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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Tuesday 18 September 2018

Bloody Southerners: Brian Clough & Peter Taylor’s Brighton & Hove Odyssey

Sat in the TV room at The Courtlands Hotel, in Hove, on the evening of 1st December 1973, with just one other guest. That was a twelve year-old me (ed) and a sockless and scowling Brian Clough. On the screen were 'the highlights' of Brighton & Hove Albion getting hammered 2-8 by Bristol Rovers. Clough was the co-manager of the Albion!

The atmosphere in the TV room was toxic. As the last ball was kicked Clough turned to me and said: "Nothing is as important as your education, son. Nothing." With that he kicked over the footstall, smiled and disappeared from my life.

In 1973, Brian Clough and Peter Taylor stunned the football world by taking charge of Brighton & Hove Albion, a sleepy backwater club that had rarely done anything in its 72-year existence to trouble the headline writers. 

The move made no sense. Clough was managerial gold dust, having led Derby County to the Football League title and the semi-finals of the European Cup. 

He and his sidekick Peter Taylor could have gone anywhere. Instead they chose Brighton, sixth bottom of the old Third Division.

 
Featuring never-before-told stories from the players who were there, Bloody Southerners lifts the lid for the first time on what remains the strangest managerial appointment in post-war English football, one that would push Clough and Taylor's friendship and close working relationship to breaking point.
 
"This book tells the story you didn't know about the Clough era at Brighton. An enthralling read." - Des Lynam OBE
 
"A fascinating piecing together of an overlooked and under-reported phase of Brian Clough's career, but an important one for Clough, Peter Taylor and Brighton."  -  Nick Szczepanik, The Times
 
Clough wasn't a success on the south coast, winning only twelve of his thirty-two games in charge of the Division Three side. 

Whereas eight months earlier Clough was managing a team playing Juventus in the European Cup, he was now managing a club who, just after his appointment as manager, lost to non-league Walton & Hersham 4–0 at home in an FA Cup replay. 

And then on 1st December 1973, came the humiliating 8–2 defeat at home to Bristol Rovers. Albion eventually finished in 19th place that season.

Spencer Vignes is a freelance writer and broadcaster who lives in Cardiff, Wales. 

Spencer Vignes' 'Bloody Southerners: Clough and Taylor's Brighton & Hove Odyssey', is published on 18th October 2018 by Biteback Publishing. CLICK HERE to purchase.

by: Mike Cobley




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