What next for Steve McClaren?

Some things are just not meant to be - like, perhaps, Steve McClaren and football management.

Acknowledged as a top rate coach, he has had mixed fortunes when placed in sole charge of clubs and his country.

The ‘Wally with the Brolly’ tag will be very difficult to live down after he oversaw England’s failure to reach 2008, he was sacked by Wolfsburg in Germany and rejected by Aston Villa as boss because the fans didn’t want him.

Yet he led Middlesbrough to the UEFA Cup final and masterminded FC Twente’s Dutch title win a couple of years ago.

As a coach, however, he was on Sir Alex Ferguson’s staff when Manchester United won the treble so what is behind his latest ‘failure’?

Obviously results have not been good at Nottingham Forest and, as everyone knows, a manager lives and dies by the league position of his club.

But it appears to be a bigger problem at Forest who dispensed with the services of Billy Davies in the summer despite reaching the Championship play-offs for the second successive season.

Forest were a big club briefly under Brian Clough, winning the European Cup in successive seasons in the 1970s.

They were small before that and again after.

There is nothing wrong with aspiring and there may be plenty of potential at the City Ground. But people there ought to realise that the days of minnows forcing their way to the very top are, like it or not, long gone.

Sport relies on the unexpected for much of its excitement which is why three weeks of rugby union World Cup action have left so many people cold.

Ireland defeated Australia, but on any given day the top tier nations should be able to edge past one another. And Tonga beat France, but the French are so often a shambles that it is never a major surprise when they lose.

The problem with the competition - and it is the same when the rugby league playing nations get together - is that you could easily have predicted the eight teams through to next weekend’s quarter finals.

I have no solution to the problem although exposing the likes of the Tongans, Fiji and Georgia to top class opposition more than once every four years might help.

Then again, would the so-called foundation nations be keen on the second tier sides closing the gap?

It was a good job that Featherstone Rovers fans turned up for the weekend’s Championship grand finals jamboree at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Without them it would have been a very lonely place to watch three rugby league games in one day.

The crowd was 7,263 - the lowest for some years - and must have had RFL officials hoping that Karl Harrison’s Halifax are strong enough to return next season.

There was one strong local connection with Jamie Bloem refereeing the Conference National match and doing very well to keep 26 players on the field at all times in a tetchy game.