Reports this week confirmed that former England boss Steve “The Wally with the Brolly” McClaren is on the shortlist to land the vacant managerial job at Dundee United.
The Scottish side are back in the top-flight north of the border, following months of wrangling after football went into lockdown. It’s incredible to think that a man, who only 12 years ago had one of the biggest jobs in world football, is now in competition with the likes of (no offence) Tranmere Rovers boss Micky Mellon as he looks to get back into full-time management.
Paddy Power can exclusively reveal, however, that McClaren has been one step ahead of the game in his pursuit of getting the gig at Tannadice Park and is currently undergoing lessons to improve his Scottish accent.
“Supermac”, as he’s never been known, is no stranger to picking up the local lingo as his time in Dutch football at FC Twente will testify; but the man who despite his Celtic sounding surname, has not an ounce of Scottish blood inside him, is understood to be learning fast thanks to the help of linguistic guru, Hamish McAlpine (not the former Dundee United goalkeeper of the same name).
We caught up with McAlpine to chat about Steve’s progress and he confirmed that the Yorkshire born tactician had spent the past week trying to get his head around words and phrases that he feels would be invaluable should he beat off the fierce competition for the Tannadice hot-seat.
McAlpine told us that he’d told Steve not to worry too much and that; “Whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye!” (What’s meant to happen will happen).
For his part, McClaren had apparently been instructed to tell United sporting director Tony Asghar at Monday’s interview that his idea of coaching was; “Dinnae teach yer Granny tae suck eggs!” or (Don’t try to teach someone something they already know) and not to criticise the players too much in training because; “Failing means yer playin!” (When you fail at something at least you’re trying) and he looks for players that can; “Keep the heid!” (Stay calm and not get upset).
Banter of course is a key ingredient to any happy dressing-room and McClaren has been known in the past to like a laugh and joke with the lads.
To show the Tannadice terrors that although he demands 100% commitment in training and on match day, McAlpine told us that Steve was anxious to learn a few phrases that could lighten the mood on his first day in the job – stuff like; “Ah let wan go” (I broke wind) and “Ye raff yer heid” (You’re a little bit daft), are his go-to phrases as McClaren waits for news.
United are keeping tight-lipped about Monday’s meeting so it’s unclear if the former Manchester United No.2 has passed the test or if Asghar, having had an in-depth “Blether” (chat) has listened to what he has to say and decided that; “Yer bum’s oot the windae” (He’s talking rubbish).
McClaren himself is understood to be confident – so much so that later that day he was spotted in Edinburgh’s Royal Mile being fitted out for a kilt in his own family tartan, which dates back to 1819. Steve is a fashion-conscious type of guy and is anxious not to look like a “Galoot” (idiot) and leave himself a little “Riddy” (red-faced).
The store owner commented that when he walked out of the fitting room McClaren took one look at himself in the mirror and asked; “Is the cat deid? (Your trousers are a bit short). Side-splitting I’m sure you’ll agree.
We asked some United supporters, who were socially distancing outside Tannadice, what they thought of the possibility of McClaren’s appointment and we were told in no uncertain terms to; “Do yer dinger” which is a common phrase used north of the border to display one’s disapproval.
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