I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Old Big Ead as he always self deprecatingly referred to himself… Writes Beesotted’s Jim Levack
Cloughie, in his trademark green jumper, leaping from the dugout, deep in conversation with misery guts genius Peter Taylor or yes, even clipping idiot pitch invaders round the ear.
He was a character who believed in the real values of the game, who built a side based not on individual geniuses but a rag tag collection of discarded nomads and sprinkled them with his magical motivational skills.
Were he to look down he’d be very proud of The Number 9 – his son now doing a superb turnaround job at Sheffield United ready for an almost inevitable promotioin next season.
They can still sneak into the play off now of course, and that is the point of this little open letter to Nigel.
Please, please don’t let the family name down by playing a shadow team of youngsters and fringe players simply because you have a chance of succeeding where your old man failed… to win the FA Cup.
Doing so would devalue the entire league programme and go against every positive aspect of football that the legendary former Forest boss held dear.
I’ve read Blades message boards and they’re full of imploring pleas to play the tea lady and cleaner rather than win the Sheffield-Rotherham derby.
But were the boot on the other foot, you could only begin to imagine the outcry if a team were to do that to an automatic promotion chasing United outfit.
I know Nigel is a principled bloke and will do what he thinks is best, but it’s also important to remember that in this game we all love what goes around comes around.
Whatever he does decide to do selection-wise the Notts County win – those sloppy, slapdash late 10 minutes aside – has almost totally banished any fear I might have had that we won’t make the top two.
Why? Because in 25 years of covering Brentford for the Chronicle and Press Association, I’ve not seen a less nervous side in their situation.
Why? Because when you’re as technically good as this current squad is, you need fear no one. Brentford’s bravery in the first half showed me they won’t fold, not after last season anyway.
The young lads are a year wiser, the older ones are revelling in their roles as experienced heads – Alan Judge is only 25 and in that bracket – and in former City trader Mark Warburton they have a manager who knows that winning a few football matches isn’t really pressure.
Win all or nearly all our home games and put in performances like we did at Sheffield United on our travels, and we’ll finish the job.
It will need the Bees faithful to stay noisy and be as bold as the players, but this season I’ve got no doubts… and I’m the biggest pessimist of them all.