Ahhhhh, Steve McClaren. The flame haired man that built a steady respectable profile as Sir Alex Ferguson’s side kick, followed by a highly progressive stint at Middlesbrough which earned him the unlikely title of England Manager.
Soon that impressive title turned to one of mockery, as he became known as the ‘Wally with the Brolly’ after his failure to inspire a nation. His reputation in tatters McClaren took refuge in the Netherlands. It was a move that saw respect head back his way, as well as the attention of Germany. Then the heavy stench of failure, that had followed the ginger one as boss of England, returned during bouts as boss of Wolfsburg and NottinghamForest.
Once again McClaren was a laughing stock but the Netherlands came back to save him. They wanted their strawberry blonde messiah back, a man who’s hair is the same colour as the countries national shirt, a man that won the Eredivisie title with FC Twente for the first time in their history, a man that had also learnt to speak in post match interviews using ‘DutchLish,’ comically replacing the word ‘So’ with the very local ‘Shoooooooooow.’
McClaren’s second coming at FC Twente, after being reappointed in the summer, was a popular choice amongst fans. It didn’t take long for the Englishman to work his Dutch magic. At the winter break his side sat joint top of the table, and only four weeks ago Twente were second in the league.
Since then Twente have slipped down to fifth place, and despite still only being 6 points off the top of the table McClaren has faced a fierce fan and media backlash. To such an extent that McClaren has decided to walk away from the club.
It displays a strange sudden U-turn in opinion of McClaren, especially given his claims that he was on course to achieve what was expected of him. "We've had criticism, protests and demonstrations from both supporters and media about the results and performances, especially in the last six games, which has been surprising given that the expectations of Twente has always been European qualification and that we should be in the top four."
"The club is always bigger than any individual and I've looked at both sides of it and after a great deal of deliberation I think it's best to relieve the pressure from the team, relieve it from the club and from the board. The club can move on, the fans can get behind the team again and hopefully achieve what they should be achieving."
Only a matter of weeks ago McClaren had rubbished reports that he was close to quitting the club, with the dreaded vote of confidence also given by the board. Saturday’s defeat however signalled the final nail in the coffin for McLaren. "Unfortunately, Saturday's result (a 2-1 defeat at Heerenveen) has seen further adverse reactions and with two home games coming up, we (McClaren and Munsterman) feel the team needs the support and backing from the supporters. I also needed assurances about my position now and in the future, which I appreciate in the present situation is difficult.
"After much discussion and deliberation, those assurances weren't forthcoming and we have agreed it's in the best interest of the club going forward that I leave. The club is bigger than any one individual and Twente is too big in my heart to stand in the way of its progress.''
It’s hard to see where McClaren’s next job in football will come from, as his reputation has been battered in the one country that seemed to love him. Any takers anyone?
image: © Ureinwohner