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I’ll be backing Steve McClaren: Will you?

6 years ago

The appointment of Steve McClaren has failed to inspire a large portion of the fans, with claims of ‘Pardew 2.0’.

More fashionable names were mentioned in the discussion of potential new managers, such as Patrick Vieira, Frank De Boer and Michael Laudrup, leading to mass disappointment when the ‘Wally with a Brolly’ emerged as the leading candidate.

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I too shared the disappointment as the talks with Vieira ended and Steve McClaren became the only realistic candidate. However, after some contemplation, is Steve McClaren really a bad choice as manager, or can he inspire some change to Newcastle’s recently bleak fortunes?

Let’s look at McClaren’s résumé:

1995-1999: McClaren began his coaching career at Derby County, where he assisted Jim Smith. In his first season with the club, Derby were promoted to the top flight of English football.

1999-2001: McClaren was appointed assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. Whilst McClaren worked under Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United won three league titles, one Champions League and one FA Cup.

2000-2002: Worked as a coach for the national team under Peter Taylor and then Sven Goran Eriksson.

2001-2006: McClaren received his first job in management, taking over at Middlesbrough.

In 2004, McClaren won the League Cup, beating Bolton 2-1 in the final.

In 2006, McClaren’s Middlesbrough side reached the UEFA Cup final, coming runners up to Sevilla, who won the final 4-0. In his five years at the club, McClaren became the most successful manager of Middlesbrough in the club’s history. McClaren’s departure from Middlesbrough was not met with disappointment from the club’s fans, who had grown tired of his negative tactics and boring football.

2006-2007: The proudest moment in McClaren’s career inevitably led to his lowest moment.  Having taken over as England manager from Sven Goran Eriksson, who he had assisted for the second time from 2004 to 2006, McClaren failed to guide England to qualification for Euro 2008, with a home defeat to Croatia ensuring that England would not be heading to Austria and Switzerland in the summer of 2008. Images of McClaren stood in the rain with an umbrella as England slumped to defeat saw him labeled as the ‘Wally with a Brolly’.

2008-2010: McClaren’s return to management saw him in the Eredivisie with Dutch side Twente FC. In his first season, Twente finished second in the league. One year later, he took the club one step further and won the Dutch League, becoming the first English manager to win a domestic league title since Sir Bobby Robson. It was the first time in the club’s history that they had won the Eredivisie.

2010-2011: After winning the league with Twente, McClaren headed to Wolfsburg in Germany, hoping for another European triumph. It wasn’t to be however, as McClaren was sacked after nine months in charge of the German club.

2011: McClaren returned to England to manage Nottingham Forest, where he only lasted ten games before his resignation, having only collected eight points from a possible thirty.

2012-2013: McClaren headed back to Holland to manage Twente for the second time. McClaren could only manage 6th place in his first season back, and resigned in February 2012, as supporters began to criticise their former hero.

2013: As manager of QPR, Harry Redknapp came calling and McClaren joined his coaching staff for three months.

2013-2015: At the end of his three months at QPR, McClaren replaced Nigel Clough as head coach of Derby County, where he had began his coaching career.

With Derby struggling in the league under Clough, McClaren reinvigorated the side, guiding them to third in the league, narrowly missing out on promotion to the Premier League, losing the play-off final to QPR thanks to a last minute winner from Bobby Zamora.

In the following season, Derby looked on course to gain promotion to the Premier League, with McClaren’s side sat at the top of the table in February. However, Derby’s form fell away and the club finished outside of the play-off positions. McClaren was subsequently sacked.

Quite the mixed bag from McClaren.

Moments of brilliance combined with some horror shows.

On paper, McClaren’s CV is quite prestigious: worked under one of the greatest managers in the history of the game, managed his country, reached a European final, won major honours and being the first English manager to win a domestic title since 1996.

Underneath the facts, McClaren’s spell as England manager tarnished his reputation and created a laughing stock, his time at Middlesbrough ended with no tears from the club’s fans, and his last two managerial jobs in England ended in being sacked by Championship clubs.

This begs the question, which Steve McClaren will turn up to St. James’ Park?

Whatever does happen, the new manager must be given a chance to succeed by the fans and by the board.

The fans must support the manager, meaning we can’t begin a ‘’ come September when we haven’t won our first couple of games, and Mike Ashley must back him financially, giving him the means to create a team that can be competitive in the Premier League once again.

I’ll be backing Steve McClaren, will you?

You can follow James on Twitter @jrutherford11 


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