Monday, October 13, 2008
Book learning # 45
The Damned United by David Peace
Brian Clough was one of the most outrageous managers in an era of outrageous managers. This is a novel based upon an outrageous episode in his career.
He had won the league with Derby and would go on to win the league and two European Cups with Forest.
In 1974 he took charge at Leeds United, a club he had done nothing but criticise for the previous decade.
His managerial role at Leeds United lasted 44 days.
This novel explores the mind of Mr Clough during those booze fuelled, paranoid 44 days.
I loved the story but didn't appreciate the author's style, stream of conciousness, flashbacks to his Derby career, emotional tangles and the contradictions of a soul in turmoil. At times I felt that I didn't really need yet another drunken night in a midlands hotel, but another drunken night in a midlands hotel was what I got.
I battled through it, mostly enjoying it, wondering about the point of it all.
Did Mr Clough set out to destroy Leeds United from the inside?
Why on earth had Leeds hired Mr Clough in the first place?
Was he really that manic? That obnoxious? That drunk?
The answers to the last three?