Monday, January 30, 2023

Steve McClaren for FC Twente – what have they done to deserve that?

Graham Fisher in Editorial, Eredivisie 31 May 2008


I don’t know any FC Twente fans. If I did, I would be perfectly happy to offer a shoulder for them to cry on. After the joys of a fourth placed finish in the Eredivisie, the fans must have been dreaming about their sortie into the Champions League qualifiers for the first time in their history.

Now, all the euphoria and celebrations will have come to an abrupt end. Club Chairman Joop Munsterman has announced that he is hopeful that former England manager Steve McClaren will shortly take over as team manager.

There is much opposition to this possible appointment from the clubs fans. Even the Chairman recognises their concerns. “Ninety per cent of fans think why McClaren?” he said.

Munsterman then went on to answer his own question. “But he is used to working with top players,” he added.

Yes Mr. Munsterman he is. The problem is that he has worked badly with them, failed to get the best out of them and totally failed. It may just be those facts that your club’s fans are ever so slightly concerned about!

I have never met Steve McClaren but I know that people who have worked with him or as players underneath him speak very highly of his abilities as a coach. He organises excellent training sessions and he is a damn fine bloke. The trouble is that he has no presence, no respect, no authority and sadly, limited tactical awareness.

His only managers job prior to the England debacle was with Middlesbrough. When he took them over they were a mid-table Premier League team. When he left them, he had changed little, spent millions and turned them into everybody’s least favourite team to be the live game on the television!

His sides have played predictable, boring football with no ‘plan B’. They have failed to entertain or be successful. I’m sure McClaren would point to taking Middlesbrough to the Uefa Cup Final, but in reality, they only got through two of the rounds by a desperation measure of putting several strikers on the field at the same time when it was all going wrong. I suppose that was a ‘plan B’ of sorts, but it certainly wasn’t very sophisticated.

Not many England fans wanted McClaren to get the job of managing the national team. The FA ignored the concerns and gave him the job. It turned out to be the unmitigated disaster that most pundits had predicted it would be. McClaren was so far out of his depth that the average lifeboat couldn’t have got anywhere near to being able to save him.

McClaren recently announced that he was feeling fresh and ready to get back into football management. He said he would be prepared to drop down into the lower leagues in England or go abroad in order to get a job. He said this, I’m sure, because he knew that the chances of an English Premier League side giving him a job as the main man were non-existent. He may be employable as a coach or an assistant, but I don’t see any English Chairman employing him as their manager.

Now it seems he has travelled out to Holland and been shown around the FC Twente ground and facilities. It appears to be entirely up to him now as to whether he takes the job or not.

My suspicion is that he will take it as I think he realises that he is very unlikely to receive any better offers. My suspicion is also that this is very bad news for FC Twente.

This is not the first time I have written in a very critical manner about Steve McClaren and in some ways I feel guilty for doing so again. He comes across as a nice, likeable man and he doesn’t personally deserve to be rubbished by hacks like me. However, professionally, he has shown himself to be incompetent and by putting himself back into management it is fair game to look back at his previous record.
McClaren is a successful coach and assistant manager, but a total disaster as a number one. FC Twente have done nothing to deserve this and the fans must continue to lobby the club to make their concerns known.

If Steve McClaren gets the job and leads FC Twente to success I will happily write an article full of praise for him and referring everyone back to the total rubbish I have written here. I will happily explain that Steve McClaren has shoved my words back down my throat.

I will do this happily because he is a top bloke and he deserves some success. I am also happy to make that guarantee because it is just not going to happen!


Graham Fisher



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