Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Five-Year Plan Is Working at Boro

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Five-Year Plan Is Working at Boro

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

Steve McClaren has already made sure of his place in Middlesbrough's history, but he will be the lead figure in a potentially even more exciting chapter tonight. Luke Edwards reports.

The five-year plan has not had the best of reputations ever since the old Soviet governments devised them to boost flagging communist economies.

They rarely worked, despite the best efforts of the workers, who toiled in factories and fields for the glory of the state.

Ask any modern-day politician, devising a five-year plan full of impressive targets and objectives is merely creating a big stick to be hit with if everything does not go according to the grand plan.

But when Steve McClaren arrived as Middlesbrough's new boss in June 2001, the former Manchester United assistant manager immediately unveiled his blueprints.

At the top of his agenda was the prediction that, within five years, he would bring European football to Teesside for the first time in the club's history.

Bold words from a man about to start his first-ever managerial position after assistant positions at both Old Trafford and Derby County. But fast forward four seasons and McClaren has every right to look smug as he prepares to lead his side out against Czech champions Banik Ostrava in the first round of the Uefa Cup. European football has indeed come to Teesside and McClaren can be considered the club's most successful-ever manager, having not only delivered on his promise, but also produced the first piece of silverware in the club's history.

It was that magical win in last season's Carling Cup Final in Cardiff back in February which made tonight a reality and McClaren reflects proudly on his achievements.

"To be involved in Europe is fantastic for everyone connected with the club," he said. "The fans, the coaching staff, the players and the people that work in the front office.

"If you are involved in big nights, and this is one of those, then it's what you are in the game for.

"I'm very excited about being the manager of this club as they go into Europe for the first time. And I'm really looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere the fans create. …

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