Steve McClaren: The English manager with the greatest European story

It is difficult for a player to shake off a bad life choice, one which is taken and immediately ruins a portion of their career. Take Radamel Falcao for example, he had the world clambering over him a few years ago, as while with Atletico Madrid, he was proving himself to be one of the best strikers in the world.

However, an ill-fated, money driven move to French side Monaco put paid to his last few years. While he is showing signs of recovery, he can’t get those last three years back, something many a manager will also cite.

One such man that saw his stock rise massively before crashing down quicker than England’s hopes in a major tournament was Steve McClaren. The former Middlesbrough manager ascended to the England hot-seat after guiding his side to safety in the Premier League, something that the England higher ups obviously deemed reason enough to promote him to a job that expects so much.

His fall was as well documented as his rise. A failure to qualify for Euro 2008 saw his time as the manager of the national team come to a swift end, with pictures of his shenanigans on the touchline causing a number of unimaginative headlines.

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After leaving his post as England manager though, McClaren found some solace in Dutch side FC Twente. He was out of the job between November 2007 to June 2008, so he probably did a lot of non-insightful, boring punditry work at the time, paving the way for pretty much every ex-footballer to try their hand at it now.

But his time in the Netherlands was one of relative success. In classic footballing circumstances, McClaren tangoed with Twente, with the club initially saying they had no interest in him before he turned the job down for personal reasons. He reportedly indicated an interest in taking over at Blackburn Rovers, but he was later installed as manager of, yeah, you guessed it, FC Twente.

His first season was largely a successful one. McClaren guided Twente to second place in the Eredivisie, second place in the Dutch Cup and a place in the round of 32 in the Europa League, the first time the club had still been in Europe past Christmas.

His second season was his most successful though. Despite losing the likes of Eljero Elia and Marko Arnautovic, with the latter now playing for Stoke, McClaren lead his team to their maiden Dutch league title, as they held off the likes of Ajax and PSV. This triumph saw McClaren become the first Englishman since Bobby Robson to oversee a domestic title winning campaign with a foreign team.

Image Source: Twitter

It was uncharacteristically successful on McClaren’s part. McClaren won the award for the manager of the season too, as the 2009/10 campaign proved to be his most enjoyable season. Since then, McClaren has had stints at Wolfsburg and Nottingham Forest, before again returning to Twente.

His second stint brought far fewer successes though. He was criticised for selling their top striker, Marc Janko to Porto, a move that will always win over supporters, while he oversaw a disappointing sixth placed finish in the league. In fairness though, any English fan would have taken getting anywhere near sixth in the world under McClaren.

He was eventually sacked by Twente, with the club exacting sweet revenge for his premature departure from the team the first time around. Proving that the first time is always the best, McClaran oversaw a startlingly good record at Twente, playing 97 games, winning 61, drawing 20 and losing 16. While in his second spell at the club, the manager won 30, drew 17 and lost 16 times, making him considerable less successful.

Perhaps Twente knew they would be depriving the world of his punditry gold if they kept ahold of him:

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For McClaren, the decision to manage abroad proved the perfect remedy to his time as England manager. Out of the constant scrutiny of the press, the Englishman was able to thrive abroad and won a title, before moving on to Germany for a new challenge.

Perhaps after his poor tenures at Wolfsburg and Nottingham Forest, McClaren had hoped to drink from his personal pool of footballing youth, but this failed, meaning the search for the holy grail was unfortunately not ended by McClaren, sorry lads.

With a dual stint at Derby ending in a similar fate, many wondered where the former Newcastle manager would go, well, with the sacking of Aitor Karanka at Middlesbrough, he may yet find a way back to the Premier League.


Not sure what’s more shocking; McClaren’s time with England, or the fact these players are in management…



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