Steve McClaren Rumours
I thought we’d already been through this sorry routine about five years ago. Remember when Randy Lerner was considering Steve McClaren as the next Aston Villa boss? Villa supporters swiftly made their feelings known about that idea.
Well, that was the first clue McClaren would never ever manage Villa. Need any more evidence? Just look at his recent record of failure in English management.
McClaren was laughed out of Nottingham Forest after eight points from ten games. His next job in the Championship saw him sacked at Derby after failing to get the club promoted, which featured an alarming drop of form at the end of his second season – only two wins in the last 13 games. The following season, somehow McClaren managed to snag the Newcastle job, but he was sacked before the season’s end.
In short, he’s not good enough.
So…what chump would even consider the fact that Tony Xia and Keith Wyness would even entertain the idea of McClaren? Well, quite a few chumps it would seem.
Since Villa lost against Preston and Di Matteo had pretty much sealed his fate as a result, there has been a whole spate of mindless stories about Villa considering Steve McClaren to be the next Villa boss.
None of these McClaren rumours exactly sprang from an actual story about the possibility. Instead, they simply originated from a throw away sentence from a Daily Mail journalist in a general article about Villa’s loss against Preston and Di Matteo’s winless run.
In the Daily Mail article, that carried the headline ‘Roberto Di Matteo on the brink of the sack after Aston Villa’s winless run stretches to NINE matches with defeat at Preston’, the journalist Sami Mokbel ended his article with the following throw-away line:
‘Xia has already started looking at candidates, with former England manager Steve McClaren in the frame.’
Essentially, it’s just a journalist who isn’t a specialist on Villa just pulling a name out of the air (or his a**) to close the story.
It wasn’t actually ever ‘a story’.
The Daily Mail reporter Laurie Whitwell, who covers the Aston Villa beat, didn’t even mention McClaren in his write up of the situation, preferring to make more logical stabs at who Villa could get:
‘Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner has drawn admiring glances from Villa Park while Steve Bruce has been a long-time contender despite having previously been in charge of city rivals Birmingham,’ wrote Whitwell.
If Whitwell knows the score, why can’t other journalists/writers who specialise in covering Aston Villa?
Now what followed is the sad, sad, sad reflection of the low frequencies football ‘journalism’ now operates on. Which is to essentially play football supporters as fools in order for clicks.
First up, the Birmingham Mail was on clickbait autopilot as it spun the sentence into a full story.
They went for the ‘Former England boss’ headline carrot – ‘Aston Villa manager rumour: Former England boss considered as Roberto Di Matteo pressure grows’ – knowing they would be laughed at if they mentioned McClaren in the title.
The story includes the passage:
‘Steve McClaren is reportedly in the frame to be Aston Villa’s next boss if the axe falls on Robert Di Matteo’s short reign.
According to the Daily Mail, McClaren is among the names Villa are considering if they decide to fire Di Matteo.’
Now I know Mat Kendrick at the Birmingham Mail has a good sense of humour, so I would be surprised if he wrote this with a straight face.
‘Reportedly in the frame’? How tenacious can you actually get? The Birmingham Mail knows the reality and they know the club. Just by declaring it a rumour, doesn’t dissolve your responsibility in spreading it.
So, what’s the motivation? I think you can guess that.
One of the paper’s additional reasons they run such tripe is it creates a bait story to provoke a social media reaction. The Mail then follows up with their overused token online publishing tactic of squeezing an additional ‘fan reaction’ piece – i.e. do a Twitter search of the hashtag #avfc to source fans tweets and then embed them into an article.
‘Aston Villa fans have responded to those Steve McClaren rumours’, read their headline.
Notice how they try to distance themselves from ‘those rumours’…those rumours that weren’t even ‘rumours’ until the Birmingham Mail tried legitimised them into clickbait.
If there was no advertising revenue at stake, there wouldn’t be such ‘fan reaction’ Twitter articles, unless it was a major topic that truly warranted it.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. While a good Birmingham Mail story could be picked up by the nationals and beyond, this clickbait nonsense just fuels the secondary copycat reporting of low rent football websites.
Notably, the likes of Football Insider, HITC and the Read online platform, whose writers don’t seem to have an original bone in their bodies.
‘Aston Villa Could Move for McClaren if Di Matteo is Sacked‘, read the headline of Read Villa.
‘Could’? They ‘could’ move for Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola. Why exactly could Villa make a move for Steve McClaren? Because he’s not dead and used to be a football manager? That’s about the only evidence i can find in this universe on the matter.
These are all pointless articles that just waste everyone’s time and insult people’s intelligence and then encourage dementedly obsessed publications like Newcastle fan rag The Mag to perk up with their usual shi*e brought on by their continued bitterness to humour at their expense.
You don’t need to read beyond their headline ‘Steve McClaren reported in line to get Aston Villa job – A match made in Heaven‘ to know what comes next in the article.
But hey, it would be unfair to single out the Birmingham Mail for using the ‘Steve McClaren Terror Tactic’. It seems to be a regular weapon in the Trinity Mirror’s stable of newspapers.
Take the Daily Mirror’s recent report on the going on’s at Derby County.
Following the headline of ‘Nigel Pearson’s Derby County bust-up escalated after owner used DRONE to watch training’, the article goes on to talk about Derby chairman Mel Morris plans to replace Nigel Pearson, who was understandably a bit peeved by having his training spied on by drones.
‘Assistant Chris Powell has taken charge of first-team affairs while the club completes an investigation into Pearson’s conduct.
Morris has already earmarked Steve McClaren as Pearson’s replacement.
But the former England coach, who was sacked by Derby in May 2015 after lining up a move to become Newcastle boss, will have to apologise to Morris first if he wants the job.’
Wow. It looks like Steve McClaren is going to be multi-tasking managerial jobs for the rest of the season. Is he also in the running for the England job too? Maybe that story was in the Sunday Mirror?
So according to Trinity Mirror newspapers, McClaren is possibility in the frame for a job at a club where supporters would revolt if he was employed and one that he was sacked from, after engineering a move elsewhere?
Yeah, right. FFS.
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