Although managers being sacked is nothing surprising in the Championship - a league that is notoriously difficult to do well in - the announcement on Saturday that Nigel Clough had left Derby County came as an unpleasant reminder that football is a ruthless business.
First of all, although he is perhaps not a Premier League-quality manager, Clough is by no means untalented. He led Derby to a tenth-place finish in the Championship last season, a fair result considering they struggled with away form and had to deal with young unexperienced players.
However, the main reason he will be missed so much in English football for the time being is the legacy he carries with him from the days when his father coached in the 1960s, 70s and 80s with extraordinary success.
Indeed, Brian Clough was one of the best managers ever to coach in England, with his biggest achievements coming with rivals Derby County and Nottingham Forest. The fact that Clough Jr had been carrying on that legacy is hugely satisfying to all who believe in football as a family sport and the good influence it can have on children growing up.
It is all the more frustrating, therefore, that the club Nigel leaves behind is the one that forged his family’s fame. His reign at Pride Park ended following a match against the team that enjoyed the best of his father’s talent - Forest.
Although the two are local rivals and a defeat on either side is more wounding than against any other team, naturally if there was one match to cause the downfall of Clough, it was always likely to be this one. But, all the same, he will be missed.
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