Steve McClaren has offered an exciting insight into his first managerial stint at Manchester United during Sir Alex Ferguson’s trophy-laden regime.
After four years as the number two at Derby County, the former England national team manager’s career took a massive leap as Ferguson identified him as Brian Kidd’s successor.
Only two days after taking the job, McClaren had a chance to witness greatness point-blank as the Red Devils steamrolled to a historic 8-1 win at the City Ground.
Ole Gunnar Solskajer’s quadruple, accompanied by the braces from Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke, paved the way for United’s thumping victory over Nottingham Forest.
Ferguson told McClaren to keep his distance and observe as Man United threw a spectacle two days before he’d oversee his first training session.
He also got to see the legendary Scottish manager giving his side a regular post-match briefing, like putting eight goals past a Premier League side was nothing out of the ordinary.
The ridiculous scenes at the City Ground caught McClaren off guard as he turned to Albert Morgan and asked (via the Guardian): “Is it always like this?”
“Oh my God, what the hell do I do?” he thought to himself. “How do I coach this team?”
Alongside Preston North End’s assistant manager David Moyes, McClaren was on Ferguson’s shortlist to replace Kidd, who went to Blackburn Rovers.
But according to the 62-year-old himself, he was sceptical about his chances of landing arguably the most coveted assistant role in English football.
“Someone I know pretty well, a journalist, mentioned that my name was in the frame for the job at United that Brian had just left,” McClaren added.
“I said: ‘Don’t be silly’. He said: ‘No, no, you’ll see. You’ll get a call in a couple of weeks.’ I never thought anything of it.
“Then, two weeks later, I did get a call. It was from the gaffer. It was the Saturday night before we played them the following midweek. He said: ‘Are you interested in coming to United as an assistant?’
“I said: ‘Of course I am.’ He said: ‘Okay, we play you on Tuesday.
“I’ll have a word with Jim (Smith) straight after the game and see if he will allow it and I’ll get back to you after that’. I kept that quiet and prepared for the game as normal.”
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