Remember Steve McClaren? The wally with the brolly? The man who was torn apart by the British press after his England tenure ended in defeat? This weekend he won the Dutch Eredivisie League with FC Twente.
This is a big achievement. It’d be like winning the Premier League with Birmingham.
The vicious nature of the British media and many of the British fans made it impossible for McClaren to work in the UK after the England job.
The still all think he’s rubbish.
But look beyond the bigots and haters and you’ll find a top class coach. Highly rated by Ferguson at Manchester United he took Middlesbrough to their first silverware in and to an unprecedented UEFA Cup Final.
He took the England job because it was offered to him. Who would turn their country down? Yes it was to soon in his career and it was a poor period for him and the national side but it didn’t make him a bad manager.
He is a fantastic example to all British managers. Go and work in Europe. Stop hanging on for a job in the top flight in England. Managers like Paul Ince or Mark Hughes who fancy themselves to be top managers seem too narrow minded to do it; too much the little Englander, scared of that overseas might be a foreign country.
Look at Roy Hodgson. His career stretches back over 30 years and has taken him all across Europe and as a consequence may lead to him being the next England manager.
But going abroad would expand their horizons, allow them to develop their trade and improve their art. I’ve no doubt that McClaren is a better manager now for the experience. He’s also going to manage them in the Champions League – an experience he would never get in England. If he gets some good results, he’ll become more attractive to bigger clubs and has a chance to move up the managerial ladder in a way that the likes of Ince will never do if they stay here. Moving to Holland has just been a great career move for him and it couldn’t happen to a nicer fella. Steve’s problem with England was that he’s always been too nice, too eager to please and we saw that again by his early attempt at a comedy Dutch accent. But he’s a popular figure in the Netherlands now and after the savaging he got in the press here, it must be a blessed relief for him. He’s proven himself and his career is very much on the up again.
People will still be critical of McClaren saying the Dutch league is inferior but surely it’s better to be a champion in the Dutch league than to do a Sam Allardyce and take Blackburn to 12th or whatever. Being a winner is always more attractive than being a grafter. What would you rather look at when your career is over – a series of mid-table finishes in England or a string of league titles all across the continent? It’s no brainer – except for the brainless Englishmen who are too narrow-minded or scared to give it a try.