Aston Villa made approach for Forest boss Steve McClaren

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at the City Ground

Steve McClaren has revealed Aston Villa cancelled a meeting set up to discuss their managerial vacancy before he was appointed as Nottingham Forest's new boss.

Former England coach McClaren was paraded at The City Ground on Thursday after signing a three-year deal to succeed Billy Davies, who was sacked after losing to Swansea City in the Championship play-offs.

McClaren was on a list of potential targets to succeed Gerard Houllier after he left Villa Park on health grounds - but it was claimed he was then ruled out of contention after an adverse reaction from fans.

He said: "There was an approach and an appointment set up that wasn't fulfilled, but I can't control that.

"You'd have to ask Aston Villa about the reasons. At the time it was a disappointment but I've had many disappointments in football. I quickly moved on."

Ironically, Villa's plan to now appoint former Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish has provoked a furious response from supporters, with hundreds staging a protest outside the ground on Wednesday evening.

McClaren has now set his sights on restoring Forest to the Premier League but insists he has nothing to prove in his home country after his failed 16-month spell as England coach.

He was dismissed by the Football Association after England failed to reach Euro 2008, then moved abroad to win Eredivisie in Holland with FC Twente, only to endure a less successful spell in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg and was sacked after only nine months in charge.

"It's a great feeling to be here at Nottingham Forest," said McClaren.

"You can smell the history and tradition of this club. I don't feel I have anything to prove after England.

"Before and after England I have been successful and I have come back here for a challenge and for a club with great ambitions in Nottingham Forest."

McClaren added: "I could have waited and tried to seek an opportunity in the Premier League further down the line and I had quite a few offers from abroad but I have come to The City Ground for a new, big challenge.

"This club smacks of history and tradition and now we want to build on that and create a modern culture. There are always big expectations here, not just outside the club but from inside as well. That's why I'm here."

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