AFC Bournemouth: Clough achievements proving hard to emulate for Forest bosses (From Bournemouth Echo)
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AFC Bournemouth: Clough achievements proving hard to emulate for Forest bosses
WHILE a lot of water has passed under the bridges of the River Trent, the spectre of the late Brian Clough continues to hang over the City Ground.
The man whose name will be forever etched in the folklore of Nottingham Forest led the club to unprecedented success between 1975 and 1993.
European Cup wins in 1979 and 1980 were the pinnacle and followed being crowned league champions in 1978. There were also four League Cups.
Although Clough’s reign ended in disappointment, with relegation from the top flight in 1993, he will be remembered as the greatest manager in the club’s history.
And while several luminaries have tried to emulate him, none has come close. The list includes Dave Bassett, Ron Atkinson, Joe Kinnear and Steve McClaren.
Frank Clark masterminded an immediate return to the Premier League in 1994 before leading Forest to third in 1995, their highest finishing position in recent years.
Promotion as champions of the second flight in 1998 was sandwiched between relegations from the top flight, the second of which the club has never recovered from.
Six successive seasons in the Championship were followed in 2005 by Forest dropping into the third tier for the first time since they had locked horns with Cherries in Division Three (South) in 1951.
And apart from regaining their Championship status in 2008, the past 10 years have been a tale of play-off woe for the East Midlands outfit.
Along with MK Dons, they boast the unwanted record of featuring in the most semi-finals without making the final.
The first of four appearances came in 2003 when Forest were eliminated by Sheffield United in the Championship play-offs. However, the most calamitous came four years later when they were within touching distance of progressing.
Having won 2-0 at Yeovil in the League One play-offs, Forest were leading 3-1 on aggregate in the second leg – with just eight minutes remaining. Alan Wright’s own goal and a Marcus Stewart header saw the Glovers force extra-time before they prevailed 5-4 after Forest’s David Prutton had been sent off.
Following automatic promotion, successive failures followed in the Championship play-offs with Forest conceding three times in seven minutes to lose their semi-final against Blackpool in 2010 before going down to Swansea 12 months later.
Billy Davies, the man known as King Billy by the Forest faithful, was tasked with trying to bring back the glory days when he was reappointed in February and took them to within a point of last season’s play-offs.
The Scotsman has certainly made his mark this season with six wins and four draws propelling Forest to fourth. With four victories and one draw at the City Ground, they also boast the third best home record in the division.
While Forest – with three wins out of four – had the upper hand on Cherries during two seasons in Division Three (South) between 1949 and 1951, the Dorset club’s record of two wins, three draws and one defeat in League One is far superior.
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