Brian Clough was a controversial, larger-than-life figure and one of the last football managers to rule his club without consulting his chairman or his shareholders.
Leading his teams to two League Championships and two European Cups were achievements considerable enough to earn him a place in the history of the game.
His often outrageous pronouncements and eccentric behaviour made Clough the best-known manager in Britain, and fair game for impressionists on television and radio.
Born in Middlesbrough, the sixth of eight children, he failed the eleven-plus examination, and left school at 15 for a job as a local clerk.
Brian Clough's brilliant record
He took Forest to two European Cups
He scored 251 goals in 274 games for Boro and Sunderland
Clough won 594 of 1,319 matches as a manager
A year later he signed for Middlesbrough FC, beginning what was to be a brief but successful career as a centre-forward.
In 274 appearances for Middlesbrough and Sunderland he scored 251 goals, a post-war record, and was capped twice for England.
But Clough's playing days ended on Boxing Day 1962 with a serious knee injury in a game playing for Sunderland against Bury.
Beginning his managerial career with Fourth Division Hartlepool he was, at 30, the youngest manager in the Football League.
After two successful seasons, he joined Derby County.
Cloughie: Success as a centre-forward
By this time, Clough was beginning to make his mark for his shrewd approach to management - and also his eccentric behaviour.
His detractors found him arrogant and rude, but no-one could deny that his methods worked.
Derby took the Second Division title in 1969 and the League Championship in 1972.
When a row with the directors forced his resignation a year later, there were protest marches in Derby.
Two weeks later he joined Brighton, but stayed only nine months before being lured to Leeds United to begin one of British football's top jobs.
His reputation for aggressive management soon got him into trouble, and he was sacked after only 44 days when the players mutinied.
Clough's next move, to Nottingham Forest in 1975, launched the most successful period of his career.
The club won promotion from the Second Division in 1977, and went on to win two European Cup titles, a League Championship and the League Cup on four occasions.
But the FA Cup eluded him. Nottingham Forest lost to Spurs in the 1991 final. He also failed in his ambition to manage the national side, being turned down for the England job in 1977.
His outspoken comments continued to feed his reputation, but the public still loved him as one of the few instantly-recognisable football managers in Britain.
He insisted on good behaviour by both players and supporters, and caused a stir during a 1989 game by chasing fans off the pitch and slapping one of them.
44 tumultuous days at Leeds United
Later he invited two of the offending fans to the ground for a chat and mutual forgiveness, literally kissing and making up.
By 1991 he was the longest-serving manager in the league.
The recipient of an OBE in the Birthday Honours list, he responded typically with the comment that it stood for Old Big 'Ead.
Two years later, after 18 years at Forest, Brian Clough retired. Heavy drinking had affected his health, and he was a shadow of his former self.
His fragile health meant that he avoided FA disciplinary action over alleged illegal payments for players and retired to the Derbyshire hills.
'Cloughie' was a phenomenon. His abrasive manner alienated some of those colleagues closest to him.
But he was a natural motivator who produced some of the most talented teams of recent years, and inspired sporting and managerial success.