The Day Clough & Taylor Left Derby

Brian Clough summed it up when he said: “We’re tired of grovelling. My knees are sore.”

It was the 15th October 1973 and Clough, along with Peter Taylor, had decided enough was enough and walked away from the dugout at Derby County FC.

The pair had transformed this average club into a super power in British and European football.

To Derby County fans they virtually walked on water. But over time, those in the boardroom began to take an altogether different view. And they weren’t about to back down from it.

Something had to give.

The catalyst, as in most conflicts, was a breakdown in communications, well according to Cloughie anyway.

Derby County chairman Sam Longson saw things differently. He was concerned over his manager’s television commitments and his vocal dismissal of other managers, in particular Don Revie.

Add to the mix a new director, Jack Kirkland, who allegedly said he would bury Clough, and you knew there would be tears before bedtime.

Clough and Taylor claimed that the breakdown in communications had prevented them from doing their job properly. The board saw it differently.

When the pair resigned the fans went wild, calling protest meetings and even suggesting the players should go on strike. It was all to no avail.

Eight days later Dave Mackay resigned as manager of Nottingham Forest to take up the reins at the club he served with such distinction as a player.

Ironically Clough and Taylor would find themselves taking the reverse route when later, after a sojourn at Brighton and Leeds, they took the helm at Forest, guiding them to glory beyond their fans wildest dreams.

But for eight days in October 1973 the saga was all the media could write about, dominating the front, as well as the back pages of most papers.

By comparison, the little matter of the Israel-Egyptian war was just a footnote. Such is life.


Richard Bowdery writes for BobbyFC, the football website with a retro