His achievements emasculate the media’s rush – myself included – to ridicule the former Middlesboro boss even before he got caught with his umbrella up with England.
McClaren’s problem was not so much the fact that he was the FA’s second-choice behind ‘Big Phil’ Scolari (now earning €13m-a-year with Uzbekistani champions Bunyodko) but his all-too-obvious attempts to massage his persona through the media. Hence the expensive veneers, the Gordon Brown-style smiling lessons, the personality coaches and PR spinners he equipped himself with. As if any of that bullshit mattered.
‘The Wally with the Brolly’, the defining final episode with England, was, after all, down to his unwillingness to get his thinning hair wet. It was never about his ability to manage a football team per se (Steve Staunton he wasn’t) but rather his attempts to manage his public image – which extended to affecting a Dutch accent at an early press conference in the Netherlands – that people, particularly the press, didn’t buy into. For all the show, ultimately it’s a results business.