John Robertson, the double European Cup winner described by Brian Clough as “the Picasso of our game”, is to be honoured with a place in the hall of fame at the National Football Museum.
Robertson, widely recognised as the greatest player in Nottingham Forest’s history, will be inducted in a special ceremony in November to mark his achievements with the team that won the 1978 First Division championship before back-to-back European Cup triumphs.
The museum had already planned to honour Clough’s team in its next wave of inductees, to be announced on Tuesday, but has now decided to commemorate the player who set up the winning goal for Trevor Francis in the 1979 European Cup final and then supplied the decisive finish the following year when Forest defeated Kevin Keegan’s Hamburg.
Forest’s achievements from 1977 to 1980 also included reaching three League Cup finals, winning twice, and beating Barcelona in the European Super Cup as well as going on a 42-match unbeaten run in the league, a record that stood for 26 years until Arsenal’s 49-game sequence from May 2003 to October 2004.
Robertson was only on the fringes of the team when Clough inherited a side who were 13th in the old Second Division in January 1975 and had come close to being swapped by the previous manager, Allan Brown, for a player called Ronnie Glavin from Partick Thistle. Instead Robertson became such an integral part of Clough’s side his team-mate that Martin O’Neill has described him as “the most influential player in Europe for three seasons”.
Robertson, now 63, had a brief spell at Derby County before finishing his career at Forest in 1983. The former Scotland international subsequently became O’Neill’s assistant during the Irishman’s successful managerial career, working alongside him at Wycombe Wanderers, Norwich City, Leicester City, Celtic and Aston Villa.
This article was written by Daniel Taylor, for theguardian.com on Monday 6th June 2016 20.19 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010