“Look Duncan, you’re a journalist. One day you’ll write a book about this club. Or, more to the point, about me. So you may as well know what I’m thinking and save it up for later when it won’t do any harm to anyone.”
Duncan Hamilton was there through all the madness, the success, the failures, the fall-outs, the drink, and the crumbling of Brian Clough’s heady twenty years as manager of Nottingham Forest. He saw it all. From his first day on the job sitting in Clough’s office, a nervous, green sixteen year-old sat opposite one of the self-proclaimed giants of the English game, politely refusing a morning whiskey, he would become an integral part of Clough’s empire, and eventually one of his most trusted confidants.
From the breakdown of Clough’s testy relationship with Peter Taylor, his co-manager and joint founder of Forest’s success, through the unrepeatable double European cup triumph, and on into the wilderness of the mid-eighties through which Clough’s alcoholism would play an evermore damaging role, Hamilton had access to every aspect of the club, and more remarkably, the man in charge. Here, he paints a vivid portrait of a huge personality, a man with a God-given gift for management and the watertight confidence and ego to stare down his detractors in the media, boardroom and beyond. A man who grabbed life, and most of his players, by the balls and wouldn’t let go until he got his way.
This is a strikingly intimate portrait, at times sad, at others joyous, in which one of the unforgettable characters of English football is laid bare. But it is also the story of a man’s education in the bizarre happenings of the football world, appreciatively guided by the most wonderful, loud-mouthed, big-headed and cocksure teacher of all.
Reviews of Provided You Don’t Kiss Me: 20 Years with Brian Clough
- ‘Anyone who remembers Clough should read this book, and one can only hope the younger generation of fans will seek out the tale of one of the true characters of the game that existed before Sky TV. While accepting the enigma of Clough will endure, Hamilton has probably come closer than anyone ever will to distilling a remarkable football coach and unforgettable man.’ Sean O’Connor
- ‘This gem of a book successfully casts fresh light on numerous facets of Clough’s complex personality and managerial style. A brilliantly insightful, superbly crafted book and essential reading for anyone who wonders what made the great Brian Clough tick.’ Jon Spurling, FourFourTwo. ***** ‘Best Book’
- ‘He drank on duty, punched employees, called journalists “shithouses”, produced classic one-liners and was rumoured to like a bung – but he got results. No, not Gene Hunt from Life on Mars, but another Seventies icon, Brian Clough. Playing the Sam Tyler role here is Duncan Hamilton, a teenage reporter on the Nottingham Evening Post. Readers of David Peace’s novel “The Damned Utd”, set in 1974, will be familiar with Clough’s boozy, brilliant, bombastic world. Hamilton’s reality is just as entertaining.’ Pete May, Independent
- ‘”Provided You Don’t Kiss Me” is a case of great title, great book.’ Sunday Express
- ‘What I enjoy most about this beautifully written and tender account of the relationship between a nervous young provincial reporter and a football genius is the sense of genuine proximity to its subject, so that Clough’s obvious flaws seem forgivable and even beguiling, rather than cruel and unbearable. Wonderful book.’ Russel Brand, Guardian
- ‘1970s England, damp and grey is beautifully evoked.’ Will Cohu, in the Daily Telegraph ‘Books of the Year’
- ‘Exhibiting a refreshing turn of phrase, Hamilton explains why the mercurial Clough would not survive in today’s game.’ Arena