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Thursday, 20 September 2018


Being a Nottingham lass, Brian Clough is high on my hero list. Brian Clough, and Robin Hood. Who 100% was real. No-one fight me on this, I will keep going until I win. Today marks the anniversary of Cloughie passing away, which gives me an excuse to bring him up in conversation which, let’s be honest, I do often anyway. His face is on a coaster on my desk, pointed to look at my desk fellow Sam, who supports Derby County, a rival team to my beloved Nottingham Forest, who Bri left for us, before turning us into the absolute champions we already knew we were.

On our first date, over gin in a pop up bar on the Southbank, D asked me who he might know from Nottingham, fame wise. And when I said ‘Brian Clough,’ he gave a knowing nod, said ‘oh yeah, I know Brian Clough,’ and then, in an ice breaking moment that turned our date from a bit nervy to completely relaxed, ‘what band was he in again?’

Oh dear, oh dear. Never before have I had the opportunity to educate a man on football. I loved it.

The rest of our first date wasn’t football manager related, but the above was a nice segue way into briefly recounting it. It was a weeknight, in a heat wave. I wore a black dress, red shoes and a denim jacket, and we met in Waterloo station outside Pret. Being a northern boy fresh off the boat, D’s original direction was very vague – ‘meet me in Waterloo,’ he said, discounting the size of the place, which meant it took us forever to find one another. But we got there, eventually, and when we did, the evening went as follows: went to a mini food festival outside Waterloo, drank wine. Went for a walk along the Southbank, shouted ‘play Star Wars’ at a man playing bagpipes beneath the boardwalk, repeated it several times as he yelled ‘Spanish?’ back at us – D’s accent was rather thick. Gave up, continued our walk. Had a browse of Udderbelly fest. Had a kiss on the pier. ‘You need a bit of northern in you,’ he said to me, before blushing at his error – apparently he’d meant to say ‘in your life.’ Went on the London Eye. Went to Pizza Express. He told me he wanted 5 kids. I gulped. He insisted he take me home, I fell to sleep on him on the tube. We kissed goodnight. Fin.

Three years later, that hapless northern man shouting Star Wars at strangers is my husband. And my Brian Clough coaster reminds me of home – in where I’m from, and who I’m with

RIP Cloughie, you’ll always loom large in our lives x


P.S. Sam sent me this sound bite, telling a funny story about Brian Clough. Worth a listen

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