McClaren hoping the sun shines on him at Forest
The sun shone on Steve McClaren as he walked into the City Ground as Nottingham Forest manager. It was his first small victory on the road to rehabilitation in English football.
A defining image of McClaren's tenure with England was the sight of the coach sheltered from a Wembley downpour by an umbrella as defeat against Croatia ended their Euro 2008 hopes and his 16-month stay in the post.
So McClaren, 50, might have regarded it as symbolic and a happy omen that he was bathed in sunlight and spared any unwanted wisecracks as he walked across the car park and into the Robin Hood Suite with Forest chief executive Mark Arthur.
Arthur, after the briefest of introductions, left the talking to McClaren - who mixed defiance with confidence as he insisted his mission at the City Ground was to shape Forest into a Premier League club rather than rebuild his own reputation.
He was not, he said, back in England with something to prove. Not to himself anyway, but there is little doubt his moves will be closely monitored at Forest, as proved by the healthy turn out to hear his thoughts as he made his return to management on a three-year deal.
McClaren, despite his vehement denials, is still fighting old demons lurking from his England era when he was over-promoted in succession to Sven-Goran Eriksson by the Football Association and quickly floundered.
This was proved when his hopes of succeeding Gerard Houllier at Aston Villa were apparently sabotaged by adverse reaction from fans who now find themselves struggling to comprehend the appointment of former Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish.
McClaren replaces Billy Davies, who was sacked last Sunday
McClaren revealed he had an approach and appointment with Villa that was, in his words, "unfulfilled" and virtually provided unspoken confirmation that he was still paying the price for his perceived sins with England.
All this despite showing the courage to rebuild his career at FC Twente in the Netherlands, a story that ended in triumph when they won Eredivisie, a feat that should be remembered above a short and unfulfilled stint in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg.
Holland is regarded as the home of broad-minded football thinking and the fact McClaren is well-respected there suggests Forest may be the beneficiaries of the doubts of others. Fulham's appointment of Martin Jol was rightly applauded for its wisdom, so it is worth underscoring the scale of McClaren's achievement by recalling that Twente edged out Jol's Ajax to win the Dutch title.
Wolfsburg may have been a failure, but McClaren's willingness to further test his ability in Germany was a credit to his attitude and on Thursday he was keen to present a picture of a better, wiser coach if not a man out to repair lingering damage to his credibility.
Even those of us who criticised his work with England should afford McClaren full respect for the manner in which he went about renewing his career in the Netherlands while also remembering how he won the Carling Cup with Middlesbrough and took them to the Uefa Cup final.
England was a scar on his career, but it was in danger of being carried unfairly forever - as Villa's treatment proved - and there was a fair wind of goodwill behind McClaren as he breezed into Forest.
The mood around the City Ground was that Villa's loss was Forest's gain and McClaren was right to point to achievements before and after his ill-fated flirtation with the FA to present a compelling case for Forest's appointment.
He told BBC Sport: "Forest wanted me. They believed I could make a difference and I bought into their vision and their dreams. I am here to try and help them achieve what they want to achieve.
"We know it is a massive jump to go from the Championship into the Premier League but I've experienced life in the Premier League and I know what it takes to get in there."
Those dreams surrounded McClaren as he addressed the media. As he talked, he was flanked by images of Forest's glory years - Ian Bowyer lifting the European Cup, Peter Shilton celebrating a League Cup triumph at Wembley.
These are not the successes demanded of McClaren now, but he brimmed with self-belief that he can at least successfully negotiate the first leg of the journey by navigating a path back into the Premier League.
McClaren flashed a smile as he brushed aside the inquisition that this famous old club was going to be his ultimate proving ground, displaying the bullet-proofed confidence that has sometimes been used against him.
"This is a great feeling, especially coming to a club like this," he said. "You can smell the history and tradition of Nottingham Forest when you walk into it. We must embrace that and create a modern culture. I don't think I have anything to prove. Before and after England I have been successful."
McClaren added: "I have been abroad to broaden my horizons, experience and knowledge. It has, I believe, made me a better coach and manager and now I wanted to come back home, and come back here, to build something and try to achieve something at a great, traditional football club with a great history."
And as he strolled back out into the Nottingham sunshine, McClaren was in the mood to see the clouds that have hung over his name and reputation in his home country finally roll away.