ANDY BUCKLEY-TAYLOR’S DERBY COUNTY BLOG: When Shackleton took the biscuits

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LOCAL fitness fanatics are preparing themselves for the ‘Clough and ‘Taylor Run’ in March at Donington Park.

Nigel Clough and Garry Birtles are among the entrants for the event which will see people from both Derby and Nottingham come together and participate in an event named after the legendary pair.

I took the train from Lincoln to Derby instead of driving to the game on Saturday and whilst approaching Pride Park enjoyed the greeting you get from the Clough and Taylor statue. What a great sight!

Both clubs owe so much to both men. I have often wondered to myself, ‘what if Len Shackleton had never made that call to Derby Chairman Sam Longson recommending them to the club’? Shackleton received a tin of biscuits for the recommendation.

Prior to the arrival of Clough and Taylor, Derby’s trophy cabinet included an FA Cup from 1946 and not much else. On their departure it had a League title, Watney Cup and a Texaco Cup. The latter two trophies, although not competed for today, were still regarded highly by the pair. Just like the Anglo-Scottish Cup won at Forest. If they were in it, they meant to win it!

A European Cup isn’t a part of the cups on display at Derby. Those of us who were around in 1973 though know that it should be. Some quite disgraceful refereeing in a semi-final against Juventus put paid to that! There were allegations of bribery directed at the match officials too! Maurice Edwards book ‘Clough and Taylor-A Right Pair’ covers the events well.

Many Derby fans will point to the league title won in 1974-75 as silverware won without the famous duo, however if it hadn’t been for Clough and Taylor Dave Mackay wouldn’t have Been anywhere near Derby County.

Mackay having just completed his last season at Tottenham was set for retirement and a job with Hearts. Cloughie talked him out of retirement and he became a main component in the Derby side that succeeded in promotion and established itself in the top flight. His Derby connection was then established as his played some marvellous football in the twilight years of his career.

When Clough and Taylor resigned due to disagreements with Sam Longson, there was only one man who could have taken over. Mackay, who due to his playing success was persuaded to leave Forest, where he was now managing, and make the journey across the A52 to the Baseball Ground.

Even whilst no longer at the club, their influence still left a legacy and a direction for the club to follow. Mackay added a few more quality players to the squad he inherited and another League title was won.

I don’t plan to go on about our rival’s successes under the pair, but prior to their arrival the Forest trophy cabinet had a couple of FA Cup wins in it and they gave the club a massive kiss of life.

If like me you are now unable to participate in the ‘Clough and Taylor Run’ sponsor someone and go support those fundraising for charity in the name of two great men.

I wonder if Shackleton ate them biscuits?