You have a few that has been given the “Sir” title in football and we would surely bring this to the table addressing Roy Hodgson as one to be “knighted”. His services to football and the knowledge he has brought forward through six decades is just fantastic.
The first time we heard of him in a management capacity was as head coach of Swedish club Halmstad, bringing home the “Allsvenskan” title in 1976 and 1979. Hodgson had just turned 30, and his ability and knowledge made this little team a title winner.
He had never been given a chance back home in the UK, no sort of professional background as a player, and made something of a strange decision to join NFL in South Africa, playing for a club named Berea Park, resided in Pretoria. He was released by Crystal Palace as a youth player and never got the chance to play in their first team.
He might have known his destiny all the way back then, doing well as a teacher and also taking coaching badges and with his close friend Bob Houghton already in Sweden, giving him good recommendations he got the job as first team coach, taking a leading coaching role in a relatively good league in a country with grand football traditions.
After a great period in Sweden he got the job to try to bring life into Bristol City, a club that had totally collapsed after a seasons in the top flight, but this never went like predicted and Roy Hodgson returned to Sweden and club Oddevold. After a short while he moved to Orebro and from there becoming head coach of Malmo FF and siltently climbiding back to be seen as one to count.
After almost 14 years of coaching in Sweden and Roy now in his mid 40’s he got a chance to go to a new destination and Swizz club Neuchetal Xamax became the next stop. He was a success and he moved on to become head coach of Switzerland. He managed to build a great team that qualified for the 1996 Euro’s.
Roy decided to step down from his Switzerland job and join Inter Milan. He had a good period at Inter getting them as high as 3rd in one of the seasons and also all the way into the UEFA Cup final, but eventually defeated by Schalke 04. A chance to join Blackburn Rovers turned up and he jumped at his first job in Premier League, being in charge of the previous league winner.
He couldn’t bring success back to old heights and left Ewood Park after not much than a year in charge, returned to Italy, then back to Scandinavia and for a short period national coach of Finland. This made it possible to attract interest from Fulham, and in his third spell in English football he would hit the heights. His work at Craven Cottage might be enough to get knighted as he build a fantastic team at this attracted Liverpool.
Roy had a difficult time at Anfield, probably not the right man for the job as fans and players looked at this as a interim period and that this “old man” was not a long term choice and again it lasted just a year, but his track record made it possible to return to management fast as West Bromwich Albion appointed him as their new man in charge.
His work at The Hawthorns was splended and guided “The Baggies” to a safe and controlled position in the Premier League, which made him a candidate for the England job and he was appointed boss of The Three Lions in 2012, qualifying the country both to the 2014 Euro’s and the 2016 World Cup.
Few believed that Roy Hodgson would start looking for new jobs after his period as an England boss, and at the age of 70, it might have been time to retire. But when the chance to coach Crystal Palace turned up, the club he grew up with, he took charge in 2017 and is still doing a grand job at Selhurst Park as The Palace are sailing in the right directions.
His track record is just fantastic and the way he has worked his way around in football shows what a phenomenal character he is. A great man and a friend of football with a clear mind and tactical abilities that was up to date in the 70’s and still is, the game is different but the same ideas counts for results.
We all know what Roy Hodgson ideas are, as he always get his teams well organised with a clear defensive plan and of course he needs a bit of financial backing to get his teams in the shape he would like, and he might not get his ideas all the way into the heads of players in “higher places” as “stars” tend to listen to other “music”.
Surely his work at Halmstad, Malmo FF, Fulham, West Bromwich and Crystal Palace stands out as “excellent” as he made the teams better than predicted. Would be proper to give this man a knighthood, as he has served the game with such greatness in all these years, and at the age of 72 still very much “in charge”.