Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Learned Something from Every Manager

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Learned Something from Every Manager

Article excerpt

WHILE Gary Mills will forever be associated with Brian Clough because of his glorious years at Nottingham Forest, he in fact served under an array of big-name bosses from whom he's taken a pinch of their best into his own style of management.

Mills played for the likes of David Pleat and Brian Little (Leicester), Howard Kendall, John Barnwell and Russell Slade (Notts County), and Alan Hinton (Seattle Sounders) as well as serving Gary McAllister at Coventry City as first-team coach.

Of course trying to be a second Cloughie would have been suicidal - no one could manage as he did. The man was a one-off who defied all logic.

"What I did take from him was simplicity," Gary told me. "He never did complicate anything. Football is a simple game and Cloughie was no coach, he didn't confuse us with sessions straight out of the manual.

"What he was, of course, was a great man-manager. He knew exactly how to get the best out of players even if he was more than a little unorthodox.

"Whereas David Pleat and Gary McAllister were football theorists, men who loved to play pure football but no motivators, Cloughie was a raiser of spirits.

"We never practised a free-kick or corner at Forest. Honestly, there were no drills.

"Cloughie was a one-off all right. When Peter Shilton wanted to have a training session before the 1980 European Cup final the gaffer sent him out to do his stuff in the middle of a roundabout while the rest us of had a few beers!

"We actually celebrated winning that final before we actually played it. Our last league game was May 8 and the European Cup final was May 28. I remember Cloughie coming in and saying 'what the hell are we going to do for three weeks?' He told us to have a couple of days off and to bring our passports in the following week.

"The actual week before the game on the Wednesday, he took us to Majorca. …

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