As previously reported on HTFP, regional press journalists were among those denied access to Steve McClaren’s unveiling as the new boss at Newcastle United on Wednesday.
Eric spent more than 25 years covering Middlesbrough FC, the team McClaren managed between 2001 and 2006, for the Teesside Gazette before retiring in 2011.
Describing his experiences with McClaren, pictured above left, during his first days at Middlesbrough, Eric wrote: “Steve McClaren’s first-day PR disaster on Tyneside will have left many Boro fans open-mouthed.
“After all, the former Boro boss was the supreme master of media manipulation during his five years on Teesside.
“His illustrious spell as Boro manager was matched by his ability to mix well with both the national and local press.
“McClaren had time for anybody and everybody when he was revealed to the world’s media during a showpiece extravaganza almost 14 years to the day at the Riverside Stadium.
“He chatted to all and sundry, exuded a friendly confidence which implied ‘Don’t worry, I will succeed’ and never stopped smiling from the first minute to the last.
“There was an immediate bonding and feel-good factor which was experienced both by the media, and also the fans when the interviews were reproduced on TV, radio and in the newspapers.”
Eric described how, in stark contrast, McClaren had organised two informal face-to-face meetings, for local and national reporters, during his first two weeks in the job at Middlesbrough.
He added McClaren’s policy towards the press left him in “now doubts” as to how much he valued the media.
Wrote Eric: “McClaren created his own image, but he manipulated it too.
“It’s important he takes a leaf out for his time at the Boro and gets back to PR basics.”