Belfast Telegraph

Brian Clough and Billy Bingham changed my life, says David Campbell

By Steven Beacom

David Campbell has revealed how two of Britain's most treasured football managers transformed his life and continue to inspire him to this day.

The former Northern Ireland star, who inspired the movie Shooting for Socrates which will premiere here next month, has told the Belfast Telegraph that three decades on from playing for Billy Bingham and Brian Clough he still has much to thank them for.

Campbell signed for Nottingham Forest, when they were European champions, and spent several years working under the legendary Clough.

Campbell recalls: "He was a genius who could lift you up and also bring you back down to earth when he needed to.

"I wasn't necessarily the best player but come match days I would have run through a brick wall for that man. He made you feel special.

"He taught me a lot, not just about football but about how to conduct myself off the pitch which has stood me in good stead to this day."

Campbell remembers how Clough, who nicknamed the Ulsterman 'Irish', played a part in him making it into the Northern Ireland squad by encouraging Bingham to select him at international level.

When Campbell speaks about Bingham he almost does it in hushed tones such is his respect for the man who led Northern Ireland to the 1982 and 1986 World Cup finals.

When the dream for the Shooting for Socrates film started to become reality, Campbell visited Bingham at his home.

"We had spoken to Billy's son and he arranged for us to go round and I must admit I was still in awe going to see him," says Campbell.

"I was wondering what I should call him; Mr Bingham or gaffer. I don't normally get shy in front of people but in his house that day I felt very humble.

"He gave me a big hug and we sat down and talked. It was a privilege to be there with him. I will forever be indebted to him. Billy Bingham changed my life."

It's unclear whether Billy, who suffers from dementia and is now 83, will be at the premiere. David is happy to relay that his 85-year-old mum Ellen will attend however. Sadly dad James, so proud of all of his son's achievements, passed away last year.

He will be in David's thoughts at the Waterfront Hall as the film begins as will 1986 World Cup hero and fans favourite Alan McDonald who died in 2012.

It's sure to be an emotional and uplifting night.

Belfast Telegraph


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