McClaren Talks About The Really Tough Times

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 england-v-croatia-2007-steve-mcclaren-wembley_2967128

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.

Comments welcome.

29 comments so far

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 11, 2015 at 11:58 PM

    Comment #1

    ”Would you put your kids in a dinghy in a shark infested water if it wasn’t worse on shore”

  • jimmysmith

    Sep 12, 2015 at 12:13 AM

    Comment #2

    This new philosophy really appears a willingness to spend an extra say 10 million a season, to put a rough figure on it. The fifty looks impressive, but we brought in five last year, who weren’t all as good as hoped, notably Riviera and Cabella and that has certainly influenced the amount of the spending, as has the extra money in the game that will inevitably result in increased spending on players by other clubs. It’s far less a revolution than an adjustment, and one the club really had little choice to make. They couldn’t carry on the way they had been, but eighth and a cup run is hardly stellar ambition. I’m happy, and I think Ashley runs the club pretty well on balance, even in the dark days, I felt he was looking out for his investment, although upset we weren’t seeing enough of our assets on the pitch. But this change in approach is not a revolution, as much as a further step toward greater stability in this league, I think.

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 12, 2015 at 12:15 AM

    Comment #3

    Jail, that’s a powerful statement that truly paints a picture. I doubt the majority of us truly appreciates how lucky we are. Banter aside marra, with ya on this point 100%. Better not get political or we’ll get the boot! 😉

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 12, 2015 at 12:28 AM

    Comment #4

    It truly does make you think, .. that all these people that think they’re they are coming over here just to live a better life, giving up their life savings. I read a book recently on the Cambodian refugees and the risks they have to take were unbelievable BTW, It was Mike Ashley that reminded me of ‘orrible dictators

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 12, 2015 at 12:32 AM

    Comment #5

    Jimmy, if Ashley had said when he announced his five year plan: ‘the next five years will be rough, whilst I get the club back on course financially, but once we are stable, I’ll fund the club to challenge for trophies’, I think most people would’ve taken that, if begrudgingly. (Which in effect is what he’s done anyway). He appears to have a serious problem with basic communication and everybody suffers for it. Him stepping back from the football is an improvement beyond measure. Let’s be honest, nobody knows where this will, or won’t, take us but the evidence alone speaks volumes for me. I’m optimistic – but I generally am. I hope he means it, because we’ve suffered longer than most from let downs in the past. A trophy! A trophy! My kingdom for a trophy! 🙂

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 12, 2015 at 12:36 AM

    Comment #6


    I wonder why dictator and ashley should sit together? Naw, just kidding! 😉

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 12, 2015 at 12:48 AM

    Comment #7

    If Ashley, could have been honest, he could have been great for the club, a statement :times are lean, we need to build on progress: of course we”ll sell players but we’ll replace them and move forward, but for some reason he couldn’t move past his disrespect of KK, who in my eyes will always be a club legend

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 12, 2015 at 12:49 AM

    Comment #8


    I’d love to talk about about the crisis, but this ain’t the place unfortunately. My heart genuinely bleeds for them and anybody who doesn’t know the difference between immigration and refugee needs to learn it! Better leave that. No more Ed and sorry. Hard to ignore, that’s all.

  • Munster Mag

    Sep 12, 2015 at 12:55 AM

    Comment #9

    Bobby cheers for the arsenal game info. Aboy the head fair play choo, as we say in limerick 🙂

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 12, 2015 at 1:12 AM

    Comment #10

    Keegan will always be a legend because he earned it. The biggest irony will be if Ashley takes us to a trophy. He is successful and we shouldn’t be surprised if he does, on his past record. He’s made some very unpopular decisions, that I have scathed him for, but if it comes out it was all his masterplan to resurrect the potential that is NUFC, then I’ll gladly eat humble pie. What a lovely way to be wrong 😉 We’ve been starved of success for almost as long as I can recall and we deserve some glory. I like to dream lol. He’s at least given us back the right to dream – very big of him like. I fully understand any reluctance to join me, just based on past record alone, but me, I, myself, feel it in the air that times are changing for the better. It just feels right. Only time will tell whether I’m just plain wrong or not, but let’s hope my gut is right. We all deserve a change in fortune.

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 12, 2015 at 1:26 AM

    Comment #11

    Munster, the pleasure is mine sir! Some nice football played until the red card – a phrase we appear to be getting used to. One or two of these lads could be knocking on the door soon and that’s good news all round. Mbabu at right back looks like his put his injury problems behind him. I hope we don’t him go. He was good for the Academy but had a long lay off – can’t remember why. Tonight he looked really good, both going forward and defensively and might provide cover for Janmaat on that display, if he can reproduce it regularly. Toney should’ve scored in the first half really, but overall it was a good team performance without anything any points – another phrase we’re getting used to! 😉

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 12, 2015 at 1:27 AM

    Comment #12

    Anything any? Don’t ask me 😉

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 12, 2015 at 1:34 AM

    Comment #13

    Right, time to retire. Thank you for that, as always, it was fun. Be nice to each other. 🙂

  • jimmysmith

    Sep 12, 2015 at 1:46 AM

    Comment #14

    I think you’re right Bobby, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it optimism. It’s more on the cards than not, that we’ll see more competitive and better football. considering we’ve had decent teams and players in the past under a more austere Ashley, and now an apparent willingness to improve the quality, depth and balance of the squad. Newcastle is a mighty club. If its well run and allowed to punch its natural weight a trophy will likely follow.

  • Ian Toon

    Sep 12, 2015 at 6:54 AM

    Comment #15

    Interesting brief, article today, from – Matt Dickinson Chief Sports Writer of The Times:
    For much of the existence of professional football in England, gate receipts represented a club’s significant income. Some boards would even incentivise the players in the hope of packing the terraces. At Liverpool in the Sixties, they would put an extra £1 in the pay packet for every 1,000 fans who attended Anfield.
    It is a sign of changing times that there are top-flight clubs these days — including Swansea City and Stoke City — for whom gate receipts can represent less than 10 per cent of their revenue. That proportion will diminish more once the next broadcast deal kicks in from 2016-17.
    As we try to plot the distorting effects of so much broadcast money pouring into the Barclays Premier League, this is one of the trends that must be tracked. If TV income carries such weight, does it matter how many fans you attract? Does it negate the traditional strength of a well-supported club such as Newcastle United and destroy assumptions that they would always float back to the top because of their potential to draw a big, loyal audience?
    We can detect signs of a closing of the gap among mid-ranking clubs in the top flight; a top half-dozen who have uncatchable clout if they run themselves properly but a chance for a rising middle class of Crystal Palace or Swansea to challenge through efficient use of that soaring TV revenue. That is their opportunity, though, on the basis that every pound and every bum on a seat counts towards the bottom line — especially if it eats a corporate lunch before kick-off — clubs do not yet seem ready to ignore any extra source of income.
    Manchester City have expanded the Etihad Stadium; Chelsea continue to pursue plans for a complete rebuild of Stamford Bridge. For West Ham United, the chance for a bigger fanbase with their move to the Olympic Stadium will be enriching while, on Merseyside, Liverpool are in the process of expansion and Everton covet a new, larger home. It is clear that clubs still see value in the paying fan.
    Newcastle’s ability to attract an average crowd of 50,000 can still amount to £20 million more than Stoke or Swansea over a season. That is not a sum to be sniffed at but, when guaranteed broadcast income will soon reach more than £100 million a club per year, nor is it the advantage that it once was.

  • cyprus

    Sep 12, 2015 at 6:56 AM

    Comment #16

    “… we need to play better football, create more chances and score more goals and the results will come.”

    Steve, my man, you’re a genius 🙂

    Anyway, I do agree mate. Let’s start doing that. Forget the underdog label, ok? We are NUFC, the new challengers to the establishment.

  • cyprus

    Sep 12, 2015 at 7:03 AM

    Comment #17

    It’s another sport Steve, but do show the players what little unfancied Vinci did to n.1 Williams.

    Before the point below, Williams was screaming after every point she won, even when Vinci played an unforced error (unsportsmanlike). To top that, the partisan US crowd was following suit.

    The unseeded n.43 then wins that point. Cool stuff.

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Sep 12, 2015 at 7:53 AM

    Comment #18

    Ian…you really need to apply some of the things you have leaned at a higher education. Splitting your post up in reasonable paragraphs would be a start.

    They are simply not readable.

  • Jib

    Sep 12, 2015 at 7:54 AM

    Comment #19
  • Jib

    Sep 12, 2015 at 7:56 AM

    Comment #20

    As an Englishman I found Ian’s post perfectly readable.

  • hibbit

    Sep 12, 2015 at 8:11 AM

    Comment #21

    jib /jane /jeff from pennywell surprised you can read WUM

  • Jib

    Sep 12, 2015 at 8:14 AM

    Comment #22

    Jesper’s pomposity and arrogance knows no bounds . He comes on an English blog and criticises the structure of an article in the Times.
    Your mask slipped there Jesper , and the conceit came shining through.

  • Jib

    Sep 12, 2015 at 8:17 AM

    Comment #23

    Hark !!!

    Was that Kenneth Tynan or Bertrand Russell passing a comment.

    Oh No!!!

    It was Hibbit passing wind.
    Through his mouth.

  • Ron Knee

    Sep 12, 2015 at 8:29 AM

    Comment #24

    Have you considered getting professional help, jeff?

  • SUTTY1978

    Sep 12, 2015 at 8:31 AM

    Comment #25

    McClaren thinks that Colo was the best signing we made in the summer. Can’t think what to say after reading that little nugget. I think it was one of the worst footballing decisions in years.

  • Rotonda heights

    Sep 12, 2015 at 8:31 AM

    Comment #26

    looking forward to hopefully seeing perez come in for mitrovic and give us a much more fluid system.

  • Rotonda heights

    Sep 12, 2015 at 8:35 AM

    Comment #27


    Hard to disagree really. there are a lot of things i like about SM and the new coaching set up but every week i’m left scratching my head thinking why has he done or said that and then I remember that night at wembley v croatia when we banged long balls to crouch for 90 mins and had no plan b in sight!!

    Still SM says he’s better for the experience so time will tell. No goals scored in 3 games is a worry though.

  • Rotonda heights

    Sep 12, 2015 at 8:40 AM

    Comment #28


    ive always found the williams sisters and their entourage to be totally unlikable in the extreme.
    they don’t know how to lose gracefully.

  • geordiesteve520

    Sep 12, 2015 at 11:46 AM

    Comment #29

    Jail and Bobby – I did my first degree in The US and was friends with several former Cambodian refugees. They were all impressively humble, intelligent, hard working and shrewd, as well as driven and determined. Too often we tar people with the same brush and come out looking foolish. Good conversation, I enjoyed reading it.


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