There is no way that a book about Brian Clough can be boring. The task for anybody to write something different and readable though is enormous. Thats why I think the new book about Clough with the title Nobody Ever Says Thank You is a piece of art! In recent years, Cloughs life has been portrayed via a combination of romantic memoir and myth-bound novelistic approach firstly in Duncan Hamiltons Provided You Dont Kiss Me and secondly in the extremely popular book of David Peace The Damned Utd. Jonathan Wilsons book is a revelation because he takes his sword and goes against the common store of Clough myths. He is not afraid of confronting even popular stories that have flowered up around those deeds, often from the big man, Cloughie, himself. This is an attempt to tell what s really happened , for once, without the volume tuned up!
Naturally, all the major events are unfolded here, in the pages of this marvelous book. The writer in illuminating detail, is giving us Cloughs debut for Middlesbrough, of his fascinating tour of Europe and subsequent exclusion from the England World Cup squad, of the terrible career-ending injury and by the self-propelling managerial start in the Fourth Division with Hartlepool. But the real great story telling is the unfolding of the successes of Derby County and his ousting by chairman Sam Longson, as well as the back to back triumphs in Europe alongside the clubs only league championship with Nottingham Forest. That rapid success in only four seasons for Forest, from the old second division in the summer of 1976 to the European Cup glory in 1979 and 1980 came when the entire world seemed to be in love or hate with Cloughs extrovert, contradictory presence.
And of course no book about Clough would be complete without the infamous 44 days at the helm of Leeds United in 1974. The TV interview and fierce fight between Clough and his chief rival and enemy, Don Revie, after Cloughs sacking by Leeds, is one matter still very much in mind to whoever has seen it. And Wilson is no wrong when he is writing that only the pictures of that encounter tell us Clough won the exchange, trouncing Revie, but maybe things were perceived a bit different back then.
There are also some fascinating sections in the book as Wilson takes on many subjects. What he mainly does give us is a methodical, non-hysterical, beautifully detailed Clough; And finally is a book that loves to bring us not fiction but facts. Is a relieve to see somebody facing the great man as he really was and not as all the people would love him to be! And that s a credit to the writer!