Monday night when Newcastle visit West Ham, Steve McClaren will meet up again with Slaven Bilic.
In 2007 McClaren was the England manager and Slaven Bilic was the manager of Croatia, when England were beaten 3-2 at Wembley by Croatia, and in the rain of that night Steve was labeled ¨Wally with the Brolly.¨
And England failed to qualify for the Euro 2008 finals in Austria and Switzerland, and shortly after the defeat Steve McClaren was fired as the England manager.
Steve McClaren on that fateful night in November, 2007
He looked a beaten man that night, but he has bravely and courageously carried on in football management and had some success, and he is now manager of Newcastle United.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger says that if you can get through really tough times in your life without throwing in the towel and giving up (or even dying) – then you will become a stronger person for having been through the turmoil.
We’ve found that to be very true – although it certainly doesn’t seem like it at the time, when you are going through all the pain.
This is what Steve said on Friday about the worst episode in his management career:
“They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and it did nearly kill me, but I survived.¨
“It wasn’t a good night. But it was nothing about Croatia or Slaven, it was about England and myself.¨
“We got on very well. We have the same passion for football. He’s gaining huge respect in football, going from a player to national team boss and now club football and doing well.¨
¨He’s the perfect fit for West Ham.”
“I tried to poison his food, I tried to trip him up. No, he was very humble and gracious.”
“He spoke very well after that game and always has. We know it’s a sport, it’s not life or death – although it nearly was for me!¨
“It was the lowest I got. But you need these things and they happen for a reason. You either slink off or try to come back with more of a determination.¨
“It was very, very easy to want to prove people wrong – although it was difficult to get a job.”
We remember that night very well and were not happy when England failed to qualify.
But Steve has shown his strong character and guts in coming back like he did since then, and a number of people would have given up management right there and then.
It’s a funny thing but Steve, by what he’s done since that fateful night in November, 2007 has gained support, simply because of the courage he has shown.
We certainly have a lot more respect for him after the way he has fought back over these last eight years.
You can call Steve McClaren what you want, but you cannot say he doesn’t have guts.