Brollywood Steve looking forlorn: He is now cresting the heights of the Eredivisie with FC Twente
Long live Steve McLaren. The former national manager who left England’s shores in ignominy two years ago became the first Englishman since Sir Bobby Robson to win a domestic title on foreign soil. Sir Bobby did it with Barca in 1996.
McLaren took FC Twente to their first ever Eredivisie in the club’s 45 year history when they beat NAC Breda, 2-0 on the road. FC Twente beat out Martin Jol’s Ajax by one point as they finished with 86 points with just two losses. Ajax chalked up a phenomenal 106 goals conceding just 20 for a whopping 86 goal differential but it was not enough.
He brought up his tenure as England’s manager in an interview:
“I don’t think a day goes by some aspect of that experience doesn’t come flashing into my mind. I felt I let down a nation.”
“But being a manager is what I do. Generally I’ve been quite successful in what I do, but you can’t win every time. Sometimes failures come, and this was a big failure.”
“I had to learn from it, be strong and move on.”
Good for him.
McLaren seems to have shown some serious scouting chops signing Costa Rican Bryan Ruiz whose 23 goals was only second to the most prolific Luis Suarez. Another success is on loan Chelsea attacking midfielder Miroslav Stoch with nine goals. And Luuk De Jong, the 20 year old striker and brother of Ajax’s Siem De Jong is regarded as top national material.
But their success is the back line which gave away only 23 goals. Peter Wisgerhof who joined in 2009 from Breda teamed up with Douglas, the 6’4″ Brazilian to form a solid central partnership. Ronnie Stam also arriving from Breda in 2008 quickly established himself as the right back. Dwight Tiendalli a U-21 standout signed on as a free transfer from Feyenoord in 2009 made the successful switch to left back.
An enormous challenge for a club in flux but their success exceeded McLaren’s wildest expectations.
“I said at the beginning of the season I don’t know if we have a team, I couldn’t tell. They grew and grew, they deserve it. They deserve it.”
McLaren is now the favoured choice to take over the Wolfsburg job. He might have to switch to a German English accent but he is disgraced no more.