EXCLUSIVE: For a teenager on the books of Nottingham Forest, to even see Brian Clough was like a glimpse of God for North Queensland Fury's skipper, Gareth Edds.
To see North Queensland Fury train in Sydney...
The legendary club boss had long since retired and was in his twilight years when Edds came across him early in his playing career.
But despite his age - and notorious drinking problem which would send him to a premature grave - Clough still retained the sparkle which made him stand out as one of the sport's greatest characters.
"I only met him once," says Edds, 29. "One of his sons owns a newsagents in Nottingham and I used to live near there.
"He used to sit there on his chair with his walking stick and have a go at the kids any time they got too near or got a little bit cheeky - he was a great character."
Edds joined Fury this season for his first taste of Australian top level football, ending a 14 year run spent entirely in the UK after leaving Australia as a former AIS student at the age of 15.
He joins a club marred by constant doubts over its future as the FFA look to find new owners to take it over after Don Matheson pulled the plug on Fury v1.0 at the end of last season.
But Edds is no stranger to clubs in turmoil after a run of turbulent times at all his previous clubs as he journeyed through England's Football Leagues.
It all started so well though. He joined Forest at the age of 16 just as they won promotion back to the Premier League after being crowned 1997-98 Division One champions.
But a poor run of results saw them relegated once more before massive spending left the debt-laden club in crisis. Edds gained vital experience though, notching up 16 games as a youngster and even scoring once.
In 2002, though, he moved on to Swindon Town where a rollercoaster run of new managers ultimately saw the club slide into administration and League Two.
The following year he moved on to Bradford City, just as they too were put in adminstration and relegation loomed.
Life finally stabilised for Edds with a move to MK Dons, born out of the demise of Wimbledon FC, and subject to long-running controversy over their authenticity as a club.
But Edds settled in there and stayed with the newly-formed club for four years, despite a revolving door of managers, and a successful campaign to avoid relegation from League One.
They couldn't beat the drop the following season though but under new boss Paul Ince, the club found new direction, topping League Two and winning the Johnston Paint Trophy in 2007.
With Ince making the ill-fated move to take over Blackburn Rovers in 2008, Edds left for Tranmere Rovers where he stayed for two years as the club fought falling attendances and a failed bid for promotion.
"I learned so much over there," he admits. "It was a great culture shock for me, being an Australian and suddenly going into full-time football, playing twice a day, and playing about 50-odd games in a season.
"It was just a tremendous learning curve - I wouldn't change anything about it because I learned so much and I had to grow up quickly and that's what that made me do.
"We had one of the best youth teams ever - usually just one or two players go on to the first team ...we had about 20 that went on - and it was great to be a part of.
"Of course we came up against a few legbreakers - and I saw a few tackles there were horrendous in my time but Forest's youth team were all hand-picked and playing in the Premier Youth League so the standard was very high."
Edds's ambition as a youngster was to reach the pinnacle and play in the English Premier League but it proved not to be.
"I got close," he says. "I got into the Championship and we got close in that. But I'm happy with my career so far. My career's not finished...but my career in England is one I look back on with great memories.
"Helping Milton Keynes to stay up in 2004, Tranmere last year we stayed up, winning the title for MK Dons, winning the Johnston Paint Trophy, the play-off games - these are all special memories.
"And obviously making my debut when I was at Forest - to be part of something like that was something else. There were so many great players and David Platt was manager at the time and he was a great player in his own right - it was just a great experience."
Finally in 2010, he made the decision to return to his country of birth - and joined another crisis club...
"It's been a long time - but it's great to be back, obviously," he says. "I love Australia and it's great to be playing in the A-League. I'm really enjoying it.
"I wanted to come back and experience the A-League. I never played in the NSL as I went straight to the UK at the age of 15.
"The standard here is very good. There are some very good teams that try to do things right, play the right football, try to pass the ball around. It's a very good, high standard.
"I think there's more technical ability here in terms of trying to play the ball and do the right thing which is a big difference compared to League One or League Two which can resort to up and unders.
"Here it's about technical football and playing football the right way. That's great to see..."
But after the miserable freezing windswept stadiums of provincial England, Edds is grateful for the biggest difference between the football here and there.
"The weather," he says. "It's a big factor. Townsville is very, very hot. It was a little bit difficult to cope with at the beginning but now I'm used to it - so coming down to Sydney felt a little bit cold to be honest."
Edds has embraced his new club and quickly established himself as one of Fury's biggest characters, both on and off the field.
"He's the one who is the biggest prankster," admits Fury's striker Chris Payne. "But he'll also often be the victim of it too - he and Mark Hughes are at the centre of everything."
Edds is a key part of the obvious team spirit that has seen the squad rise above the adversity surrounding it to record creditable results on a shoestring budget with minimal experience outside of the core of veterans like Edds, Hughes and former Victory defender Simon Storey.
But Edds himself attributes their success to the charismatic coach Franz Straka, whose animated dressing room talks and cream jacket on the bench have endeared him to fans of all A-League clubs.
"We have a great coach who helps us in all different ways," says Edds. "He's a great communicator which helps us as players and gives us a lot of confidence.
"We have a great coaching staff and I've just learned so much since I've been here. The team spirit is fantastic - and it's not just on the field either, it's off the field as well.
"We all get on tremendously well and we want to keep that going. We want to stick together and get close to the finals. I'd love to add a bit more silverware to the trophy cabinet."
And as far as his personal ambitions are concerned, Edds just plans to keep going.
"I just want to keep playing at a high level," he says. "I want to keep improving because you can never stop getting better - however old you are..."
To see North Queensland Fury train in Sydney...