A footballing legend will be returning to a North East town to attend an event hosted by a popular radio presenter.

John McGovern, 74, former Hartlepool United footballer and two-time European Cup winning captain under Brian Clough, will return to the town on Good Friday (March 29) for a special tribute evening hosted by long-time friend Paul ‘Goffy’ Gough.

He will appear at The Rovers Quoit Club, Easington Road, Hartlepool to recall how it all started for him with his words, footage and big screen memories.

McGovern attended Henry Smith’s Grammar School in Hartlepool, and was first spotted by Clough and Peter Taylor during trials at the Vic.

The Northern Echo: John McGovern signing for Derby County with Brian Clough

He made his Pools debut in 1966 and was a key member of the team in 1967/68 that gained promotion from the old 4th Division for the very first time.

McGovern said he still fondly remembers the times he shared with fans and on the pitch in Hartlepool.

He said: “The noise the Vic made through the memorable promotion run was like nothing else. The Poolies were incredible and they were like an extra man for us – the full squad agreed!.

“Cloughie and Taylor were just the best and their track record in all aspects of the game is untouchable. I followed them to Derby County just after our history making promotion season at Hartlepool in 1968.

“At Derby County the world of football was blown away as we started to assemble trophies – it really was an unbelievable journey for all three of us.

“They made it clear from the outset that I was a significant part of their bond and making me captain was another huge honour. All of the disciplines that were in place back in the mid-60s stayed in place and the stories that I assembled as the years rolled on remain very close to me.

“I could recite them for days as I am lucky to have so many which are totally exclusive to me and built up through our decades together.”

Gough organised the Hartlepool United Centenary Dinner in 2008 through his Goffy Media company in which 100 former players assembled at Borough Hall – he added the McGovern’s event will be very similar but teased there will still be surprises on offer.

The Northern Echo: John McGovern as Captain of Nottingham Forest holding aloft the European Cup for a second time with

He said: “We have the show ready to go into the theatres around the UK but it was only fair to start with a special tribute to John in Hartlepool – the town where it all began for him. This launch night is very much dedicated to Hartlepool and we plan to adapt the show as we travel around the UK

“John was one I highlighted so many times on my BBC Radio Tees Inspirations feature which focussed on people that have a strong link to our town and went on to greatness – John’s story is the ultimate.

“When he arrived as a child in town who would have thought that he would hone his skills here and then go on such an incredible journey – winning the ultimate prize of the European Cup as Captain – not once but twice with Nottingham Forest in 1979 and again in 1980 – it really is a incredible achievement.

“We were both touched when assembling the Hartlepool footage as so many of that history making squad have sadly left us with the passing of time.”

The pair made a BBC Radio documentary examining the influence of the Clough and Taylor partnership, with the focus on the Summer of 66.

Gough called John McGovern the third part of the “trio of greatness” and praised his “remarkable legacy.”

McGovern now works as Sporting Ambassador for Nottingham Forest and for FIFA at major games around the world.

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His journey saw him play for Hartlepool United, Derby County, Leeds United and Nottingham Forest, clocking up over 500 games, winning league titles, endless silverware and accolades at the very highest level.

His managerial career started in 1982 at Bolton Wanderers and he was still managing in 2003. He’s often seen on the training pitch with the current Nottingham Forest squad and he still attends every game with the Premiership side.

Gough said: “Just like that special Centenary Dinner that I put together for Pools back in 2008, I feel this evening will live long in the memory for those attending. I know that John is so much looking forward to heading back to Hartlepool”