Brian Clough: Fifty Defining Fixtures (Review)

Marcus Alton is one of the world’s top football experts, an award-winning journalist that spent nearly 30 years with the BBC.  He is easily the leading authority on Brian Clough, having written four books on the great man, the latest being Brian Clough: Fifty Defining Fixtures from Amberley Publishing.

Courtesy of Amberley Publishing

This book is a labor of love for Alton, a tribute to his sporting idol.  He did, after all, create a tribute website for Clough in addition to leading fundraising efforts to build a bronze statue of Clough in Nottingham, a permanent memorial to a man that put Forest on the footballing map.

The title is a great read, one that details four decades of Brian Clough, someone that left a tremendous legacy as a player and manager.  Having to choose just 50 matches was a difficult task for Alston, but the author said “you have to draw the line somewhere.” Otherwise you would have hundreds of matches where Clough was key; being center stage was always the case for this trailblazer.

The result of those choices is an entertaining journey down memory lane, back to a golden age of football.  It offers the perfect amount of depth, several pages per match. This is enough to describe Clough’s impact in each game, enough to see why he is so fondly remembered.

Clough was indeed “The Special One” before José Mourinho ever earned the title.  Clough helped carry the torch of English football along with Bill Shankly and Matt Busby, a man that advanced the game and help build modern football.

The 50 matches come from the brightest moments of Clough’s career, first as a goalscoring forward and then a manager that collected an unprecedented amount of hardware.  The matches cover quite a period of time, actually games from 1955-1993.  You’ll feel Clough’s fondness for his time as a player and later his brilliance as a manager.

This text is an all-encompassing piece that does justice to Clough’s career, which is about the biggest compliment you could ever give: a great book for a great man.

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