Don't Let it Die

Last updated : 31 October 2004 By The Rambler

The recent memorial service for the late, great Brian Clough drew a strong and powerful line under an era of greatness for the cities of Derby and Nottingham.

The Clough era spanned an age when success could be earned rather than just bought.

When I started watching football in the seventies the big teams were the usual suspects, but also a number of genuine challengers for top honours from places such as Burley and Ipswich.

It was the norm rather than the extraordinary that if your team acquired the services of a manager with the ability to put together a team from the lower leagues and other clubs cast offs you had a genuine chance of one of the major prizes in the domestic game.

Now, of course, you need almost obscene amounts of money simply to claw your way into the top flight and simply survive.

The big prizes – certainly the title itself is the exclusive domain of the same three or four clubs year after year.

If we are brutally honest the chance of a Derby or Nottingham Forest sitting at the top of the Premiership is non-existent.

This is not a defeatist statement though. 88 of the 92 clubs are in exactly the same position.

Yet not for one minute would the vast majority of us consider taking our support to Old Trafford or Highbury. We may wish them well in Europe and cheer them on against foreign opposition.

We probably even take sides when Arsenal and Manchester United face of against each other in Premiership action.

It does not mean that we care less about the club we call our own.

This is the real beauty of the thing that we call the Beautiful Game.

That feeling of loyalty and devotion to OUR club.

There may be changes in ownership, division, rules or any number of things. Just never let anyone take that feeling away from you.