Steve McClaren

Steve McClaren
Steve McClaren
Steve McClaren.JPG
McClaren in 2008
Personal information
Full name Stephen McClaren
Date of birth 3 May 1961 (1961-05-03) (age 50)
Place of birth Fulford, York, England
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1979–1985 Hull City 178 (16)
1985–1988 Derby County 25 (0)
1987 Lincoln City (loan) 8 (0)
1988–1989 Bristol City 61 (2)
1989–1992 Oxford United 33 (0)
Total 305 (18)
Teams managed
2001–2006 Middlesbrough
2006–2007 England
2008–2010 Twente
2010–2011 VfL Wolfsburg
2011 Nottingham Forest
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Stephen "Steve" McClaren (born 3 May 1961) is an English football manager and former player. McClaren was previously manager of VfL Wolfsburg in Germany between May 2010 and February 2011, having left his post at Dutch side FC Twente, with whom he won the club's first Eredivisie championship in the 2009–10 season. His managerial career began at Middlesbrough in the Premier League, with whom he won the League Cup in 2004 and finished as runners-up in the UEFA Cup in 2006. McClaren served as Manager of England national football team from 1 August 2006 to 21 December 2007. He was appointed following the resignation of Sven-Göran Eriksson after the FIFA World Cup 2006.[1] His tenure ended on 22 November 2007, when he was sacked after England failed to qualify for the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship.[2] He was also assistant manager to Alex Ferguson when Manchester United won the Treble in 1999.

Following his successes at Manchester United and Middlesbrough, in which McClaren was viewed as a promising young coach, he was heavily vilified by the English media, in a similar personal manner as levelled at former manager Graham Taylor,[3] following his failure to qualify for Euro 2008. He was dubbed 'The Wally with a Brolly',[4][5] after his use of an umbrella to protect himself from rain during his final game in charge. McClaren's time in charge at FC Twente saw his professional reputation recover somewhat as a result of guiding them to their first Eredivisie title in 2010.


Early life

Stephen McClaren was born on May 3, 1961 in Fulford, York,[6] the son of Margaret (née Bogg) and Brian McClaren who had married the previous year.[7] Described as "Yorkshire born and bred", McClaren's ancestors worked variously as miners, brewers, cotton mill workers, labourers, farmworkers and in domestic service.[7]

As a child, McClaren attended Nunthorpe Grammar School after passing his eleven plus exams, preferring it over a closer school because of the emphasis which was placed on sports.[8] In order to attend he was forced to cycle a daily ten-mile round trip across York. This is cited as an example of his determination to succeed in sport.[8] At school he played rugby, tennis, squash and was captain of the school's football team. He also played for York Boys under-15 team and represented the county of Yorkshire. Playing as midfielder, McClaren is remembered as being a "tiny" player but also "skilful on the ball" and "head and shoulders above the rest."[8]

He is married to Kathryn with whom he has three sons called Joe, Sam and Josh.[9] As of 2006, McClaren lived in the town of Yarm in Stockton-on-Tees. On becoming manager of Wolfsburg, McClaren moved his family to Germany.[10]

Playing career

As a player, McClaren was a midfielder who spent most of his career in the lower leagues of English football. The bulk of his playing career was with Hull City, who he joined in 1979 at the age of 18 after leaving school, He went on to play 178 games scoring 16 goals before leaving in 1985. He then played for Derby County between 1985 and 1988 making 25 appearances, During 1987 he joined Lincoln City (on loan) making only 8 appearances. In 1988, he moved to Bristol City and played 61 times scoring 2 goals. His final club was Oxford United who he joined in 1989, he played 33 times before an injury forced him to retire in 1992.[11]

Managerial career

Coaching career

After retiring from playing McClaren began his coaching career as a youth and reserve team coach at Oxford United, where Denis Smith was manager.[11] He moved back to Derby County in 1995, where he was assistant manager to Jim Smith.[12] The pair won promotion to the Premier League in their first season in charge and later enjoyed further consolidation in the top flight.

In early 1999, McClaren moved to Manchester United as assistant to Alex Ferguson, replacing Brian Kidd. At the time he was so unknown he was introduced by United chairman Martin Edwards as "Steve McClaridge".[13] His first half-season was distinguished by United winning the Treble, consisting of the Premier League title, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League. He developed the reputation as one of the most tactically astute coaches in the country,[14] using modern methods such as video analysis and sports psychologists.[13] United later won the League titles in 2000 and 2001, thus ensuring they won every title contested while McClaren was at the club.

In October 2000 McClaren was made a coach in the England national team by caretaker-manager Peter Taylor.[15] He retained the position under permanent manager Sven-Göran Eriksson until November 2002, combining the job with his roles at club level.[16] However, he returned to assist Eriksson as assistant manager shortly before Euro 2004 as Brian Kidd had undergone surgery for prostate cancer.[17] He remained in the role up to and including the 2006 World Cup finals.


At the end of the 2000–01 season McClaren began looking for a managerial job, having decided his chances of succeeding Ferguson at Old Trafford were slim.[14] With a positive reputation and closely linked with three Premier League vacancies, Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson won the race to appoint him after McClaren turned down Southampton and West Ham United.[18] In his first season, Middlesbrough reached the FA Cup semi-final, knocking out his previous employers Manchester United en route,[19] but lost 0–1 to Arsenal.[20] They finished 12th in the league, a small improvement on the previous season's 14th-place finish. The following season bought another modest improvement, this time finishing eleventh.

In the 2003–04 season, McClaren guided Boro to victory in the League Cup with a 2–1 win over Bolton Wanderers in the final.[21] This was the club's first ever major honour and also guaranteed them qualification for a European competition for the first time in their 128-year history.[22] In the following close season, McClaren was able to attract proven players Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Michael Reiziger and Mark Viduka to the Riverside Stadium.[23] The signings paid dividends as the club reached the round of 16 in the UEFA Cup, having beaten more experienced sides such as S.S. Lazio,[24] before being eliminated by Sporting Clube de Portugal.[25] The club finished in seventh position in the Premier League—their best finish since 1975—ensuring qualification for the UEFA Cup for a second successive season.[26]

The 2005–06 season proved to be the most eventful of McClaren's tenure at Middlesbrough.[27] The club endured mediocre league form, humiliatingly losing at home to local rivals Sunderland[27] (who went on to be relegated with a then record low points total) and suffering a 0–7 thrashing at Arsenal, putting the club in relegation form.[28] During a 0–4 defeat at home to Aston Villa, a Middlesbrough fan ran onto the pitch and threw his season ticket at McClaren signifying his disgust at the club's performances.[28] Boro eventually finished 14th but enjoyed greater success in the cup competitions, reaching the latter stages of both the FA and UEFA Cups.[29] They lost 0–1 to West Ham United in the FA Cup semi-finals.[27] In the UEFA Cup, Middlesbrough were losing on aggregate in the second legs of both the quarter and semi-final ties against FC Basel and FC Steaua Bucureşti respectively. After McClaren substituted defenders with attackers Boro produced two spectacular four goal comebacks in both ties to reach the final.[26][30] In the final, however, Middlesbrough were outclassed by Sevilla and lost 0–4.[31]

McClaren's five year tenure on Teesside saw him establish himself as Middlesbrough's most successful manager as he made the often difficult transition from coach to manager.[30] He was also the most successful English manager of the early 21st century; he was the first Englishman to win a major honour since 1996 and first to reach the UEFA Cup final since 1984.[32] However, many Boro fans were indifferent about his departure believing Steve Gibson, the club chairman, to be more important to their success.[33] McClaren was accused by rival managers as having a "pot of gold" provided by Gibson to buy players, giving him an advantage over other teams when signing players.[34] Despite this, towards the latter end of his tenure McClaren was criticised by supporters of using negative tactics and earning Middlesbrough the tag of a "dull" side.[27][35] Some observers attributed Middlesbrough's success to the senior, experienced players in the side rather than McClaren's managerial ability.[27]


After Eriksson announced in January 2006 that he would leave as England manager after the 2006 World Cup finals McClaren was placed on the Football Association's shortlist to succeed him alongside Sam Allardyce, Alan Curbishley, Martin O'Neill and Luiz Felipe Scolari.[36] The FA first offered the position to Scolari,[37] but he rejected the offer claiming that the role would mean excessive media intrusion in his life.[38] McClaren was subsequently announced as Eriksson's successor on 4 May 2006 after signing a four year contract.[1] The nature of his appointment earned him the nickname "Second Choice Steve".[39] The appointment was praised by the likes of Alan Hansen,[40] Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Trevor Brooking.[41] However, the majority of England fans on the BBC's 6-0-6 messageboards were dissatisfied with the FA's choice.[42] McClaren assumed control of the national team on 1 August 2006.[43] He chose popular former England coach Terry Venables as his assistant,[44] a move seen by some as an attempt to try and counter the lack of enthusiasm for McClaren.[45] He also hired public relations guru Max Clifford to manage his relationship with the media.[46]

McClaren's first decision was to choose the new England captain. He decided to give the arm band to John Terry, the Chelsea defender and captain who at the time had 24 England caps, saying "I'm convinced he will prove to be one of the best captains England has ever had."[47] In his first squad, McClaren dropped many of the national team's older players including Sol Campbell, David James and former captain David Beckham, saying he was planning for "a different direction."[48] However, McClaren stated that there was still a chance that Beckham could be recalled in the future.[49] McClaren was blessed with a relatively weak European Championship qualifying group from which to qualify, which with the exception of Croatia and Russia, was a group England were expected to win outright. After initially starting well with three wins, England hit a poor run of form between October 2006 and March 2007 with only one goal scored in five matches. During a European qualifier match against minnows Andorra in March 2007, McClaren and the England team received abuse from supporters during a poor performance in a 3–0 win. McClaren walked out of the post-match press conference following the Andorra game after only two minutes of questions, saying, "Gentlemen, if you want to write whatever you want to write, you can write it because that is all I am going to say. Thank you."[50] England had fallen to fourth in their qualification group.

In May 2007, McClaren made a U-turn by recalling Beckham into the England squad. England subsequently had a run of four wins from six matches, which boosted the country's hopes of qualification for Euro 2008 before a defeat against Russia in October 2007, causing England's qualification fate to fall out of their hands. The FA's chief executive, Brian Barwick, gave his backing to McClaren, despite the defeat.[51] McClaren was also backed by players Phil Neville and Steven Gerrard, his predecessor Eriksson,[52] and the chief executive of the League Managers Association John Barnwell.[53]

The results of other matches in England's qualification group meant that England would qualify if undefeated in their final group match against Croatia. The match was played at Wembley on 21 November 2007 and England lost 3–2; coupled with Russia's victory over Andorra, this meant that England would not be at Euro 2008. It was the first time in 14 years that England had not qualified for a major tournament, and the first time in 24 years that they had not qualified for the European Championships.

The following day, the FA held an emergency meeting at which McClaren was removed from the post of England coach along with his assistant manager Terry Venables. McClaren's tenure was the shortest of any England manager to date, spanning just 18 games in 16 months. On 14 December 2007, it was announced his post had been taken up by Fabio Capello commencing from 7 January 2008.

After England

McClaren announced in February 2008 he would consider managing in either the Championship or abroad in his next job.[54] In May 2008, McClaren had a brief spell coaching then League Two side Darlington, assisting his former Oxford United team-mate Dave Penney.[55]

In April 2008, the BBC announced McClaren would join them as a pundit for Euro 2008, working as analyst and co-commentator for BBC Radio 5 Live, alongside Alan Green, one of his harshest critics as England manager. The decision to employ McClaren as an 'expert analyst' was met with much criticism,[56][57] notably from former BBC pundit Ian Wright.[58] McClaren's first commentary game was Austria v Croatia on 8 June 2008, Croatia having been the team chiefly responsible for England's non-qualification for the tournament, having beaten England twice in qualifying.[59]


In May 2008, McClaren was linked with a return to football as manager of the Dutch side Twente.[60] He was in the crowd for a match against Ajax on 18 May 2008, seeing Twente qualify for the UEFA Champions League.[61] In response to speculation, a Twente spokesman initially stated that the club had no intention of hiring McClaren.[62] However, later that month it was reported McClaren had held talks with Twente Chairman Joop Munsterman and had toured the club, despite question marks from some Twente fans to his possible appointment.[60][63] When he was initially offered the Twente managerial job, McClaren turned it down due to private issues and on 7 June 2008 he expressed an interest in the vacant managerial role at Blackburn Rovers.[64][65] However, on 20 June 2008 he was confirmed as the new manager of Twente.

McClaren made a good start to the 2008–09 season. The club went on to secure second place in the Dutch league behind winners AZ Alkmaar,[66] reached the final of the Dutch Cup (losing on penalties to SC Heerenveen)[67] and on the European front, the club survived group stages in the UEFA Cup, having beaten amongst others Racing Santander and Schalke 04, managed by McClaren's predecessor at Twente Fred Rutten. It was the first time in 30 years that the club had remained in European competition beyond winter. Twente were eventually knocked out on penalties in the Round of 32 by Marseilles.[68]

At the start of the 2009–10 campaign, McClaren's second season at FC Twente, there were question-marks over how well newcomers Bryan Ruiz and Miroslav Stoch would be able to replace the departed Eljero Elia and Marko Arnautović, who had been at the core of Twente's second place finish in the league the preceding year. However, McClaren led the team to some impressive results, with Twente reaching the top of the league in October and remaining top throughout the next few months. FC Twente, which had never won a Eredivisie title in its history, continued to top the league in the latter part of the season, holding off the likes of renowned competitors PSV and Ajax, and seriously emerged as title favourites. They also reached the first knockout round of the inaugural Europa League, where they were defeated by SV Werder Bremen. McClaren signed a one year extension to his contract in October 2009.

On 2 May 2010, FC Twente were crowned champions for the first time in their history after a 2–0 win away to NAC Breda. On winning the Eredivisie, McClaren became the first Englishman to manage a team to a top-level domestic league title since Bobby Robson with F. C. Porto in 1996 (Robson also won the Dutch title with PSV Eindhoven in 1991 and 1992).[69][70] Robson had in fact been a major influence in McClaren's decision to go to Holland. According to McClaren, "The relationship I had with Bobby was very special. He was a good friend and was of big influence on my decision to join FC Twente. I'd like to think that he'll be watching from a cloud up above and wishes us the best as we play the last game in the league against NAC".[71] Twente won 16 of 17 home matches in the Eredivisie league that season and lost just two away. Twente withstood immense pressure from Martin Jol's Ajax (who won their last 14 games in a row and had a goal difference of +86, more than double Twente's +40) during the second half of the season and trumped the Amsterdam side by one point difference on the last day of the league to claim the title.[72][73] Upon winning the championship, McClaren stated "Winning the Carling Cup with Middlesbrough was special but this is pretty much right up at the top of anything I've ever done. To win a championship in a foreign country with foreign coaches, I think it's made me stronger."[74]

At the end of the season, McClaren was awarded the Rinus Michels Award for Dutch manager of the season.[75]


Despite winning the Dutch league with Twente, McClaren left the Dutch champions on 11 May 2010 to take over as manager of Bundesliga side Wolfsburg, making him the first Englishman to manage a German top flight football club.[76] Wolfsburg lost their first three league matches under McClaren – including a 2–1 injury time away loss to Bayern Munich on the opening day of the season, followed by a 4–3 home loss to Mainz having led 3–0 after thirty minutes – but got off the mark with a 2–0 home win against Hannover. Wolfsburg then won their next two matches convincingly to rise to sixth in the table.

Despite struggling in the league, on 23 December 2010 VfL Wolfsburg publicly showed a vote of confidence in McClaren. However, due to further poor results, on 7 February 2011 the board decided to sack McClaren with immediate effect.[77]

Nottingham Forest

McClaren succeeded Billy Davies as manager of Nottingham Forest on 13 June 2011. After Forest only won eight points from his first 10 league games in charge, McClaren resigned as manager, citing the club's refusal to sign two Premier League players on loan deals.[78]


As player
Derby County
As assistant manager
Manchester United
As manager



As of 2 October 2011
Team Nat From To Record[79]
G W D L Win %
Middlesbrough England 12 Jun 2001 11 May 2006 &10000000000000250000000250 &1000000000000009700000097 &1000000000000006000000060 &1000000000000009300000093 &1000000000000003879999938.80
England England 1 Aug 2006 22 Nov 2007 &1000000000000001800000018 &100000000000000090000009 &100000000000000040000004 &100000000000000050000005 &1000000000000005000000050.00
Twente Netherlands 20 Jun 2008 30 Jun 2010 &10000000000000101000000101 &1000000000000006400000064 &1000000000000002100000021 &1000000000000001600000016 &1000000000000006336999963.37
Wolfsburg Germany 1 Jul 2010 7 Feb 2011 &1000000000000002100000021 &100000000000000050000005 &100000000000000080000008 &100000000000000080000008 &1000000000000002380999923.81
Nottingham Forest England 13 Jun 2011 2 Oct 2011 &1000000000000001300000013 &100000000000000030000003 &100000000000000030000003 &100000000000000070000007 &1000000000000002307999923.08
Total &10000000000000403000000403 &10000000000000178000000178 &1000000000000009600000096 &10000000000000129000000129 &1000000000000004417000044.17


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