23 November 2007

Steve McClaren, England Football Manager 2006-2007

It is with some glee and no little relief that As A Dodo must mark the passing of the, now, quondam England Football Manager Steve McClaren - a man for whom the words "over-promoted" and "gurning idiot" might well have been invented (the invention doubtless being attributable to a "source close to Terry Venables").

It was in 2006, amid the ashes of England's World Cup hopes, that the Football Association moved swiftly to dissociate itself from the lacklustre campaign masterminded by noted sexual athlete and part-time football manager, Sven Goran Eriksson, by appointing the man who had been beside him for every faltering step. True, some suggested McClaren was ill-suited for the job, having never managed at the highest level or, indeed, succeeded in his time at Middlesborough in achieving much beyond the occasional assault on the middle of the Premiership table by means of football so grindingly dull that even George Graham in his pomp (or Rafael Benitez in his frankly rather silly beard) would have been driven to bite his own face off at the sheer mind-numbing tedium of it all. However, driven by blind faith in the desirability of an English team having an English born manager (a faith notably not shared by the owners of any of the Premiership's top clubs) and the fact every top-level foreign manager had drilled his family to turn off all the lights and pretend to be out every time someone from the Football Association called round, the FA was left with little choice but to select the man with the frozen smile as the great beetroot-faced hope of English football.

Mr McClaren rose immediately to the challenge of his new post, revealing his priorities as manager by the rapid appointment of PR guru Max Hastings to act as his eminence grease gris. Tragically, Mr Hastings was to be the only silky-skilled appointment that the new manager was to make during his 18 matches at England's helm and even his smooth tongue and media savvy would never be enough to turn a draw at home to Macedonia into anything other than an unmitigated disaster.

McClaren's time as England manager has been described by many as a roller-coaster. Such a description is, of course, wholly inaccurate, given the total lack of any highs during the rapid journey towards oblivion that was his tenure. Indeed, anyone seeking a source for an appropriate metaphor would be best directed towards The Last of the Summer Wine, the sitcom in which misguided fools under the direction of a bemused Yorkshireman bugger about for half an hour before travelling downhill at great speed in a tin bath or giant carrot.

As England's campaign to qualify for Euro 2008 accelerated toward its inevitable doom, it soon became plain that McClaren's rival managers had him by the balls (which were generally long and headed in the vague direction of Peter Crouch - at least when they were not hoofed towards the toilet block behind stand C). With England's defeat by Croatia it became clear that the most golden thing about the nation's oft-hailed "golden generation of footballers" was the taps in their Cheshire mansions and the brightest thing about their manager was his teeth.

Unable to stand to watch so many dumb animals suffering any longer, the FA at last decided to put an end to the team's suffering (and the frequent anti-McClaren briefings from "sources close to Terry Venables") by putting their England manager down.

Steve McClaren, England Football Manager, will be buried under the hallowed turf of Wembley, just before it's dug up and replaced with a surface that wouldn't disgrace a junior school playing field. It is survived by overpaid Premiership stars, thuggish England fans who boo their opponents' national anthems and devastated TV companies, kit manufacturers and pub chains who face a long and quiet summer 2008. He is expected to be succeeded by a high quality manager, such as Alistair Darling.


Anonymous said...

Welcome to Wales! ;)

Lord James-River said...

Tee hee.