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LGFOX Posted on 24/03/2020 14:55
An insight on Paulo Sousa

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In his short time with us courtesy of the Athletic.


The faces of the children in the players’ lounge at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium lit up as manager Paulo Sousa picked up a copy of Michael Morpurgo’s “Cool!”, sat down before them and began to read aloud.

His Portuguese accent was thick but the children, visiting the club as part of an education scheme to promote reading, listened intently to the tale of Robbie, a football-mad boy who was in a coma after a car accident and received a visit from his favourite player, Gianfranco Zola.

There were smiles on their faces as Sousa, Leicester’s first manager from outside the British Isles, read to them, but around the room, there were more serious looks on the faces of some of the club staff because they knew what was imminently coming.

It was two days before Leicester’s next league game, a home clash with Scunthorpe United. Leicester needed a victory desperately. Under Sousa, they had won just one of their opening nine league games and were bottom of the table. But Sousa’s time was up. He was sacked the next day.

The rumours had been rife that Leicester City chairman Milan Mandaric was courting Swansea City boss Sousa in the summer of 2010. Under the former Juventus and Borussia Dortmund midfielder, Swansea had finished in their highest league position — seventh in the Championship — since the early 1980s when they were a Division One club under John Toshack.

Sousa had been invited as a guest of Mandaric to watch Leicester’s Championship play-off semi-final first leg clash with Cardiff City and was seen in the directors’ box. Manager Nigel Pearson was made aware of it. After helping them earn promotion from League One at the first attempt, he had guided Leicester to fifth in their first season back in the Championship — but all was not well behind the scenes.

Chief executive Lee Hoos had been instrumental in Pearson’s appointment, having worked with him at Southampton, but their relationship was breaking down. Mandaric didn’t want to be caught in the middle but it was becoming clear something had to give.

Mandaric had been looking to sell the club and had been holding talks with a consortium from Thailand. The negotiations were at a very early stage but the Raksriaksorn family were keen. They owned and ran King Power International, and were passionate football fans. Their first-ever live game in England was the League Cup final in 1997 between Middlesbrough, who were captained by Pearson, and Leicester.

However, Mandaric believed a more high-profile manager, a former international with a renowned name, would make the club more attractive to overseas investment. The potential buyers were even shown around the club’s facilities without Pearson’s knowledge after the season.

Leicester’s promotion hopes were dashed after a penalty shoot-out in Cardiff. Hoos was seen outside the dressing rooms in tears. The manner of the defeat was hard for everyone to take, but optimism was still high that the squad could kick on again the next season under Pearson.

However, there was shock at his departure to Hull City just over a month later, not least from Pearson. Hull made an approach to Leicester for permission to speak to Pearson, which Hoos granted. Mandaric was on safari in Africa with his family and claimed he hadn’t been contactable when the green light was given. Surprised by the club’s decision and unable to contact Mandaric, Pearson concluded that the club no longer wanted him in charge, and accepted Hull’s offer. He might have been met with silence but to Pearson, the message was loud and clear.

In contrast to Pearson’s departure, there wasn’t much surprise when Sousa was announced as his successor a week later.

“We have a new exciting major in Paolo Sousa who I have full faith will deliver great success to our football club,” Mandaric declared. “Paolo’s background on his approach to the game I am sure will be something that our supporters will cherish and enjoy. He will have the full backing and support of everyone at the club.”

However, all was not what it seemed for Sousa, who has since repeatedly said he regretted the decision to leave the stability of Swansea.

To ensure the club looked appetising to the potential new owners, Mandaric embarked on a huge cost-cutting exercise (not that there was a huge amount of investment before) and Sousa quickly discovered he would have to build his squad on a relatively small budget. It was only after the takeover by Asia Football Investments, announced a week after the season had started, that Sousa was handed any notable funds. Backed by the new owners, he signed Japan international midfielder Yukie Abe and striker Martyn Waghorn, who had impressed on loan from Sunderland the previous season, for £2 million each. His previous six signings that summer had totalled £350,000.

He had loftier ambitions and tried to entice midfielder Robert Koren to the club but was unable to convince the free agent that Leicester was his best option. The Slovenia international chose Hull instead, much to Sousa’s frustration.

Nigel Pearson Milan Mandaric
Mandaric chose Sousa to succeed Pearson but quickly lost faith in his new manager (Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
The most bizarre signing was Leon Crncic, a midfielder whom Sousa had spotted during Leicester’s pre-season training camp in Slovenia. He had spent a season with Atalanta’s under-21s but Leicester snapped him up on a free. He never played a senior game for the club.

Leicester played two friendlies in Slovenia, against Polish side Jagiellonia Bialystok and local side NK Aluminij, but the rest of the trip was spent working with his new players in more technical and tactical sessions. It was a complete departure from the pre-season training camps they had experienced before, with much less emphasis on the more traditionally English fitness-focused sessions. Many of the players went into the season feeling physically undercooked.

By Sousa’s side was assistant manager Bruno Oliveira, an up-and-coming Portuguese coach who had co-written a coaching manual with his mentor Jose Mourinho, but his credentials failed to match his abilities and the Leicester players were not impressed with his sessions. Sousa had taken Oliveira with him to Queens Park Rangers and then Swansea, and was loyal to the 32-year-old, but his new players were difficult to win over.

Sousa himself was struggling to get all his players on side, especially those loyal to Pearson and still reeling from the shock of his departure. They questioned his methods as he spent pre-season trying to change the direct style of play, which had made use of the big man/little man strike pairing of Steve Howard and Matty Fryatt.

“He was a brilliant coach but tried to change too much too early,” recalls captain Richie Wellens. “We were in transition but we didn’t expect Nigel to leave. It was a shock. He would say, ‘At Swansea, we did this and we did that’ but we would be like, ‘Hang on a minute — we finished above Swansea, so we have some good players as well’.

“Nigel would treat you like a man. He was homely and warm to speak to. Paulo was a little bit offish. You couldn’t really have a conversation with him. If you walked past Nigel in the training ground, he would say hello and you could spend five minutes in the corridor with him. But with Paulo, you would say hello and he wouldn’t really engage with you or he would walk past and just say hello. There was no real love in the camp.”

The supporters were struggling to adapt as much as the players. They had become accustomed to a fully tracksuited Pearson, standing in the technical area with his power stance, glaring at the pitch. Now, there was the sight of Sousa in untucked shirt and designer jeans. But fans remained open-minded and hopeful of entertaining, successful football.

“I have seen enough from my players in pre-season to suggest that we are capable of having a good season,” Sousa said. “I am pleased at how well the players have adapted to a new style of play. I want this team to attack and score goals, and we have been working very hard to make sure this will happen.”

There were certainly goals in his opening games, although they came at both ends. Away to Crystal Palace on the opening day of the season, they were 3-0 down at half-time. They recovered in the second half, partly through Palace’s complacency, and goals from Andy King and DJ Campbell, who had been frozen out by Pearson, made the 3-2 defeat slightly more palatable but the performance was alarming for Leicester supporters.

They conceded three more at home to Macclesfield Town in the League Cup but the attacking football Sousa had spoken about in pre-season was evident also in a 4-3 win. They tightened up at Middlesbrough and kept a clean sheet back in the Championship wbut were stifled at the other end. The goalless stalemate was followed by a 3-0 hammering at Burnley. A morale-boosting win at Leeds in the League Cup raised hope that Sousa’s men could raise their game in the league but they lost to a late Matt Mills winner at home to Reading and needed a late leveller from King to rescue a point at Coventry City.

The first league win finally came at home to Cardiff City, courtesy of a King double, but it was a false dawn as Leicester were beaten 2-0 at home by Queens Park Rangers.

With the takeover complete and Mandaric retaining his position as chairman, the pressure was mounting. It all came to a head in a four-day stay on the south coast. Leicester were facing Portsmouth in back-to-back fixtures — in the League Cup, then the league. Sousa and the players decided to stay in Portsmouth between the games, and it began with an encouraging win in the cup, with Michael Morrison and Lloyd Dyer scoring in a 2-1 victory.

With training taking place on the grounds of a local university, Sousa opened up a session to the media to offer an insight into his methods but the move revealed far more than intended. Unrest in the camp was evident. Attacking midfielder Paul Gallagher was nursing an injury and sat out the session, watching on from a small stand. He did some media interviews and it was clear the winger was not his usual bubbly self, even insisting his match fitness levels weren’t what they should have been before the injury.

On the training ground, Sousa was hands on, drilling Leicester to play out from the back through a pattern of play that featured Robbie Neilson and Bruno Berner as attacking full-backs. Time and again, they did the move as the ball would be played into midfield from the back, with Berner and Neilson bombing forward. It was a total contrast to the more cautious approach under Pearson, which seemed more suited to the players’ strengths.

“We had Chris Weale, who was a decent shot-stopper and a good all-round keeper, but he couldn’t play with his feet,” Wellens recalls. “He was asking him to play with his feet constantly.

“If he wanted us to play football, then great, but let’s get it into the right areas to play. We didn’t need to play football at the back. Manchester City can do it these days because they have the personnel.”

The Friday night Championship game at Fratton Park was televised live but it proved to be a horror show for Sousa. Leicester were 1-0 down when Miguel Vitor was sent off for a professional foul and the 10 men crumbled to a 6-1 defeat. The delighted Pompey fans sang Mandaric’s name in appreciation for the job he had done at Fratton Park. Mandaric, who had privately wondered why he didn’t receive the same adulation from Leicester fans, was caught on TV rather naively waving back.

After the debacle against a side struggling near the bottom of the table, questions were being asked about Sousa’s future, but Mandaric was adamant he was staying on.

“Things go wrong but we can’t turn things upside down now, for God’s sakes,” he told this reporter for the Leicester Mercury. “We can’t turn around and say Paulo needs to go. Now is the time for us to show how strong we are together, how united we are behind our manager and give him a chance to get the results. It is a difficult time but it is time to be united and not to listen to speculation in some parts of the media.

“Get behind the manager and give him support. I believe in the manager and the team and we need to give them our support. I told him, on behalf of the owners and myself, there is tremendous support for him.”

Mandaric’s call to arms was genuine. He had picked Sousa and he was standing by him — but the new owners were having their doubts.

City got off to a flyer at Norwich City on Tuesday, September 28. Waghorn scored after just two minutes but Andrew Crofts, Wes Hoolahan and Adam Drury put the hosts in control of an entertaining but chaotic game. Fryatt made it 3-2, only for Hoolahan to score his second, four minutes before Fryatt made it 4-3. Leicester were in the ascendency but their comeback came to an end when Fryatt was sent off for a tussle with Leon Barnett as he tried to retrieve the ball.

With Leicester firmly rooted at the foot of the table, three points from safety, any chance of a comeback from Sousa had also come to an end. The day before the visit of Scunthorpe, just hours after he read to the children, he was sacked. The move came so late in the day that the club’s match-day programme had to be pulled off the press and redone to remove Sousa’s programme notes.

“I had to make the decision,” Mandaric said. “I couldn’t let it drag on. I was criticised for giving Ian Holloway too much time (when Leicester were relegated to League One).”

In his hastily written match-day notes, Mandaric added: “Paulo is a first-class individual but unfortunately, things just didn’t work out for him and the club. The results were not good enough for Leicester City and we had to do something.”

Something had been done. Negotiations with Sven-Goran Eriksson had been going on since the defeat at Portsmouth and two days later, after Leicester’s win over Scunthorpe, with coaches Mike Stowell and Chris Powell in temporary charge, the former England boss was appointed.

The sacking hit Sousa hard. He had been planning to make changes, one of which was to sacrifice his right-hand man Oliveira, but time had run out. Sousa had wanted to manage in the Premier League because he had believed managers in England are given more time than on the continent, but the club’s new owners were not hanging around in their revolution of Leicester.

The following February, Mandaric stepped down as chairman and left the club, with Khun Vichai — soon to be known as Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha — taking over as chairman. As for Sousa, he underlined his own coaching credentials. In May 2011, he resurfaced at Fehervar in Hungary and won the League Cup and Super League Cup before heading to Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel, where he won the league title in 2014. Another domestic title came the following year when he led Basel to become champions of Switzerland. Following spells with Fiorentina in Italy and Tianjin Quanjian in China, he is now in charge of Bordeaux.

“You could see he was a good coach. Fiorentina and Basel are big clubs, and he has done great,” Wellens, now manager of Swindon Town, says. “He was a brilliant coach. He just bamboozled us at times.”
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foxesneverquit Posted on 24/03/2020 15:27
An insight on Paulo Sousa

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Thanks LG.
Enjoyed the read.
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dirtybollard Posted on 24/03/2020 17:27
An insight on Paulo Sousa

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He was so great he never got another big-time gig after we gave him the boot.

A XXXXXX awful time for the club under him and well shot of him when it became apparent he was a great player but p*ss poor manager.

A XXXXXX stain on the history of this club.
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SohoFox Posted on 24/03/2020 18:46
An insight on Paulo Sousa

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Dago Poof. End of.
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Filbo65 Posted on 24/03/2020 19:13
An insight on Paulo Sousa

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Yeah, I read that earlier.
Choked on my breakfast at Wellens saying that Chris Weale was a good shot-stopper! He was truly, absolutely foookin woeful.
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Filbo65 Posted on 24/03/2020 19:29
An insight on Paulo Sousa

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A far better read on The Athletic today is this corker...

Unwritten: The teenage pitch invaders who got whacked by Brian Clough

By Daniel Taylor Mar 22, 2020

“I was trying to get to Lee Chapman. He’d scored four goals and I wanted to say, ‘Well done’. I had my arm round him and then, all of a sudden, bang! I didn’t know who it was at first. I just knew someone had smacked me round the ear. ‘Get off my pitch, young man.’ I knew that voice. That’s when I turned round and, XXXXXX hell, I saw who it was.”
Paul Richardson, then 17, was the first that night to realise that Brian Clough had his own way of dealing with pitch invaders.
Mark Wheeler, a year younger, found out the same a few moments later. “Everyone was celebrating and then, I saw him on the pitch. ‘There’s Cloughie, wahey… great! Go and shake his hand.’ So I started making my way towards him and suddenly, he has given someone a crack. Oh… XXXXXX! If you watch it on television, you can see me realise he’s not happy. I moved to the left to swerve him but it was too late. I walked right into it. It probably looked worse than it was — it wasn’t actually a punch and his fist wasn’t clenched. But he caught me full on. Cloughie, XXXXXX hell.”
It is more than 30 years now since that wild, eccentric night — Nottingham Forest versus Queens Park Rangers in the League Cup quarter-final — catapulted these two lads, still at school, into the most surreal episode of their lives.
Television cameras capture Clough moving through the fans and, no matter how many times you see the footage, it is hilarious and shocking in equal measure: a two-time European Cup-winning manager swinging at fans who had poured on the pitch to celebrate a 5-2 victory. A right hook, a sneaky left, a two-handed grab-and-pull and a couple of cuffing blows, one being on Wheeler’s chin.
Nobody contemplated hitting him back because, well, it was Brian Clough, football genius, and in the statutes of Nottingham, even an act of self-defence might have been punishable in the stocks of the Old Market Place. So Richardson, in his own words, “scuttled off, thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’ve just been punched by Cloughie’.” Wheeler headed another way. They found each other at the bus stop on Radcliffe Road and it is fair to say the conversation on the way home, the 102 to Bingham, was a lot different to usual that night.
What they didn’t realise at the time was how quickly everything would escalate and, reunited by The Athletic all these years later, it takes a little while to piece it all together again. Some of it is clear as day. Other bits are more of a blur.
What is very apparent is that neither of them has a bad word to say about the man in the green sweatshirt, tracksuit bottoms and white plimsolls who decided to administer a bit of his own justice that night.
Indeed, it probably says everything that when it was arranged for them to visit the City Ground to receive their apology — and this is classic Clough — they ended up saying sorry to him, rather than the other way round.
But there is a lot to catch up on and they both have their own questions.
Was he drunk?
Why did the stewards stand back?
Did it hurt?
And… how did you avoid getting a whack?

Mark Wheeler and Paul Richardson
To declare an interest, that last one is directed at me when, before this goes on any further, maybe it is time to make a confession about why the three of us are having a pint together and reminiscing about old times.
These two, you see, are old school friends of mine. More than that, they are the lads I used to go with to the match and — I’m typing in these words with a certain amount of professional embarrassment — it also turns out that I might have been, erm, on the pitch with them.
(I can confirm I have checked my contract with The Athletic and good news: there are no disciplinary clauses relating to historical pitch-invasions).
Yep, we ran on together. We were young, daft, impulsive. It was football’s era of inflatables and, good grief, we had a blow-up crocodile with us. They were giddy times and, if I remember correctly, it was quite easy to get over the little wall at the front of the stand that is now named after Clough himself.
It just happened that these two got clobbered by the manager. I managed to miss all that mayhem. We were separated and, with no mobile phones or rolling news channels back then, I didn’t have a clue what had happened until I got home to catch the end of ITV’s Midweek Sports Special.
It was possibly the funniest thing I had ever seen.

The really strange part is that there was a bit of teenage envy floating about when they turned up, sheepishly, for school the next day. This might sound daft but there was a certain amount of kudos to have been hit by Brian Clough and — it is incredibly daft, I know — I find myself telling them all these years later that I felt strangely left out at the time. And they tell me, quite rightly, to shut up.
Not that it was great fun for two boys of 16 and 17 to be in the eye of the storm when everything exploded in the news, when there was talk of Clough being prosecuted and Maurice Roworth, the Forest chairman, went on television to defend his manager and say the pitch invaders should be arrested for trespassing. Roworth said they were yobs who deserved a clip round the earhole and, that if they had had one a few years earlier, football might not have had its issues with hooliganism. That stung.
“A television crew came round from the local news to interview us,” Richardson says. “They wanted to get a shot of us walking from my front door to the gate. Mark tripped up — we’d never done this kind of thing before — and I said something that I still regret to this day: ‘The only hooligan on the pitch was Brian Clough.’ I wish I hadn’t put it that way.
“I wanted to make the point that we weren’t troublemakers but that was the clip that went round the world. I will never forget News at Ten that night and in between the ‘bong, bong, bong’ it was us. Alistair Burnett was reading the news and we were the main story.”
For two lads from an unpretentious market town 10 miles outside Nottingham, it was a glimpse into a different world and, by their own admission, they didn’t comprehend at first how the story was going to run and run.
“The next day, the phone rang at home,” Wheeler says. “My mum answered and it was a reporter from the Daily Mirror. They wanted us to do a story against Clough, one that would make him look bad, and they were offering cash: ‘£5,000 for a front page and another £3,000 if you prosecute him.’ My mum hung up the phone.”
Richardson was made the same offer and he, too, turned it down. Very soon, there were reporters outside the school gates. “We were in class,” Wheeler says. “Everyone was shouting, ‘The press are here, the press are here’. The teacher wouldn’t let me out. Everyone else was going, ‘Oh, go on, Sir, let him go’.”
Some background is important here. Clough was a columnist for The Sun at the time and had a long-standing feud with Robert Maxwell, the Daily Mirror owner. Maxwell was also the owner of Derby County, Forest’s rivals, and had tried to sign Chapman from the French club Chamois Niortais a few months earlier — even announcing the deal was done in his own newspaper — only for the striker to decide he would rather play for Clough at the other end of the A52. There was bad blood.
“Clough had described Maxwell as a “hooligan”, so this was perfect for Maxwell to get his revenge,” Richardson says. “We were caught in the middle of that. All we knew, as Forest fans, was that there was no way we could accept that money.”
For that, I tell them they always had my respect given none of us were exactly rolling in it back then. “True, but just imagine if we had taken it,” Wheeler says. “Imagine being known as the lads who had done the dirty on Brian Clough. We’d never have been able to go to Forest again. We’d have been hated. Even now, it would have been impossible.”

We are all in agreement that, if something like this happened in today’s football, there is no way a manager could keep his job. Evidently, it was different back then and Roworth’s devotion to his manager was just one reminder that, as far as Forest were concerned, Clough was regarded as virtually untouchable at that time.
Yet Wheeler has brought his collection of newspapers from the time and, flicking through those yellowing pages, it becomes clear it was not just the Daily Mirror that wanted Clough banned from football, possibly for life.
David Evans, the Conservative MP and chairman of Luton Town, had spoken exclusively to Today, one of the tabloids of the time. “Forest should kick him out now,” he said. “No responsible firm can have their manager going around thumping their customers. Close Nottingham Forest’s ground for a month. Get tough with them. Clough’s behaviour was quite disgraceful and has virtually given the thugs a licence to go around hitting people.”
Tommy Docherty, the former Manchester United manager, also said he would be happy if Clough never managed again — and even brought the Heysel ban into it. “When I saw it, I thought he’d finally flipped and gone crazy. Brian has totally discredited himself with his disgraceful antics. He has ruined any chances that English clubs had of getting back into Europe.”
Even Clough’s ghost-writer and close friend, John Sadler, piled in with an article for The Sun — “You Made Me Cringe, Old Mate!” — that felt entirely out of kilter with their working relationship.
Yet Evans, calling for Clough to be arrested and hauled before the courts, may have underestimated the power of the man.
Within 24 hours, the police had declared the television footage, which looked pretty clear to everybody else, was “insufficient to base any prosecution” because three of the four cameras apparently lacked clarity. This position, according to Chief Superintendent Mick Holford of the Nottinghamshire constabulary, would not change unless there was a specific complaint. And, by that stage, Richardson and Wheeler had already been summoned to Bingham police station and made it clear they had no intention to press charges.
Holford, who had worked with Clough for 14 years, said there was a sense of hostility in the air that night and that was why Forest’s manager had reacted as he did. Clough, he said, was “an internationally-known figure who has always supported law and order in Nottingham and Derby over many years”. The next edition of the Police Gazette also made interesting reading, straying dangerously close to offering a blueprint for vigilantism. “Thank God there are Cloughies of this world,” its report began. “Far too many are willing to stand by, watch the wrongdoer and then harangue those who are prepared to challenge lawlessness.”
As for Clough himself, his wrist was so sore that he needed treatment from the club’s physiotherapist. He got an almighty telling-off from his wife, Barbara, when he arrived home and the people who were closest to him say he was more worried about the possibility of police action than perhaps he was willing to let on.
Let’s also clear this up now: he was not worse for wear from drink, just protecting what he saw as the club’s property and “XXXXXX furious” that there were 80 to 100 people, possibly more, cavorting on the pitch he guarded so zealously. “I landed my blows,” he said, matter-of-factly. “If I’d been XXXXXXed, I’d have missed.”
True, there was not a huge amount of contrition in the typically forthright response — “I’d Do It Again” — he delivered on The Sun’s front page. Even by Clough’s standards, it was the brassiest of necks to announce that “I’d have hit 300 if I could”. And Wheeler — sorry, my old friend — will have to forgive me for finding something wickedly humorous in Clough’s description of the incident. “I only really hit one of them,” Clough wrote in his 1994 autobiography. “I clipped two, but one turned and faced me and really copped for it. He wobbled but didn’t go over.”
Clough also had ‘previous’ from a game against Watford seven years earlier when a Forest fan ran on the pitch in a clown’s costume. Clough steamed after him, grabbed him by the top and ran him off the pitch again, like a Pamplona bull with a particularly irritating tourist caught on its horns. Television gold.

Swinging a few haymakers, however, was a bit much, even if local radio calls were 90 per cent in his favour and 628 of the 679 letters that Forest received about the incident backed what he had done. One came from the Labour Party leader, Neil Kinnock, who wrote that “anyone who has ever seethed at hooliganism will understand why you did what you did”. Another was from a police chief superintendent in Sheffield, who noted he had been wanting to do the same for 20 years.
This tended to ignore the fact that it was a mood of celebration and that the fans had headed towards the tunnel rather than the away end on the far side of the ground. And I wonder if Clough, deep down, knew that, too. The relevant chapter in Clough’s book is called “Regrets, I’ve Had A Few” and includes an admission that he was very aware, as soon as he walked down the tunnel, he was “in the XXXXXX”.
“I offered my resignation to the chairman, Maurice Roworth,” Clough said in another column, two days later. “I told him that if he wanted me to go, I’d be off. That would have been the end of my career. I had to give the club the chance to be rid of me if they felt that was necessary but the chairman turned me down. That means I’ll be at our match against Aston Villa on Saturday — sitting in my usual place.”
First, though, his secretary, Carole, arranged for the final, amazing twist to the affair, when four of the fans he had belted, including the two sitting opposite me here, were feted at the City Ground, pledged their undying loyalty to Forest and their manager and, in one case, gave him a peck on the cheek — all in front of the cameras.
“The only way to describe it was feeling like a naughty schoolboy,” Richardson says. “He had such an aura. I told him about the Daily Mirror offering us money and he gave me a ‘good lad’. I asked if we were going to keep Neil Webb, who was one of my favourite players, because that was around the time Manchester United were trying to sign him. ‘I’ll do my best, young man.’ We chatted for a bit and I told him I’d like to apologise for running on his pitch.”
Clough, in return, offered to pour them a drink. “Only a glass of coke, though,” Wheeler says. “He gave us a look: ‘How are old you? I was going to offer you boys a shandy but I don’t think you’re old enough.’ He gave us tickets for the game, as well as two more for a couple of our mates who were waiting outside, and he said if we got to the final, we could have tickets for Wembley.”
He kept that promise, too, even if it might not have been a total coincidence that they were “restricted view” seats, meaning the recipients of these freebies did not get the best sight of the manager’s son, Nigel, scoring twice in a 3-1 win over Luton Town.
Clough Sr had been fined £5,000 by the Football Association and banned from the touchline for the rest of the season. Yet he was allowed to sit in the dugout at Wembley and, from behind their pillar, I would imagine my two old mates enjoyed the sight of Clough taking the crowd’s acclaim at the final whistle, hands clasped above his head. “He was still our hero,” Richardson says. “That didn’t change just because he’d given both of us a whack.”
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SohoFox Posted on 24/03/2020 20:12
An insight on Paulo Sousa

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That period from 2000 to 2010 didn't we have some caant managers?????
Biggest caants on the planet.
Taylor
Levein
Allen
Megson
Holloway
Sousa
The Fanny Merchant
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Filbo65 Posted on 24/03/2020 21:50
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Hard to argue with that succinct summary, Soho.
(Hope you're well hunkered-down [^])
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Oadlad Posted on 24/03/2020 22:08
An insight on Paulo Sousa

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In fairness we were shopping at Poundstretcher....
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DagenhamFox Posted on 25/03/2020 07:56
An insight on Paulo Sousa

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Loving that Clough story. It’s hilarious.
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TheCraftyOldFox Posted on 26/03/2020 12:23
An insight on Paulo Sousa

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And, Rob Kelly .......

I could have honestly wept the night it was announced Megson had become City manager ..... Hit me like a ton of bricks that one ....
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SohoFox Posted on 26/03/2020 12:49
An insight on Paulo Sousa

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At least Kelly kept us up that season after Levein faacked it up.
He should never have been given the gig full time.
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