Despite being a hugely loyal Derby County fan, I have refrained from using this blog as a source for my thoughts on the club. I wanted to keep it generally free of the Rams, with any sport blogs aimed at more general audience. Nevertheless, after Derby’s 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest on 17 September 2011, I thought I’d make an exception.
It’s often difficult for those disinterested in sport to understand the passion of fans. Perhaps even more bewildering to them is the intense rivalry between local teams. In my opinion they don’t come much bigger than the East Midlands two of Nottingham Forest and my beloved Derby County.
It isn’t just down to geography that these two clubs fight over for bragging rights, but also the common links they both share – primarily the fact that both enjoyed their most successful periods in history under the management of Brian Clough. The self-professed ‘in the top one of football managers’ was an eloquent maverick the like of which the football had rarely seen. A modern comparison could be to the Portuguese master, Jose Mourinho, who shares Brian Clough’s ability to speak his mind and seemingly always get away with it. However, Clough’s links to Derby (and his proud stance as an Englishman) will always make him stand out as unique.
As a result of this link, the two clubs and the Clough family founded the Brian Clough Trophy in 2007, which is fought over every time they play. Not only does this play up to the great rivalry, it indicates the love shared for a man by two bitter rivals. The link is furthered these days as Brian’s son, and ex-Forest player, Nigel Clough has managed Derby since 2009, and as of this season appears to be making positive inroads with the club.
No doubt in the future Nottingham Forest will have their their day, but for the time being I will enjoy this win, and as the picture says: ‘Ave it Red dogs!