Stuart Pearce recalls brilliant story of Brian Clough’s sarcastic letter to Pat Jennings after Arsenal goalkeeper was hit by DART thrown by Nottingham Forest fan

Brian Clough was truly one of a kind, and every hilarious story we hear about the former manager only increases his legend.

Widely regarded as “the greatest manager England ever had”, there will be stories told of his achievements in the game for generations, and as many stories told of his brilliant sense of humour.

Legendary manager Brian Clough has never been one to mince words

There is already no shortage of them, and many of them have been told and repeated on talkSPORT airwaves by those who worked alongside and played under the two-time European Cup-winning coach.

And former Nottingham Forest captain Stuart Pearce recalled another of those famous stories on talkSPORT Breakfast, involving Clough, legendary goalkeeper Pat Jennings and a dart.

It was the mid-1980s and Forest entertained Arsenal in a league clash at the City Ground and, well, here was Stuart with the rest…

“I was at a League Cup final about nine years ago and ran into Pat Jennings, and we started talking – he’s an incredible gentleman, a great statesman,” began Pearce.

“He was like, ‘You used to work for Brian Clough, didn’t you?’

“I said, ‘Yeah, I did it for eight years’.

6. Pat Jennings made 1088 appearances between 1963 and 1986
Arsenal legend Pat Jennings has been thrown a dart by a Nottingham Forest fan
Getty Images

“He went on to say, ‘That must have been interesting? ‘, and I laughed and agreed with him.

“Then he reached into his breast pocket and pulled out this letter. He said, “I got this letter from Brian Clough,” and he had it with him at the time.

“I asked him why, and he told me this fantastic story – in 1978 or 1979, he was playing for Arsenal and he plays against Nottingham Forest.

“He went behind the goal at Trent End to pick up the ball, and someone threw a dart from the crowd, and it got stuck right in his forearm!

“At the time, you didn’t care much about it. Pat just took it off his arm and put it in his glove bag.

Footballers were made of tougher stuff back then!

Pearce continued: “Pat came in at half time and had an antiseptic on his arm, and he said to his manager Don Howe, ‘Ssomeone threw this at me”.

Stuart Pearce recalls brilliant story of Brian Clough's sarcastic letter to Pat Jennings after Arsenal goalkeeper was hit by DART thrown by Nottingham Forest fan
Clough’s mischief and sense of humor are almost as legendary as his accomplishments on the pitch and in the dugout

“After the game, Howe goes up to Cloughy and says, ‘It’s absolutely outrageous, your fans are a disgrace, they’re animals – look what they did to my goalkeeper, he got kicked a dart and it’s stuck in his arm!

They thought it was the end, but tTwo days later this letter arrived to Pat on letterhead – Nottingham Forest Football Club.

“He was like, ‘Dear Pat, I have absolutely no sympathy for you.

“’Every time you come to the City Ground you stop anything coming your way, so it’s no surprise to me that you stopped the dart on that occasion.

“’Much love, Brian’.

“He showed me this letter and I was completely mad with laughter!

“I thought it was typical of Cloughy, and also typical of a player from that era who got hit by a dart and just went on the game.”


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