Brian Clough

Brian Clough

Although he dies some time ago, the influence lives on. The confidence and no nonsense gifted persona of this man was a great influence on my childhood.  He personified the myth of englishness, in his natural skills and confidence and his ability to take the underdog to the heights of footballing success.

“Cloughie: Walking on Water” (Brian Clough)

The fact he was never made England Manager, has created problems that the English FA is still dealing with today, I have heard it said that in his interview for the England job, he was asked what he would do about FIFA, and he replied he’d sack the lot of them and start again.  Fascinating considering all the corruption issues coming to light in FIFA in recent years.

But what I clearly remember of him is his being interviewed on Match of the day and The Big Match, his northern nasal voice, and his apparent belief in himself.

“Well Jimmy, I may not be the best but I am certainly in the top one”

I do wonder with his alchohol problems in later life what this bravado covered…probably a very vulnerable man.  For it was also said that he wanted to be liked and not to send flowers to his funeral, but if you liked him to send them to him whilst he was alive.  He always appeared to me to be a man of old fashioned values, a family man and a socialist, who dealt out summary justice and took none of the nonsense that these jumped up mannequins who call themeselves the footballers of today seem to delight in.

I always remember him wacking some fans who had invaded the pitch and whilst most ordinary people were in agreement with him, he was fined £5000 for bringing the game into disrepute, then on TV he apologised to the fans, and as a gesture of apology told them they has to kiss him, and ….they did.  This to me was the power of the man…what in the UK we call a peoples champion.  Or we sometimes say if he hadn’t lived you couldn’t have made him up.

Brian Clough, thank you.

What exactly are the Ashes

The Ashes series of Crckets “tests” or matches is named after a satirical obituary published in The Sporting Times in 1882 following the match at The Oval in which Australia beat England in England for the first time. 

The obituary stated that “English cricket had died, and the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.” 

The English media dubbed the next English tour to Australia as the quest to regain “The Ashes.” 

A small terracotta urn was presented to the England captain Ivo Bligh by a group of Melbourne women after England’s victory in that Test series. So Although the terracotta Urn is considered as “The Ashes” the actual term preceded the urn.

The urn is reputed to contain a set of burnt bails symbolising “the ashes of English cricket”. 

The urn is not used as the trophy for the Ashes series, and whichever side “holds” the Ashes, the urn remains in the MCC Museum at Lord’s. Since the 1998/99 Ashes series, a Waterford crystal trophy has been presented to the winners.