Share & Connect
Like Us – Let’s Be Friends
On Tuesday May 1st, Roy Hodgson was named the new England manager, replacing Fabio Capello ahead of Euro 2012 this summer.
Hodgson met with the Football Association on Monday April 30th after being publicly announced as the leading and only candidate for the job. Talks continued into the following day, before Hodgson was called in front of the media, as the FA confirmed his appointment.
The decision was met with some disapproval from the public, whom the majority of, had expected Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp to lead the country to the Euro’s in Poland/Ukraine this summer, after he had publicly declared his interest and desire to succeed Capello. Despite having successful stints at both Fulham and West Brom in England, Hodsgon has often been condemned for his poor reign at Liverpool, during which the 64 year old commanded a 35% win ratio, winning 7, drawing 4 and losing 9 of the twenty league matches under his stewardship.
Unsurprisingly, this poor run of form led to Hodgson’s dismissal and an immediate battering from the nations press. Despite this low point in Hodgson’s career, the remarkable story of what the Englishman has achieved prior to his management in England is impressive.
After a less than exciting playing career, Hodgson landed his first managerial role at Swedish side Halmstad BK, staying there for 5 years. In the years spent in Scandinavia, Hodgson managed to guide Halmstad BK to their first championship title in what was considered an unbelievable achievement with a side that was tipped by many for relegation.
Following his success in Sweden, Hodgson was offered the opportunity to return to England with Bristol City, initially as assistant manager before taking the full time managers job shortly after. Despite his excitement at the role, Hodgson’s homecoming was unsuccessful, prompting an immediate return to Sweden.
Hodgson first job upon his return was at Oddevold before moves to Orebro and Malmo helped consolidate his Swedish legacy. His biggest achievement after his move back to Sweden was the five consecutive titles won with Malmo, after which he was offered a lifetime contract, an offer he politely declined.
After all the success in Sweden, extremely high taxes of around 65% saw Hodgson leave the country for Switzerland in search of a more financially rewarding home. Hodgson took over at Swiss side Neuchatel Xamax, leading the club to impressive European victories over Spanish giants Real Madrid and Celtic. Despite reasonable success with his new side during two years, Hodgson welcomed the prospect of managing the Swiss national side after being approached by the Swiss FA.
In his three years as the coach of the national side, Hodgson managed to secure qualification for World Cup 1994, losing only one game in a group that contained Portugal and eventual finalist Italy. During this magnificent run, Switzerland lost only once, rising through the FIFA World Rankings, sitting as high as third in the world at one point, a remarkable achievement for the Swiss and Hodgson himself. During the tournament in the USA, Switzerland made it to the last 16, where they were eliminated by a strong Spain side, in what was a definitive moment in Swiss soccer.
Following on from the World Cup, Switzerland, under Hodgson, sailed through qualification for the European Championship, held in England, only to see their iconic manager leave after calls from Italian giants Inter Milan.
After a less than successful, if glamorous stint in Italy, Hodgson was brought back to England with Blackburn Rover, leading this one time Premier League champions to sixth and qualification for the UEFA Cup. Despite this, Blackburn struggled the following season and Hodgson was relieved of his duties in November 1998.
This dismissal was followed by spells as caretaker at former club Inter Milan, Grasshopper, Copenhagen and Udinese. With some of these stints more successful than others, Hodgson found himself again in International management, as the new coach of the United Arab of Emirates. Hodgson spent two years in charge of both the senior and Olympic sides and despite initially struggling, Hodgson felt enriched after the experience.
”That was a period where I didn’t know where my career was going. But all these experiences enrich you and it was good to know I could get my message to players who many say are uncoachable. It’s hard work; they’re basically lazy. But I had them drilled and pressuring opponents almost like an English team. Most coaches who go there are just fannying around, but it’s not my nature” he said.
After leaving the U.A.E. and serving a short stay at Danish side Viking, Hodgson was appointed as the new manager of Finland. Despite failing to qualify for Euro 2008, Hodgson was praised by the nation for organizing their side in such a way that they could now develop and prosper under new management. After his contract ran out and the best effort from the Finnish FA to extend the said contract, Hodgson found himself back in England, as manager of Fulham.
In what was considered by many to be a somewhat surprise appointment, Hodgson, against all the odds managed to keep Fulham in the Premier League in his debut season, a feat which was epitomized by Fulham’s four victories in their final five games. The following seasons saw a huge improvement by Hodgson’s men as they finished in a record high position of 7th, qualifying for the UEFA Europa League.
Hodgson’s third year in charge proved to be the most successful, with Fulham enjoying an incredible European adventure, which saw them defeat holders Shaktar Donetsk, German side Wolfsburg and Italian giants Juventus, coming back from 4-1 on aggregate to win 5-4 after both legs. Despite their incredible journey, Fulham lost in the final to Atletico Madrid, 2-1.
At the end of that year, following Fulham’s season defining European run and their solid 12th place finish, Hodgson received the LMA manager of the year award. This achievement led to increasing speculation of a move away from Craven Cottage, rumors which soon materialized into his fatal spell at Liverpool.
Despite his apparent failure at Anfield, Hodgson has been able to revive his reputation in England, leading relegation threatened West Bromwich Albion to back to back mid-table finishes, as the Midlands side look to consolidate their Premier League status.
This remarkable career seems to have peaked with Hodgson’s appointment as England manager. Although the majority of the public and even some players seemed to be backing Harry Redknapp for the job, Hodgson’s wealth of experience, both at club soccer and internationally, stands the former Switzerland boss in good stead for his new position.
The press conference itself and images surfacing from shortly after his assignment, captured an Englishman delighted at the opportunity to lead his nation into a major tournament and an individual determined to do his very best to succeed where so many before him have failed.
Image Courtesy of ajlisss