From Fergie’s assistant to a name no fan wants to see announced, umbrella jockey Steve McClaren has had a turbulent career up to now.
Sir Alex Ferguson, one of the greatest masterminds to have ever graced the English game; a man who seen countless world class players and staff develop under his watchful guidance and enjoy prosperous careers in the game. Steve McClaren was one of the chosen few. Not that that made much of a difference.
The Englishman spent 142 games as the Manchester United legend’s assistant manager, watching his every move – how he managed players, how he approached games, and the intricate strategies he used, each tailored to a specific need and individual. McClaren was there for the historic treble in 1999, the year that immortalised the class of ’92 into United folklore – he had a hand in one of the greatest nights in modern football. He even went on to help win two more Premier League trophies at Old Trafford.
The foundations were there for a truly special career.
So, why, you might ask, is he so utterly inept at coaching himself?
Ah, yes. Steve McClaren. The wally with the brolly. And every other name under the sun that has likely been attributed to him by an aggrieved fan of one of the many clubs he has driven into the ground.
A five-year stint at Middlesbrough represents the longest period of time McClaren has spent at a single club and for the most part, he was actually quite good there. If we were to be overly critical though, which we are, we would argue that this had something to do with the fact that legends like Gareth Southgate, Ugo Ehiogu, George Boateng, Gaizka Mendieta and Juninho all played for the club during his five-year stint. Nevertheless, McClaren is the only man to lift a major piece of silverware at the Riverside Stadium, winning the League Cup in 2004.
England happened. Failed to qualify for Euro 2008. Enough said.
McClaren actually enjoyed a bit of success following his England flop with FC Twente, who he guided to an Eredivisie title in 2009. The post-Twente period is really where it all started to collapse. A brief stint in Germany with Wolfsburg was quickly followed by a shockingly short stewardship of Nottingham Forest (his shortest to date, only 13 games). Nostalgia got the better of Twente in 2012 but he only lasted a year before returning to England to become Queen Park Rangers’ assistant manager. Derby County and a close shave with Premier League promotion came next, though he failed to build on his earlier promise and left the following year – having firmly established a bottle job status at the club.
When we look at how bad he was at Newcastle United and Derby County, for the second time, we think to ourselves ‘why didn’t you just quit in 2001?’
The former England man was most recently sacked by QPR after less than a year with the club (as per BBC Sport). Maybe we have learned now that McClaren is not the answer?
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