Mostbet: Hodgson was about to end his career, but couldn’t say no to Watford.
Roy Hodgson, 74, ended his retirement and returned to the Premier League to save Watford from relegation.
The club is doing terrible: 14 points after 20 rounds, goal difference – minus 13, penultimate place in the table (only Burnley is worse). In the last nine rounds there was a victory (4-1 against Manchester United), a draw and 7 defeats.
These results should not be surprising: the club has an active turnover of coaches. Hodgson became the sixteenth for Watford in the last 10 years (Hayden Mullins was acting coach twice more). It is simply impossible to build something competitive in such chaos.
- Hodgson became Watford’s sixth coach since the club last missed out in the Premier League. That was two years ago in a game against Liverpool (3-0).
- The next away win will be Watford’s sixth under six different coaches.
The last five away victories in the Premier League were under Javi Gracia, Kike Flores, Nigel Pearson, Hisco Munoz and Claudio Ranieri.
Before Hodgson’s appointment, another fact was surprising: the Pozzo family, which owns Watford, does not have the easiest relationship with the English coach. They crossed paths at Udinese (the Pozzos also own that club) 20 years ago. At the time, Roy had good results: the team was ninth and reached the cup quarterfinals. But the Italian media published a fake quote in which Roy allegedly said that “he could have chosen a better club. Giampaolo Pozzo then fired Hodgson.
Hodgson is Malmo’s most successful coach. He was highly regarded by Roberto Carlos.
In mid-2021, Hodgson bid farewell to Crystal Palace and incidentally to soccer, to which he had given almost 60 years of his life as a player and coach (from 1963 to 2021). Hodgson finished his career where he began in the youth – at the Palace.
Hodgson began coaching at the age of 29 in Sweden: in just one year he turned underdog Halmstad (the team had not been relegated the year before thanks only to the best goal difference) into champion and propelled them into the European competitions. Next came Bristol, Oddewald and Erebro. From there, he went to Malmo, where he became the most successful coach in the history of the club: 8 trophies in 5 years. One of the stands of the club’s home stadium Elada is still called in his honor – Roy’s Corner.
In 1995, Hodgson broke into Inter. In the mid-90s the Englishman already had a solid background, but at the highest level he has never worked. At Milan, Roy got a stellar squad: Roberto Baggio, Diego Simeone, Ivan Zamorano, Yuri Giorcaeff, Javier Zanetti, Andrea Pirlo and Roberto Carlos.
The latter, in a recent interview for The Athletic, included Hodgson in the list of coaches who have had the greatest influence on his career (Vicente Del Bosque, Fabio Capello and Mario Zagallo are also on that list). Roberto Carlos said: “He was a coach who lived soccer. Roy is not to blame for anything. Hodgson taught me to demand more from myself, to score goals.”
That said, it was because of Hodgson that Carlos switched from Inter to Real Madrid in 1996 – the coach moved the 22-year-old Brazilian to the left flank of midfield closer to the attack to unlock his attacking potential. Carlos wanted to play in his usual position to be a mainstay at the 1997 America’s Cup: “I went to Real Madrid because I didn’t like being a striker, that’s all.
Roy did not stay at Inter because of boring and primitive soccer. Although the team were at the top of Serie A and reached the UEFA Cup final 1996/1997 in which they lost on penalties to Schalke. Hodgson played viscous and forceful English soccer which, compared to the tactical and clever Italian football, was a losing proposition. As a result, Hodgson left Inter in 1997. In two years he managed to hold 86 matches, in which he won 38 victories (44.2%).
Mostbet: Hodgson’s breakthrough at Fulham: he took an outsider to the UEFA Cup final
In 2007, Hodgson finally returned to England. Before the New Year, the 60-year-old specialist signed a three-year contract with Fulham, which by that time was languishing in the relegation zone. Club owner Mohammed Al-Fayed, who had been looking for the right man for a long time, believed in the coach.
The Egyptian billionaire quickly poured in a lot of money: in January Brede Hangeland, Eric Neveland, Leon Andreasen joined the club. As a result, Fulham scored 6 wins in the second half of the league season (4 – in the last 5 games) and jumped to the saving 17th place, ahead of Reading.
Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson were added to the team over the summer. “The chairman of the board supports me, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to go to him and say, ‘Buy me Kaka. That would be stupid,” the coach assessed the transfer campaign.
One year later, the team finished in seventh place, ahead of Tottenham and Manchester City, and made it to the UEFA Cup. The following season was a breakthrough as Fulham reached the European Cup final, defeating Vetra, Amkar, Basel, CSKA Sofia, Shakhtar, Juventus, Wolfsburg and Hamburg along the way. In the final, Hodgson’s team lost in extra time to Atletico (1-2).
Along the way Hodgson was named coach of the year by the Football League Coaches Association. But he was still criticized for the defensive, closed game he had put on his entire career.
Hodgson’s most unexpected respect came from British actor Hugh Grant, who is a fan of Fulham: “I want to sleep with Hodgson.
Collapse at Liverpool and the England national team
In 2010, Hodgson moved to Liverpool. Fans of the club met the coach cautiously – they doubted the suitability of the Englishman. Plus, Kenny Dalglish, who is adored at Anfield (played for the club from 1977 to 1990) pretended to be the head coach.
Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher did not help improve Hodgson’s reputation either, who publicly supported him: “The club made the right decision by entrusting the post to Roy Hodgson. He’s got a lot of experience.”
At Liverpool, Roy managed only six months in which he crashed into Man City (0-3), Man United (2-3) and Everton (0-2). He played a total of 29 matches, of which he won 12 and lost nine. His winning percentage was only 41.4.
There followed a good period at West Bromwich and failure with the England national team.
- At Euro 2012, the national team was confidently out of the group, but in the quarterfinals lost to the Italians in a penalty shootout.
- At the 2014 World Cup, England scored just one point in the group: losing to Italy and Uruguay (both games ended with the same score of 1:2), and played a draw against Costa Rica.
- In the qualifying for Euro 2016, the British won all the games in their group. However, the main tournament for the national team ended in the first round of the playoffs – in the 1/8 finals England lost to the championship sensation – the team of Iceland – with a score of 1:2. After that defeat, the coach announced his retirement.
In September 2017, Hodgson returned to work and headed Crystal Palace, which was last after four rounds. He had four good seasons at Selhurst Park, finishing 11th, 12th and then 14th twice. At the same time, he had the oldest team in the last two seasons.
Mostbet: At 74, Hodgson returned to save Watford
At the age of 74, Hodgson would become the oldest coach in the Premier League (he had renewed his own record). That said, working in the English elite is incredibly energy-consuming because of the scrutiny and incredible pressure. All this is doubled if you’re fighting for survival.
But the logic in Hodgson’s selection can be traced. First, given the coaching carousel at the club, he certainly won’t stick around for long (the last 12 managers haven’t lasted more than 70 games). Secondly, he clearly has a lot to give Watford, because he knows how to pull out crisis teams.
Hodgson’s main task is to save Watford from relegation. He already has that experience in England with Fulham, West Bromwich and Crystal Palace. Hodgson has taken teams in decline and pulled them to safety. With Fulham he finished seventh and 12th, and with West Bromwich he was 10th in his only full season.
Hodgson’s soccer is based on the following principles: ball control, competent and simple defensive play and the work of hard-working forwards. Under Ranieri, Watford averaged 2.3 goals per game. The club needs order in defense.
Hodgson will carefully organize the team’s play, repeating the same task over and over again until his principles are brought to automaticity. It may be monotonous and boring for the players, but there is no other way to save themselves.
There is a similar example of an eminent age coach in Russia – Yuri Semin, who became champion with Lokomotiv, but also worked for smaller clubs. Now the Lokomotiv legend is also 74, and this season he has already been in charge of Rostov.
And Hodgson, perhaps, remembered the example of Bill Shankly. At 60, he finished coaching, and for the rest of his life he regretted it.
Shankly adored soccer and could not live without it. Thus, the legendary captain of Liverpool Tommy Smith at one time said: “If Liverpool weren’t playing that day, he’d go and watch Everton. If Everton wasn’t playing, he’d go to Manchester. If there was nothing in Manchester either, he moved to
Newcastle. If there was no soccer at all that day, he would go to the park and watch the kids play. If they weren’t playing either, he’d arrange a match for them. Shankly watched wistfully as Liverpool dominated Europe. When he passed away in 1981, seven years after leaving Anfield, his death certificate recorded two cardiac arrests. Johnny Giles, former Leeds midfielder, said, “I’m sure Bill Shankly died of a broken heart.