Garry Birtles: Gareth Bale was always cued up for success, as Big 'Ead would testify
BRIAN Clough can have been the only football manager to have advised his players to watch snooker, to develop their technique.
He had this theory that all the best sportsmen had to have the same basic qualities when they were striking a ball.
And he would talk for ages about how the best snooker players kept their bodies perfectly still when they made contact; it was all one fluid movement.
It is the same with golfers. The best in the world have the smoothest, most efficient swing; every tiny bit of movement in their body is focused on striking the ball cleanly.
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The gaffer would even examine boxers and their stance when they were landing the perfect punch.
Regardless of the sport, everything was about the point of impact, about making a clean, crisp strike.
When I look at Gareth Bale and the goals he has scored recently, I find myself thinking of the gaffer and what he might make of the Welshman.
Because there are very few players who can hit the ball as well as Bale right now.
Cristiano Ronaldo is probably the best in the world at hitting a shot and Messi is just the best player on the planet.
But, currently, Bale probably falls somewhere between the two.
When he scored that incredible goal against West Ham on Tuesday evening, you could not help but admire his technique.
He had his foot planted, his upper body barely moved and he just swept his boot through the ball. He just could not have hit it better.
It was truly a joy to watch and I am sure the gaffer would have approved.
IT is great to see Chris Kiwomya given the chance to prove himself at Notts County.
But now it is down to him to grasp the opportunity he has been given.
And, on the face of things, the situation he has inherited could work in his favour.
The players already know him, so there does not need to be a period of adjustment.
And while the play-offs are still distantly possible, there is no real pressure on him to secure a top-six finish.
So his only priority is to do enough to persuade the Meadow Lane hierarchy that he is the man for the job.
The 4-1 demolition of Bury is proof that he has what it takes.
If he can continue to pick up results like that between now and the end of the campaign, just maybe the Magpies can still do something special.
And, if nothing else, Ray Trew may yet find himself calling off the search for yet another new manager when the summer rolls around.