EVER since Steve McClaren took over at Derby County, it has been raining wins for the man once dubbed the wally with the brolly.
Ridiculed for sheltering under an umbrella during his ill-fated tenure as England boss, McClaren has breathed new life into the Rams.
Appointed head coach in succession to Nigel Clough at the end of September, McClaren has presided over no fewer than 14 victories in 22 games in the Championship.
The 52-year-old has taken from 14th to third the club he first served as a midfield player in the 1980s and then as assistant manager to Jim Smith.
During a four-year spell as number two, he helped the Rams reach the Premier League in 1996 before moving to a similar role alongside Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United in 1999.
His first management role came at Middlesbrough in 2001 before his appointment as Sven-Goran Eriksson’s successor as England boss ended in November 2007 after a 3-2 defeat to Croatia at Wembley had cost them qualification for Euro 2008.
McClaren made an impressive return to club management in Holland and led FC Twente to their first Dutch title in 2010. He then became the first Englishman to manage in the Bundesliga when he took over at Wolfsburg, only to be sacked after 24 games.
The Yorkshireman made his English comeback as Nottingham Forest boss in 2011 – a post he held for only 112 days before resigning – and had most recently been part of Harry Redknapp’s coaching team at QPR following a second spell at Twente.
Derby were champions of Eng-land in 1972 and 1975 and McClar-en has made a fine fist of his task to lead the club back to the Premier League following a six-year absence with back-to-back wins over QPR and Sheffield Wednesday leaving them just two points behind second-placed Burnley.
Discussing McClaren’s appointment ahead of their meeting earlier this month, Redknapp said: “Steve is cool and calm. He is a well-organised coach who knows the game.
“I knew he was looking for a chance to get back into management, he was very clear about that, but I had hoped he would be with me for the season.
“But when Derby became available he was always going to go for it, having been there as a player and a coach. It felt like a very good fit for him. The only problem is he is doing too well!”
With parachute payments at Derby long gone, McClaren has made good use of the loan market with Patrick Bamford from Chelsea having notched five goals in their past six games.
As FC Twente chairman Joop Munsterman recently pointed out: “So it did not work for him at England. But who was successful with your national team?”