583 Steve McClaren

Biography

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 May 1979. For the last game of the season in May 1980 Steve was given 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 first team 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 the tumultuous 1981/82 season that 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 the 1982/83 season the team dominated the division after a slow start, winning 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 had nurtured and Appleton developed into a cohesive unit.

Elevated to the Third Division for the 1983/84 season, Appleton again piloted City to the upper reaches of the table and 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 in the last weeks of the season and took the manager’s job at Swansea City, so for the 1984/85 season City appointed player-manager Brian Horton to build on the progress made and the talents that Steve McClaren possessed. Horton’s Tigers 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 a £70,000 fee was enough to lure McClaren away from the newly promoted Tigers to join Derby County, who had been one of City’s vanquished Division Three 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 29 appearances for the Rams in the 1985/86 season, scoring once in an August 1985 League Cup tie against Hartlepool United, but missed the entire 1986/87 Division Two campaign as Derby, fuelled by the goals of another ex-Tiger Bobby Davison, swept to a second consecutive promotion. Steve made eight appearances in February and March 1987 during a fitness-building loan at Division Four promotion challengers Lincoln City, then made only three appearances for Derby in the early months of the 1987/88 season, two of which were in Division One fixtures against Everton and Luton Town. These took his Derby County tally to one goal in 32 appearances.

In February 1988 McClaren moved to Division Three side Bristol City, helping the Robins to a top five finish and a chance to compete in the end of season play-offs only to lose the Final 0-4 to Walsall in a replay after the two-legged final had finished all square. McClaren missed only one league match in the 1988/89 season as Bristol City finished in mid-table and reached the League Cup semi-final, where the Robins lost narrowly to top flight side Nottingham Forest. By May 1989 McClaren had scored three goals in 82 appearances for Bristol City.

During the 1989 close season Steve moved to Division Two side Oxford United – his debut for the U’s was his first career appearance in the second tier. He made only 40 senior 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 United. 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 – he had several offers to choose from during the 2001 close season and eventually elected to become the first team manager role at Premier League side 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 the 2003/04 season a League Cup Final victory against Bolton Wanderers. In the 2005/06 season McClaren’s side struggled in the Premier 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. The UEFA Cup Final was McClaren’s last game at the Middlesbrough helm, his 250th match in charge.

McClaren was appointed as England’s national team manager in May 2006, succeeding experienced Swede Sven Goran Eriksson after Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari rejected the role. McClaren appointed former England boss Terry Venables as his assistant, handed 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 tarnished for the first time in his managerial career.

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 the 2009/10 season 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 manager at Championship side Nottingham Forest in June 2011 but after poor results he resigned after only three months in charge in OCtober 2011. He returned to Twente in January 2012 but resigned a year later and in July 2013 was recruited to the coaching staff at Queens Park Rangers under Harry Redknapp’s management. Three months later Steve was appointed head coach at Championship side Derby County, where he steadied the ship and took The Rams into the 2014 Championship play-offs only to lose 1-0 to Queens Park Rangers, 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 after 94 matches in charge.

He was appointed manager of Premier League side Newcastle United in June 2015, but failed to last until the end of his first season at St James’ Park and was dismissed in March 2016 after 31 matches at the helm. In October 2016 he had a six month spell back in charge at Derby County but was again sacked in March 2017 after 31 matches in the job. For four months in late 2017 Steve was a footballing consultant for Israeli side Macabbi Tel Aviv before being appointed manager of Championship side Queens Park Rangers in May 2018, but he was again sacked on April Fools’ Day 2019 after 46 matches.

After a year out of the game McClaren returned to Derby County in November 2020 as technical director, however the Ram’s financial woes meant that Steve was released in September 2021. In May 2022 he returned to Premier League side Manchester United when he was appointed to the coaching staff under newly appointed Dutch manager Erik ten Hag and contributed the Red Devils’ recovery, European qualification and FA Cup Final appearance. he retained his role during a difficult 2023/24 season for the Red Devils and remained a familiar face at ten Hag’s side throughout that season.

Details

Nationality: England
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

Clubs

Hull City (1977-1985), Derby County (1985-1988), Lincoln City (1987, loan), Bristol City (1988-1989), Oxford United (1989-1993)

Hull City Record

Career: 215 apps, 20 goals

Steve McClaren
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1977/78
1978/79
1979/801 (0)0
1980/8119 (1)16 (0)00 (2)02 (0)0
1981/8235 (2)44 (0)21 (0)0
1982/8340 (0)42 (0)02 (0)02 (1)0
1983/8436 (4)31 (0)05 (0)1
1984/8540 (0)43 (0)14 (0)02 (0)0

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