The Life of Brian’s Statue: The Falling Log

September 21, 2010

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

Well, I thought I’d been around a bit and seen a lot of things, that life couldn’t really surprise me anymore. But I’ve been standing here in a state of shock today. Someone just walked past reading a copy of TV Quick, and blow me, who should be there large as life on the front cover but one of my former players, Peter Shilton. It took me a second or two to recognise him, ‘cause he was dressed in a penguin suit with a dicky bow. He looked bloody ridiculous.

Now then, Shilts was a great keeper, when he played for me; I brought out the best in him. He had a massive presence and when he did his falling log routine and threw himself around his penalty area, you couldn’t see how the strikers would ever get the ball past him. But, I can’t for one minute imagine him twirling around a dance floor with a lady dancer young enough to be his daughter. Shilts liked to keep himself fit, or at least he liked to think so. He was never very nimble on his feet, really, if I think about it.

I remember sitting on my sofa at home watching England play Italy in the third place play-off match at the World Cup 1990. I sat there shouting at the screen, ‘Get rid of it! Get rid of it!’ Y’see Shilts was celebrating his 125th England cap, and decided to go for a bit of a dribble around his penalty area; Roberto Baggio nipped in, nicked the ball off him and smashed it into the roof of the net. Bloody disaster!

And then there was the ‘Hand of God’ goal by Maradona. I’ll never, ever, work out how Shilts got beaten to that ball by a feller half his size!

But, to be fair, Shilts gave me a lot to be grateful for. When he saved that header from Coventry’s Mick Ferguson in that crucial game back in 1978 I could have danced a little jig myself. Without Shilts we’d never have won the Championship that year. He made dozens and dozens of great saves.

So, I hope he does well in Strictly Come Dancing, at least his partner knows he’s got a safe pair of hands, and won’t drop her! I suppose after years of wearing a goalkeeper’s jersey, he wanted to get himself dressed up, that’s why he got himself all decked out in his fancy suit.

To me he just looks like a penguin with bloody massive hands.