Trevor Francis scored the winning goal in Forest’s European Cup final success, just over three months after Brian Clough signed him from Birmingham for £1m.
Promoting the I Believe Miracles film by Jonny Owen and subsequent book by Daniel Taylor, Trevor answered a few questions for Metro…
How do you feel about being immortalised in film?
We’re flattered by the attention and it’s been great working with Jonny Owen (who directed I Believe In Miracles). But when I saw the film I started to become a little bit greedy and wish I’d been there a year before when they were winning the championship. You’ve got a great footballing team and the most charismatic manager there’s ever been in football, so it’s got all the ingredients to be a success.
How did your move to Forest come about?
I’d wanted to leave Birmingham for many years because I wanted to give myself a chance of winning something. I was fortunate when Jim Smith became manager because he was an honest, really good guy. But the transfer record at the time was £500,000 and what he didn’t tell me was that they were going to ask a million pounds. Coventry made a better financial offer but how lucky was I that Nottingham Forest, the only team in England who could challenge Liverpool, wanted me to play for them?
What was it like playing for Brian Clough?
Not just Brian, Peter Taylor was a brilliant No.2 and the two of them together were special. Our team meetings would probably only last two or three minutes but Peter would tell one or two funnies and Brian would dovetail the two of them. I’d still be laughing as I went down the motorway. They were like Morecambe and Wise.
Your most famous moment was the winner in the 1979 European Cup final. You were really moving when you headed John Robertson’s cross into the net.
Could you what Brian Clough’s would have been if he’d put that ball to the back post and I’d still been lingering back?
How much of Clough did you take into your own managerial career?
You take little things from him but you’d be foolish to try and copy him. I suppose Jose Mourinho is the nearest now but he’s not near. Cloughie was a total one off. He was in total control of Nottingham Forest. As good as Mourinho is, he’s got to answer to Roman Ambramovich so it’s difficult to compare, but Cloughie wouldn’t have allowed it to have got to where it is now at Chelsea.
How well would that Forest team do in today’s environment?
We’d have been even better now. Look at the pitches – you can’t tell now whether it’s the first week of August or the second week of May, the pitches are absolutely immaculate. And we played beautiful football.
This Q&A (but not quite as long!) first appeared in Metro.