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Clough: I'd have taken the Hammers job

Filed: Wednesday, 8th October 2003
By: Graeme Howlett

Former Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough has revealed in an interview that he would have loved to have succeeded Glenn Roeder as manager of West Ham United - were he still in the game.

68-year-old Clough - the man often cited as 'the best manager England never had' - has revealed in an interview with football magazine 442 this month that the Hammers - with all their tradition and potential - would have been the ideal club for him to oversee.

Just as Forest were something of a sleeping giant before Clough and sidekick Peter Taylor transformed them into European champions back in the late 1970's and early 1980's, West Ham - according to the man himself - still hold the potential to be just as successful, given the right leadership and direction.

"West Ham would offer stability & tradition," he said. "They haven't had many managers down the years which is a credit to the various boards of directors - but I'd want to get rid of the culture of looking good, playing attractive football and seeing the fans happy if they finished 10th in the top division.

"The club have never seemed to possess a real drive for success," he added. "West Ham love style for the sake of it - and respectability appears their true aim."

Some 23 years ago Clough, speaking whilst commentating on the 1980 FA CUp Final claimed that Trevor Brooking's winning goal against Arsenal was unintentional - and that the current Hammers caretaker manager was a luxury player who had little effect on the field.

Brooking, of course, had the last laugh that day - but Clough - true to form - couldn't help having a little dig again at his former adversary.

"Trevor Brooking sums up West Ham," he said, no doubt with tongue firmly lodged in cheek. "He never got injured as a player and he's the same as a director. He's terrified of the prospect of being their permanent manager because he knows he lacks the essential nastiness to be a success in the job.

"Years ago I said that Trevor floated like a butterfly and stung like one," added Clough, who once tried to sign Brooking whilst manager of Derby County. "I later apologised but - ever the gentleman - Trevor appeared not at all bothered.

"Now as a director, he wants to keep his hands as clean as his shorts used to be!"

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