The Life of Brian’s Statue: Back of the Net

June 18, 2010

The Life of Brian's StatueBrian Clough’s statue in Nottingham muses on his life and what’s happening in the world today…

I’ve never heard so much bloody rubbish in all my life! These top class footballers, these fellers that get paid thousands of pounds a week are coming up with all sorts of excuses why they can’t get the ball in the back of the net. It’s a World Cup for heaven’s sake! The fellers taking part are supposed to be the best in the world, and they can’t even play with the bloody ball the referee brings onto the pitch.

They reckon the new ball’s irregular. Bloody nonsense! It’s round and it’s full of wind. That should be enough. I reckon, if the players can’t play with this new ball, the clubs they play for should ask for their money back.

In my day the ball was like a sack of spuds, especially in the winter. The bloody pampered lot that play football in this day and age would’ve fractured their metatarsals just looking at the bugger.

I had a bad leg once. It finished my playing career. But, I still went on to win two European cups back-to-back and enough League Cups to take centre stage at the Antiques Roadshow. It’s all about determination. If you really want to succeed at something, then you throw yourself at it, and you keep throwing yourself at it, until you get there.

People give up too easily these days. Footballers are the worst for that. They’ll say their shorts are too tight, or the goalkeeper’s gloves were too big, and that’s why they didn’t score. I’ve heard so many daft excuses in my time you wouldn’t believe it. Next thing you know they’ll be saying they lost because they were playing on the wrong type of grass.

I despair of it, I really do. Success doesn’t just land in your lap. It requires a lot of hard graft, and a little bit of good fortune.

In many ways, it’s the Cinderella way of doing things. You have to seize the moment, impose yourself on the situation. Take whatever opportunities come your way.

Like I used to say to Kenny: “You will go to the ball.”