Managers' men: football's 'special' relationships, by those who know best

As love affairs go, it had a shaky start. “The first thing Brian Clough ever said to me was to stand up straight, put my shoulders back and get my hair cut, because I looked like a girl,” recalls John McGovern about his fateful first meeting with Old Big ‘Ed as a teenage trialist for Hartlepool United in 1965. “It was a shock, because I thought he was just going to shake my hand and say ‘good luck, son’.

“I had a rounded left shoulder which I couldn’t put back straight due to a missing muscle, and I fancied myself as the next Mick Jagger, so I didn’t want a haircut. He intimidated me. But I eventually realised that this was Brian’s unique way of testing your character.”

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Nick Moore

Nick Moore is a freelance journalist based on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. He wrote his first FourFourTwo feature in 2001 about Gerard Houllier's cup-treble-winning Liverpool side, and has continued to ink his witty words for the mag ever since. Nick has produced FFT's 'Ask A Silly Question' interview for 16 years, once getting Peter Crouch to confess that he dreams about being a dwarf.