Widely blamed for England’s failure to qualify for the 2008 European Championships when he was Manager, McClaren had done well to repair his reputation in stints leading clubs in continental Europe. He guided Dutch club FC Twente to the championship last season, becoming the first English coach to win a major European league since Sir Bobby Robson with Porto (Portugal) in 1996. His move Wolfsburg saw him become the first of his countrymen to lead a team in Germany’s top-flight and the club gave him significant resources to (with which he signed flops like Diego and Simon Kjaer) pull a similar stunt.
His assistant, Pierre Littbarski, takes over on an interim basis. Odds are that the club will turn to one of the Old Guard of Bundesliga coaches (heard Huub Stevens’s name mentioned) to save themselves from relegation, but what happens to McClaren?
- Come on home — There are plenty of open and interesting opportunities in England’s top two divisions. West Brom is open, West Ham is a loss or two from going that way and three or four other managers are updating their resumes. But the man left for a reason. He was pretty much run out of the country after the national team flop and those old scars have not quickly healed.
- Keep on travelin — McClaren’s built up a bit cache of cool during his travels, taking on new playing styles, systems and languages. It may be a good time to stay in Germany and try to master the ins and outs of German soccer at another club. Or maybe he should pick another country — France, Italy or Spain — and find a club with the resources and patience he needs to do what he does best. Get the most out of a group of players with modest talent, but a bit of a chip on their shoulders.
- Do nothing — He was just fired after signing a guaranteed multi-year contract last summer. He’s paid. Maybe now’s a good time for a little R&R (job on ESPN or SkySports)