Legendary football feud inspires writer

A FORMER BBC journalist from Suffolk will see his first book on one of football’s greatest rivalries hit the shelves this weekend.

Roger Hermiston spent the best part of two decades working as an editor on Radio Four’s flagship Today Programme before switching his hectic London life for the tranquillity of Suffolk to become a writer.

Clough and Revie – The Rivals Who Changed the Face of English Football, captures the lives of Brian Clough and Don Revie - two of English football’s most iconic figures - from their childhoods in the tough streets of Middlesbrough to their intense high-profile feuds of the 1970s.

Mr Hermiston, who lives with his partner Eileen Wise, near Cavendish, said the idea for the book stemmed back to a night- shift as a young reporter on the Yorkshire Post when news broke that Don Revie had died.

“I discovered that he was born in Middlesbrough, where my father’s family came from, and I was always determined to return to his story,” he said. “I discovered that both Clough and Revie were born eight years apart but just a few streets away from each other. Their family lives were quite different but their stories are equally fascinating and had a huge impact on football.”

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After leaving the BBC he spent last year first researching and then writing the book from an office built in his back garden with views across the Suffolk countryside.

He said numerous trips to Middlesbrough were interspersed with fascinating insights on the two men’s lives through interviews with their fellow professionals, family and some of the biggest names in British TV and sport.

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“I interviewed Jack Charlton, Eddie Gray, Peter Lorimer and had a some very interesting conversations with Michael Parkinson and Geoffrey Boycott who was a very close friend of Clough in the early 1960s,” he said.

Explaining the changes both men brought to the game Mr Hermiston said Revie’s focus on tactical dossiers of opposing teams, player’s diets and new training regimes took the game “kicking and screaming” into the modern era.

He said: “Much of Revie’s legacy comes from the dirty reputation his Leeds team had and how he left the England team in the lurch, but he was a great man and I think history will treat him a little more kindly.

“As for Clough, no-one will ever repeat what he did at Nottingham Forest but it was the strength of his personality, his use of the media, especially TV, that paved the way for football to enter the showbiz arena.”

The book will be on sale from April 7, priced �10.99.

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