Tuesday, 26 February 2008

They Are Not For Sale

The following is a fictionalized account of Brian Clough's very real attempt to buy Bobby Moore and Trevor Brooking in late September 1973. It is taken from David Peace's excellent 'The Damned UTD'...

You have been told there is no money. You have been told not to buy any new players. You have been told there is no money for transfers. But you lose 1-0 at Coventry and you know you have to buy some new players. You make a telephone call. You drive down to London. To the Churchill Hotel.
'I hear you are interested in winning a championship medal?'
'Who wouldn't be?'
'Someone who already had one.'
Bobby Moore smiles. Bobby Moore grins. Bobby Moore, captain of West Ham and England. Bobby Moore, World Cup winner and national treasure.
'Would you play for Derby County?' you ask him.
Bobby Moore lights another fag. Bobby Moore laughs, 'Why not?'
'That'll do for me,' you tell him and take him for lunch in the restaurant.
'I'm afraid,' begins the maitre d'hotel at the door, 'that Mr Moore is not dressed appropriately for our restaurant...'
'Listen to me,' you tell him. 'My team will never stay here again if my player can't sit in this restaurant, my player who has won the World Cup for this country, my player who has done more for this bloody country than any other person you have had in your fucking little restaurant!'
'I don't play for you yet,' whispers Bobby Moore.
'Shut up!' you tell him. 'You're my player. I'll ring Ron straight after lunch.'


You do not make an appointment. You do not telephone. You go straight to Upton Park. You do not wait in line and you do not knock on Ron Greenwood's door. You just walk right into his office and tell him, 'I'm here for a chat. Now, have you got any whisky?'
Ron Greenwood gets to his feet. Ron Greenwood gets you a whiskey.
'Any water?' you ask him. 'I am driving.'
'The kitchen's just round the corner,' he tells you.
You go off to find the kitchen. You get the receptionist to take you up to the directors' box. You ask her all sorts of questions about West Ham United, about Ron Greenwood and Bobby Moore-
Twenty minutes later, you're back in Ron's office-
'I've been having a good look around this place,' you tell him. 'Isn't it lovely? All nice and spruce. You don't know how lucky you are, a nice place like this.'
'Glad you like it,' says Ron Greenwood. 'Was there anything else?'
'Yes,' you tell him. 'I want to sign Bobby Moore and Trevor Brooking.'
'You can't be serious, Brian?'
'Every man's got his price,' you tell him. 'And I'd make sure it was a nice big bloody price, with a nice big fucking piece of it for you and for Bobby and Trevor.'
'They're not for sale,' says Ron Greenwood.
'How about we start at £300,000 for the pair of them, plus your slice?'
'They're not for sale,' he says again.
'Well then, how about £400,000 for the pair of them, plus your slice?'
'Brian,' says Ron Greenwood, 'they are not for sale.'
'Well listen then, if I can't have Moore, can I have Brooking? Or how about this? If I can't have Brooking, can I have Moore?'
'They're not available,' he says again. 'But I'll pass your offer on to the board.'
'How about £500,000?' you ask. '£500,000 for the pair of them? Not forgetting your slice of the cake for all your toil and trouble. Can't say fairer than that, now can we, Ron?'
Ron Greenwood is on his feet again, the door to his office open-
'Any chance of another whiskey then?' you ask him. 'One for the road?'


MoonCat said...

That is a great book! I have read somewhere that they are going to make it into a film. I hope they do it justice rather than just make another crap biopic like the George Best one.

Pickles said...

Michael Sheen is the name I have heard to play Cloughie. Facially I can't see it, but there's no doubt the geezer knows how to 'inhabit' a character so we shall see.


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