Friday, January 28, 2022

Just another rant about Steve McClaren!

Graham Fisher in Editorial, Eredivisie 15 Aug 2008


By the time you are reading this article the first leg of the FC Twente against Arsenal tie in the third qualifying round of the Uefa Champions League will have taken place. I am writing this article before that event. If FC Twente have won the first leg easily and Arsenal have been as good as eliminated. If Steve McClaren has displayed a degree of tactical genius that left Arsene Wenger confused and beaten, I take back the rest of what I have written here.

If that hasn’t happened, I will stand by every word that I have written!

I have been known in the past to be slightly critical of Steve McClaren as a manager. I have never questioned his coaching ability and I have never questioned the fact that he is a nice bloke. I just think he is clueless when it comes to managing a team. I have listened to what the top players have to say about him as a coach and it is impossible to have anything but the utmost respect for him in that area of the game.

The difference between being a coach and being a manager is, however, very large. It is a step that is too large for McClaren to take.

I am not alone in this belief. There are fifty-five million English people who agree with me, and very soon, I have little doubt, a small corner of Holland will feel exactly the same way.

I wrote an article on this site a few weeks ago asking what FC Twente had done so wrong that meant they deserved Steve McClaren to take over as their boss. I know it was cruel and it was very possibly unfair, but you have to tell things how you see them and I see McClaren as a very bad manager. I’m sorry, but I do.

When FC Twente got drawn against Arsenal in the Champions League qualifiers, poor old Steve got a little over excited. It must be difficult to manage in a strange country and speak in a strange language. When asked about the draw, McClaren said;

“It will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that doesn’t come along that often.”

An understandable mistake, you would think, with the language difficulties. Well, no. He was asked in English and he answered in English, or at least, his version of it!

That is just it. Whether it is in answering a simple question, using an umbrella on the bench or picking Scott Carson for England’s most important game of his reign, he constantly portrays himself as a buffoon. This may be simply an image problem or it could be that he is, in fact, a buffoon.

I rarely criticise individuals and I don’t like the fact that I’m doing it here. It is just that my little brain cannot understand why anyone would think Steve McClaren is the man to manage their club! I have to speak out about it or I might just go mad!

He has a very solid and impressive record as a coach and an assistant. He did well alongside Jim Smith at Derby and then assisted Sir Alex Ferguson in Manchester United’s treble winning season back in 1999. As Sven Goran Eriksson’s assistant with England I think most people agreed that he did a pretty reasonable job.

That is where the impressive record ends though. His record at Middlesbrough was average at best. He produced a side that was desperately boring to watch and with great support from his chairman and a fair amount of cash, he took them precisely nowhere. He did take them to the Uefa Cup Final but that involved two very lucky wins when his selected team were being outplayed and outclassed and as a desperate measure he loaded the team with forwards.

Some would say that was good management. We would have to agree to differ. In the final, he was found wanting as his side was out thought, out fought and outplayed.

We all know what he did as manager of England and it is too painful to even go over again now. You could write an entire book about the bizarre things he said and did whilst he was in that role.

For whatever reason, the powers that be at FC Twente have decided that he is the man to take them to the next level. I am totally baffled as to why they would think that.

I believe their Champions League adventure will be a short one and I believe that Steve McClaren’s tenure as manager may not be a great deal longer. He might last until Christmas but I can’t see it going much beyond that.

As I say, he is a nice bloke and I hope that he succeeds and makes me eat my words. I will happily do so if he does. I just don’t think it is very likely.


Graham Fisher



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13 years ago

I wonder what fc twente see in stẹve mclaren i hope before they know it they will be in relegation zone.

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