Flashback to 2007: Steve McClaren Fails As England's Football Coach

Ryan HobbyContributor IFebruary 13, 2009

Let's journey back to 2007, when Steve McClaren was manager of England's football team in what turned out to be a poor hiring decision.

England head manager Steve McClaren already had big shoes to fill, inasmuch as he followed a coach (Sven-Goran Ericsson) who had a song made after him after England's famous 5-1 victory over the Germans in 2001.

McClaren started his reign as English manager against a depleted Greece team. European champions at the time, England won 4-0 and newly-appointed captain John Terry scored the opener.

An extremely controversial decision to remove the captaincy from the beloved David Beckham was obviously a step in the wrong direction, but the opening result was a good start. After removing Beckham’s captaincy, McClaren led England to a 5-0 victory over Andorra.

At this point, a lot of English fans felt it was the right decision to hire McClaren, but it didn't last long.

England began its downfall with a 0-0 draw against Macedonia. Wayne Rooney and Peter Crouch failed to break down a strong Macedonian defense and hardly pierced their stainless steel armor in front of the net.

Croatia followed, as McClaren chose an attacking 3-5-2 formation in going for an all-out attack. This scheme began to fail during the match, as a shaky back pass was misjudged by England goalkeeper Paul Robinson, and found its way into the back of the net. A third  Croatian goal was the death blow for the Englishmen, and they lost 3-2.

This was the beginning of the end for McClaren. England had failed results against  Holland and Spain in friendlies that ideally gave McClaren a chance to try some new tactics. Instead, he stuck with the same old boring tactics which were failing to produce the entertaining football we English were hoping for.

The final straw was the Football Association qualifying contest against, once again, Croatia, a make or break for both teams. A Scott Carson flop put England fans in hysteria as they lost and failed to qualify for the European cup.

McClaren should have left the team much earlier, as he clearly did not have the skills to manage the talented group of players he had control of. His tenure was the shortest of any England manager to date, lasting just 18 games in 16 months. He was fired on Dec. 14, 2007, and Fabio Capello took over.

Let's hope England doesn't make a similar mistake again.