Could this January move have saved both Newcastle and Derby's seasons?

Steve McClaren

Derby County's head coach was presented with a choice in January. Should he have taken it?

Despite recent reports to the contrary, the Derby Telegraph have reported that Steve McClaren remains Derby County boss - but with his position still shrouded in doubt.

And key from their report are the following lines: 'McClaren did turn down the chance to take over at Newcastle United earlier this month and insisted he was fully committed to Derby.

'However, he came in for some criticism for a perceived failure to dispel the constant speculation.'

McClaren, too, recently revealed that he had turned the Magpies down in January, according to the Independent.

It begs the question, then: should the Derby boss have just accepted the Newcastle job all those months ago?

As the Derby Telegraph's report suggests, the 54-year-old's indifference when it came to the Newcastle post brought him criticism - and this point can't be stressed enough.

The speculation linking him with a move to St James' Park derailed Derby's season. There are no two ways about it - and supporters of the Rams have been left increasingly frustrated with their manager.

McClaren's reputation at the iPro will now be tainted regardless of whether he stays or goes. Should he remain at Derby, he will always know he missed a big chance for promotion and it lost him trust at the club. And, should County dismiss their head coach, he could end up at a Newcastle side in the Championship - or one significantly weaker than it was several months ago even in the Premier League.

Had the 54-year-old simply accepted the Newcastle post in January, he could have saved both clubs' seasons. McClaren missed out on promotion but he is at the very least an able head coach - something John Carver is not.

Derby, meanwhile, could quite easily have found a replacement and done a much better job of trying to go up - just look at Crystal Palace when Ian Holloway replaced Dougie Freedman... and look at them now...

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