Skip to content

Brian Clough in quotes: Fifteen of the legendary manager's most memorable one-liners


The rather important matter of three Championship points may be at stake in Saturday lunchtime’s FL 72 Live local derby between Derby and Nottingham Forest on Sky Sports, but whenever the fixture takes place it is forever associated with the memory and achievements of one man – Brian Clough.

In the reverse fixture at the City Ground back in October, fans of both sides paid tribute to their iconic title-winning former manager on the 10th anniversary of his death. So, ahead of the latest ‘Brian Clough derby’, here is a selection of classic quotes from one of the most charismatic and colourful football characters of them all…

Classic Cloughie

“The River Trent is lovely, I know because I have walked on it for 18 years” – on being the best.

"I'm sure the England selectors thought if they took me on and gave me the job, I'd want to run the show. They were shrewd because that's exactly what I would have done” – on never becoming England manager.

"I'm loath to confess they could be as good as us. They are brilliant. It sticks in the craw a little bit because nobody likes Arsenal! Of course there's a Frenchman in charge, Wenger, and not many English people like Frenchmen. He is a top, top manager” – on Arsenal breaking Nottingham Forest’s record for 42 games unbeaten.

Brian Clough

"Players lose you games, not tactics. There's so much crap talked about tactics by people who barely know how to win at dominoes” – on his football tactics.

FL72 Live

"Resignations are for prime ministers and those caught with their trousers down, not for me" – on staying the course.

"I wouldn't say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one" – on his standing.

"Anybody who can do anything in Leicester but make a jumper has got to be a genius" - on his ex-player Martin O'Neil’s success.

"If God had wanted us to play football in the clouds, he'd have put grass up there" - on long-ball football.

“I’m a little bit of an idealist, I do believe in fairies, and that is my outlook” – on his playing style.

“We talk about it for 20 minutes and then we decide I was right” – on listening to players' opinions.

"I only ever hit Roy the once. He got up so I couldn't have hit him very hard" – on looking after Roy Keane at Forest.

'That Seaman is a handsome young man but he spends too much time looking in his mirror, rather than at the ball. You can't keep goal with hair like that” – on facial hair…and ponytales.

“The players haven't got enough heart to fill a thimble” – on his Brighton side’s 8-2 defeat to Bristol Rovers.

“Good managers make good sides. There’s no such thing as a side making a manager” – on lucky players.

“Don’s slightly different and his record proves over results that he perhaps is right. But having said that, I want to be like me” – on definitely not being ex-Leeds boss Don Revie.

DERBY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 21:  Fans pay their respects as they lay scarfs during The Memorial Service for Brian Clough at Pride Park on October 21, 2004 in

Don’t miss Derby v Nottingham Forest live on Saturday at midday on Sky Sports 1

Around Sky