Nottingham Forest fans will be able to walk in the footsteps of club legend Brian Clough thanks to a new walking book.
The Clough Walk: From Nottingham to Sunderland, is by Nottingham authors Martin Perry and Geoff Smith.
It details the 215-mile journey from the end of Clough’s legendary footballing life in Nottingham at Trent Bridge, to its beginnings on Roker Beach, Sunderland, where Clough would go on long runs in an effort to save his doomed playing career after injury.
The walk is described as “a beautiful, exhilarating long-distance walk that passes through the towns and cities associated with the illustrious career of Brian Clough both as a player and a manager”.
Author Martin Perry says it’s a gentle route that will appeal to all types of walker.
He said: “Most walks are circular or they are linear, going from A to B, but this walk is through a man’s life, and that’s an original concept.
“There are no really mountainous sections in it and it is quite beautiful, it does use a lot of the established walking trails.
“The Peak District is absolutely stunning, the walk goes from the south border of Yorkshire to the north which is another plus and the real highlight is we pick up 15 miles of the Durham coastal path at the end which is great.”
It took 67-year-old Martin five years to fully complete and map the walk with co-author Geoff Smith joining him for two-and-a-half years of the walk before he was taken ill.
Martin said the book has full endorsement of Brian’s family, who he said had been “very supportive” of the project.
Brian Clough’s footballing career
Playing Career: Middlesbrough, 1955-1961, 213 apps, 197 Gls, Sunderland, 1961-1964, 61 apps, 54 Gls
Managerial Career: Hartlepool United, 1965-1967, Derby County, 1967-1973, Brighton & Hove Albion, 1973-1974, Leeds United, 1974 (44 days), Nottingham Forest, 1975-1993
Sunderland fan Martin said: “They rang me up and said ‘this is fantastic’ because Brian’s major leisure activity was walking, he absolutely adored walking.
“When Simon Clough saw we had chosen Roker Beach as the end of the walk, he was quite emotional.
“The reason was because when his dad’s playing career ended at the age of 29 with an horrendous injury, he said he use to sit as a young lad on that beach and his dad would run up and down the steps trying to get fit again, he didn’t want his career to be over.”
Martin moved from Sunderland to Nottingham in 1967 where he has lived with his wife for 47 years.
He later met co-author and Forest fan Geoff in 1971 ,with whom he attended Nottingham Forest home games, including the famous European Cup campaigns.
He added: “In 1992 I was a deputy head of a school in Nottingham and I wrote to Brian Clough to ask if he would be good enough to come and present some cups and prizes at our awards ceremony.
“He came along and was absolutely lovely with the kids, the book includes a picture of me on stage with him, I always felt in a way indebted to him for that so that was part of the motivation for the walk.”
The pair of football fans later became avid walkers and walked all the major walking trails together.
He said: “As with anybody who writes a walk like this I hope that in a hundred years time people are still doing it.
“All we hope is people enjoy the walk, Brian’s daughter Elizabeth said she has never really walked but now she is going to get her hiking boots on.”