Tuesday, 25 May 2010

A Year in Books 2010 - Provided you Don't Kiss Me

I read this partly out of family interest. My mum's uncle owned a chain of pubs in Nottingham and for a while was chairman at Nottingham Forest. I have 2 memories of him, one was at my great gran's birthday where all anyone wanted was stories about Brian Clough ( he told plenty and always ended them with a "......but that's just Brian") and one of him squirming on Panorama over the issue of Clough receiving money for cup final tickets.

I almost didn't get this , I'd read Dammed United and seen the film and was a bit Cloughed out, but I'm so glad I did.

Duncan Hamilton was a young reporter on the local paper when he got to cover Forest and first interview Clough. For the next 20 years he was the man that Clough and Taylor went to when they wanted their story / views out. He had complete access to the team and shared many of the highs and lows, triumphs and tears. It was a relationship closer tho that of a family member than press and manager. "Provided You Don't Kiss Me" tells the story of these years. The bit that hooks you in is that rather than simply tell a chronological story, Hamilton pulls events and conversations from across those 20 years into themes as he tries to understand what made the man tick.

There are plenty of stories , the famous ones and the private ones. He doesn't shy away from the darkness, the temper , the drinking , the destructive grudges held. He recognises rightly the role of Peter Taylor. However, above all it is a celebration of a unique character and his achievements.

The saddest thing is the realisation that in this age of Sky's shiny product , another Clough will never happen again and another Forest will never happen going from mid table div 2 to 2 x European Cup Winners again. Just as sad is how Hamilton calmly points out that in today's game Clough would have failed and that says more on what's wrong with modern football than Andy Gray will ever admit to

For anyone who thinks that Mourinho is the biggest "character" football management has seen

You can buy "Provided you Don't kiss me " here

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