Now I want to firstly say that the title is not a pun or play on words and secondly want to say that a joke is a joke, but when a joke is taken too far it is bullying and what The Sun newspaper did, in my opinion, was way out of line, anyway now down to business.
The appointment of Roy Hodgson has been met with mix feelings with some happy with the appointment and some not so happy and those that didn’t want Roy seem to have wanted Harry Redknapp and I was one of them.
Hodgson has a lengthy and impressive CV but this is going to be the biggest job of his career and will involve the best players of the nation with the expectation on him higher than ever before. The Country expects a lot from its National team and although managers have know of the pressure going in I don’t think anyone can really understand what it is like until the take on the job.
Hodgson has been in management for over 30 years and during that time has managed in seven different countries; Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Finland and England, as well as managing 2 national sides, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. It is fair to say that not only is he well travelled but is well educated when it comes to international football and that experience could well come in handy during the up-coming European Championships. When he was manager of Switzerland he took them from rags to riches. He lead them to their first World Cup in 28 years when they qualified for the USA 94’ World Cup, qualifying second in a group that consisted of Italy, Portugal, Scotland, Malta and Estonia and at the World Cup, one which Graham Taylor’s England failed to qualify for, they got out of the group stages drawing with hosts USA and beating Romania 4-1 but losing their final group game losing 2-0 against Colombia. In the next round they face Spain but lost 3-0 but Hodgson stayed in charge of the national side and guided them to their first European Championships held here in England. Hodgson left Switzerland to take over at Inter Milan before the tournament began and without him they didn’t fair to well. For me that is something of a sour note in his career as I would have liked him to stay in charge during the Championships and then taken over at Inter Milan so he could see an end to his time with Switzerland on a high.
The most recent achievement was reaching the Europa League Final with Fulham. No one had expected Fulham to go very far in the competition let alone almost win it. It was around this time that Hodgson’s stock rose and many were talking of him as being a future England manager but what followed when he left Fulham to take charge at Liverpool and had seemingly killed off that ever being a reality, but we know now that isn’t the case. During his managerial career Hodgson has won 11 trophies and has lead two teams to the Uefa Cup/Europa League Final:
Halmstad: Allsvenskan (2):
Malmö FF: Swedish Football Champions (2) Allsvenskan (5) Svenska Cupen (2)
Inter Milan: UEFA Cup Runner-Up
Copenhagen: Danish Superliga Danish Super Cup
Fulham: UEFA Europa League Runner-Up
I remember when the appointment happened and I felt that it just wasn’t right for both parties. He has doing great things at Fulham and although I understood that he couldn’t turn down the chance to manage a club as illustrious as Liverpool but it just didn’t feel right and in the end it didn’t work out. Whether it was tactics, motivation or being unable to command the respect of the dressing room, or maybe all three, his time at Liverpool was not a failure and left his reputation in tatters. Football, now more than ever, is a very fickle beast and where a year before people were raving about him people were now starting to dismiss him as a possible future England manager and while Harry Redknapp and Tottenham had kept on improving, getting into the Champions League and beating some big names it seemed that everyone had started to look towards Harry and not Roy for the job.
If Roy Hodgson felt that taking charge at a big club like Liverpool would help his chances of managing England rather than staying with Fulham and carrying on his good work there, it didn’t. I think it was the work with Fulham and now with West Brom that has helped get him the job. But is that the only reason, I don’t think so. It seems that everyone thought that it was going to be Harry Redknapp that was going to be offered the job, even Harry himself it seems, but in the end the FA shocked everyone with the announcement that they were interviewing Hodgson for the position. Many have talked about this being a “Bernstein” appointment and people have talked about Hodgson being a “Yes Man” compare to Redknapp, but also I think not being involved in court cases has helped and he hasn’t said how he can’t read or write and the F.A not needing to buy out a contract have all played a part and it isn’t an appointment made solely on football.
The Sun have already shown us that they are going to back Roy all the way, but there may be other media outlets that might slight him when they can. If the papers right that that Hodgson is not the popular vote the people that disagree with that will say that isn’t the case and those that feel agree with that will feel justified. One paper can not speak for a nation, and in this day and age with places like Twitter, Facebook, Blogger and WordPress it easier than ever to speak your mind, so if you are reading something and disagree with it, make a stand. If you want to be heard then talk up.
For me, Hodgson is not the right appointment. I was in the corner of Harry Redknapp and the reason I was pro Redknapp and against Hodgson is intertwined with each other. I feel that for the post of head coach for England a person requires three things. One of them is motivational skills, the second is being able to command the respect of the players and the third is being able to deal with the press. I feel that Redknapp does all three things better than Hodgson does. It seems to me that the players had thought that Redknapp was going to be manager and had already come to terms with that. It seemed the logical appointment, up until Capello left and the FA did nothing and Tottenham went into free fall that is. With Hodgson now appointed the players now know who their manager is going to be will they be able to respond to him the same way they were going to respond to Harry. That is one of my biggest worries with Hodgson being England’s manager. If he was unable to deal with the players at Liverpool how is he going to fair with the best players of the country? As for the press, it seems like they were all getting ready for the laughs and jokes they were going to be sharing with Redknapp during the Euro’s but are now going to have to deal with Roy and it doesn’t seem like they are looking forward to it. And if they aren’t happy with him, they have the power to break him, let’s not forget the managers that have fallen before the press. McClaren and Taylor to name a few, except I don’t think anyone can defend McClaren. What was he thinking of with that Umbrella!
In the end we all want the same thing. We want England to do well and at the very least play with some heart! For too long we have watched England limp out of competitions and even limp out of qualifications so with Harry people may have felt that England would now play with more passion, more style and Hodgson doesn’t radiate that. Neither does Harry when you look at him, but more his teams do, for me Hodgson’s teams don’t. No one is expecting England to win this coming Euro’s, and if we only get to the quarter-finals that will be fine as long as we can see that they gave it their all.
I can’t say that I am 100% behind Hodgson, but I am 100% behind England, and that is why I want the right man in charge and not a suitable candidate.