Peter Taylor - the perfect partner for Clough’s glory years

15th May 1979''Brian Clough and Peter Taylor, Nottingham Forest
15th May 1979''Brian Clough and Peter Taylor, Nottingham Forest

Today marks the 28th anniversary of the death of the legendary Peter Taylor – a man adored by football fans at both ends of the A52.

Brian Clough was always the focus of attention, but the two came as a pair and the chemistry between them was magical – the perfect combination of footballing yin and yang or good cop, bad cop.

Clough’s brashness and motivational skills dovetailed perfectly with Taylor’s quieter demeanour but talent for spotting a good player for Clough to mould into shape.

Clough once said: “I’m not equipped to manage successfully without Peter Taylor. I am the shop window and he is the goods in the back.”

To do what they did at Derby County and then replicate it next door at Nottingham Forest underlined it was genius rather than good fortune that had been at work in those amazing days.

Both times they took a club mid-table in what is now the Championship and led them to the top flight title and European football, Derby making a European Cup semi-final and Forest winning it twice.

For two men who had been so close, it will be eternally sad that both died in the midst of an ongoing feud in which they stopped speaking to each other completely.

With Forest’s star starting to wane and Clough slowly deteriorating due to heavy drinking, Taylor abandoned ship and returned to manage Derby in November 1982.

But it was six months later the pair fell out big time when Taylor signed Forest’s star winger John Robertson without telling his former partner.

A furious Clough labelled Tylor a ‘rattlesnake’ and ‘a snake-in-the-grass’ and said: “We pass each other on the A52 going to work on most days of the week.

“But if his car broke down and I saw him thumbing a lift, I wouldn’t pick him up, I’d run him over.”

However, 28 years ago today Taylor suddenly died of pulmonary fibrosis while on holiday in Costa De Los Pinos, Majorca, at the age of 62.

Clough attended the funeral 11 days later and dedicated his 1994 autobiography to Taylor saying: “To Peter. Still miss you badly. You once said: ‘When you get shot of me there won’t be as much laughter in your life’. You were right.”

Taylor daughter, Wendy Dickinson, said: “Dad was much more than a talent scout, Brian was much more than the motivator.

“I don’t think it was a question of dad being the good guy and Brian being the bad guy. As Martin O’Neill says, you could get a pasting from Peter and Brian would be the one to put his arm around you.”

On the fall-out with Clough she added: “He was deeply upset. I think he always regretted not making it up with dad. If dad had lived I think possibly they would have.

“I love my dad, he was a great man. I’m not silly enough to believe he got everything right.

“Signing John Robertson without telling Brian was probably not the greatest decision of his life.”

Taylor has since been honoured with a statue of himself and Clough at Pride Park and the Main Stand at the City Ground named after him in October 2015.