Posted by Barrie on Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Credit to Steve McClaren

After an horrendous performance as England manager that saw his national side eliminated at the qualifying stage of Euro 2008, Steve McClaren has won over some admirers this season. Still on many people's minds is that infamous rainy night at Wembley where Steve McClaren watched on from the sideline under his umbrella as Croatia beat England 3-2 in what was to be the former Middlesbrough manager's last game in charge of the national team.

Roll on nearly 2.5 years and the former Derby County and Manchester United assistant manager guided FC Twente to the Dutch Eredivisie title on Sunday, for the first time in their 45 year history. He's done it with a team of lesser-known players and two Chelsea loanees. His team had to fight off an Ajax side who won their last 14 league games and scored 106 goals in 34 games, compared to Twente's 63.

Steve McClaren joins an elite list of former England manager's to have success abroad in Europe. The list previously only consisted of Sir Bobby Robson and Terry Venables. Robson, who took England to the semi finals of the World Cup in 1990 went on to win the Dutch Eredivisie back-to-back with PSV Eindhoven in 1991 and 1992 and the same in Portugal with Sporting Lisbon in 1995 and 1996. Despite failing to win La Liga with Barcelona in the late 90's, he won the Copa del Rey and European Cup Winners Cup in 1997. Venables won La Liga with Barcelona in 1985, 11 years before taking England to the semi finals of Euro 96, who, like Robson's side were eliminated on penalties by Germany.

Steve McClaren has already been linked with moves to both Hamburg and Wolfsburg in Germany, and is currently favourite to be the next permanent manager at West Ham. Having been heavily criticised for his poor tactical and selection decisions as England manager, he took himself out of the limelight by managing a team abroad and has guided them to unexpected success.

As assistant manager to Jim Smith at Derby County in the mid-nineties, he helped guide the Rams to Premier League promotion in his first season and later helped lead the team to top half finish in 1998. Shortly after his departure to Manchester United, Derby would decline and drop out of the Premier League. In his first season at Manchester United in 1998/99 as assistant to Alex Ferguson, they would win the treble (Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League). A feat Manchester United haven't achieved since.

McClaren left his role as assistant manager and took on his first managerial job at Middlesbrough for the start of the 2001/02 season. During this time, he became assistant to Sven-Goran Eriksson with England. In his five year stay at Boro, his side were a constant mid-table team, but for finishing 7th in 2005 and qualifying for the UEFA Cup. The season before his side won the League Cup. The following season, McClaren guided Middlesbrough to a surprise final in the UEFA Cup, losing the final 4-0 to Sevilla in his final game. After that, he took charge of the England national team after Sam Allardyce was overlooked and media claims hurting Harry Redknapp's chances.

Speaking of the media, now is a good time to shame the Telegraph, who misspelt Steve McClaren's name in the headline of one of their articles yesterday.

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