London (AFP) – Nigel Clough has rejected the chance to become the new manager of ailing two-time European Cup winners Nottingham Forest and evoke memories of their glory days under his father Brian, it was announced Monday.
Instead Clough has decided to remain as manager of Forest’s fellow Midlands side Burton Albion, who also play in the second-tier Championship.
The late Brian Clough oversaw one of the most extraordinary feats in English football by taking Forest out of the second-tier and to a league Championship and two European Cups, in 1979 and 1980, all in the space of four years.
It was at Forest where the now 50-year-old former England forward Nigel launched his playing career, when his father was still the manager, and he went on to make more than 300 appearances for the City Ground club.
Forest are two points and a place above Burton, with both clubs battling to avoid the drop.
Yet for all his emotional attachment to Forest, Clough has a good relationship with the Burton Albion chairman Ben Robinson, who gave him his first start in management in 1998.
By contrast Fawaz Al Hasawi, the Kuwaiti businessman who is the owner and chairman of Forest, is now looking for his eighth permanent manager since he took over in 2012 after Philippe Montanier was sacked this month.
Clough, who has also managed at Forest’s bitter local rivals Derby County and Sheffield United, said staying at Burton was the “right thing to do”.
“Having started this historic season in the Championship it is only right that we should stay and continue the job of trying to achieve the miracle of keeping Burton Albion in the Championship,” he said Monday. “Staying is the right thing to do.”
Robinson added: “We are delighted that Nigel Clough has decided to continue the excellent job he has done at the club since rejoining us in December 2015.
“At that time we did agree that if Nottingham Forest made an approach for him, due to his long association with the club, that we would allow both parties to talk.
“When an approach was made we gave Nigel the opportunity to talk to Nottingham Forest but now we are happy to report that he will be staying at the Pirelli Stadium.
“I have always said that that job was as difficult as a featherweight taking on a super heavyweight but I know Nigel, his backroom team and the players will give everything to keep Burton Albion in the Championship.”
Clough’s refusal to jump into the City ground hotseat is another setback for Al Hasawi who, on the back of a collapsed takeover for Forest by an American consortium, has found it tough to find a replacement for Montanier.
Forest are five points above the relegation zone in the Championship and face bottom-of-the-table Rotherham on Tuesday.
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