Top football journalist brands Dean Saunders a 'pillock' for 'embellished' story about a drunk Brian Clough
A story that went viral about an allegedly drunk Brian Clough trying to court striker Dean Saunders has drawn a strong response from Guardian journalist Daniel Taylor.
Taylor, who recently wrote a book on Clough's two European Cup wins as Nottingham Forest manager, took exception to Saunders' story, told on Talksport last week.
The tale alleges that Saunders was taken to the house of a Forest assistant manager to talk to Clough about joining the club, when the legendary manager arrived drunk, which sparked a series of unusual incidents.
Writing in the Guardian today, Taylor presents a different version of events - having spoken to assistant manager Alan Hill - where Clough behaves in a far more normal fashion. Hill also denied that Clough was drunk during the meeting.
Taylor also admonishes Saunders and the Talksport presenters for mining Clough's descent into alcoholism for humour.
"I’m pretty sure, this is the first time I can remember anyone telling an anecdote this way when it openly references, as a point of humour, the drinking and alcoholism that finished Clough – an illness, I think some people (among them, Talksport regular Ray Wilkins, presumably) call it," Taylor writes.
"And sorry to be a dreadful spoilsport – I’m fully aware I will be told to get a sense of humour, that it’s banter and LOL – but I’ve started to wonder whether Saunders might actually be a bit of a pillock."
Taylor contrasts Saunders' story with Roy Keane's opinion of Clough, with the midfielder having played for him during his final two seasons as a manager.
"As far as I’m aware, Keane has never told a story, or embellished one, about Clough, with his drink-ravaged face, in that difficult period, 1991 to 1993, when the deterioration set in," Taylor says.
"Maybe it’s true, as Keane once said, the game is full of bluffers."