FA boss Brian Barwick has written to England fans apologising for the Euro 2008 disaster.
McClaren was sacked in the wake of England's exit from the tournament and replaced by Fabio Capello.
Writing to members of the official supporters' club, FA chief executive Barwick said: "We realise everyone will be hurting after our failure to qualify for Euro 2008.
"While we can never take qualification for major tournaments for granted, it is only right that England expect to compete at the top level.
"We cannot shy away from the fact that the results and performances fell well short of our expectations.
"We are especially sorry for you, the fans."