McClaren and Redknapp: the perfect pair or an odd couple?

If you were still looking for further confirmation that football has indeed gone completely berserk and severed the few spiderwebs that still tied it to reality, yesterday might have proved to be the final straw.

Football entered a downward spiral a long time ago but we were yet to see a former England manager, who’s also a title winner in a European league, ending up as assistant manager in a club that was relegated less than two months ago.

With all due respect to QPR, McClaren’s appointment is the equivalent of a manager of a fine-dining restaurant quitting his job to become a part-time bartender in a pub – albeit one with considerable wages on offer.

Being an assistant manager is a crucial step in every future manager’s career, for it provides invaluable insights on the pressure and expectations the likes of David Moyes, Jose Mourinho and their colleagues are subject to, but it rarely represents a career’s peak.

Furthermore, managers relinquishing their role to become understudies are almost unheard of, for the logic process wants them to be pursuing their career by going forward, rather than backward.

Steve McClaren might be mostly remembered for his ill-fated spell in charge of the national team, but the former United’s assistant manager developed into a fine professional and dismissing him as “the wally with the brolly”, as he was infamously nicknamed by a tabloid, would be doing the 52-year-old a huge disservice.

McClaren deliver Middlesbrough’s first and only trophy in their history, as well as guiding Boro within 90 minutes of a European trophy in 2006 when his side was dismantled by Sevilla in the UEFA Cup final.

The new QPR’s assistant manager also showed an admirably open mind by leaving Britain to coach abroad, winning the Eredivisie title with Twente in 2010, the side’s first ever league triumph.

“I am delighted to have been able to bring Steve in,” said Redknapp as McClaren was unveiled to the press yesterday. “Everyone in the game knows what a top coach he is and he’ll add something different to the group, regardless of how long he is with us for.

“This is a very important season for us and I wanted to look at freshening up the whole place, not just the playing side. I want new ideas, different opinions and another experienced head to speak to. That’s what Steve brings.”

Ironically, McClaren’s first, and so far only, spell at a Championship club was extremely disappointing, as he lost seven of his first 13 games in charge at Nottingham Forest and one has to wonder how Joe Jordan and Kevin Bond – the other two Redknapp’s assistants – have taken McClaren’s arrival.

After all, both were considered good enough to assist Redknapp in the top-flight, while they’re now joined in the Championship by a man whose experience in the league amounts to 10 games.

Furthermore, how will McClaren go about his job? Will he simply provide advices when asked or will he find it difficult to shed the manager’s suit and to stop barking orders from the touchline?

QPR face a very delicate transfer window, where the need to secure a mix of experienced players and exciting talent to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking is balanced by the need to offload many of the club’s big earners. Will McClaren have a say in recruiting players or will he simply be looking after training drills?

All of the above questions need answering if the former United assistant manager is to prove a successful appointment, rather than simply a ready-made replacement for Harry Redknapp, should QPR find themselves in a struggle.

It would be rather ironic if Harry Redknapp was to be replaced by the man he appointed himself as his sidekick.

Will Steve McClaren be a successful assistant at QPR or will he take over from Harry Redknapp? Was the former England manager so short of options that he had to accept a job as assistant manager? We want your views so have your say below or get involved on our Facebook page or Twitter feed.

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