It's about time somebody commented on this iconic video on FTBpro. Not only are we left wondering: what was up with John Motson's mini mullet? We are also left in awe at how he is so easily humiliated by a young Brian Clough at his ebullient best. From the very first comment where he accuses Motson of being petrified, to the efficient and condescending "good lad!" at the end, Clough offers a masterclass in how to handle the media without spin doctors - and with arms folded headmaster-style the whole time.
Motson has long commanded a reputation of being a football geek, who would probably be a lot smarter if he didn't devote so much time to his Rothman's. Frank Skinner and David Baddiel famously inquired as to what his wife might think about his persistently practicing the names of male players in bed! Clough had clearly identified Motty's geeky tendencies in previous interviews, and plotted his downfall with the consummate ease with which he felled opposing managers on a weekly basis.
Motty tries so ardently to be competent if not confident, but seems continually thrown by Clough's sharp and at times acerbic answers. At times, he dazzles with his insight, such as when explaining why the football league crown is so important to him. He says that a championship-winning manager must have "everything about him" and might even have to be "a bit daft!" His comments on then-new signing Trevor Francis also shed light on his no-holds-barred man management, berating him in front of the camera and assuring viewers that Francis' "priorities have been put right." By whom, and by what means, are the questions which are begged!
The most fiery part of the interview, of course, concerns Clough's legendary damning indictment of the BBC, which no manager would ever be allowed to get away with now. He accuses pundits of "lecturing," of being "judge and jury," and of tending towards the "dogmatic, overbearing and boring." MOTD is dismissed as boring, over-analytical, and violating the maxim that "an Englishman's home is his castle," by trying to force fans to think a certain way. He also lambasts the treatment of referees in the media, claiming that not enough emphasis is put on the sheer lack of time they have to make a decision compared to pundits lazing around in arm-chairs looking at a slow-motion replay.
It's fire and brimstone stuff, but it's what made Cloughie so riveting. Such outspokenness certainly cost him the England job on more than one occasion. But when you're that good at what you do, who cares!