The news that Nottingham Forest owner and chairman Fawaz Al Hasawi has revealed plans to rename the Main Stand, in honour of Peter Taylor, is a fitting tribute to a man the club owes so much

It was a somewhat belated effort when the Executive Stand – built in the years after the extraordinary success in the European Cup – was finally renamed the Brian Clough Stand. And as the years go on that success not only looks more remarkable but the people responsible are elevated to a legendary status unlikely to be equalled.

John McGovern, Martin O’Neill, John Robertson and Frank Clark, to mention a few, are names whose past as well as current status, among Forest fans at least, remain in particularly high esteem. The forthcoming film I Believe In Miracles will cement their place in footballing history.

There’s even a statue of Clough himself, recognising the affection in which he is held across Nottingham for putting this great city on the map during the 20th century.

And yet something has been missing. For a club that many opposing fans claim to live in the past, there’s a name which receives very little, if any, official recognition. A name whom this great club would not be the same without. A name who is remembered forever alongside a certain ebullient manager, both of whom have a statue dedicated to their work at another club a short drive down the A52.

Peter Taylor’s own daughter wrote a book about the neglect his achievements have received. The man who was joined at hip with Brian Howard Clough from the day they met at Middlesbrough Football Club in 1958 till they fell out in 1982; a moment Clough went on to regret. Taylor was an integral part of the success the two shared throughout their partnership at Hartlepools, Derby County and Nottingham Forest.

Clough described Taylor’s arrival in 1976 — 18 months after Old Big ‘Ead — as “the best bit of business this club has done in years”.

Preferring to stay out of the limelight, Taylor was more than an assistant manager – Clough always insisted they came as a pair. As Clough put it himself, “I am the shop front, he is the goods at the back.” And it was always ‘Clough and Taylor’, rarely just Clough.

His eye for a player took him all over the country, scouting the lower leagues for talent others couldn’t spot. Indeed Jonathan Wilson, in his Clough biography Nobody Ever Says Thank You, suggests the difference after Taylor is that Clough didn’t sign the rough diamond, bad boys like Kenny Burns but opted for clean-cut, polite players who played elegant passing, swift counter-attacking football in his utopian style – but without the bite or aggression.

In the year of the club’s 150th anniversary — and with the 25th anniversary of Taylor’s death next month — there can be no more fitting time to finally, and formally, recognise the importance of a local boy who did more for Nottingham Forest than many realise.


Have something to tell us about this article?