In 1980, Brian Clough (below) took Nottingham Forest to their second European Cup triumph in as many seasons. Like the Spurs side of nearly forty years later, Forest had beaten Ajax in their semi to reach the final in Madrid (although the 1980 final was held at the Santiago Bernabéu).
Preperation for such a big match can sometimes be fraught with problems, especially if you are a perfectionist in the same way that Cloughie undoubtedly was. This excellent tale, as told by the legendary Forest and England goalkeeper Peter Shilton (above), possibly explains a lot about Old Big ‘Ead’s more… er… unconventional problem solving methods:
When we got to Madrid, [assistant manager] Peter Taylor told me we had a great training pitch, but it was too hard. ‘You haven’t looked hard enough,’ Cloughie told us. ‘We know a grassed area that’s perfect.’ I couldn’t believe what Taylor was pointing at: we were standing in front of a roundabout, near the city centre, and on it was a circle of grass. It was fairly quiet, but a few cars came past, beeping horns.
Whether or not the roundabout actually had any impact on the eventual outcome of the final is unknown (probably not, or we’d be seeing Alisson and Hugo Lloris preparing for this season’s trip to Madrid in the same way!), but Forest won, beating Germany’s Hamburger SV by a single first half goal scored by John Robertson. In the end, Shilton was left with roundabout nothing to do.
No, I don’t think he looks very impressed either…