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John McGovern recalls strict Brian Clough orders after European Cup final win


Among the travel reviews, Nottingham Forest players described their European Cup final retreat as an Addams Family resort, a hammer house of horrors and Bates Motel.

Up in the Sierra Guadarrama above Madrid it was a quiet pre-match hotel – but Forest’s heroes were miffed when manager Brian Clough ordered them back to their remote lodge after beating Hamburg to defend the trophy.

Captain John McGovern recalled: “Cloughie told us, ‘We’re going home tomorrow, we’re going to be received by thousands of people in Nottingham and I don’t want you lot showing off the European Cup looking like rag-tag scruffs. You’re going to look like a football team.’

John McGovern holds the European Cup

“It felt a bit strange, celebrating back-to-back European Cup wins without our families – who were staying in Madrid – at this place in the middle of nowhere.

“We had a few glasses of champagne, and later on I think a few of the lads sneaked out into the city, but nothing could take away that adrenalin rush of being the European champions again.”

Clough’s unconventional preparation was all part of his masterplan. To this day, Forest remain the last British club to defend the trophy.

McGovern said: “It was secluded, which is what Clough wanted – away from all distractions – but for one or two of the lads it was too quiet.

Brian Clough and his assistant Peter Taylor look on during the game

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“We had spent a week at Cala Millor in Majorca, where we were under strict instructions not to do any training of any sort because we had played more than 70 games in all competitions that season.

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“To say we were very relaxed and laid-back is one way of putting it: I would say we were horizontal.”

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