The 2014 World Cup was another disappointing tournament for England fans. By the time the next major international tournament comes around in two years’ time, it will be 20 years since the England national team gave the country any hope of glory – providing that is they reach the last 16!
After bitterly disappointing eras under the guidance of Sven-Goran Eriksson, Steve McClaren and Fabio Capello, Roy Hodgson was appointed to lead the England team into the 2013 European Championships where they lost in a penalty shoot-out to Italy.
Roy Hodgson’s England
It is not a stretch too far to suggest that Roy Hodgson’s appointment as England manager was because people were calling for a home grown manager and the only other choice the FA had was Harry Redknapp, an outspoken manager that does not possess the diplomacy the FA want in an England manager.
Hodgson on the other hand is a typical FA appointment. A manager that will toe the diplomatic line, sounds forthright when addressing the media and has an air of authoritarianism in him that will not admit he is wrong. After England’s dismal display against Costa Rica Hodgson
commented he “couldn’t have asked for a better performance”. Oh dear!
If the drab 0-0 draw in England’s play-for-pride game is the best Hodgson can ask for, where is the hope and the future for this England team? Granted, the young squad is full of talent and arguably gives England fans some optimism for the future, but the comments from Hodgson comes from the mouth of the FA. Brian Clough wouldn’t have had the same sentiments. Harry Redknapp probably hasn’t either. And that is exactly why neither were appointed by the FA to lead England!
Chairman of the FA, Greg Dyke, has backed Hodgson to be his fall guy for the foreseeable future – at least to see England through to the 2016 European Championship in France. But is dull Woy the right man to lead England to tournament glory. His managerial CV suggests not.
Hodgson’s managerial career
Hodgson flopped as a player. Having failed with non-league sides Tonbridge Angels and Gravesend & Northfleet, he pursued a training career as a coach at the age of 23. He secured assistant manager roles at Maidstone United and Ashford Town Kent whilst working as a P.E teacher before taking on his first full-term coaching role with Northern Transvaal – an under-13 team in South Africa.
Hodgson’s first major managerial appointment was in 1976 for Swedish side Halmstads BK with whom he won two titles in five years. The Championship winning seasons came in his first and fourth years as manager of the club. The in-between seasons saw the team finish eighth. In his final year Hodgson guided his charges to glory in the Intertoto Cup.
After a brief return to his native England with Bristol City, Hodgson headed back to Sweden, but could not save Oddevld Orebro from relegation to the third tier. He was then drafted in by neighbours and fellow second division team Orebro SK where he won promotion to the top flight in his second season.
In 1985, Hodgson was appointed chief of Malmo FF, the most successful Swedish side of the 70’s. They had narrowly missed victory in the European Cup final to Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest and were on a downward slide. In his most successful spell as manager of any team, Hodgson led Malmo FF to five consecutive league victories and two domestic cups.
Hodgson’s goes international
After “transforming” Swedish football, although in truth that was largely in part to Hodgson’s mentor Bob Houghton, Woy moved to Neuchatel Xamax in 1990 where he had limited success – albeit with notable victories over Celtic (5-2 on aggregate) and a 1-0 win over Real Madrid at home. They lost the return leg 4-0.
Despite his less than impressive track record, the Swiss FA put faith in the England man and he repaid them by guiding the Swiss national team through a tough group that included Portugal, Scotland and eventual finalists, Italy to the 1994 World Cup. It was the first time
Switzerland had reached a major cup finals since 1966.
Despite unconvincing performances in the USA World Cup finals, Switzerland qualified for the last 16 before bowing out 3-0 to Spain. Hodgson then guided the nation to Euro 96’ but shortly after qualification accepted an offer from Italian giants Inter Milan. In two seasons
he managed seventh and third.
Brief return to the Premier League
Hodgson returned to his homeland in 1997 to take up a post with Blackburn Rovers who had narrowly avoided relegation the previous season under caretaker manager Tony Parkes. Rovers were in the hunt for the title but capitulated in the run-in and finished sixth, qualifying for the UEFA Cup on the last day. He was sacked the following November with Rovers at the
bottom of the table.
Hodgson believed his failure at Blackburn tarnished his reputation in England, but said at the time his record on the continent was comparable to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. But you can hardly compare the Swedish league to the Premiership. He had also failed in Italy!
After a brief stint as caretaker manager of Grasshoppers in Switzerland, Hodgson moved to Denmark and won a league and cup double in his first season at FC Copenhagen. The following year he returned to Italy with Udinese but was sacked after six months.
Another experience on the international scene saw Hodgson take over as manager of the United Arab Emirates where despite losing the two and drawing the next four he guided the team to qualification in 2004 Asian Cup. The Emirates finished fifth and Hodgson was sacked.
After an unsuccessful spell in Denmark, Roy Hodgson took over the Finland national team and narrowly missed qualification. His win ration of just 27.3% was the worst performance of any Finland manager since 2000.
Hodgson’s third spell in the English Premier League was more successful, taking a struggling Fulham side from the jaws of relegation to secure safety on the final day. The following season, the club enjoyed the best season in their history with a seventh place finish in the league and reaching the quarter-finals in the FA Cup.
After reaching the UEFA Cup Final in 2010, Hodgson was named LMA Manager of the Year and re-established his reputation as one of the best English managers around. His success with Fulham attracted interest from Liverpool, but his ill-fated tenure would only last four months, again raising questions over his ability to manage high profile players.
Appointment as England Coach
Hodgson spent a year with West Bromwich Albion and guided them to their best top-flight finish in three decades. During this time he was approached by the FA to take the vacant England job – two months ahead of the European Championships in 2012.
Since then Hodgson has ground out results and although on paper the results appear respectable, the performances on a whole have been disappointing. Credit should be given for giving youth a chance, and despite elimination after two games, the defeats against Italy and Uruguay were encouraging. England were arguably the better team in both matches.
But the question remains, is Roy Hodgson the man to take the English national team forward? His mixed CV matches his mixed results, and although he is tactically astute, has never won anything on the biggest stages, nor does it appear he is capable of bringing the best from his players.
It therefore seems the English FA have made yet another poor decision and England fans will suffer more disappointment in a major finals two years from now.
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