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Spurs vs Forest - Falco's memories of Clough

24 September 2014|Tottenham Hotspur

Mark Falco is well-placed to give an insight into the mercurial managerial style of Brian Clough.

Our legendary former striker played under Clough when the former Derby County and Forest great coached England at youth level in the late 1970s.

Mark, who scored 89 goals for us in 236 appearances between 1979-86, described a ‘real aura’ around the man who famously won back-to-back European Cups at Forest in 1979 and 1980.

We meet Forest for the first time in almost 10 years in the third round of the Capital One Cup at the Lane tonight, rekindling memories for Mark of our battles with Clough's Forest in the early 1980s.

“Cloughie didn’t say much but when he did, you listened,” recalled Mark. “He would never call you by your first name, it was always your surname ‘Falco, come here’.

“All he would say is ‘I’m picking you today, you are a forward and you are there to score goals’ and he’d say to the midfield ‘you are there to defend and help make goals’ and just keep it simple. Peter Taylor also had a big influence on the team.

“He had a real aura and you never really got to know him - I think he deliberately did that so players were in awe of him.”


Mark was part of the Spurs squad that won the FA Cup in 1981, 1982 and the UEFA Cup in 1984 and enjoyed some fantastic tussles against Clough’s Forest.

Clough and his trusted assistant Peter Taylor took Derby to the First Division title in 1972 (with Lane legend Dave Mackay as skipper) before an ill-fated spell at Leeds and moving to Forest in 1975. They won the title in 1978, the European Cup in 1979 and 1980 and four League Cups.

The FA Cup eluded him - we came out on top in the 1991 final at Wembley.

“Forest were very well-drilled, well-disciplined and they had real quality.,” added Mark.

“They had players like John Robertson, Peter Shilton, Trevor Francis, Viv Anderson, Ian Bowyer and John McGovern, these players were tried and trusted by Brian Clough. It was a formula Brian Clough and Peter Taylor had and it worked for them.

“They are a sleeping giant coming back to form and it’s good to see. Stuart Pearce is an ex-Forest player who played under Brian Clough and he will use all that experience.

“It will be a tricky game for us. Forest want to be back in the Premier League, I think they will do it and it will be a test of that ambition against us.”