20140923

New e-book taster brings together some classic Cloughie stories

Nottingham Forest and Derby fans have been paying tribute to the memory of Brian Clough in the last few days, 10 years on from his death at the age of 69 on September 20, 2003.  

Supporters set aside their differences joined in a minute's applause when the East Midlands rivals met at the City Ground while at Forest's match with Fulham last week, the players entered the field with a guard of honour made up of Forest season ticket holders, all dressed in the green sweatshirt that was the great manager's matchday uniform.

Hundreds of Forest fans at the Capital One Cup match against Tottenham wore green sweatshirts provided by the competition sponsors, who are based in Nottingham.

Everyone who encountered Cloughie seems to have a favourite story about him, among them the Midlands journalist Dave Armitage, who gathered together 150 of them -- some of his own and a great many shared by others -- in a book cleverly titled 150 BC and had enough left over to follow up with a second volume, Clough Confidential.

Both are now available as Kindle e-books.  Alternatively, readers can sample a flavour of both books in Clough Gold, which draws on both in a collection of 50 stories as a taste of the entertainment on offer in the full versions.

Armitage has been covering football in the Midlands since the 1980s and was still a young and inexperienced reporter when he set foot in Clough's office at the City Ground for the first time.  Subsequently, he became on good enough terms with the maverick manager to be invited to his home in Derbyshire, although not on the occasion of one his own personal Clough stories.

That was the time he surprised Clough with an unusual gift of a couple of packets of seeds.  They were for a variety of sweet pea named 'Brian Clough' that he had spotted at the Shrewsbury Flower Show.  The young Armitage feared the gift might bring him only ridicule but in fact it was accepted graciously and gratefully by Clough, who recalled being asked some years earlier for permission to use his name and how beautiful the blooms were.

Months later, Clough spotted Armitage in the City Ground car park and hailed him in customary style. "Hey, shithouse," he said. "My missus was talking about you this morning.  You know those sweet peas you gave me.  She's grown them all up the back of our house and they are absolutely beautiful.

"She said 'You ought to ask that nice young man around to come and see them now they're out.'

"'Hey', I told her, 'I'm not having shithouse reporters up at my house'.  But thanks very much anyway!"

Clough Gold is available from Amazon as a Kindle e-book

Buy 150 BC from Amazon, Waterstones or WHSmith.

Buy Clough Confidential from Amazon or Waterstones.

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