Although Brian Clough retired from management 11 years ago, he continued to monitor football with his usual passion.
He followed the fortunes of his son, Nigel - the player-manager at Burton Albion - and relished the chance to pass on his deep knowledge of the game to his grandson who lived next door.
Many of his former players at Derby and Nottingham Forest would call on him in his retirement.
Brian Clough never shirked a challenge on or off the field and he made a lot of people laugh along the way
The loyalty and affection they felt for Clough was at odds with his old reputation as an egotistical ogre when he used to dominate the dressing room with the sheer force of his personality.
Clough's achievements as manager established him firmly in the pantheon of the all-time British greats.
He won the championship with two different clubs, Derby and Forest and the European Cup twice in succession with a group of players that played above themselves.
A tribute to the methods and man-management of Clough and his valued assistant Peter Taylor.
But on a wider level, Brian Clough was a genuine original.
With his vivid eloquence and willingness to challenge the established order of football, he was the best manager the England team never had, and also a refreshing antidote to many modern managers who deal in platitudes and evasions.
Brian Clough never shirked a challenge on or off the field, and he made a lot of people laugh along the way.