|A Clough Once More Battles The Damned United!|
Thu 05th Aug 2010 13:00 by Daniel J Sewart
In the movie ‘The Damned United’ a young Nigel Clough is driven to Elland Road by his father Brian. Tomorrow Clough Snr. will not be behind the wheel but Nigel returns to face a club who treated his father with little of the respect he deserved.
In reality it is unlikely Nigel Clough would have ever imagined he would return to face Leeds as manager of the Derby County, the club his father left in sensational circumstances resulting in him controversially taking the United job.
Although the book ‘The Damned United’ was a well written it has been well documented as an entirely inaccurate fictionalisation of Brian Clough’s time at Leeds. The movie that it produced a much more entertaining and even handed portrayal of Brian, even if it was still wildly short on genuine facts.
The one thing the book, film and resulting press interest achieved was it re-invigorated a rivalry that was magnified by those events and the subsequent meetings that followed. A rivalry that (in true Hollywood style) coincidently will be resumed on Saturday only a year after the movie successfully reminded or perhaps educated fans of those famous events.
As much as his family and those who know him profess Nigel to be a calm and even-tempered man, there cannot be one part of him, no matter how small, that would not see the irony in him facing the club that embarrassed his league winning father all of those years ago.
Nigel will be above setting out to settle family scores but there would be no prouder family in England than the Clough’s if Brian’s boy could inflict an opening day loss on the newly promoted Leeds.
The Rams will need to hit the ground running from the opening whistle, ready to absorb the pressure that will no doubt come in waves during opening exchanges. The type of pressure that a promotion winning team hands out on the opening day in their new league.
In comparison the Rams will be under the microscope as they will endeavour to put the ghosts of three poor seasons with no better way to do that than with a win.
Much will be riding on how Derby attack the opening match of the season with fans in an impatient mood. Patience is close to being worn away but tomorrow is a day to support the club and get behind Nigel and his chargers with no room for a display of dissent in front of the enemy.
I for one was as excited when Leeds was promoted as it immediately became a must - win fixture. That honour used to be solely reserved for Forest clashes but with last years matches descending into pantomime villains and officiating gone mad, I have much less enthusiasm about seeing Billy D and his band of clowns again any time soon.
The fact that the Leeds game is being broadcast live around the globe adds extra anticipation with the neutral football fan sure to get caught up in the once mighty Leeds return to the (semi) big time.
That coupled with the fact 'The Damned United' was recently screened on the BBC and the compulsory Clough history lessons that will be rolled out during the coverage, all makes for a tasty mix of overblown hype versus opening day anticipation.
The only thing we can be sure of, is although a Clough once again will enter the Leeds arena, this time around, whatever the result, he will be returning with us to Derby County Football Club.
Just the way it should be.
If only the same thing had happened all those years ago.
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Daniel J Sewart