The Championship play-off final is sometimes called 'the richest game in football.' Two teams battling for the game's biggest financial prize – a place in the Premier League.
Two compelling sides too: Derby County, young, slick and entertaining; Queens Park Rangers, a team with perhaps the most divisive manager (Harry Redknapp) and player (Joey Barton) in England and a wage bill comparable to Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid.
So many intriguing storylines to zero in on but of course everybody was gripped by just one: the biggest story of them all – a man and his (lack of) an umbrella.
Because of course this was the first time Derby manager Steve McClaren was back at Wembley since that infamous night in 2007 when the then England manager watched his side lose to Croatia in torrential rain under the protective comfort of his now iconic red and blue umbrella.
'The wally with the brolly' was born and as soon as Derby booked their place in the Championship final, people wanted to know if we would get an encore performance.
McClaren tried to kill the story straight away: 'I won't be taking a bloody brolly,' he joked after disposing of Brighton.
Still, as it started to pelt down in London on the morning of the game, the question was raised again – the bookmakers were even taking bets on it.
— Ladbrokes (@Ladbrokes) May 24, 2014
And the press box was abuzz with anticipation as kick-off approached.
At Wembley where all the big questions revolve around Steve McClaren and his umbrella — Dion Fanning (@dionfanning) May 24, 2014
There could be only one result.
It's raining, I think McClaren needs a brolly! pic.twitter.com/hzgmoSgKjM
— Jack (@Jackinho92) May 24, 2014
But to be fair, as the rain pelted down, McClaren stood true to his word. He was no longer the wally with the brolly – he was just some poor bugger getting soaked.
So McClaren has basically been bullied into letting himself get soaked. is this some kind of victory?
— Paul Doyle (@Paul_Doyle) May 24, 2014
Still, didn't stop it being pretty funny.
McClaren looks wistfully off into the distance with a nostalgia for staying dry... pic.twitter.com/4N9gNRPoJB
— Betfair (@Betfair) May 24, 2014
I would piss myself if Derby were winning, there's 5 mins to go and McClaren whips out a brolly for the fun of it!!
— Dan (@danbsfc) May 24, 2014
It's raining at Wembley. If McClaren doesn't pull out a brolly for the banter, QPR should get to go up automatically. — #SaveCesc (@AGAmasanti) May 24, 2014
And also getting old pretty fast.
Hey, lads, get this: it's raining in London, right, at Wembley, and Steve McClaren is there, yeah (bear with me) and he might need a BROLLY.
— James Dall (@JamesDallESPN) May 24, 2014
Now that's what I call banter indeed.
Less enjoyable for McClaren was seeing Bobby Zamora score a last minute winner for QPR. Who would have thought it, but apparently the manager's use of an umbrella doesn't have any effect on the result of football matches.
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