Fri, Nov 23, 2007 - Page 24 News List

PRESS PUT THE BOOT IN

AFP , LONDON

England coach Steve McClaren watches his team play Croatia under an umbrella during their Group E Euro 2008 qualifier at Wembley in London on Wednesday.

PHOTO: EPA

Britain's newspapers savaged Steve McClaren yesterday after the England manager failed to guide his team to the 2008 European Championships.

McClaren was sacked within hours of the papers going to print as the national press put the boot into the Yorkshireman after Wednesday's defeat to Croatia.

The Sun's front page was filled by a picture of a punctured England football lying in the gutter.

Britain's biggest-selling daily talked of McClaren being axed in the past tense as it laid into the former Middlesbrough manager and his team.

"England taught the world how to play football. Sometimes it seems we've forgotten how to do it ourselves," its editorial read. "The World Cup in South Africa is only two-and-a-half years away. We need to rebuild, and quickly."

Besides McClaren, it was time to show the "blazered buffoons" running English soccer "the door of their sumptuous offices."

Shaun Custis wrote: "Useless, pathetic, insipid, spineless, desperate, rubbish. England are the joke of European football. McClaren has somehow taken the so-called golden generation backwards from the Sven-Goran Eriksson era. Let's have Sven back. We can only dream of three successive quarter-finals now."

The front page of the Daily Mirror read: "England disgrace."

"Furious England fans turned on Steve McClaren last night after a pitiful defeat by Croatia dumped us out of Euro 2008 ... on one of the most disastrous nights in our football history."

McClaren avoided being lashed by the rain by using a huge umbrella. However, there was no escaping the lashing he got from the newspapers for doing so.

"What a bunch of losers," said the Daily Star's front page.

"McClaren ... looked a fool and it is the first time I have seen a coach using an umbrella on the touchline. It gave out the wrong messages, while the soaked Croatia boss Slaven Bilic lept about barking orders," wrote Brian Woolnough.

The Daily Mail said: "Great leaders inspire their men to glory. Steve McClaren will be remembered as a wally with a brolly."

He seemed to be "auditioning for Singing in the Rain. Was he trying to summon the insouciance of Fred Astaire? Again and again we confront the painful truth that countries a fraction of England's size and with infinitely less cash produce technically superior football that shows up the clumsiness and panic of some of our players when pressure is applied."

"Hopeless, hapless, helpless," said the Guardian's sports section.

The Times also had a picture of McClaren looking glum under his umbrella.

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