Gritty midfielder Steve McClaren was born in the Fulford area of York and joined City as an apprentice in 1977, turning professional two years later in 1979. For the last game of the season in May 1980 Steve was gven his first team debut by manager Mike Smith, who had taken over the reins the previous January and quickly spotted McClaren’s talent. Steve played in a handful of games at the start of the next season but it wasn’t until November 1980 that he established himself as a regular, missing only three of 28 matches until early April and scoring his first City goal in a January 1981 3-1 win at Exeter. McClaren returned to first team action in mid September 1981 and was a regular for the rest of that tumultuous 1981/82 season which saw the demise of Mike Smith, the fall of the club into receivership and the emergence of new club owner Don Robinson.
Robinson appointed ex-Scarborough manager Colin Appleton at the Hull City helm and in 1982/83 the team dominated the division after a slow start and won promotion by finishing second in the Fourth Division table to champions Wimbledon. Appleton made McClaren a regular presence in the City midfield, and he missed only 6 of 52 games all season and netted four times. McClaren was now regarded as one of a crop of promising youngsters at City that Mike Smith nurtured and Appleton developed into a cohesive unit. Elevated to the Third Division in 1983/84, Appleton again piloted City to the upper reaches of the table and also enjoyed a run to the Final of the first edition of the Associate Members’ Cup. McClaren missed six matches early in the season but then was practically an ever-present for the remainder of the season and netted four times, including City’s opener in an important 2-2 draw against Sheffield United in March 1984. Despite the good results and McClaren’s growing reputation as a strong midfield presence, City fell just short of promotion (by one goal after a 2-0 win at Burnley on the last day of the season) and Cup success (losing the AMC Final to Bournemouth). Appleton upped sticks to manage Swansea in the last weeks of the season, and for 1984/85 City turned to player-manager Brian Horton to build on the progress made and the talents that Steve McClaren possessed. Horton’s Tigers were went into the top two of the table after a 14 match unbeaten run in October, November and December 1984 and McClaren missed only six matches all season as City clinched promotion to the Second Division in early May with a 1-0 win at Walsall.
In August 1985 McClaren was lured away from the newly promoted Tigers to join Derby County, who had been one of City’s vanquished Third Division rivals. Derby won promotion in Steve’s first season at the Baseball Ground but after starting the first 15 league games of the season injury kept him out of the team for five months. He made 23 appearances in his first season for the Rams, but missed the entire 1987/88 Second Division campaign as Derby, fuelled by the goals of another ex-Tiger Bobby Davison, swept to a second consecutive promotion. Steve managed only eight matches that season while on loan at Lincoln during February and March 1987, and made only two appearances in the First Division during 1987/88. In February 1988 he moved to Third Division Bristol City, helping the Robins to a top 5 finish and a chance to compete in the end of season play-offs, only to lose the Play-Off Final replay 0-4 to Walsall after the two-legged final had finsihed all square at 3-3. McClaren missed only one league match in 1988/89 as Bristol City finished in mid-table, and during the 1989 close season he moved to Second Division Oxford United – his debut for the U’s was his first career appearance in the second tier. He made only 33 league appearances in four seasons at the Manor Ground, missing the entire 1992/93 season as injuries caught up with him. He retired from playing in the 1993 close season.
McClaren then moved into football coaching, initially as youth and reserve team coach at Oxford. In 1995 Steve returned to Derby County where he was appointed Jim Smith’s assistant manager. His reputation as a forward thinking coach grew as Derby returned to the top flight under Smith and McClaren, and in 1999 McClaren replaced Brian Kidd as Alex Ferguson’s assistant manager at Manchester United, who promptly won the Premier League twice.
After two years at Old Trafford McClaren’s reputation was sky high and he had several offers to select from during the 2001 close season before choosing the first team manager role at Middlesbrough. In five seasons at the Riverside Stadium McClaren guided Boro to five mid-table Premier League finishes two FA Cup semi finals and in 2003/04 a League Cup Final victory against Bolton. In 2005/06, Steve’s side struggled in the League and finished 14th, but embarked on a marvellous UEFA Cup campaign that took Middlesbrough, the footballing embodiment of the Infant Hercules, all the way to the Final via Greece, Switzerland, Holland, Germany, Roma in Italy and a semi-final against Steaua Bucharest when a famous 4-2 second leg victory reversed a first leg deficit. The final, played in Eindhoven, ended 4-0 to Juande Ramos’s star-studded Spanish side Sevilla, but McClaren’s credentials as a top flight manager were secured.
It was therefore a natural choice when McClaren was appointed as England’s national team manager in May 2006, succeeding Swedish playboy Sven Goran Eriksson after Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari rejected the role. McClaren appointed former England boss Terry Venables as his assistant, awarded the captain’s armband to John Terry and embarked on the qualifying group for Euro 2008 that went from decent to average to bad to worse and culminated in failure as a 2-3 defeat at Wembley against Croatia in November 2007 saw England fail to qualify. McClaren and Venables were hooked the next day and Steve’s excellent reputation was fatally tarnished.
After six months out of the game and a spell coaching at Darlington, McClaren took over Dutch side Twente Enschede in June 2008. In his first season The Tukkers finished second in the Eredivisie and reached the Dutch Cup Final, while in 2009/10 McClaren piloted Twente to the League title and was awarded the Dutch manager of the season gong. Buoyed by this success, McClaren took over the managerial reins at German Bundesliga side VfL Wolfsburg in May 2010, but by February 2011 poor results led to his dismissal.
Steve was appointed Nottingham Forest manager for 2011/12 season but after poor results he resigned after only three months in charge. He returned to Twente in January 2012 but resigned a year later and was recruited to QPR’s coaching staff under Harry Redknapp in July 2013. Three months later he was appointed head coach at Derby County, where he steadied the ship and took The Rams into the 2014 Championship play-offs only to lose 1-0 to QPR, the side he had coached earlier in the season. McClaren took Derby to the top of the Championship table in February 2015 but a collapse in form saw the Rams miss out on even a play-off berth and McClaren was sacked in May 2015.
He was appointed manager of Newcastle United a month later, but failed to last until the end of one season and was dismissed in March 2016. Later in 2016 he had a six month spell back in charge at Derby County but was again sacked in March 2017. For four months in late 2017 Steve was a footballing consultant for Macabbi Tel Aviv, before managing QPR for much of 2018/19 season, wher he was again sacked on April Fools Day 2019. McClaren was undoubtedly one of the English games brightest young managers during the early 2000s, but a frantic string of jobs after his Egland dismissal in 2007 tarnished his reputation, a real shame.
Date/Place of Birth: 3 May 1961, Fulford
Hull City First Game: 5 May 1980, Bury H (Division Three), 19 years, 2 days old
Hull City Final Game: 11 May 1985, Brentford A (Division Three), 24 years, 8 days old
Hull City (1979-1985), Derby County (1985-1988), Lincoln City (1987, loan), Bristol City (1988-1989), Oxford United (1989-1993)
Hull City Record
Career: 215 apps, 20 goalsSteve McClaren
|1980/81||19 (1)||1||6 (0)||0||0 (2)||0||-||-||2 (0)||0|
|1981/82||35 (2)||4||4 (0)||2||1 (0)||0||-||-||-||-|
|1982/83||40 (0)||4||2 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||-||-||2 (1)||0|
|1983/84||36 (4)||3||1 (0)||0||-||-||-||-||5 (0)||1|
|1984/85||40 (0)||4||3 (0)||1||4 (0)||0||-||-||2 (0)||0|