Like father, like son. Brian Clough was admired for his achievements as player and manager, but divided opinion with his plain speaking. Now Nigel, battling with the rigours of management, finds himself in hot water for intemperate comments on some of his Derby squad. Jeremy Taylor, pictured right, reports …
Theo Walcott’s recent confession about his dive against Leeds Utd spawned the article written here by M Salut – and a flood of responses.
It has been a thoroughly interesting debate.
And whether it be diving, pushing or pulling shirts, it is clear that cheating has become part of a modern game that seems to have lost its sense of decency and honesty.
Is it because there’s too much money at stake these days? Who knows? But Theo Walcott’s statement is the exception that proves the rule that instances of frankness and honesty are these days rare.
Young Theo’s is arguably the most notable example in recent times. It’s quite a while since Robbie Fowler informed a referee that his fall in the box at Highbury was not a penalty. Fowler was criticised at the time by some, although praised elsewhere for his integrity. The same may apply to Walcott.
Interestingly, Derby County’s boss Nigel Clough has been criticised by the PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor following comments about his striker Tomasz Cywka after he gave the ball away in the last minute of County’s game against Portsmouth, allowing David Nugent to equalise. According to Taylor, Clough’s public rebuke for the 22-year-old player was misplaced.
Cloughie the Younger had referred to his striker, who joined the Rams last summer from WIgan, as “not very bright”.
“We’d like some players who – in the 89th minute – don’t lose the ball 20 yards outside the box which leads to us conceding a goal, which Tomasz Cywka did,” the clearly irritated Cough is quoted as saying on the BBC Sport website.
“He’s an extremely inexperienced and not very bright footballer. He should have chested the ball and hooked it into the corner flag with five minutes to go. That’s what experienced, good players do in that situation. And despite being told – and he has been with us 10 months – he is still doing things like that. He can go back to Wigan or wherever he came from – I’m not really bothered – until he learns the game.
“It is getting very, very frustrating when you are dealing with people who are doing things like that. It’s not a physical thing – it’s a mental one but if players don’t learn then you move onto the next one.”
But while Clough’s comments about the dim-wittedness of his forward have attracted much media attention, Cywka was not the only player on the wrong end of a tongue lashing. A Derbu defender, Miles Addison, and substitute, Chris Porter, also found themselves in the firing line. “If you’re Chris Porter and you’ve come on for the last 20 minutes after being left out, I’d have thought you would be throwing absolutely everything at that,” said Clough.
“Miles Addison had come up from the back and having made that 50-yard run to get there, you would have thought he would throw absolutely everything at it too.”
Nigel Clough is having a tough time as Derby boss, and has even been described as a “dead man walking” by some contributors to Derby blog sites. His recent record is not that great and he is clearly frustrated by some of his players’ lack of nous and attitude.
I am sure many of the Derby fans share his frustration and may be saying the same things themselves about the same players. That is their prerogative. Cywaka in the meantime says he has “no problem” with his boss’s comments, a quote that may be less than entirely sincere.
Nigel Clough is being incredibly honest and forthright, but the question is whether such honesty in naming and shaming players is his prerogative too.