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Austin Mitchell - Labour MP and Brian Clough interviewer - dies at 86

Austin Mitchell, the former Labour MP and journalist has died at the age of 86.  The proud Yorks...



Austin Mitchell - Labour MP an...
Soccer

Austin Mitchell - Labour MP and Brian Clough interviewer - dies at 86

Austin Mitchell, the former Labour MP and journalist has died at the age of 86. 

The proud Yorkshireman was behind two of the most amazing contributions to televised sport, all in the space of 44 days.

While presenter of Yorkshire Television's Calendar current events magazine, Mitchell interviewed Brian Clough at both ends of his short spell in charge at Leeds United.

On the day Clough was controversially unveiled as the successor to Don Revie, he sat down with Mitchell in the Yorkshire TV studios. The former Derby boss also faced a grilling from a panel of seasoned football writers - a pipe-wielding John Sadler, Keith Macklin and Peter Cooper.

Those 26-minutes set the table for Clough's disastrous time at Elland Road.

43-days later, Clough was back in front of the Yorkshire TV cameras, and this time he was joined by his arch-nemesis Don Revie.

If the live discussion of a managerial appointment seems incredulous in 2021, then trying to find a modern equivalent of the Clough-Revie summit is nigh on impossible.

Mitchell acted as the perfect arbiter, allowing the conversation to flow, perhaps knowing he was party to television gold.

But as he later explained, the meeting came to pass at the eleventh hour.

"It was clear to the sports correspondent, as far as anything is ever clear to sports correspondents, that Clough was going to be fired so they were all hanging round at Leeds United's ground and managed to get Clough to agree to come on, whereat they also got Revie to come on," Mitchell told the BBC.

"I'm not sure who got Revie but both were coming on and each knew that the other was going to be on.

"The only delay was haggling about money - how much were they going to be paid to do the bloody programme rather than who they would appear with.

"And I did it entirely by accident because I was the only presenter around who was sober and hadn't gone home to a mansion in Ilkley or wherever. I was just available."

Three years after his Clough interviews, Mitchell would be elected MP for Great Grimsby in a 1977 by-election.

He would serve his constituency until 2015.

In 1983, he supported the move to introduce television cameras to the Houses of Parliament, and would later rekindle his television career opposite Conservative MP Norman Tebbit on Sky News.

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