Steve McClaren It Is Then
4 May 2006
In possibly the longest drawn out saga since ‘Lost’ began, Steve McClaren has been announced as the new England manager.
I aired my thoughts on the on-off appointment of Scolari last week, the main gist of which was that I wanted the best possible management setup for the national squad. Taking the remaining candidates into consideration (Big Sam, Psycho and Macca), I’d have to say (albeit begrudgingly) that McClaren is the most suited.
I say begrudgingly because the whole saga has been played out for too long and in an inappropriate way. By saying they wanted to announce SGE’s successor before the World Cup, the FA created a very public rock for their back.
I can’t shake the feeling that McClaren is second choice–a backup, fallback, call it what you will. I get the feeling that the FA’s hand was somewhat forced with the whole Scolari episode. Whilst it’s blindingly obvious that if you have a shortlist of candidates and, one by one, they rule themselves out and you’re left with Mr Last Place, I still get the impression the whole thing has been rushed.
I do not wish to rubbish Steve’s achievements–Carling Cup Winner in 2004, UEFA Cup Finalist in 2006, nor am I poo-pahing his pedigree (he worked under SAF at Man Utd for three years before taking the reigns at Boro and has been part of the England setup for many years).
Don’t get me wrong–I’d love, absolutely love to be proved 100% wrong, to have egg on my face come Euro 2008 and to join the Macca fanclub and denounce any negative feelings towards his appointment.
In the cold light of day, the FA had a choice. Of all the candidates (left), Steve McClaren is not only English, but he’s been part of the coaching team of England for many years, and so knows the players and the setup.
Perhaps most importantly though, he’s had Cup successes with Middlesbrough. And Cup competitions are all England compete in.