FORMER keeper Mark Crossley played almost 400 games for Nottingham Forest over 12 years with nearly half of them spent under manager Brian Clough.
Crossley had a special relationship with Cloughie, a man he says was the greatest.
But the former Forest boss gave Crossley a nickname from the moment he joined the club that stuck between the two of them.
He said: “Without doubt, it was a term of endearment but he always called me ’S***house’!
“Bless him, for a “s***house” I did quite well playing 566 games in my club career and winning eight caps for Wales too.
“I never took offence, it was just his way and I owe him such a great debt for giving me my opportunity.”
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Barnsley born and bred, Crossley was taken on as an apprentice at Forest in 1987 but was fourth choice keeper the following season behind Steve Sutton, Hans Segers and Paul Crichton.
He remembers his midweek debut against Liverpool on October 26, 1988 vividly.
“I didn’t have a clue I would be playing", he continued
“Steve Sutton had gone down with a virus, Segers was out on loan, Crichton was injured and it was too late to get anyone else on loan, so it was only me left.
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“As an apprentice I arrived to get my usual set of instructions. This time I was told to turn the visitors’ dressing room heating up to full blast because apparently, it dehydrates the opposition.
“Along with the other apprentices, we were falling about when we saw Kenny Dalglish coming out of the dressing room covered in sweat asking if someone could turn down the heating because they were melting!
“All this time, I had no idea that the club had sent out a call to my dad telling him to get down to Nottingham that night because Mark would be playing, but not to tell him.
“At 7pm I was in the boot room minding my own business cleaning Ian Bowyer’s boots, just before he was going out for his warm-up.
“That’s when I heard Cloughie shouting: 'S***house, get your boots on and it would help if you put your gloves on as well – you’re playing.
"I couldn’t get my head round it. I thought he was winding me up. Remember, there was no goalie coach back then.
“I followed him into the dressing room and my boots were there. I had to borrow a pair of gloves. It was brilliant management because I only had 45 minutes until kick off and I had no time to think about the game
“Of course, when I realised it was Liverpool with John Barnes, Peter Beardsley and Ian Rush up front I was facing it was no wonder I was told so late.
“We won the game 2-1 but bizarrely I can remember so little about the game.”
S***house, get your boots on and it would help if you put your gloves on as well – you’re playing.
Brian Deane might be the great football pub quiz question of the first player to score in the Premier League era, but it’s closely followed by Crossley being the first to score an OWN GOAL in the PL.
There have been 1,085 own goals since the start of the top-flight’s Prem era in 1992-93 and Crossley was indeed the first against Blackburn on September 5, 1992.
The former keeper remembers it well. “I’m not likely to forget it because it was at Ewood Park and being a Barnsley lad I was due to be dropped off on the coach on the way back to spend time with my family that weekend.
“I had asked on the way up if the coach would mind stopping on junction 36 of the M1, so I could hop off.
"But after the own goal and the defeat on the way back I made sure I didn’t get anywhere near Cloughie at the front of the coach!
“The driver hadn’t forgotten though and stopped where I had asked him. Then I could hear Cloughie’s voice barking down the bus – ‘Oi, S***house” it’s your stop’. I jumped off as quickly as I could.”
Crossley also holds the unique record of being the only keeper to save a penalty from spot-kick legend Matt Le Tissier.
Out of 49 penalties, Le Tiss’ only blip was at the Dell on March 24, 1993 against Forest.
Crossley said: “I remember it was down at the away end at the old Dell. There was no statistical thesis about the save. You couldn’t do any research on his penalties, because he was so good.
“I went the right way, the ball rebounded back to him and he blasted the ball over.
“Bizarrely, I got an email after the Dell was demolished telling me that in the housing redevelopment at the site they wanted to name one of the street names Crossley Place with my permission.
“I thought it was a complete prank, but replied agreeing to it. Incredibly, I was then sent a picture of the street name shortly after.
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“Matt and I get on really well and we have a load of banter about the penalty. He always sends me a text on the anniversary joking: ‘This is my worst anniversary ever!”.
"He’s a lovely fella and one of the greatest players of my generation.”
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