Laws aiming to outfox another former teammate

MUCH is made of the number of Sir Alex Ferguson’s players, who have gone on to become managers.

Friday, 26th November 2010, 10:00 am

But Brian Clough seems to have had a similar effect in inspiring his former charges to take up the reins.

Brian Laws is one, and having come up against Roy Keane at Ipswich earlier in the season - and had interest from Stuart Pearce in Jay Rodriguez for the England Under 21s - he takes on Clough junior tomorrow, in Nigel’s Derby County.

Laws still speaks regularly with his old Nottingham Forest teammate, and he said: “I think Cloughie gathered a lot of experienced players rather than taking gambles.

“They were knowledgeable players and I suppose in a way they were probably destined to go into management anyway, or always thinking along those lines, I would have thought, before he brought them in.

“I think it’s a bit of a coincidence, not so much him inspiring them.

“If anything probably Cloughie would have put you off!

“But I think Nigel had to grow into that role more than anything else, because I couldn’t really see him doing the days and the commitment in management just then.

“He’s a very family orientated man, as we all are, but I don’t think Nigel was really looking for (a career in management).

“It was on his doorstep more than anything else.

“And it suited him because there was no strain on him at Burton, no test on him and no eyes on him.

“As soon as he went into management within the Football League all the media were there looking at him and comparing him to his old man.

“He’s ground it out at Burton where he’s just gone under the radar and done a terrific job at a club that was looking to progress as well.

“It’s a terrific little job and the facilities that they’ve got are better than most.”

Nigel has emulated his father in taking the reins at Derby - and signs of his father have crept through - letting his children sit in the dugout, and, more famously, stopping the coach at Leeds and walking to the ground, in a reverse of Don Revie’s team at the old Baseball Ground.

Laws added: “You could see those little things that Cloughie would have done. You can see where he’s learned his trade there.

“They are chalk and cheese though, father and son.

“Nigel’s very mild-mannered. He’s not one for shouting from the rooftops, he does it very quietly.”

Clough bided his time before making the step into Football League management: “There were opportunities and he just felt ‘not yet’.

“Derby were probably ideal for him. Again it’s on his doorstep, and there’s a connection there. It was probably the right time for him as well.

“He’s found it difficult, there’s no getting away from that, especially early on, but he’s come through it because he’s been given that time to adjust it all and sort it all out.

“The fact that he had a huge job on his hands and had to manoeuvre quite a lot of players out was always going to be a tough task. But he is starting to put his mark on the team, and it’s his team.”