Kicking my grannie, by Larry the man mountain
Considering what the current crop of Chelsea and Manchester United players would give for a Champions League winner's medal on Wednesday, one can only imagine the desperation Larry Lloyd must have felt to have given away two. But £12,000 does not sound much for irreplaceable pieces of footballing memorabilia the preserve of a select group of British players, the more so when you think that the lot sold at Christie's in 2001 also included a pair of First Division Championship medals, ditto the League Cup, two Super Cup mementoes and even a couple of England caps.
"I certainly feel as if I gave them away," Lloyd told Sportsmail as he single-handedly threatened to turn the Costa del Sol into the Costa del Shadow.
Once described as "almost as big as Nottingham Castle" by Brian Clough, Lloyd now threatens the Rock of Gibraltar as the biggest danger to shipping in that part of the Med. Not for nothing does a Spanish friend call him affectionately Montana, the mountain.
"Selling my European medals is the greatest regret of my life," Lloyd said. 'I feel sick when I think about it. But needs must when the devil drives and the devil was certainly at the wheel then."
Lloyd was suffering from depression at the time, having lost both his beloved public relations job with Nottingham Forest and a phone-in programme with a local radio station.
He needed to get away. The money received from the auction went to set up a bar in Fuengirola.
That has long gone. Now Lloyd does PR work for a property company there, at almost 60 years old still able to trade on his name and his reputation as football's hardest hard man, appealing in particular to ex-pats of that generation.
"Larry, I have come to the conclusion that you would kick your grandmother for a fiver," the legendary Bill Shankly said to the young Bristol Rovers player as talks began about a move to Liverpool.
"I would actually kick her for half of that," Lloyd replied. His is a modest lifestyle these days, even for someone for whom spells of impecuniosity have tended to outnumber periods of bounty.
"I am somewhere between skint and destitute," he said. "I have no idea who has my medals and stuff. But if I won the Lottery or came into some money, I would pay for a full page advertisement in the newspapers and offer to buy them back. They were my children's legacy."
His own legacy is safe, however. Lloyd still has his memories, if not his medals, and the record books will always identify him as an integral member of Clough's extraordinary Nottingham Forest team who progressed from the English Second Division to back-to-back European Cup successes in the space of three remarkable years.
"The first is always very special but my favourite was our second European Cup win over Hamburg in Madrid," Lloyd said.
"The Malmo Final in 1979 had been the bore of the century. We were expected to win. In 1980, everyone thought we would get hammered. Clough, who was certainly no tactical genius, came up with 4-5-1 25 years ahead of its time, simply as a damage limitation exercise. He was frightened of losing 3-0 or worse.
"Hamburg had Kevin Keegan and a load of German internationals. We had begun as the bunch of rebels, has-beens and no-hopers. Of course, I played with Kevin at Liverpool. Superstitiously, I always liked to be the fourth player in line in the tunnel.
"Waiting to walk out into the Bernabeu Stadium, I found myself right next to Kevin.
"We shook hands. 'Hey, big fellow, nice to see you,' he said. I told him that, because we always got on so well, we had a plan. I said: 'Kenny Burns is going to kick the living sh** out of you'. At that moment we both turned round to see Burnsie — by the way the ugliest footballer in the world (apart from Tommy Smith) — taking out his false teeth and putting some red gum into mouth. He looked as if he was eating red meat.
"I whacked Kevin once. Burnsie got him four times early on. He was cruel, very cruel that night. Kevin ended up picking up the ball at right back. That was the difference between me and Kenny. I knocked opponents down and left them. Kenny would step on them as well."
Lloyd was immense against Hamburg in a match he ought to have missed. Just 10 days earlier while playing his final match for England against Wales, as a graphic photograph in his autobiography illustrated, the ligaments in his left ankle were torn by a fierce Terry Yorath tackle.
Lloyd missed a "p*** up" in Majorca - Clough's idea of preparation - to have treatment in Nottingham, including a dozen injections.
"On the morning of the final we had a little five-a-side game. I strapped my own ankle up extremely tightly and tried to hide. Clough stood next to me and kicked away at my ankle, rat-atat, like a woodpecker. 'Just giving you a fitness test, son', he said. I was in agony but had to show no pain. He knew I wasn't fit. Happily, I had a really good game."
Clough's European campaigns remain unique in the folklore of football, sprinkled as they were with boozy bonding sessions, a refusal to talk about the opposition, the minimum of training and a tactic that boiled down to giving the ball to John Robertson, the "little, slow fat man" on the left wing. There was even some window shopping in the red light district of Amsterdam on the eve of a semi-final against Ajax.
"Peter Taylor always liked a deal," Lloyd said.
"He tried to negotiate a first time discount for Viv Anderson, who was the youngest. Viv, bless him, was really embarrassed.
"We were never coached in the true sense. We never worked on moves on the training ground. In fact, we hardly trained. If there was no midweek game we would finish the match on Saturday and Clough would say 'see you Thursday'.
"His secret, I suppose, was with Peter Taylor in building a team of players who knew precisely their job. He would never ask a player to do something he was not capable of doing and, importantly, he taught us to play without fear."
Unlike Clough, Lloyd and Burns always discussed the opposition.
"We would compare our discipline points and work out how many we needed for suspension. If, for example, Kenny had 14 and I was on 18, we would decide that Kenny would kick him first and that I would finish him off if it came to that."
How would the two destroyers have dealt with Cristiano Ronaldo and Didier Drogba?
"I would have put Ronaldo in row Y and Kenny would have put Drogba in row Z," Lloyd concluded.
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