Two Of A Kind

Loyal Duo Still Flying High

Another highly familiar Fergie on the touchline.

Clough and Ferguson….two names that will forever be associated with true managerial greatness and the winning of football’s ultimate prizes.

Nigel and Darren are two chips off the same block, not in terms of the quality of achievement in the dug-out but in longevity at least.

How else do we begin to comprehend why they are still grafting away in the lower divisions, obviously in love with the game and determined to add their own imprints on the record books? 

They surely aren’t in work at Mansfield and Peterborough for the money. Their dads’ legacy has and will, we hope, ensure that they are free to take their foot off the gas whenever they choose to.

But Clough Jnr is three and a half years into life as the Stags’ boss, having earlier served Burton Albion for an incredible 16 years across two spells. There hasn’t been too much glamour in those postings – they are only for those prepared to get their hands dirty. 

Despite some spectacular recent setbacks, he and his club are well placed now for another promotion, with a top-three finish on the cards if they can retain their rich goal-scoring touch.

Ferguson is now in his fourth stint as Posh boss, seeking a remarkable fifth promotion with them and preparing to lead them out at Wembley today in the EFL Trophy final.

What a record that is, made even more remarkable by the fact that he had his club on the brink of another play-off final appearance last May until a 4-0 semi-final first-leg lead over Sheffield Wednesday was spectacularly overturned at Hillsborough.

Once more, the 52-year-old had his side as League One’s top scorers going into this weekend’s games and you can bet his dad, with his insistence on playing thrilling attacking football, fully approves. But will Fergie Snr forsake Manchester United v Liverpool today to be at Wembley?

Darren is certainly possessed of some of the same sense of durability. Let’s not forget he spent five and a half years as a Wolves player in the 1990s, then gave eight years and well over 300 senior appearances to Wrexham after a spell with Sparta Rotterdam.

And it was in his time in North Wales that he lifted this trophy as both a skipper and goalscorer. I was despatched by The Independent to cover the 2005 final against Southend at the Millennium Stadium, with Ferguson’s goal providing the killer blow in a 2-0 victory.

Darren on the cover of a 1996-97 Wolves programme.

Those interested in sampling the flavour of Peterborough’s season and achievements might enjoy catching up with the 90-minute Barry Fry: My Way Sky Sports documentary which aired on Friday evening.

Remarkably, the Posh director of football celebrates his 79th birthday today, loves Wembley and credits the manager with creating a special spirit that he has never previously known at the club.

Ferguson has been in charge for around 600 matches across his four Peterborough spells and also steered them to the winning of the 2013-14 EFL Trophy.

The kick-off in today’s Bristol Street Motors Trophy showdown against Wycombe is at 4.30.

 

 

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