgen Klopp: Mr Heavy Metal Football's All-Time Best XI

Number 25: Mario Zagallo: Velho Lobo's All-Time Best XI

Number 24: Bela Guttmann: The Proto-Mourinho's All-Time Best XI

Number 23: Valeriy Lobanovskyi: The Soviet Scientist's All-Time Best XI

Number 22: Louis van Gaal: The Mercurial & Enigmatic Dutch Master's All-Time Best XI

Number 21: Otto Rehhagel: The 'King' Who Conquered Europe's All-Time Best XI

Number 20: Tele Santana: The Attack-Minded Superstar's All-Time Best XI

Number 19: Bill Shankly: The Liverpool Godfather's All-Time Best XI

Number 18: Ottmar Hitzfeld: Der General Who Dominated Germany's All-Time Best XI

Number 17: Miguel Muñoz: Real Madrid's Greatest Ever Manager's All-Time Best XI

Number 16: Fabio Capello: The Serial Serie A Winner's All-Time Best XI

You May Like

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)