The relief of finally getting somebody who wasn’t John Carver, has given Steve McClaren significant breathing space that he might not otherwise have got.

Six months of a worldwide chase eventually brought us to an out of work recent Championship manager who lives 30 miles down the road.

(To feature like John, send in your articles for our website to [email protected] – all views those of the author etc etc)

McClaren reportedly having already turned Ashley down twice and the reality being, that if Derby had won promotion then he wouldn’t even have considered Newcastle.

Of course I want Steve McClaren to do well. After all, I was desperate for Graeme Souness, Sam Allardyce and many others down the years to bring Newcastle success, even though I felt physically sick when they were appointed.

The thing is, as Newcastle fans…if you are of a certain age, we have seen a decent amount of Steve McClaren and in particular his Middlesbrough team of 2001-2006.

I hate to say it but I can’t remember a single person back in the day saying ‘You know what, that Boro team are great to watch, if only we had Steve McClaren…’.

It’s not like Middlesbrough were the poor neighbours of Newcastle at the time, whilst McClaren was there, the club owner Steve Gibson continued to pour money into the team, as he had done with Bryan Robson

steve mcclaren

It brought little reward in reality apart from the League Cup, though there again anybody can put together a handful of matches to win a cup sometime….apart from Newcastle United of course.

The five Premier League seasons under Steve McClaren at Middlsbrough brought the following placings in the league, with Newcastle’s position in brackets:

2001/02 12th (4th)

2002/03 11th (3rd)

2003/04 11th (5th)

2004/05 7th (14th)

2005/06 14th (7th)

When Steve McClaren was named as England boss he’d fought off tough competition form the likes of Sam Allardyce and Alan Curbishley, after Luiz Felipe Scolari had turned down the chance. His time in charge of the national team was of course disastrous.

Back to Middlesbrough though, what legacy did Steve McClaren leave them?

Well as I said earlier, significant money was spent in his time at Boro but I wonder if Mike Ashley has really looked at what Steve McClaren did just down the road.

The following 11 players all played a part in Steve McClaren’s final season at Middlesbough, 6 of them played over 40 matches each that season and the other 5 players had 88 appearances between them.

The player’s age at the end of that 2005/06 season is in brackets:

Gareth Southgate (35)

Doriva (34)

Mark Schwarzer (35)

Michael Reizinger (33)

Abel Xavier (33)

Ugo Ehiogu (33)

George Boateng (30)

Gaizka Mendieta (32)

Ray Parlour (33)

Mark Viduka (30)

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (34)

The reality is, Steve McClaren’s only experience of building a team in the Premier League was to use the club owner’s money to pay over the top wages for proven players who had no resale value.

Could you possibly have a greater clash of philosophies with how Mike Ashley sees a football club being run?

I hope I’m proved wrong but I see Steve McClaren and Newcastle United coming together through desperation.

An out of work manager whose last two jobs were failure at Championship Nottingham Forest and then sacked by Championship Derby County.

As for Newcastle United, most of us have the definite impression that the club’s name is poison throughout football these days, with no credible manager giving the club serious thought.

Out of this car crash of an arrangement can success really be the result?

What will Mike Ashley be willing to do differently and what will Steve McClaren be able to do differently, compared to what both have shown in the Premier League previously?

I keep looking at the club now as a bit like a jigsaw with too many missing pieces.

Ashley and McClaren had better start a frantic search down the back of the sofa for them, or else last season might appear almost enjoyable compared to what could be coming next.



  • desree

    ok John time to move on mate

  • PauloRelli

    Yeah OK, so how did he do in the other jobs he’s had since then with regards to players ages and money spent?

  • Little Davey

    Perhaps lessons have been learned over time ?
    What do we class as success for the club next season ? A top 10 finish ?
    Or does he have to win the FA cup aswell ?
    I will be happy to see a new playing style with the intent of scoring goals and winning matches. Rather than the defensive dross served up by Pardew and Carver.
    Playing without fear for a change.
    I am hopeful McClaren and his new backroom staff can bring that to us.

  • IanMearnsMP

    NUFCTheMag MsiDouglas CaulkinTheTimes Fully agree except one thing Most fans reaction to his appointment was tepid at best #NoHoneymoon

  • Seventy2

    I hope there is something to be said FOR experience.

  • wrinklyf1fan

    NUFCTheMag Finally an article that really “gets it!” Now that’s why fans are against Ashley ….

  • wrinklyf1fan

    NUFCTheMag NUFCThreatLevel shiteseats No ambition football club wise or real understanding of the game at all….

  • Barnesay

    We’ll blow me, another negative article in The Mag, who would have thunk it?? So the most successful ever Boro manager, unappreciated by the fans, don’t recall any complaints from my Smoggy mates when they were on the run to the UEFA Cup final mind. “It brought little reward in reality apart from the league cup”- nearly choked on my sandwich, you completely belittle the fact he’s won one of those shiny cup things?? Like our trophy cabinet is bursting at the seams then??And aren’t you going to give the bloke credit for establishing the Academy, you know the one that’s been rated more highly than ours and produced more pro players than ours? Seems to me that was a decent legacy to leave at Boro.
    All this talk about blowing up at Derby is a bit misleading as well. I watched them on the box a few times while they were top of the league and they looked decent to me. Fact is, they only fell away due to injuries and more likely the players losing a bit of direction seeing as their manager was being linked with a move away

  • Paul Soulsby

    Five years of being comfortably mid table, at least, winning a cup and qualifying for Europe via the league is more than we could dream of under Ashley’s lunatic regime

  • Demented_Man

    Barnesay It may be negative but it’s not wrong, is it?

  • ADY1972

    He has a point. Our success at Boro with Steve McClaren was cup based, and let’s face it, you mags haven’t really given the cups much attention in recent years. The football was, to be frank, terrible to watch at times, and towards the end of his time it was nothing short of mind-numbing.

  • ADY1972

    Barnesay McClaren didn’t establish our youth academy. That was in place long before he arrived.

  • 1957

    Gibson poured money into his team and got a league cup and a UEFA cup final for his money, Hall and Shepherd allowed money to be spent on high transfer fees and wages and we got…better league positions under SBR.
    McClaren may not be many people’s choice of head coach but he has the league cup and a league title in Holland to his name, for all the good things he did Keegan has won nothing of consequence as a manager. Lots of managers over the years have had good teams that played great football but won nothing and fade from memory, just like the ‘entertainers’ who are now largely forgotten outside of the region.
    Sporting history will generally remember winners not nearly men, we need to push hard to become the former or we will never move forward and become more attractive to better players.

  • NottsToon

    1957 I guarantee you that sporting history will remember Keegan’s nearly men for far longer that it will Boro’s league cup winning side.

  • wor monga

    We’ve got the old familiar classic pessimistic approach from
    the ‘Mag’ here…so if Maclaren was to win the League Cup with us (like he did
    with boro), it’s now a case of…’anybody can put together a team to win a few
    games to win that’…

    …therefore already putting it out that winning that cup with
    his team containing some aging veterans counted for nowt… simply because they finished
    further down the league than our expensively put together team of all-stars (LOL)…

    What’s he going to come up against here…where some self-proclaimed
    club loving supporters have a level of negativity that already stretches beyond
    the bounds of giving him a chance to start the season off afresh with a clean
    slate…

    …You might be better off sticking with those Jig-saws of
    yours on match day, John…at least until we make the CL Final…

  • NottsToon

    wor monga So you’d trade Boro’s league cup for our Champions League campaigns would you?

  • Mikakaka

    NottsToon 1957 No it won’t.

  • Mikakaka

    NottsToon wor monga Given the condemnation by ‘apparently’ every NUFC fan that we were no longer chasing cups I was under the impression we all would want a cup win ahead of a top 4 finish…

  • NottsToon

    Mikakaka NottsToon 1957 Really? Because league cup winners stand out far more than one of (if not the) most exciting side in Premier League history.

  • CMRowley

    Mikakaka NottsToon 1957 Of course it will.

    I travel all over the world and when people from different countries find out where I am from they ask me about football, Alan Shearer, Bobby Robson, Kevin Keegan and nearly winning the league.

    Alright they also say that my team is plop these days but they talk about the past.  

    Can’t see many people round the globe discussing Boro’s league cup win with such memory and enthusiasm.

  • geepjay99

    boroform very interesting. Average age was always known to be old. Those stats are pretty damning. How could Gibson allow that? U0001f614

  • wor monga

    NottsToon wor monga        If we had to make hypothetical comparisons of any historical
    nature…

    …then I’d take a successful trophy win against anything else…it’s
    necessary to get that infernal ‘monkey off our backs’…prove we can use it as a
    starting platform, and move on from there…

    …it should have happened with Harvey
    (73), Lee(76) and Keegan and Bobby in more recent days…but it never did…the
    manager that does it (like Shankly) will have Geordieland in the palm of his
    hand forever!!

  • CMRowley

    Little Davey if we win more games than we lose then it’s a reasonably successful season.

    We lost 9 more games than we won last year.  We lost the same amount of games at home as we won.

    I’d love to see us win a trophy, but if we can win games at SJP and compete away from home against 70% of the league then I would deem this a success (it’s all relative, obviously winning nothing is not success).

    I’d suggest that over the course of the league campaign (stats are based on 38 game season), if McClaren has a win ratio of 42%+ and wins more games than he loses (i.e. gets a few draws) this would be a fantastic season compared to the last 3.

  • wor monga

    geepjay99 boroform     Who cares…why not ask him?

  • v0ices

    keeganRescueUs you mean his second stint at twente when he left before he was sacked? or wolfsburg or derby.

  • Wait and shteve

    Great piece

  • Hudson80

    Sure would

  • Hudson80

    Arsenal fans looked pretty delighted when they broke their baron run winning the cup – not seen them as happy qualifying for CL

  • CMRowley

    Great, what’s this got to do with my post?

  • Barnesay

    And since McClarens boring football years it hasn’t exactly gone great for you has it? Just like the Mackems who slagged off Reid after finishing 7th and Toon fans who ridiculed Bobbys team that ‘only’ finished 5th, some fans need to give their a head a shake when it comes to expectations

  • ADY1972

    Barnesay No it hasn’t particularly, still I’d prefer the decent fayre we’re getting now with Karanka than the kick and rush of McClaren anyday of the week.

  • 1957

    Perhaps I didn’t quiet say what I mean’t. In the future people will look at history books and see we finished 2nd once under Keegan and 2nd once under Daglish, the statistics won’t show what a good team we were under Keegan only that Man U were better. It’s no different to some of the teams I watched years ago, Palace, under Allison and Fulham under MacDonald for example, who played fantastic football with terrific players who won nothing and are largely forgotten outside of their own support.
    People on this site always talk about facts and the fact is McClaren has had more managerial success than Keegan to date. I would accept terrible football for a trophy win, I saw the last and it’s a much better feeling than finishing second and getting praised for trying.

  • Barnesay

    Fair enough, I’m sure the fans who fill a third of the ground these days agree with you.

  • ADY1972

    Barnesay You need to work on your maths, its more like half full nad I’d prefer a half full ground to fifteen years of sack this board, sack that board, sack the manager, sack the groundsman, sack the tea lady.

  • boroform

    boroform probably snowballed from earlier signings like Townsend,Gascoigne,Ince etc..

  • Demented_Man

    wor monga Yeah!  Let’s all be positive and happy-clappy, even though it flies in the face of reality.

  • Tim Hall

    Is this really deserved?? Here is novel idea mag support the team!!!

  • DownUnderMag

    I think our time of pulling out stupid wages for has-been players is gone and rightly so.  However, losing out on players who are at their peak because we won’t pay the “market value” is also insane.  There needs to be a happy medium.  I also think this black n white mentality of the owner is also a dangerous way forward.  Just because a player is closing in on 30 it doesn’t mean they don’t have anything to offer the club, it’s just they need to get this “sell on” value out of their head.  The football club is what matters, it isn’t a high street store.