Steve McClaren, the former England manager, is in talks with Championship club Nottingham Forest over becoming their new manager after they dismissed Billy Davies today.
Davies led Forest to the play-offs once more this season, but succumbed to eventual winners Swansea in the semi-finals, having also been beaten at the same stage by Blackpool last year.
The fiery Scot always had a turbulent relationship with the club’s board, and has now been released from his contract with immediate effect.
The Forest hierarchy have wasted no time in opening talks with McClaren, who has been trying to rehabilitate his managerial career in Europe since the difficulties of his England tenure.
Having taken Middlesbrough to League Cup success and the UEFA Cup final in 2006 – ultimately losing to Juande Ramos outstanding Sevilla side in Eindhoven – McClaren’s stock was high as he took over from Sven Goran Eriksson as England boss. However, failure to qualify for Euro 2008 – and the image of him holding an umbrella beneath a storm as England were beaten by Croatia at Wembley – saw him unceremoniously sacked and labelled “the wally with the brolly.”
Undeterred by this failure, McClaren set about redemption, taking over at Dutch Eredivisie side FC Twente. He guided them to a second place finish in his first season, before winning the title in his second, building a creative, attacking young side, the focal point of which was the Costa Rican international forward Bryan Ruiz, plucked from obscurity by McClaren.
Success at Twente earned him a move to German club VFL Wolfsburg, however a number of personality clashes ensued – firstly with Bosnian playmaker Zvjezdan Misimovic, who was shipped off to Galatasaray before the season’s beginning, and then with Brazilian Diego, signed by McClaren from Juventus – and McClaren was ultimately relieved of his duties in February, with the club struggling in the lower half of the Bundesliga, despite early-season expectations of a title challenge.
He was last week linked with the vacant manager’s position at Aston Villa before the club’s board, in response to supporters’ protests, decided not to interview the 50-year-old.
Should McClaren take over at the City Ground, he will face the challenge of re-invigorating a side that has struggled with expectations in the last couple of years – having been pre-season favourites for promotion in each of the past two seasons – but will have the chance to cultivate a side in his own image, much like he did, successfully, at Twente.