By Peter Glynn
Nigel Clough plays it down when it is put to him that he is currently the fifth longest serving manager in the English game.
Next season will be the Derby County boss’s fifth at Pride Park and before that the 47-year-old enjoyed ten seasons at Burton Albion.
However, when asked to share the secrets of his staying-power, Clough is quick to point to the worrying trend for firing managers rather than any special methods for longevity.
He said: “I am not sure [why I’ve lasted]; good fortune, maybe.
"I think it is more the trend of getting rid of managers. It certainly shouldn’t be the case that I am the fifth longest serving at four years.
“Unfortunately that is the way it seems to be going in English football at the moment and I hope that we might see a reverse of that trend in future seasons.”
Clough is one of a number of ex-players who have been studying for part one of the UEFA A Licence at St. George’s Park, The FA’s national football centre.
The former Nottingham Forest, Liverpool and Manchester City midfielder has been joined on the course by an impressive list of former pro's including Peter Schmeichel, Dwight Yorke, Ugo Ehiogu, Kevin Davies and Robbie Fowler – however the last two in the list are quick to point out they are yet to retire.
In many ways the presence of Clough is unique in as much as he already holds a position many of his fellow candidates would desire in the future.
He added: “A couple of them have been surprised when they have asked me, ‘how long have you been a manager?’ and I say ‘15 years’. They ask, ‘why are you on this one?’, but I think it is important for all candidates.”
With such rich experiences among the group Clough has been enthused by the candidates’ willingness to share ideas and knowledge: “That is one the biggest things and one of the nicest things.
"Listening to Peter Schmeichel talk about how he kept goal and his ideas, and then with Dwight Yorke as well from Manchester United, everybody can learn from what they have achieved and from people like them.”
Although the list of distinguished names on the course would have made an impressive side in their heydey, Clough says the practical sessions maybe haven’t been as active as they once would have been.
“It is strange because your mind is still there and it still wants to do things but your body won’t let you. We forget how old we are.”
Look out for further 'A' Licence interviews with Peter Schmeichel, Robbie Fowler, Dwight Yorke and Kevin Davies soon