Nomadic Hodgson graduates to top job

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Football News

Roy Hodgson's ascension to the position of England manager comes as reward for a long and varied career that began almost 36 years ago in Sweden with Halmstads Bollklubb.

Not much was expected of the Croydon born 28-year-old when he arrived on the Swedish west coast in 1976 and, after Halmstad had narrowly avoided relegation the previous season, the inexperienced Hodgson, it was thought, would not prevent them from dropping out of the Allsvenskan.

However, Hodgson defied Halmstad's critics and led them to a first ever top-flight title in his maiden season - a feat which is still considered one of the greatest achievements in Swedish football.

It is a pattern Hodgson has followed for much of his career; exceeding expectations with limited resources through hard work and tactical astuteness.

Another league title followed with Halmstad in 1979 before he was given a break in English football alongside Bob Houghton at Bristol City; graduating to manager at Ashton Gate in 1982.

Financial issues in Bristol hampered any progress with the Robins, and Hodgson returned to Sweden with Örebro prior to before being handed the reigns at Malmo, who had not won a league championship for eight years.

Naturally, Hodgson led Malmo to the title during his first season, and added four more in consecutive years, while arguably his greatest achievement was knocking Inter Milan out of the European Cup.

Malmo wanted to keep Hodgson at the Swedbank Stadion for life, but he left Sweden for Switzerland for personal financial reasons, with the former taking 65 percent in tax from his earnings.

Famous European Cup victories over Celtic and Real Madrid came during his time with Neuchatel Xamax, and impressive results led Hodgson to the position of Switzerland manager in 1992.

Hodgson guided Switzerland into the 1994 World Cup - something England could not manage - but he left immediately after qualification for Euro 1996 to join Inter.

Inter had finished 13th and sixth the two seasons prior to his arrival, and Hodgson was tasked with overseeing a rebuilding phase at the San Siro, although he could only guide the Nerazzurri to seventh in Serie A.

The following season brought at third place finish and spot in the final of the Uefa Cup and, after Inter lost to German underdogs Schalke on penalties, he left Milan.

After 21 years as a manager, Hodgson was finally given a prominent job on English soil when he moved to Ewood Park, and he took Blackburn - who had finished 13th the year before - into sixth place and the Uefa Cup for the following season.

Despite a promising start with Rovers, Hodgson was sacked in November 1998 with the club bottom of the Premier League and then took five months out of the game - the longest period he has been without a job to date.

A return to Inter as caretaker manager came in 1999, before moving to Grasshopper and then onto FC Copenhagen, having agreed to join the latter prior to the England job becoming available in 2000.

He achieved instant success in Copenhagen; taking the Danish side to a first league triumph in eight years, and came to regret his decision to leave the club for Udinese.

After only 17 matches in charge with Udinese he was sacked, and then Hodgson spent two years with the UAE, before he had little over a season with Viking.

Hodgson was then granted a third job in international management with Finland, with whom he won only six of his 22 games.

Nine years after leaving the Premier League, Hodgson was back again with Fulham, where he rebuilt his reputation considerably - firstly saving them for relegation then taking them to the final of the Uefa Cup.

Following his exploits with the Cottagers in Europe, Hodgson was voted as the LMA Manager of the Year by a record margin, and was the clear favourite to succeed Rafa Benitez at Anfield.

Despite Liverpool being a club in transition, Hodgson was not afforded enough time to make his mark on Merseyside and, of course, the Reds' worst start in 82 years contributed significantly to his downfall.

Little over a month later and Hodgson was back in the Premier League once more with West Brom, who had lost 13 of their last 18 matches prior to his arrival at the Hawthorns.

Hodgson helped West Brom to five wins and five draws from 12 remaining games and they finished 11th - a highest top-flight position for three decades.

With two games remaining this season, the Baggies have already exceeded their points total from last year and they remain on course for a first ever top ten finish.

West Brom, though, are now resigned to losing their manager to the position he has always harboured ambitions of reaching at some stage in his career.

He was a contender for the England job 12 years ago and then following the departure of Sven-Goran Eriksson six years later, and third time could prove to be a charm for the 64-year-old.

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