It seems every few years someone famous is thrown into a film to either be celebrated or exploited. We've had Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland and even The Queen in... erm The Queen. Now, it's time for the limelight... or floodlights to be shined on football manager Brian Clough in the film The Damned United. To cash in... or set the record straight, depending on your point of view, ITV have created a documentary tribute to Clough which looks at his career, his legacy and interviews family, friends and colleagues who knew him.
Clough was almost a controversy seeking missile with his'Old Big Head' attitude, which you can decide whether it was confidence or arrogance. Either way, as a Manager he was able to take both Derby County and Nottingham Forest to heights that they have never seen before or since. The documentary charts how he took Derby County from the bottom of the Second Division to the top of the First Division, how he would appear frequently on chat shows and discussion groups to make outlandishly boastful comments about his team and his abilities 'It's only opinion, it makes the world go round!'
His hiring and firing at Leeds United (the subject of The Damned United book and film) is looked at. The book is described as 'fiction based on fact, whatever that means?' And it revealed that the book wasn't entirely truthful in its account of Clough's time at Leeds and was in fact, mostly fictional. Clips of the film are shown and it is actually quite eerie how much actor Michael Sheen looks, acts and sounds like Clough.
His hiring at Nottingham Forest (after politics at the FA meant he would not get to manage the England Team) is looked at in detail, within three years he took them to the League title and was the first man to do this with two clubs, his signing of the first £1 Million Player Trevor Francis and their crowning glory of back to back triumphs in the European Cup in 1979 and 1980.
The documentary is a great look at the man and the archive footage of him being interview is great with a wonderful moment where even Muhammad Ali knew of him and via satellite sent him a message saying 'Clough Enough!' Though they do not dwell on any of the darkest parts of his life, such as his infamous alcoholism and subsequent liver transplant, it focuses more on his triumphs and this makes the documentary a lot better than some of the muck dragging that some seek out to achieve.
The main documentary is complimented by about an hour worth of extra footage. Though you can understand why most of it was cut out the extra comments from his wife and son are still interesting to hear about what his relationship was like with them. Also included are two full episodes of the Yorkshire TV Football show, one interviewing Clough concerning his hiring at Leeds and the second interviewing him after being sacked. It is wonderful to see these in full as only clips and glimpses are seen in the documentary.
Clough is a great look at the man and his career and a must have for those curious after watching the film and want to know a bit more about the real man.