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Nigel Howard Clough (born 19 March 1966) is an English former footballer and the current manager of Derby County. He played predominately as a striker, but later in his career was used as a midfielder.

Playing career

He is most famous as a Nottingham Forest player, where he was coached by his father Brian Clough, who publicly referred to him as "The Number 9". He made a total of 403 appearances in two spells at the club and is the club's second highest goalscorer of all time with 131. He also won 14 caps for England.

Clough joined Forest on leaving school in 1982 but did not become a regular first team player until the 1986–87 season, when he was the club's joint leading goalscorer with 14 league goals. He helped Forest win two League Cup in successive seasons (1989 and 1990). In the 1989 Final, he scored two goals as Forest came from behind to beat holders Luton Town 3–1. He was also on the losing side for Forest in the 1991 FA Cup final and 1992 League Cup final. He received great plaudits from football writers who appreciated the unhurried intelligence of his play and unflappable demeanour and was touted by some as a possible replacement for Gary Lineker, who retired from the England team in 1992 although he seemed the absolute opposite of the type of player favoured by manager Graham Taylor.

However, a steady decline in his career began in that year perhaps adversely affected by the scandals which marred his father's departure from the game. He was also one of the Forest players who had to cope with the horrors of the Hillsborough disaster during the opening minutes of their FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool. Clough played in the rescheduled game at Old Traffordmarker, which Liverpool won 3-1.

He was Forest's leading scorer with 10 league goals in the inaugural FA Premier League campaign (1992–93) but the club finished bottom of the league and were relegated after 16 years in the top flight. Clough senior retired as manager while Clough junior was sold to Liverpool in a £2.75 million deal as manager Graeme Souness had been searching for a new striker following the injuries and loss of form of Paul Stewart. With the introduction of squad numbers for the 1993-94 season, Clough was allocated the legendary number 7 shirt which had been worn in the past by legendary players including Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish and Peter Beardsley. At first, things appeared to be going very smoothly. Clough scored twice on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday on 14 August 1993, [103901], and scored again in his next game (a 3-1 win at QPR) four days later. However, a five-match goalless run in the league for Liverpool (starting in early September) put Clough and fellow striker Ian Rush under pressure, and when the deadlock was broken in mid October against Oldham Athletic the goal came for 18-year-old Robbie Fowler, who scored a hat-trick for Liverpool against Southampton at the end of the month to put Clough's place in the first team under serious threat. In the next game, however, Clough broke his own personal goalscoring duck against West Ham United. He did not score again until 4 January, when he scored twice against Manchester United in a superb 3-3 draw at Anfieldmarker when Liverpool clawed back after being 3-0 down. However, he did not score again that season as Fowler was looking firmly established as strike-partner to Ian Rush. [103902]

1994-95 was a frustrating campaign for Clough, who managed just 10 league appearances and failed to score, as Fowler and Rush's partnership become even more unbreakable. Liverpool did win the Football League Cup that season but Clough was not included in the squad. The close season arrival of Stan Collymore made his first team chances look even more remote, and he made just two more appearances for Liverpool before a £1.5million transfer to Manchester City in January 1996.

Clough played in all of City's remaining 15 league appearances after his arrival at Maine Roadmarker, scoring twice, but could not stave off relegation and shortly afterwards he lost his place in the team due to injury. He returned to Nottingham Forest on loan in December 1996, scoring once in 13 league games, before returning to Manchester City. He did not play for the Maine Road club again, though he did make another Premier League comeback in 1997-98 when he was loaned to struggling Sheffield Wednesday, but his only game for the South Yorkshiremarker club was a 5-2 home defeat by Derby County. When City were relegated to Division Two at the end of the 1997-98, Clough was given a free transfer and his senior football career, which had once promised so much, was over at the age of 32. [103903]

Managerial career

Burton Albion

In October 1998, he moved into management when he accepted the role of player-manager at Burton Albion in the Southern League Premier Division. In his fourth season, 2001/02, Clough's side were champions of the Northern Premier League and gained promotion to the Conference. On 8 January 2006 his side held FA Premier League side Manchester United to a 0-0 draw, earning a replay at Old Traffordmarker. The replay was staged on 18 January, ending with a 5-0 loss for Clough's side, but Burton battled bravely and Clough said he was extremely proud of his men.

Having passed his 42nd birthday, Clough was still registered as a player which possibly explained his apparent lack of ambition to move into League management (his father bitterly lamented the premature curtailment of his own playing career). However, Clough had not played regularly for Burton since the early stages of the 2005/06 season, though he did play in the team's 6-3 win over Sutton Coldfieldmarker in the Birmingham Senior Cup on 27 October 2008. Coincidentally, Burton Albion was the first team to be managed by his father's long-term managerial colleague, Peter Taylor.

Clough won the Conference National Manager of the Month for December 2008, after completing 11 straight wins in the division and guiding Burton to the top of the table.

Derby County

On 5 January 2009 he was officially approached by Derby County, the club his father famously managed, to take over as their manager as a replacement for Paul Jewell. He was appointed the next day, prior to his taking charge, on 8 January, Academy Head Coach David Lowe guided Derby to a victory over Manchester United 1–0 in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final. His first victory in charge of The Rams came on 31 January 2009, when Derby beat Coventry City 2–1. On 4 February 2009, Clough's Derby side found themselves 2–0 down after just fourteen minutes of a fourth round FA Cup replay at the City Groundmarker against Nottingham Forest. Derby recovered and went on to win the game 2–3.Results improved after Clough's arrival, with a run of four consecutive wins. However,a series of injuries to key players such as Miles Addison, Dean Leacock, Steve Davies, Jordan Stewart, Chris Porter, Nathan Ellington Kris Commons and Paul Green saw a loss of form for the Rams. Safety in the Championship was not confirmed until the penultimate game of the season against Charlton Athletic, with a 1-0 victory.


As a player

Nottingham Forest

As a manager

Burton Albion

Football mad Irish band The Sultans of Ping FC have written a song about Nigel Clough. It was given away free as a one track flexi-disk with a Nottingham Forest fanzine. Entitled "Give Him a Ball and a Yard of Grass'", the lyric is from a quote by his father Brian about former Forest and Scotland winger John Robertson.



Team Nation From To Matches Won Drawn Lost Win %
Burton Albion October 1998 7 January 2009 709 310 101 298
Derby County 8 January 2009 Present 43 14 7 22


In 2009, a film called The Damned United was released and centred on Brian Clough's ill fated 44-day reign as Leeds United manager in 1974, though there were scenes in the film dated from his appointment as Derby County manager in 1968. Nigel Clough, aged between two and eight years old, appeared in several scenes played by Oliver Stokes.


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