England axe McClaren

Image: McClaren: Out of a job

The Football Association have confirmed the departure of England coach Steve McClaren.

FA confirm departure after crisis meeting

The Football Association have confirmed the departure of England coach Steve McClaren. The FA board convened on Thursday morning after calling an emergency meeting and they wasted little time in confirming the termination of McClaren's contract. McClaren's tenure was brought to an end less than 24 hours after England were knocked out of Euro 2008 at the qualifying stage. England, who only needed a draw against Croatia to seal their place at the finals in Austria & Switzerland, lost 3-2 at Wembley on Wednesday.

Short reign

McClaren was contracted up to the World Cup in 2010 - but he will not be seeing out the remaining 33 months of his contract after England's first failure to qualify for the finals of a major tournament since 1994. His reign is the shortest in the history of the English national team. FA chairman Geoff Thompson said in a statement: "At a meeting of the FA board this morning the FA board unanimously decided to terminate the contract of England head coach Steve McClaren with immediate effect. "We have also terminated the contract of assistant Terry Venables, also with immediate effect." The FA now face the job of appointing a replacement - and given the difficulties they encountered before McClaren accepted the job, it is not a duty which will be taken on with a great deal of enthusiasm. Aston Villa's Martin O'Neill is sure to be the early favourite - especially because others who were interviewed last time around, including Alan Curbishley and Sam Allardyce, have not built on their reputations since. The most welcome appointments would be those of former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho or current Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. However, it seems unlikely either man would entertain the prospect of picking up the poisoned chalice - even if they were promised the kind of eye-bulging salary McClaren's predecessor Sven Goran Eriksson used to command. Alan Shearer and Stuart Pearce will be other names tossed into the frame. But clearly it is an unenviable task for Barwick, who tried, and failed to lure Luiz Felipe Scolari to England last time around.

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