Date: 4th October 2011 at 1:09pm
Written by:

To say that Steve McClaren’s 112 day reign as manager of Nottingham Forest was unhappy and unsuccessful, would be something of an understatement – and whilst a quick glance at the Championship table lays out the grim facts and statistics in all there glory, there were mitigating circumstances to the reasons why McClaren and Forest failed to hit it off. For those with little interest in NFFC, it would appear on paper that the blame for it all lay fairly and squarely at Steve McClaren’s door. The truth as they say, is a little deeper than that and he may have had a little help along the way from an unsupportive board.

The former England boss was unveiled to the national media in a blaze of publicity on June 16. He was heralded as the man who would take the club onto the next step and deliver promotion to the Premiership, according to CEO Mark Arthur at the time. McClaren at his inaugural press conference himself waxed lyrical about the history and tradition of the club and told us all how good it was to be “working with good people.” How much does he regret saying that now? He couldn’t possibly know how wrong he would be.

At the same time McClaren was bedding himself in, assessing his new squad and assembling his backroom staff, the board were slowly and systematically ridding what was an already depleted squad of the old has-beens, squad fillers and unfancied players, in readiness for the shiny new signings that were not only expected by the manager, they had been promised as well.

Mark Arthur wasted no time on the day of Steve McClaren`s appointment, to inform us that the chairman had backed the club and former manager Billy Davies in the previous two years to the staggering sum of £25m and that McClaren would be allowed similar funds. So we waved a fond farewell to the likes of Bennett, Wilson, McKenna, Earnshaw, Rodney, Adebola, Garner (we actually got some cash for him!) and Rodney. Coming in through the entrance doors and to take us onto promotion were Greening, Boateng, Reid, Derbyshire, Miller and…..well that was it. McClaren was under the misguided and naive belief that Nicky Maynard, Wesley Verhoek, hopefully and at long bloody last a left back and Wayne Routledge were on there way. But there was to be a sudden change of plan, or as some might say, a pulling of the rug from underneath some poor unsuspecting sap.

If Steve McClaren knew he was going to start the season with the squad he had, I don’t think he’d have made 3 midfielders and 2 strikers a priority.

By the time the season got underway, the cracks were beginning to appear between manager and board. Those cracks were no surprise to many Forest fans, who had been staring at them for the past few transfer windows. McClaren`s predecessor had also seen those cracks, which eventually became gaping holes and cost him his job. After our now customary disappointing start to the campaign, a dismayed McClaren threatened to walk after only 5 games and said to the club “show me some ambition.” He should have gone then, because no sign of ambition was forthcoming and if he had of gone then, the reputation he came here to try and rebuild, would have been much less tarnished than it would be a further 5 games on. Before McClaren’s final game and final humiliation last Sunday against Birmingham, his mind was already made up that it was time to go. Following that 3-1 home defeat, he trudged away from the City Ground, after handing in his resignation to Nigel Doughty. The man who promised him so much, but actually delivered so little. McClaren to his credit didn’t hang around to squabble over compensation. He just left. He left because the players he was attempting to bring to the club were being vetoed by the board. The goalposts had shifted long before McClaren decided his time was up.

For anyone in the game to judge McClaren’s time at Forest as total failure, they would have to take into account the cards he was dealt and the fact he was mis sold the role he was employed to do at NFFC. His 10 games in charge reads won 2, drawn 2, lost 6. Goals for 10 and goals against 21. The total number of points on the table says 8 from 10 and we sit one place above the relegation zone in 21st place. That wont make for good reading when presenting his next CV, but those looking at it may want to take a few other things into account. Steve McClaren was shafted, of that there should be no doubt. So thanks for giving it a go Mr. McClaren, but you never really stood a bloody chance.


19 Replies to “Steve McClaren Was Shafted”

  • I like many did not want him when his name was first mentioned – but never judge a book by the cover. I liked what came out of his mouth and he always seemed to tell the truth after our perfomances no matter how crap – he called it like it was. His intentions were very honorable, and I warmed to the guy quickly. However we all knew he never had a chance, because the Board had lied to him and us from day one – the difference being we KNEW they were only kidding, Steve didn’t. So I wish him nothing but good luck – under a different board he would have had half a chance of showing us what he coud do.

    On a seperate note I am stil not convinced this Doughty leaving thing is not just more spin and smoke screen for some bigger plot – listening to the Radio Nottm interview – the reporter presses him on wheather he is actually leaving the club coz his answer to the question is very politician like – as in vague. Afraid to say it looks like more of the same for us – wait to hear them say ‘there are no buyers out there’ / ‘its a recession you know’ / ‘we want to sell to the right kind of people’ – which means they ain’t gonna let go ! They wil get some yes man in as a manager & get a few half decent results and before you know it – its next season and everyone still has a job – they think we are plonkers! As Birtles said – if the club is up for sale there will be a q of buyers up the banks of the Trent – I said it here a few times we are a great investment for someone with enough dough – I mean someone bought Blackburn!!! They will keep bringing up Munto Finance to scare us & tell us that we dont want someone like that – well of course we dont but we do want someone with honesty & integrity not someone who uses us to balance the books of another part of their empire………If you sell it they will come!

  • Kev, have you any facts to support your theory that McClaren was the innocent party here? Otherwise, I can’t agree. At Boro he was lucky to have a deep-pocketed chairman and experienced, self-sufficient players, and he walked into a ready-made and very efficient structure at Twente. Otherwise he has been clearly out of his depth everywhere else and failure at Forest was inevitable.

    It’s not all that unusual in life for someone to join a new organisation with high expectations all round only for it to be clear by the end of day one that a mistake had been made. This is the case with McClaren. We all hoped it would work, but didn’t we know deep down 114 days ago that failure was imminent? The man is a talentless loser. Always will be.

    Even without new players the current side is probably stronger than the one that did so well last season. McClaren’s added value has been to rip out the confidence and motivation of the team. I don’t know how he did that but the primary responsibility of any manager of people has to be to maximise performance. In that respect he utterly failed.

    Maybe his own motivation was low due to a mismatch between what he thought he was getting into and what the reality was, but if he was a real pro he would have tried to make the best of it instead of giving up so quickly.

    That he walked away without compo is nothing to do with honour. I don’t think he had a choice. Doughty probably was not prepared to sack him and pay out on the contract. McLaren was desperate to quit and cut his losses. The alternative was a prolonged negotiation as the pressure grew and his chances of further employment receded.

    The only person who comes out of this with any honour is Doughty who has been, in my opinion, quite wrongly abused by ignorant fans whose knee-jerk, and probably class-based, reaction is always to criticise senior management. The culprit is McClaren who many believed was doing Forest a favour by coming to manage when in reality he was never up to the job.

  • Do we not need to separate Mr. Doughty?s roles when discussing his reign?

    First of all no-one can deny that he has, and still is I might add, a wonderfully magnanimous owner who saved us from extinction twelve years ago. He is a fan and every other fan should be eternally grateful to him for that. Who else would have done what he did? You have to have a large degree of sympathy for him because he genuinely seems like a very nice man, and I for one certainly do. Thank you Mr. Doughty from the bottom of our hearts.

    As a chairman however, the guy sucked. He twisted when he should have stuck, he stuck when he should have twisted and he never did know how to buy one . He?s made mistake after mistake. Hindsight is a wonderful thing to be sure but this guy takes the biscuit.

    His biggest mistake was not the one he is admitting to i.e. hiring McClaren, it was not backing and then firing the most successful manager we?ve had in years. What a clanger that was! He knew the guy was abrasive when he hired him so he can?t say he didn?t know what he was getting. If it was a personality clash between Billy and either Arthur or Pleat then once again he backed the wrong horse. And as far as any new chairman goes, what power will he have? ? he will still have a reporting responsibility to his shareholder(s). ND will still make all the final decisions, unless he sells the club to new owners, he?s the sole shareholder and the buck will always stop with him unless and until that changes.

    Here?s my point: If Mark Arthur is NOT culpable for any of the major decisions and failures as Doughty insists, and is simply an employee following instructions, it has to be said then that ND and ND only is responsible for the mess we are in. Instead of taking the ?honourable? path, like some 1840?s English gentleman and falling on his sword by resigning, should he not be a big boy now, accept his responsibility, roll up his sleeves and fix this unholy mess he has created? Instead he reminds me of a little boy taking his ball and running home to his mommie because the lads won?t let him play what position he wants to?

    Man up Doughty for crying out loud.

  • Melgarion, I half agree with you but since none of us really know who said what to whom I can only guess based on what’s common knowledge and my own experience of busnesspeople. Recruiting the right staff is terribly difficult and even in the best of circumstances mistakes are often made. In the football’s glare of publicity and given the poor calibre of management skills amongst people “in the game”, mistakes are made much more frequently than usual.

    Billy Davies did well to get Forest into the playoffs twice and for about 65% of his time we played some very good football. However, he failed to get promotion twice and, exactly like he did at Derby and Preston, he played some very spiteful and manipulative games with the media. On balance I think he deserved to be fired on the basis that he was unmanageable and was getting progressively more troublesome.

    I suspect that rather than regret over the McClaren error, Doughty’s primary reason for quitting was the abuse he was getting from some of the crowd, the protestors, the tweeters and others. He said as much in his Radio Nottm interview. It’s not as case of him running off at the first whiff of criticism; much of the abuse was quite vile and threatening. There is only so much a guy can take and he clearly had had enough.

    Doughty’s quitting may be disastrous for the club in the long term and I for one wish he would stay and navigate us through to success, but I respect his position.

  • Scott. I’m not saying that SMc was a good manager for us. What I am saying is he was conned and mis sold the role of NFFC manager. He was definitely told he would be backed and I like many beklieved that to be with more cash and better players than he was. I don’t think he would have made the signings he did, if he knew the scenario he would face at the beginning of the season. If he was given that backing and we were lying 4th from bottom of the table after 10 games, maybe then we could criticise his managerial capabilities. As it is, he was not backed and because of that, it’s unfair to judge him too harshly IMO. SMC said himself on his departure, that the club did not share his ambition.

  • Kev, you are only going by what McClaren has claimed – either from his own quotes or from those of his buddies in the media. I don’t think we know for a fact what expectations were set so we can only guess. My guess is that he was given some warm words that he misinterpreted. Surely with his experience and with what happened to his predecessor, if there was a promise at interview of funding he would have asked for it in writing. If he could prove the promise was made then he would have an excellent case now for constructive dismissal.

    Quite honestly I think I could manage the current Forest squad to a mid table position in the championship. He is not a competent manager and is building an excuse so someone else gives him a job.

  • Hmm…I suppose your smoking gun is at 1:40 where Mark Arthur says “similar sums of money will be made available” meaning McClaren will have similar sums to what Billy was given. I suppose like the BBC interviewer, McClaren took a vague statement like that at face value and didn’t seek clarification or confirmation.
    Kev, I take your point and would now also level criticism at the board for leading McClaren on, but I still think he’s a poor manager and has made a complete mess of our team. Even had he been allowed to spend more I really doubt much would have improved.

    I do not accept that he was intentionally shafted and on balance I believe he was the architect of his own (and the club’s) downfall. I also beleive it’s destructive to do anything other than say McClaren was loser and he’s gone. Let’s look to the future and support the players and the current management plus whoever is chosen to replace McClaren (unless it’s Phil Brown).

  • I can agree on the Phil Brown comment Scott. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on the rest though.

  • why should he seek clarification? arthur pulled the wool, why didnt arthur just say there isnt much money to spend on players? ………arthur and doughty need to get away form nffc, they are a cancer in the club……………..why is every manager paid off with a gagging order
    as for only going on what mcclaren claimed whos word would you rather believe, mcclaren or arthur and doughty?……..usually the club comes out and denies claims like this………….but so far they havent
    doughty and arthur our they are cancer to nffc

  • Scott never mentions the achievement at Derby, 5th in the prem.
    He recieved rave reviews in Holland and rightly so as Twente were never expected to top Ajax and PSV.
    Wolfsburg was a disaster, an unmotivated bunch that believed they were superstars, not the kind of job he needed having been in the same position with the England job.
    Failed to motivate our dressing room but maybe, just maybe, some of our players were far from happy with Billy being booted, only time will tell the truth and it definately will tell in the end.

  • No no no Ridic Otter, you are wrong wrong wrong. It’s perfectly normal practice for a severence package to be governed by a compromise agreement which precludes either party from criticising the other. As McClaren left without a settlement there was probably no compromise agreement so he is free to say what he likes and will undoubtedly be building a story that says it was everyone’s fault but his own.

    McClaren should have sought clarification just as any employee should do with respect to any major issue that is less than 100% clear. I can’t think of much that is more important to a football manager than the level of funding available for team building. He was an fool for not getting it nailed down.

    Doughty and Arthur seem to me to be high calibre and decent individuals. They are not the problem. The problem is idiots like Davies and McClaren who have very limited management skills.

    The problem is also morons like you who spout hostile nonsense and make Forest such an unpleasant club at times. You aren’t the worst but you are still like a ranting goon who mouths off with no conprehension of facts and realities.

  • scott so what you are saying is that in your opinion it is ok to mislead people, its ok to put out words that are not entirely true, are you saying it is ok for doughty and arthur to put out words they know are not true and not only shaft the manager but also tell lies to the fans
    you say ask for how much funding is available? how many times did billy ask only to be told there isnt a budget….or is billy lying too?
    and you taking to personal comments tells eveyone just what type of person you are…insecure
    tell everyone what a fact is…….undoubtedly making stories up sounds very factual
    doughty had *****ed up for 12 years and so has arthur that is a fact, he had taken the club backwards..fact, more debt fact, losing more money per week fact……..the money that is being lost is that interest on interest?
    scott tracy you have to be the happiest clapper of them all, go and play ring o ring o roses with your friends and play pat a cake pat a cake bakers man.
    if youre happy and you know it clap your hands

    what would be interesting scott is who would you like to see as next manager if billy and steve are limited?
    just bear in mind if doughty and arthur are high calibre and decent individuals it was them that decided to employ the limited billy and steve and also the reason doughnut is bailing out…..i wouldnt trust any of them to pick their noses never mind a football manager………maybe you could forward your candidate as manager to nigel and arthur?
    scott tracy nomination for the forest managers job is………………………?

    i dont think anyone expects you to answer that scott…….making every post you make null and void

  • Oh dear Ridic Otter, what an angry little semi-aquatic mammal you are.

    Since you ask, I’m can see value in a young and ambitious candidate like Karl Robinson but I doubt he would take the risk of leaving MK Dons for Forest unless a big wad of cash was on offer. I also see at least as much value in an experienced and capable old salt to steady the ship and I don’t know why there is little talk of Peter Reid who might be cheap and immediately available. Taking someone off another club is complicated and expensive. A long gap with no-one in charge is not going to help.

    Incidentally, I think all the talk about ex-Forest players is sentimental nonsense. The days of football being a local game with deep loyalties are long over (sadly). Roy Kean is a serial managerial failure and probably has little affection for Forest anyway. There is too much bad feeling between the club and the Clough family for Nigel to be a serious contender even if we wanted him and Stuart Pearce has a very nice job right now.

  • oh dear…….no wonder you have a girls name

    i`m off to the kelp beds to break some clams on my tummy

    long live the woodland

  • Actually I’m a very macho rocket pilot and part of a family team whose aim is to save lives all around the world. Don’t you have a television in your holt?

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