Roy Hodgson returns to the bench. Thousand Lives and the Great Mystery of English Football Bard

It happens in the Premier League

Roy Hodgson returns to the bench. Thousand Lives and the Great Mystery of English Football Bard

John Batistozzi

The manager takes over from Patrick Vieira in charge of Crystal Palace. At the age of 75, he could not say no to his great love of football. The strange case of a coach who never won anything, but managed to create a reputation as a winner thanks to his “theatrical” skills

According to him at least, what actually happened five and a half years ago, in September 2017, could very well not have happened. “They called me, I certainly didn’t apply. For me, it all came to an end after the trial ended on the bench in England. Roy Hodgson He had accepted the idea of ​​enjoying his retirement after the criticism he faced following his elimination in the round of 16 of Euro 2016 against Iceland. However, when he was approached by Crystal Palace to replace Frank de Boer, it took him a few hours to change his mind. He put his slippers aside and slipped on his clothes again. Still on the sides of the field, forty years after the first time.

Can you really say no to your first great love? Roy Hodgson did not. Because those colors have always felt him. He wore it in the early 1960s throughout his youth career. You will still see them up close. Called up by Crystal Palace to replace Patrick Vieira (who got 27 points in 27 days, just three points more than the relegation zone), He answered in the affirmative. Seventy-five years old, seventy-six years old in August, is not too much, it is not too much to say yes to great love. A little like Zdenek Zeman. People feeling their own way.

And so Roy Hodgson finds himself still in the game, in the number of championship substitutions, during his career. He was never one of those who needed a physical preparation, to teach a method, time to develop innovations, schemes, and tactical chemistry. He always dealt with men first, with their motives, and then chose the best way to get them to perform as well as they could, or at least to do as little harm as possible.. Sometimes he succeeded, sometimes less so, almost always bringing home the bare minimum. It is for this reason that the FA chose him to lead the national team. For his ability to communicate with players.

There is a very English face Roy Hodgson and an enviable imitation. Guy Ritchie repeatedly tried to persuade him to act, and he always politely refused. His gaze often gets lost in who knows what Roy Hodgson’s thoughts are, perhaps due to dark circles or a collapse of cheek dams, but “the eyes are clever, shrewd, and the eyes of those you know you can’t fool.” This is how Tim Sherwood described his former coach at the time of Blackburn (he was the captain of that team), commenting on Sky the news of Hodgson’s return to the bench, and then to Watford, in January 2022.

Just Blackburn in 1997 were the first English team to be coached by Roy Hodgson after failing at Bristol City in 1982. And in these 15 years away from the UK, Roy Hodgson’s success must be looked for. Success has little to do with football.

Guy Ritchie was right: Roy Hodgson would have been perfect in any movie, in any movie. For he is a brilliant man, and with a ready joke, generates instant sympathy, because above all he succeeds in persuading an entire country, even a whole kingdom, that he has been thrown out the door by a kick of a football made by him. He does not recognize his genius. He did it with the style and class of Clark Gable, and certainly not in the ways of Mr. Bean, the Rowan Atkinson character who Inter fans compared him to during his, not very positive, experience between November 1995 and May 1997 (and then between May and June 1999).

Roy Hodgson with brilliant wit and subtle irony told of his almost compulsory choice to leave for Sweden, of a championship Halmstad had barely won the previous year, than to emerge in 1979 with a completely disfigured team. He spoke of his release from Bristol and his return to Sweden, of two more Allsvenskan victories with Malmö FF, of cups in Scandinavia and then in Switzerland with Neuchâtel Xamax, of the “miracle” of the Swiss national team’s qualification. for the 1994 World Cup (really a great success, considering that the Swiss national team has been missing from the final stage of the World Championships since 1970).

Especially after the American World Cup, for England and English football, Roy Hodgson was a stranger, Like a cycling sidewalk for Italians or something far away that draws you irrepressibly. He really accepted the idea that he was a genius who does not understand who he ended up with and who knows how far away from the fatherland. A strangeness reinforced by the choice to ignore the requests of two large English clubs in the summer of 1994, to remain at the helm of the national team and then offload it to go to Inter.

In that very moment, Roy Hodgson became in the eyes of England football fans, and especially many football managers, a great manager that the United Kingdom regretted failing to understand. Above all a coach who has never been questioned.

And this despite the fact that he did not win anything in England, in other European tournaments in continental cups. He also failed in all competitions with the England national team. Knocked out in the quarter-finals of the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine in 2012 and the French Championship in 2016 and failed even to qualify for the round of 16 in the World Cup in Brazil 2014. Everything went under the radar. However, Roy Hodgson remained a coach that UK never understood.

He is now back on the bench, with his genial manners and seasoned playwright’s tone. Editorial, mr. Hodgson.

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Queenie Bell

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