Being a manger in the modern day football environment is possibly one of the toughest occupations in which to thrive. Managers that win trophies and are successful at clubs find themselves getting the sack, so what chance have they got? Steve McClaren is a manager who has experienced superb success, as well as the despair of defeat, both on more than one occasion. Looking at McClaren’s managerial record in detail is he a good coach or has he been a poor coach that got lucky?
By Henry Tydeman – @HenryTydeman
It was announced on Tuesday of this week that Steve McClaren had stepped down from his post at the Dutch club, FC Twente. His departure brought to an end his second spell in charge at De Grolsch Veste stadium; he had previously managed the side between 2008 and 2010. The news brought to light the case of Steve McClaren, and the managerial career he has had thus far. And what an interesting and peculiar case it is.
Perhaps the most unusual thing about McClaren is that despite the fact he has been a football manager for well over ten years now, and has plied his trade in a number of different countries, not to mention his stint at the helm of the England national team, it is still not clear whether or not he’s a good manager, or a bad one…
The question is, how do we judge whether or not a manager has had a successful career? Steve McClaren had some great times in his first job as manager of Middlesbrough between 2001 and 2006, including guiding Boro to the 2006 UEFA Cup Final, and finishing as high as 7th in the Premier League. It is certainly fair to say that, overall, he did well at the Riverside, and when his achievements are set against those of Gareth Southgate, who replaced McClaren and took Middlesbrough down to the Championship in 2009, they appear even more impressive. But it has not been all rosy for the former Manchester United coach since then.
He failed as manager of England, between 2006 and 2007, to reach Euro 2008, presiding over the first England team to not reach a major finals since Graham Taylor’s hapless squad in the early 1990s. The, ‘Wally with the Brolly’, as he quickly became known in the press following England’s defeat to Croatia that confirmed his downfall, was presented in the media as something of a laughing-stock at that time. It appeared he was overrated and totally out of his depth.
He was no longer the young, potentially brilliant manager he had been just a couple of years before at Middlesbrough; he was finished. It seemed so, at any rate. And yet, by May 2010, he had, seemingly from nowhere, guided the Dutch side FC Twente to their first Eredivisie (the Dutch top flight) trophy in the club’s history. He was subsequently adored by the club’s supporters, and lauded as a success once more; the first English coach to win a major European league title since Sir Bobby Robson with Porto in 1996.
For English football fans, his triumph was difficult to comprehend. How could a manager who had previously failed so dismally, later achieve such a victory? Was he really a pretty good coach, who had just been very unlucky in his previous job? After all, his achievement in Holland was not one to be sniffed at, and at the time it seemed that McClaren had gone a long way to rebuilding his reputation.
But now, in 2013, he appears to have gone back to square one. His Dutch delight was followed by spells at VfL Wolfsburg in Germany and Nottingham Forest back in England, neither of which ended well for him at all. He lasted just 112 days at the City Ground in 2011.
So, following him parting company with FC Twente for the second time after a run of bad results, does he deserve another chance at a high-profile club, wherever it may be? At the highest level, is he closer to being a good manager, or a bad one?
When people think of McClaren, do they recall him sheltering meekly under an umbrella at Wembley, overseeing England’s spectacular failure, or do they remember him hoisted on the shoulders of his Twente players in celebration, following his truly remarkable achievement in Holland? In this country, McClaren will forever be remembered for the England catastrophe he presided over. But is that right? Is too much emphasis and importance placed on the England team by the country’s media? Some in Europe might well argue that his winning of the Eredivisie was more impressive than his time with the England team was disappointing.
Or alternatively, has his subsequent failures at the Volkswagen Arena, in the Championship with Forest, and back at Twente, proven that he really isn’t that good, and that his failure with England was indicative of his managerial flaws. This is the view had by the majority of fans in England, and it would appear that with every new failure had by the former Middlesbrough man, more become inclined to take this side of the argument.
Steve McClaren is not a young manager any more. At 51, he needs to appreciate that he cannot live off his success with FC Twente forever, and, some will argue that he is running out of chances to build himself a reputation as a good manager at the highest level. He cannot afford to get things wrong again if and when another opportunity arises.
looking at Steve McClaren’s career and weighing up; what he has won, how his teams have performed, ways in which he has failed and teams that he has managed, has it been a successful time for the ex England coach? Tweet us your thoughts @talkingbaws or comment below.