‘Damned United Kingdom’ – Truss matches Clough’s Leeds spell with 44-day reign


Max McLean, PA

Thu, 20 October 2022 at 4:19 pm

Liz Truss’s 44-day premiership sees her match Brian Clough’s infamous reign at Leeds United, as well as making her the shortest serving prime minister in British history.

Ms Truss fell 74 days short of George Canning’s 118 full days as PM – the Tory statesman died in office from ill health in 1827, and had, until Thursday, held the unwanted record.

Ms Truss did however reach the tally held by another well-known leader, drawing level with Clough’s equally tumultuous 44 days at Leeds in 1974.

Soccer – Brian Clough at Westminster – London
Brian Clough managed just 44 days with Leeds United (PA)

Clough had earned acclaim as manager of Derby County after a playing career cut short by injury – he won promotion to the First Division with the Rams before going on to win the title in 1972.

The outspoken and divisive coach would later cement his legend with Nottingham Forest, winning the European Cup twice with the club along with a number of other trophies.

However, between those hugely successful spells at Derby and Forest, Clough had a 44-day stint as Leeds boss in 1974.

Having arrived at the reigning league champions from Brighton in July to succeed new England manager Don Revie, Clough reportedly promptly told the players to throw their medals in the bin.

He subsequently oversaw six league matches and only one win before being sacked, then making a memorable appearance on the ITV Calendar chat show alongside Revie.

His time at Leeds was later the subject of David Peace’s novel The Damned Utd, which was adapted into a film released in 2009.

Liz Truss resignation
Liz Truss making a statement outside 10 Downing Street where she announced her resignation as Prime Minister (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Comedian Geoff Norcott was among the first to make the connection on social media, tweeting: “Never thought we’d get a political version of The Damned United.”

Others went a step further, with a number of Twitter users and Leeds fans referencing “the Damned United Kingdom.”

Ms Truss, who had referenced her upbringing in Leeds during the leadership race had also said “I do want us to channel the spirit of Don Revie” as “we need to win”.

She ended up channelling the spirit of Revie’s successor with excruciating success.

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