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The Legend of Brian Clough



Brian Clough

“Players lose you games, not tactics. There’s so much crap talked about tactics by people who barely know how to win at dominoes.”

Every football fan around the world is well aware of Leicester’s fairytale success in the 2015/16 season where Claudio Ranieri led Leicester City to their maiden Premier League title. Following a tumultuous 2014/15 campaign, Leicester’s Thai owners appointed the timid-looking Italian, Claudio Ranieri as the managerial successor to Nigel Pearson. The magnitude of Ranieri’s success is discernible from the fact that the betting odds offered for Leicester City winning the Premier League, were identical to the quoted odds on Elvis Presley being found alive that year: 5000-1 against. Claudio certainly managed to make the impossible possible, however, his ‘fairytale’ came to an end midway into the 2016/17 season because of his sacking which was symptomatic of the greed and ill-thought-out nature of modern football.

Brian Clough

Source: The Guardian

The inequality of soccer in today’s age and time bothers fans from around the world, not because it is unprecedented, but because it is driven more by money than it used to be. In the old days, a middling soccer team could suddenly enjoy years of dominance if it happened to hire an excellent manager who signed excellent players. That’s what happened in the 1970s to Liverpool under Bill Shankly, and to Nottingham Forest under Brian Clough in the late 1990’s. Today, a middling team can suddenly enjoy years of dominance only if it happens to be bought by a billionaire who hires an excellent manager who signs excellent players. For this reason, Ranieri’s success with Leicester City is more special and widely regarded as a footballing miracle. If there is anything parallel to what Ranieri had managed to achieve in at Leicester, it was the success of Brian Clough & Peter Taylor at the little known provincial club – Nottingham Forest.

“I’ve decided to pick my moment to retire very carefully – in about 200 years’ time.”

Brian Clough in his playing career had been a prolific scorer for Sunderland and Middlesbrough, being the fastest to reach two hundred goals ever notched in English soccer until, at the age of twenty-nine, he wrecked his right knee skidding on a frozen field on Boxing Day in 1962. Unlike Brian, Peter Taylor had a modest playing career as a goalkeeper for Middlesbrough and Coventry City where he spent most of his time in the second division. After a short stint with the Sunderland Youth Team, in 1965 Brian Clough was offered to manage Hartlepool, which he readily accepted and took Peter Taylor with him as his right-hand man. It was the prelude to a beautiful love story that lasted for over 17 years, meanwhile procuring several Domestic and European honors.

“If a chairman sacks the manager he initially appointed, he should go as well.”

Prior to his appointment at Forest, Clough had been infamous for his outspoken personality which once had him question the Italian courage in WWII after a loss to Juventus in the European Cup. A frustrated Brian Clough shouting “F*****g Italian Bastards” in the dressing room corridors is a phrase that never dispels from memory. Clough during his time at Derby had multiple run-ins with the chairman Sam Longson and the board over transfers, like signing David Nish from Leicester City in 1972 without consulting the board and more. Clough’s growing media profile combined with his brash behavior led to his resignation from Derby. However, Clough reduced his TV appearances whilst Forest manager and toned down his outspoken behavior

“Rome wasn’t built in a day. But I wasn’t on that particular job.”

After a decade of management at Derby County, Brighton & Hove Albion and his wretched stint at Leeds United, Clough arrived at Nottingham Forest on 6 January 1975 replacing the erstwhile manager Allan Brown. After finishing 8th in the old Second Division, as a lone incharge of the first full season, in July 1976 Clough was joined by his old assistant Peter Taylor. The club fortunes changed rapidly as Forest were promoted to the top division by the end of the 1976-77 season. The following season Forest achieved double, as they won the League Cup and were crowned as the champions of England, finishing seven points ahead of the dominating Liverpool side. This feat made Clough the only manager after Tom Watson and Herbert Chapman to win the league with two different clubs. Clough regarded his greatest achievement to be the record breaking unbeaten run his team set between 26 November 1977 and 9 December 1978. The team went undefeated for 42 league games – the equivalent of a whole season, only to be surpassed by Arsenal in 2004.

“Outside the family life, there is nothing better than winning the European Cups.”

Leicester narrowly lost to the Spanish giants Atletico Madrid recently, in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, a competition of Europe’s elite teams. Leicester’s performance in their first ever Champions League was nothing short of spectacular where they went unbeaten through the group stages and beat Sevilla in the pre-quarter finals to reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League (previously known as the European Cup). Similarly, Nottingham Forest, after their domestic league victory in the 1977-78 season had qualified for their first ever European Championship in 1978-79 season where they went a step ahead of Leicester and lifted the trophy by beating Malmo FF in the final match. This herculean feat of winning the Domestic League and the European Trophy in consecutive seasons was remarkable and something which is bound to go unmatched in modern-day football. Nottingham Forest were European & League Champions with a team assembled for peanuts. Moreover, Forest was crowned Champions of Europe for the second year running in 1979-1980, beating the German heavyweights Hamburger SV in the finals. Since the inception of Champions League in 1992, no European team has been able to achieve this feat.

Brian Clough

Source: The Guardian

“Telling a player to get his haircut counts as coaching as far as I’m concerned.”

Much of this success was attributed to the complementing strength of Clough and Taylor, as Clough had a forceful personality which could motivate players whilst the much more reserved Taylor’s had the innate ability to spot talent. Clough’s brilliant man management can be witnessed with an account from Taylor’s controversial book, ‘With Clough by Taylor’ where Forest had bought Kenny Burns from Birmingham City for $250,000. Burns was then regarded as “a fighting, hard-drinking gambler . . . a stone [fourteen pounds] overweight.” In 1978, English soccer writers voted Burns the league’s player of the year. Not much is known about the transfer secrets of the duo but it would’ve surely been akin to the success of Moneyball by Billy Beane’s Oakland A’s as we do know that even from 1982 to 1992, in Clough’s declining years, after Taylor had left him, Forest performed better on the field than the clubs that were spending twice as much on wages.

“Don’t send me flowers when I’m dead. If you like me, send them while I’m alive.”

Clough was universally seen as a hard but fair manager, who insisted on the clean play from his players and brooked no stupid questions from the press. Clough aired his view about long-ball football tactics when he was asked about it, “If God had wanted us to play football in the clouds, he’d have put grass up there.” Clough was a visionary and his sides kept the ball on the deck and stayed disciplined with tactics and behavior that brought more success. In one of his most iconic interviews with Don Revie, who was Leeds United’s manager then, Clough described himself perfectly: “That might be aiming for utopia. And that might mean being a little bit stupid. But that is the way I am. I am a little bit stupid regarding this type of thing. I am a bit of an idealist. I do believe in fairies. And that is my outlook.”

“Ah yes, Frank Sinatra. He met me once y’know?”

After his fairytale success with Peter Taylor at Nottingham Forest, Clough’s friendship and partnership with Taylor fell through in the summer of 1982. Taylor was annoyed that Clough was often away earning extra money from media work while he was left to do a larger share of the work with the players. The cracks in the relationship began to appear in the autumn of 1980 when Taylor published, ’With Clough, by Taylor’, an autobiography which was largely based on Taylor’s work with Clough. Taylor had not told Clough that he was writing the book and did not give him a share of the proceeds. Although they initially parted on good terms when Taylor retired in May 1982, the relationship went down the hole after a dispute over the transfer of John Robertson from Forest to Derby, whom Taylor was now managing, in May 1983. Clough attacked Taylor in a tabloid article on 3 July 1983 as being a “rattlesnake”, “a snake-in-the-grass” and said that “We pass each other on the A52 going to work on most days of the week. But if his car broke down and I saw him thumbing a lift, I wouldn’t pick him up, I’d run him over”. The two men would never speak to one another again.

“I wouldn’t say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one.”

Clough struggled to replicate the success of Nottingham Forest in the 1980’s and in his final days as a manager, he was shown the cruel nature of football’s evolution. Desperate to win, struggling with alcoholism, and worn down by his time on the sideline, Clough’s once great Nottingham Forest side was relegated in his final game. For all the phenomenon that Clough was, it was disheartening to see that he was never considered for being the manager of Three Lions and probably remains the greatest English manager that England didn’t have.

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Why Are Underprivileged Players Performing Better At Olympics?



Olympics II News Aur Chai

India is competing at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. The Tokyo Olympics 2020 started from July 23, 2021, to Aug. 8, 2021. On day twelve of the Tokyo Olympics 2020, all the teams had been doing very well. India has secured sixty-fourth place out of the eighty by achieving one silver and one bronze medal in the Women’s forty-nine-kilogram Weightlifting & Women’s Singles Badminton Olympics 2020.

This year’s Tokyo Olympics has given India some historic moments. Both Indian Men and Women Hockey teams have qualified for the quarter-finals and made their place in the semi-finals this year. It was a landmark moment for India after 49 years, and India made it so far in the Olympics. 

When we look at the Olympics more, we know that several players around the globe who have been representing their nations are from underprivileged backgrounds. Since we started growing up as individuals, we have seen the struggle of disadvantaged people in society. It is not always necessary to be successful with all the amenities and availability of the best resources. Often, help, hard work, dedication, perseverance, and persistence are essential to achieving goals. One of the most important qualities is to stay grounded. It’s not always a good thing to expect such kind of behaviour in a real-life. 

At times, few people in the same society cannot even afford the necessities of life such as food, clothing, shelter. Yet, with the minimalist things, big dreams and complete dedication, they become some of the most incredible gems of this world by representing their nation globally. In the same way, in the Olympics, many such underprivileged players. These players’ performance in the Olympics is impressive as compared to any other privileged players.

It may be the situation because their goal is not to succeed in the Olympics and bring medals for their nation. Their goals may be to take the Olympics as a chance to improve their lifestyle and give assurance to their family. Many Olympians have secured this opportunity to represent their country in the Olympics after an incredible amount of hard work. Their families have supported them to meet their needs and make all the required games accessories available.

It doesn’t mean that privileged players don’t understand the importance of what they have in their life. We must remember that the person who looks privileged right now might have been less privileged at some moment. The dedication towards their field of career has made them what they are today. 

So we must understand that being privileged and underprivileged is one of the prisms when we look at the performance of the athletes in the Olympics.

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Indian Hockey Teams Break The Olympics Jinx



Indian Hockey II News Aur Chai

Indian Women’s hockey team qualified for the Olympics semi-final after defeating the Australian team 1-0 in the quarterfinals.  The Indian women’s hockey team registered a historic victory at the Tokyo Olympics. Indian women’s hockey team scored the victory goal in the 22nd minute of the game. The goal was scored by Gurjit Kaur scored from a short corner.

After losses against Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain, India staged a great comeback to secure its place in the semi-finals of the Tokyo Olympics. The women’s hockey team created history by becoming the first-ever Indian women’s team to reach the semi-finals at the Olympics. Indian women’s hockey team qualified for the Tokyo Olympics after defeating the United States by 6-5 in the qualifiers.  Australian team gained back-to-back three penalty corners, but the Indian defence, led by Savita and Deep Grace Ekka, stood strong in front of the goal. The Australian team was surprised by India’s pace and determination and therefore they panicked while defending.

In the last eight minutes of the game, the Indian team was under tremendous pressure. The Australian team had secured four more penalty corners, but they failed to breach the Indian defence.

Gurjit said they are very happy. Qualifying for the semi-finals is the result of the hard work that they had put in for several days. In 1980, they were qualified for the Games but this time, they made the semi-finals. It is a proud moment for them. Their team is just like their family, they always support each other and found support from the country as well.  she further added.

Meanwhile, on August 1, 2021, the Indian men’s hockey team, defeated Britain by 3-1 in the quarter-final to secure its spot in the semi-finals at Tokyo Olympics. Indian hockey team led by Manpreet Singh has created history at the Tokyo Olympics. The team qualified for the semi-finals for the first time since the 1972 Olympics. Goals from Dilpreet Singh, Gurjant Singh and Hardik Singh made sure that India reached their first Olympic semi-final since the 1972 Games. It became challenging for India when skipper Manpreet Singh was suspended for six minutes, and he had to sit out.

Britain got the advantage of Manpreet’s suspension. But they did not make it count as Hardik Singh scored the third goal in the 57th minute. In the final three minutes despite pushing continuously, Britain was unable to score another goal and was eliminated. Indian players became emotional on the turf after they made it to the semi-finals.

Manpreet Singh said they are very happy because they reached the semi-final after a long time. The tournament is still remaining and they need to keep their feet on the ground and focus on the next match. said Manpreet.

This is a very big day for India, both the hockey teams have reached the semi-finals and it is a really big accomplishment. They used to meet them when both men’s and women’s teams were in Bengaluru. Their confidence was always high, they knew that they would reach the semi-finals, only two steps are remaining to win but reaching the semi-finals is a very big accomplishment, said former Sports Minister Rijiju. Indian Men’s hockey team has reached the semi-finals after 49 years. It is a very big thing and as a nation, everyone should celebrate, he added.

The gold medal matches of both the men’s and women’s teams will take place on August 6 and 7 respectively.

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P.V. Sindhu Creates History At The Tokyo Olympics



PV Sindhu II News Aur Chai

Olympian shuttler PV Sindhu wins bronze in the shuttle race against Chinese shuttler Hebing Jiao. The PV Sindhu legacy has made India proud. Exceptional achievement as the first Indian woman and the only Indian athlete to win two consecutive medals at the Olympics, the Silver at Rio Olympics 2016 and the Bronze at Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Sindhu dominated Bing Jiao 21-13, 21-15 to bounce back from her semi-final loss to Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei. Despite the heartbreaking loss, her confident demeanour in the bronze medal match was evident right from the start. Sindhu’s exemplary smashes caused problems for He Bing Jiao, but also her excellent ability to retrieve made sure that the He Bing Jiao had to work twice as hard to win points.

In game one, Sindhu excelled because of her speed, power, and guile, defeating Bing Jiao 21-13. After gaining an early lead in the first, she landed on her feet in the second to take a 4-1 advantage, which she extended to 11-8 at the half. Even though He Bing Jiao came close to making it 11-11, Sindhu once again came out strong and started to pull ahead. Despite He Bing Jiao’s best efforts, Sindhu remained unmoved as she won two more consecutive points to finish it off at 19-15.

The defence has always been Sindhu’s weakness, but in this game, it was much stronger. Pusarla’s Coach Park Tae-Sang Told PTI “For Sindhu defence has been a weakness, there is no problem with her attack. Every player, every coach knows that and today her defence was 200%. It was superb. The entire tournament, barring yesterday, she has been very good in defence,” “We have been working every day on her net play and defence and I am happy it worked”.

Coach Park Tae-Sang’s international career as a player ended in 2002 with him earning a gold medal at the Asian Games. After turning professional coach in 2013. In late 2019, after the abrupt departure of women’s coach Kim Ji Hyun, he took over the duty of training Sindhu after serving as a national coach for the Korean badminton team for five years from 2013 to 2018.

Speaking after winning the bronze medal match against He Bing Jao, Badminton World Federation (BWF) quoted Sindhu as saying, “It makes me feel really happy because I`ve worked hard for so many years. I had a lot of emotions going through me should I be happy that I won bronze or sad that I lost the opportunity to play in the final? But overall, I had to close off my emotions for this one match and give it my best, my all, and think about the emotions. I`m really happy and I think I`ve done really well. It`s a proud moment getting a medal for my country.”

In addition, Sindhu said that the focus will now be on the Paris 2024 Olympics.

On an emotional Instagram note, Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu-Ying revealed how PV Sindhu encouraged her after the match. China’s Chen Yufei defeated Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-Ying in the women’s singles final. After finishing second at the Tokyo Games, Tai had to settle for the silver medal. After the medal ceremony, she revealed how PV Sindhu offered her words of encouragement after the final loss.

She hugged Tai and told her she did a wonderful job in the final, Tai wrote on Instagram. Sindhu’s encouragement after the final made her cry, the Chinese Taipei shuttler added. “PV Sindhu hugged me and told me I know you are sick but you did very well, but today was not your day,” “She held me in her arms and said she knew it all. That sincere encouragement made me cry,” she added.

From being the first Indian to become Badminton World Champion to winning medals for India in two consecutive Olympics, she has indeed built a legacy.


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