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Derby Down Under: The Entertainers
Derby Down Under: The Entertainers
Friday, 26th Jun 2009 03:11 by Daniel J Sewart

You wouldn’t think you could make comparisons between Michael Jackson and Brian Clough but indeed you can. For one, I have shed a tear for both this week.

A few days ago I re-watched the brilliant ITV documentary ‘Clough’ and its affectionate portrayal of the man and views of those close to him. This brilliant program will strike a chord with anyone who holds affection for the great man. The strange part for me is I only discovered Clough Snr at the tail end of his amazing life, yet feel drawn to his story. I can only imagine what it must have been like for those who lived through it.

Towards the end of the doco I found myself shedding a tear for ol' big 'ead. A life that included so much success and yet was tragically shorter than it should have been. His passing robbed us all of his opinions and thoughts on today’s game that would have been pure gold compared to the continual dross most pundits roll out.

Come Friday the passing of Michael Jackson also managed to extract some saltwater from my overworked tear ducts. I am an emotional person but this was a moment in time that I dreaded but really didn’t know how much until it happened.

As the biggest Michael Jackson fan on the planet (along with billions of other biggest fans) from the age of 7, he is a man who through music alone. The first album I bought was Thriller, it includes a duet with Paul McCartney so I buy his stuff, find out about the Beatles through that and buy all of their stuff. From there came XTC, ELO etc etc etc.

My love of music lead to a career in radio, singing in bands and also it inspired me to write about that music for anyone who could be bothered to print it. Indirectly the gloved one inspired my whole career and personality in so many facets, without his music I may have been a totally different person. Who knows what I would have been become interested in… cars? horse racing?, interpretive dance? or even worse ….a Forest fan?

The unlikely comparison between Clough and Jackson was one that I got to thinking about this morning when the news broke in Oz. I passed Brian’s Autobiography on my book shelf and got to thinking that, even if you never met or knew them, both deeply affected and in many cases changed people’s lives.

In the case of Clough I watched the ITV doco for the first time the day I decided to take on the editor’s position of this site. Until then I was still unsure if I could or should do it. The pride and love for the club that swelled up inside of me while watching made me 100% positive there was only one answer I could ever give to the question.

I am not a subscriber to the ‘e-news’ , ‘reality TV’ generation where one needs to know everything about a person once they become famous for anything (or nothing) but sadly both men have suffered from bad press. Clough's battle with the bottle and controversy at Leeds United. Michael on a grander scale through pretty much everything after 1986.

If we were privy to the real truth then we would find both men were human but both struggled with the pressure of what they found themselves swept up in but in the case of Jackson to a much larger degree. Both invited controversy either by words or their actions but both also hypnotised those who appreciated their talents because they were entertained.

That is the key point in the whole comparison. Both entertained and both made people care about something that in reality did not matter a hill of beans in their daily lives. The fact that these men allowed fans to escape from their daily lives is what makes them so appealing. They had what we all want in their talent and if you don’t have it then it is human to want to share it in some way. And we did.

Sadly the same media that indirectly helped send Michael to the grave are now in tributes, finally giving him the respect he deserved for his talents while alive. That most of all goes to show the fickle world in which we live. The press always find respect in someone’s passing and in cases like this it holds a very sad irony.

Clough summed it up perfectly when he said:
"Don't send me flowers when I'm dead. If you like me, send them while I'm alive."

Controversy aside and whatever you think of Michael Jackson, he was the greatest entertainer of his time. Sadly he will never get the chance to revive his career as he was set to do with over a million fans left holding tickets to shows that will never be.

Rest in peace Michael.

You will be missed but your music lives on!

Gone Too Soon.
1958 - 2009

Photo: Action Images

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