Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

McClaren Deserves a Warm Welcome Back to the Boro

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

McClaren Deserves a Warm Welcome Back to the Boro

Article excerpt

Byline: Bernie's Bolt with Bernie Slaven

STEVE McClaren should get a standing ovation when he comes back to the Riverside with Derby on Saturday.

I know it seems strange applauding an opposition manager but I honestly believe he deserves it. If he doesn't deserve it, who does? Steve McClaren delivered the goods. Under him Boro enjoyed real glory days of the sort I would never have believed possible when we were locked out of Ayresome Park.

The fantastic victory in the Carling Cup at Cardiff was incredible.

To bring the first trophy back to the region was a brilliant achievement, esepcially when the neighbours who tell us all the time they are bigger and better clubs haven't managed that kind of success for 40 or 50 years.

And then there was the European campaigns. It was amazing to watch Boro play the likes of Lazio, Roma, Sporting Lisbon and Stuttgart.

And even though Boro didn't win the UEFA Cup they got to the final and that was a great achievement too.

Anyone who thinks it wasn't should look through the long list of big English clubs who have tried and failed to get there before and since.

And yes, he had money. He had resources.

He was given the transfer fees and the wages to bring in superstars and build a team.

But hey, there are a lot of managers who have been given money and not delivered.

There have been plenty who have had a lot more money than Steve McClaren had and flopped.

Just having the money isn't the key or every manager with a magic chequebook would win cups every year.

So for me Steve McClaren deserves recognition and respect for everything he did at Boro - even if it does feel like it was all 100 years ago now.

It is hard to believe how far we have fallen back since those days.

Of course, Steve McClaren wasn't universally popular when he was here.

There were plenty of fans and pundits far from happy with his personality and his negative tactics and let's not forget that at times results and performances were poor.

It was only a few months before Eindhoven that McClaren was being booed and having to duck as an angry fan threw a Red Book at him.

And you can't deny that parts of his approach did annoy the public.

Some of his tactics left a lot to be desired: one up front at home to relegation strugglers? Dear me. He was very cautious in his tactics, very negative.

Even though we had brilliant midfielders and deadly strikers he would try to strangle the opposition and nick it.

So his style of football wasn't always popular.

I remember a lot of callers to the Legends who would blast Boro for being boring. And at times they were.

There were a lot of games at the Riverside that were turgid.

But he was a shrewd tactician.

He wasn't stuck to his negative style and if Boro were behind he would take the shackles off. …

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