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Mister Clough on Line Three


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A work of faction by Mr E I Addio in which Martin O’Neill gets a strange phonecall

“Martin, I ve got Mr Clough on line 3”

“OK, I am picking it up now. Bannan better not have picked up an injury”

“Nigel, Martin Here. How are things? See young Bannan played terrific on Saturday, pity you couldn’t get a win”

“Young man, I am not on the phone to talk about what our Nigel is up to, I want to talk about Sunday”

“Who is this?”

“Its an old friend calling from up stairs. Peter said I should give you a call. Said that you lot played like a crock of shite on Sunday and you might want need some help ”

“Hang on a minute, are you Martin Sheen? Has John O’ Hare put you up to this? Thought you were terrific in the movie. If this was one of the lads ideas, tell them I am in no mood for this”

“Young Man I won’t hear that name mentioned. How dare anyone try to play me? Especially that man. He played that poofter Kenneth Williams. How dare anyone make a movie about me. Well certainly not one where I wasn’t played by Frank Sinatra. Simon, Elizabeth, Nigel and the wife are not very happy. I see you have been spouting off in the media about it. Well what the hell do you think you are playing at? You should be on the training ground with the ugly mug trying to sort things out. Not playing with your fancy clever movie friends”

It dawns on Martin that this isn’t any normal phone call. It isn’t Nigel Clough from up the road. It isn’t the excellent Martin Sheen. Its a phone call from either high in the sky, or deep below. Its the old gaffer.

“Brian????!?! Mr Clough?”

“Young man, who else would it be?”

Curiosity overcomes the Irishman, “Where are you gaffer?”

“Never you mind, but its somewhere where the ball shouldn’t be. Didn’t I tell you anything? Didn’t you learn anything from me? Keep the ball on the floor”

“So you are in heaven?”

“Well where else do you think I would be? Still at the bloody City Ground? I can’t even visit the Baseball Ground. Have to go to some stupid Pride Park to watch them now. Nigel will sort them out. He knows what to do. Just wish Don Revie wasn’t here, constantly going on at me about something or other. But thats not why I called”

“Why did you call? I am feeling terrific?”

“Yes I see you would be when you employ that ugly mug. Used to make me feel great as well. Its about you. I ve heard the fans aren’t happy.”

“They should be. Look what I ve done for th…”

“Thats it Martin same as always. Think you know best. Think your better than you are. I put you in the Reserves because you were too good for the third team. I dropped you for Malmo. Well young man listen to me, get back to what the team does well. Don’t go to Anfield with 4-4-2. You need to be pragmatic about things. You thought that getting that top four place was easy. I might not like Mr Wenger, but he knows how to play the game”

“Well thanks for the advice Brian, but I think John, Steve and I can sort it out ourselves”

“Young man, its still Mr Clough to you. You still won’t listen. You can’t play Carew and Heskey up front. You need to drop Heskey. The young lad, whats his name? Plays up front, has an eye for goal?”


“No not him, he’s more out of form than Heskey”


“Yes thats the one. Well Peter tells me he’s going to be fantastic. Can’t see it myself, but Peter has that feeling that he could save you alot in the transfer market”


“Yes. And you need to sort out your transfers now. I haven’t forgiven Storey-Moore for signing for United, but he still has an eye for a player. You shouldn’t be so cautious. You need to help transfers along. If you had been nice to that Portugese gentleman, and bought him a nice bottle of Scotch, that Boswinga might have signed”

“He wanted more than a bottle of Scotch”

“Well just talk to Alan or Ronnie, they could help you with these things”

“I think I will do it my way, thanks all the same.”

“Well you are still a stubborn young man. Proud. Thats what you are. I would be as well if I made Leicester City any good. Anyway I ve got to go. Its my birthday. Good Bye.”

“But who do I call if I want to get in touch?”

“Oh you won’t call me. Brian Clough will call you”.

The phone goes dead.

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Much better than a rant, although i'm sure there are going to be plenty of those in the next few days! Bloody hell! 4-4-2 at Anfield! Barry and Stan as our central midfield parring! Reo-Coker, playing, eh, for Liverpool! Heskey and Carew as our forward line partnership! A world class player called Gerrard, given the freedom of Anfield when there was no holding midfielder to keep him company, or to protect our back four! Our manager then stating after the slaughter was over, 'that villa have over achieved this season' giving a perfect excuse for the players, not to still fight for that CL place! Anything, but being the manager's fault for the way the team was set up and the players he chose and put in the wrong positions? Oops, i guess that was a rant. Sorry!

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