Clough’s double European Cup winners, Newcastle’s attacking flair, the West Ham (England) side who won the World Cup and the stars who defined the beautiful game… the teams we LOVE to love

By Lee Clayton for MailOnline

Published: 22:57 GMT, 18 November 2013 | Updated: 11:22 GMT, 19 November 2013






Read Adrian Durham on those less lovable teams here

Last week, Adrian Durham sharpened his studs and picked the teams we love to hate. It was a two-footed tackle, the sort of which Don Revie’s Leeds used to deliver every five minutes.

I get the nice job… the chance to celebrate the beautiful game and to select the teams we love to love.

Well, when I say ‘we’… it’s a personal choice, so indulge me for a bit. I’m going to include two of the teams Adrian included in his list, Liverpool and Manchester United and explain why below.

Let us know if you agree – or the team you would have included in your personal selections. We all love (and hate) our own teams, but the criteria for this – I think – is for it to be teams who attracted love and joy beyond the usual parameters.

  Brian Clough’s double European Cup winners

Nottingham Forest are that team who took Birmingham’s reserve centre forward Kenny Burns, stuck him at centre back and then beat the best of Europe. Brian Clough was a genius.

He used John Robertson as his playmaker out wide, rather than in the traditional No10 position, long before Zinedine Zidane came onto the scene. Robertson, slightly overweight, was a revelation.

Big smile for ‘big ears’: Brian Clough proudly stands at the City Ground with the European Cup

Heroes: The Nottingham Forest side after the first of two European Cup wins in Munich 1979.

Back row: Viv Anderson, Peter Shilton, Chris Woods (behind), John McGovern, Ian Bowyer, David Needham, Trevor Francis, Frank Clark, John O’Hare.

Front row: Larry Lloyd, John Robertson, Tony Woodcock, detektif perselingkuhan Jimmy Gordon (standing), Kenny Burns, Garry Birtles 

Stalwarts: Kenny Burns (left) and John Robertson were the unlikely stars of Forest’s European Cup triumphs

Clough was a revolutionary and with Peter Taylor alongside him the management team brought home the European Cup in 1979 and 1980, when they retained the ‘cup with the big ears’.

This was, of course, long before the multi-millions of the Champions League. Clough’s Forest won promotion from the Second Division in 1977 and won the League title the following season. Then he won two European Cups. Can a provincial team ever recreate their success again? 

  VIDEO  Forest win the first of two European Cups against Malmo in 1979

Bobby Robson’s Ipswich underdogs

Like Forest, Ipswich played some lovely football – and they won pots too. They won the FA Cup in 1978, beating Arsenal 1-0 in the final and they had John Wark, Paul Mariner and Alan Brazil.

They had the first foreign Footballer of the Year in Dutchman Frans Thijssen and, with his countryman Arnold Muhren alongside him, they played some wonderful football.

Flair: Ipswich’s Frans Thijssen weaves through Liverpool defenders Alan Kennedy (left) and Alan Hansen

Steel: John Wark (left) and Terry Butcher were vital components of Bobby Robson’s cup-winning Ipswich side

Driving success: Manager Robson (left) and assistant Bobby Ferguson parade the UEFA Cup through the town

Scotsman Wark was their brilliant goalscoring midfielder (94 league goals in 266 appearances) and, at the back, they had Russell Osman and the mighty Terry Butcher.

Managed by Bobby Robson, it was his success at Portman Road that earned him the England job, just like predecessor Alf Ramsey, who won the league championship in 1962 before moving onto bigger cups.

Robson’s Ipswich didn’t get a title, but they finished second in the league to Aston Villa in 1981. A year later they won the UEFA Cup.

  VIDEO  Ipswich win the UEFA Cup in 1981 against AZ Alkmaar

Fergie’s Manchester United treble-winners

I had the pleasure of covering this United team. I shared an airport carousel once with Eric Cantona (he didn’t speak to me) and stood with him on the pitch at Old Trafford (when he did speak to me).

As for the serious stuff, it was a pleasure to watch Cantona and his arrogant, strutting skill. The collars raised, his straight back – many players shrank with the demands of playing for United, Cantona grew and kept growing.

Talisman: Eric Cantona was sensational for Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United before retiring in 1997

Jubilation: Ferguson led that side to a historic treble in 1999, including winning the Champions League

Drama: Ole Gunnar Solksjaer scored in the 93rd minute to clinch United the trophy at the death against Bayern

Sir Alex Ferguson always played with two wingers, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham, in a 4-4-2 formation shored up by Roy Keane. United swept all before them, winning the Champions League Final against Bayern Munich at the Nou Camp, when the game seemed lost.

They were a wonderful team. If you enjoy good football played at high tempo, what was not to love? Their treble winning year (Champions League, league title and FA Cup) came in 1999 and was a joy to behold. Unless you come from Munich.

  VIDEO  Re-live the drama as Manchester United clinch the Champions League in 1999

The Liverpool team who won it all

Television football was still the odd cup final, a few England games and usually the chance to watch Liverpool win another trophy.

Graeme Souness, Kenny Dalglish, Alan Hansen were three Scotsmen who were as revered then as the foreign talents of Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero today.

Tartan pride: Graeme Souness, Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen celebrating with the European Cup in 1981

Production line: The Anfield Boot Room brought us managerial legends like Bill Shankly (left) and Bob Paisley

And another one: Liverpool celebrate with the European Cup in 1984

Back row: Bruce Grobbelaar, Kenny Dalglish, Steve Nicol, Alan Hansen, Michael Robinson, Gary Gillespie, Mark Lawrenson, Ronnie Moran, Ian Rush, Tom Saunders

Front row: Ronnie Whelan, Phil Neal, Sammy Lee, Graeme Souness, Craig Johnston, Alan Kennedy, David Hodgson

They had the Boot Room production line of coaching brilliance following Bill Shankly and a British team who could kill a game away from home, slow the tempo and then hit you with a rapid counter-attacking move.

I played with Sammy Lee two or three times for the England press team and I couldn’t believe how good he was at creating space.

Adrian Durham included them in his teams to hate, but then wrote about how much he loved them really. I understand what he means, because they were so good, they were annoying.

  VIDEO  Watch Liverpool in their pomp winning the 1984 European Cup

The West Ham (England) team who won the World Cup

The captain was Bobby Moore, the two goalscorers in the World Cup Final were Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters.

Now, I accept that chap called Bobby Charlton and the goalkeeper, Gordon Banks, might have had something to do with it too, but it was the East End’s finest who lead the charge.

Iconic: Bobby Moore is held aloft by team-mates after England win the 1966 World Cup against West Germany

Blowing bubbles: England heroes Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore and Martin Peters (L-R) all played for West Ham

Folklore: Hammers hitman Hurst nets England’s third goal in the final at Wembley, which ended 4-2

Nobody can forget Nobby Stiles and his gap-tooth smile, either as England conquered all before them to lift the trophy – for the first and only time – on home soil.

Gazza’s England in Italia 90 reshaped the perception of modern football and Terry Venables was a penalty shoot-out away from emulating Sir Alf Ramsey and I was young enough to enjoy both of those.

But we have to start our list with the World Cup winners. And when your team hasn’t had much to shout about (and certainly not recently), forgive me for claiming a little bit of it for West Ham. This was the time when all England were blowing bubbles.

  VIDEO  Watch the greatest moment in English football history once more…

The Barcelona team who passed everyone to defeat

If you could pick any team in the world to watch live every week, using a time machine to get there and distance no object, it would be Barcelona, wouldn’t it? Pass and pass and then pass again.

Beautiful movement with the ball and incredible hard work without it, hunting down the ball in packs, before starting their rhythmic passing moves again.

Superstar: Lionel Messi has been the focal point for one of the greatest footballing sides of all time

Pass masters: Midfielders Xavi (left) and Andres Iniesta have been the vital cogs that make Barcelona tick

Maestro: Barca celebrate winning the Champions League in 2011 by throwing manager Pep Guardiola

In Lionel Messi, they have a stunning focal point to their attack, but it is the midfield mastery of Xavi and Andres Iniesta that makes them tick. They may not have achieved the back-to-back European Cup success of Brian Clough and Nottingham Forest, but most wouldn’t complain if they did.

Suggestions are that their best days may now be behind them, but if that is true, then it was a pleasure to see them at their best. Now it looks as if Pep Guardiola, their former manager, may be coaching the same type of football from his new team at Bayern Munich. Can they be as loved?

  VIDEO  Watch incredible footage of Guardiola’s Barca at their best

Hoddle’s swaggering Spurs

They should have won more trophies but they won lots of fans with their football, especially under Keith Burkinshaw. Hoddle was a playground pin-up of a footballer.

Even deep in East London, in West Ham heartland, there were still schoolboys looking to emulate Hoddle’s chips. Er, me included. Especially the one against Watford which mesmerised Steve Sherwood.

Strike a pose: Glenn Hoddle was a tour de force for a flair-filled Spurs side that entertained a nation

Silverware: Hoddle leads the charge as Spurs celebrate winning the 1981 FA Cup final over Manchester City

There was another stunning volley against Manchester United that was shown regularly on Match of the Day. Tottenham have always attempted to play with flair.

Ossie Ardiles played with five forwards for a short while and anyone steeped in football history will appreciate Bill Nicholson’s 1961 double winning team – the first double winners of the 20th century.

But they were before my time and so I am including this Spurs, and especially Hoddle, in my picks. They won the FA Cup in 1981 and ’82 and the UEFA Cup in 1984.

  VIDEO  Watch Glenn Hoddle’s stunning effort for Spurs against Watford

Manchester United reborn

I’ve read more about the Busby Babes than the Tottenham team under Bill Nicholson and this list would be incomplete without their achievements.

I won’t re-tell the story of what happened to Manchester United on a Munich runway. You don’t need me to. I can only imagine how good Duncan Edwards must have been and if Sir Bobby Charlton holds him in such high regard as a footballer, he must have been special.

Three Amigos: United’s success was built on Denis Law (left), Bobby Charlton (centre) and George Best

Winners: Manager Matt Busby holds the League Championship trophy aloft with his players at Old Trafford.

Left-right: Denis Law, Bill Foulkes, John Aston, Shay Brennan, David Sadler, Bobby Charlton, Alex Stepney, Busby, Jimmy Ryan, Tony Dunne, Pat Crerand, George Best

Champions: Busby laughs with the European Cup with Pat Crerand (left) and George Best

My selection here focuses in what happened after Munich when Manchester United rebuilt their club and, in winning the European Cup ten years later, they won the hearts of a nation.

In 1963, George Best joined Charlton and Denis Law and the trio created stunning attacking football, culminating in a 4-1 victory against Benfica at Wembley in 1968.

  VIDEO  Watch highlights of United’s first European Cup triumph

Newcastle’s attacking flair

It was an ‘I was there’ moment. Barcelona on the back foot and Keith Gillespie wriggling down the touch line, delivering arrowing crosses into the heart of the Catalonian defence.

Tino Asprilla, the frustrating but skilful Colombian striker, electrifying St James’ Park. When Kevin Keegan moved to Newcastle as a player, it was exciting times.

Mercurial: Faustino Asprilla (left) celebrates his hat-trick against Barcelona with Jon Dahl Tomasson

Demolition: Philippe Albert (right) celebrates his chip with Steve Howey in Newcastle’s 5-0 win over United

Messiah: Kevin Keegan (centre) was at the helm at a breathtaking time at St James’ Park

But here was a team, with Kenny Dalglish as manager, torturing Barcelona in the Champions League. It finished 3-2, Asprilla scored a hat-trick.

How can you include a team based on one game, you might ask. But they day they beat Manchester United 5-0, with Philippe Albert chipping Peter Schmeichel, was another occasion to enjoy this football hotbed rocking.

When Keegan returned as manager and they had a real go at United, they were exciting times to watch the club. I still enjoy going there when I get the chance.

It’s not difficult to love Newcastle when they get things right. It’s a shame they get so much wrong off the pitch these days. I hope for a better future for their supporters.

  VIDEO  Watch that Newcastle side’s finest moment as they wallop Manchester United 5-0

Brazil 1970

A team many believed to be the finest of the modern era, at least until Barcelona came along. This Brazil team, with Pele at the heart of their dazzling play, defined the beautiful game.

Again, I have enjoyed this team through research and many videos. It is the pace of their play that made them different to the teams of their era.

Jeff Powell, my colleague, can put it far better than me having watched the team he believes are ‘the greatest’.

Incredible: Brazil line up at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

Left-right: Carlos Alberto, Brito, Gerson, Piazza, Clodoaldo, Everaldo, Tostao, Pele, Rivelino, Jairzinho, Felix

Ecstasy: Jairzinho wheels away after scoring Brazil’s third in the World Cup final against Italy in 1970

Star among stars: Pele is hoisted in the air by his team-mates after Brazil won the match 4-1

After Spain’s recent successes, Powell wrote: ‘That duly said, the stampede to acclaim this Spanish team as the greatest in history is as feverish and hasty as the annual, wild-eyed and usually inebriated running with the bulls at Pamplona.

‘It is being led by commentators who never saw the Brazil of 1970. Spain are seductively attractive. Brazil are frequently not only beautiful but majestic’. (Read more here)

Majestic sums it up for me too. Pele, Jairzinho, Carlos Alberto, Gerson, Tostao. If you haven’t seen them yet, take a look. If you don’t love this team, take a hike.

   VIDEO  Watch one of the most revered goals of all-time with Carlos Alberto…





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