Wally with the Brolly


Wolfsburg taunt McLaren, the Wally with the Brolly

It’s the time of year that underperforming managers dread…Christmas. By now you have had your chance to prove what you can do and if it’s not working out the vultures will start circling. In recent weeks we have seen Chris Hughton, Sam Allardyce and Rafa Benitez (read Benitez joins the Italian Job…less) all lose their jobs and it looks like Steve McLaren’s time as manager of VFL Wolfsburg is hanging by a thread!

With Wolfsburg  only 4 points clear of relegation, the side has won just 4 of its 17 games in this season’s Bundesliga and as a result of growing unrest from the crowd Managing Director, Dieter Hoeness has come out and publicly backed McLaren…well for now. When looking at the German side on paper there is a real class and balance about the team. Their defence contains highly rated Italian centre back Andrea Barzagli, German international Arne Freidrich and the young Danish talent Simon Kjaer. The midfield and attack then contains Brazilian internationals Josue, Grafite and the very highly rated Diego. There is then the most wanted striker in European football,  Edin Dzeko leading the line.

So why are Wolfsburg and McLaren struggling?

Well lets not forget McLaren’s reputation! Despite winning the Dutch Eredivisie with small club FC Twente, McLaren’s career will always be overshadowed by his performance as England manager. The image of  Steve McLaren  prouncing up and down a rain-sodden Wembley touch-line with an umbrella to hand, will remain in the minds of millions across the world!The world media portrayed him as a joke…the Wally with the Brolly! A section of the crowd even took taunts to new levels. They decided to take green and white umbrellas to their last league game, in a protest of McLarens rein at the club.

It’s not just McClaren’s performances that have taken a battering by the media. He has consistently been shown as the butt of all jokes. His performances with the Dutch and German press have been literally cringe worthy. On a number of occasions the Englishman has spoken broken English adding a slight European accent to his interviews.

But this is an image of McLaren the players have seen. With him coming to the club as a new manager, the players would most definitely have had a preconceived idea of who McClaren is. They have seen McLaren in his most high-profile job fail! Is it possible that the players see their manager as a failure, a joke? McClaren has highlighted himself that there are problems in the dressing room.  “I am disappointed, frustrated. We have problems in the dressing room, problems on the field.” Once the dressing room doesn’t back you then there is always going to be problems.

McLaren also faces the problem of ongoing transfer rumours. Before even joining the club star striker Edin Dzeko has been sought after. He was ever so close to joining Juventus in the summer and if recent rumours are to be believed Dzeko could be playing at Eastland’s for Man City come January. Dzeko has publicly stated his disappointment at not joining Juventus and he has made it clear that he wants to leave Wolfsburg in the not so distant future. Seeing the star player want to leave the club won’t send a good message throughout the rest of the team and again this reiterates the point that there are problems in the dressing room.

Star striker Edin Dzeko

Luckily for Wolfsburg, the Bosnian is still scoring goals this season  (10 goals in 17 games), however the team just can’t win games. Having drawn their last six league games Wolfsburg are not being consistent in the way they play! When Dzeko and the attack play well the defence is poor and vice versa.  In recent games especially in the cup against minnows Energie Cottbus the defence was all over the place. The first goal came from a set-piece where the Cottbus striker had a free header, the second goal came from a disorganised back line and the third from just poor concentration (watch the goals here).

So where do they improve? McClaren has highlighted Arsenal’s denilson as a possible January transfer target. And Denilson could be a valuable asset to the Germans. He would certainly link the play well and add some more creativity to the side which could turn draws in to wins for McClaren. But I feel McClaren needs to get rid of the players at the club who may be undermining him and creating an unhappy dressing room. Look at Dzeko for instance, the sides best player but let him go if he isn’t happy especially if City come in with +30million. I think it will certainly be a busy January for Wolfsburg with players coming and going but for me McClaren needs to sort out problems off the pitch before he can address those on it.

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About patrickfc
I am 22 years old and co-founder of upper90magazine. I love all things football...Whether its a cold and rainy Saturday watching Rushden & Diamonds or an evening International match at Wembley Stadium.

9 Responses to Wally with the Brolly

  1. illya mclellan says:

    you have successfully jumped on the bandwagon here, panning McLaren because it is fashionable.
    I realized something was wrong when you mentioned Hughton and Allardyce in the same sentence as Benitez. The difference being that the two English based managers were actually winning games and were sacked because of evil twisted business minded fiends.

    • Newcastleman says:

      Hughton didnt win his last 5 games in charge at Newcastle! Are you not in danger of jumping on the bandwagon with your opinion here? Hypocrite!

      • illya mclellan says:

        hahaha, so you agree with his sacking then. disgraceful business.

      • Newcastleman says:

        I didn’t say that I agreed with the sacking. I just pointed out that your statement was wrong

  2. illya mclellan says:

    I dare you to try and be a bit different than the mainstream. McLaren is a good manager, and it was no fluke that he did well in the Netherlands, the main problem with Wolfsburg is that those players think they deserve to win when they walk out.
    I must apologise for the venom in my last post, I admire anyone who has the guts to write anything and put it out for public consumption, and wish you well in your endeavors.

  3. Ryan Bestwick says:

    illya you judgmental tw*t. up at 2.56 am on christmas day(ok boxing day morning) criticising blogs…why? Read some more of this guys articles before you judge – anything but mainstream! I subscribe to upper90magazine and his last piece ‘umbrellas for goalpost’ was anything but mainstream!!!

    On the article itself McLaren should be sacked by Wolfsburg he wont change things around

    • illya mclellan says:

      Calm down mate, it was during the day where I live. So you are defending a blog that is unreasonably critical of someone for no real forward or positive reason, well done, keep the fires of negativity burning. the article is derivative negativity fueled by the blame culture that permeates the game these days. Just thought I would point that out, why write something critical when you can not? The negative response I gave was a direct result of the negative option taken by the writer.

      • patrickfc says:

        Illya although I respect your opinions I fail to understand how you can say that the article is unreasonably critical. Critical and negative? yes, unreasonable? I don’t think so.

        Wolfsburg despite spending more money than any other side in the Bundesliga in the summer, have not won a game since October…October!!! To write a positive article on McClarens time at Wolfsburg would involve ignoring his so far unsuccessful stint and to talk about his time at Twente.

        Yes Instead of mentioning his Twente success I play on his failure with England but only in the context of what the players at Wolfsburg would have thought. Do you really think Dzeko, Diego and co would have seen McClaren the success come to their club? I don’t. Maybe negative but I think the players would have seen him come to their club as failure with England, not a success with Twente.

        Football is a sport and whilst one team succeeds another one fails. At U90 we try to bring you all things football.. A large part of what we write is positive ( read our last two articles on Ben Foster and Nuri Sahin) but we also highlight why we think teams are failing and I don’t think we should apologize if this is perceived as negative.

  4. James Spacey says:

    I enjoyed this article! You are right, McLaren will struggle to win players over due to his reputation. He is a good coach i.e.He did well with Twente where he dealt with small players, but when working with big clubs and big players he struggles as he is a poor manager!

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