7th – Nigel Clough
Popping out of today’s window is former Rams manager Nigel Clough.
Nigel was always in my list to include in this series of articles, but with him being more than strongly linked with a return to Burton to replace JFH, it seems appropriate to deal with him now.
With most football managers there is normally very little middle ground when it comes to a popularity vote amongst the fans of a given club. Ask any fan on the street about his clubs manager and most will immediately answer “Legend” or “Clueless”.
Even now though Clough divides opinion amongst Derby fans.
His sacking was a tough call (Sam Rush regularly cites it as his toughest moment at Derby) but it was certainly a massive turning point in the recent history of our club.
Regardless of his surname, it was a monumental step up for Nigel to move from non league football to the biggest club outside the Premier league. Add to that the utter car crash squad (and associated wage bill) created by Paul Jewell and Adam Pearson, and it was a really tough gig.
To his eternal credit, we never got relegated to league 1 (would the ship have turned earlier if we had?) and his obvious legacy was his largely tremendous work in the transfer market. Boasting a success rate that Chris Evans could only dream of and hitting the absolute jackpot with the free transfer signing of Chris Martin.
However in the debit column, we have his appalling game management, strange team selections, dour/spiky interviews, obvious dislike of foreign players and his poor man management – regularly banishing players from the first team picture with maximum prejudice (hello Lee Croft, Chris Maguire and Tomas Cwyka).
Ultimately his stubbornness let him down, never utilising his subs until the last ten minutes despite the whole ground screaming for it and, rumour has it, dismissing out of hand a list of 30 players presented to him by Sam Rush who were available and in budget.
Since close season, I’ve fully expected him to pop up as the next manager of Forest and I believe he would have had we beaten them last month. If he does get the Burton job, it looks tricky for totally different reasons and it will be more than interesting to see how he gets on – and listen to the subsequent interviews on Radio Derby!