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A few days ago Fulham Football club revealed their new appointment for the position as manager of the clubs first team. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you Roy Hodgson!

Obviously there has been a lot about Hodgson in the media for the past few days, but I have the impression that quite a few Fulham fans doesn’t know much about our new coach, despite him being English, might even say local since he grew up in Croydon just south of London.

Background:

Roy was born in 1947, as mentioned in Croydon where he grew up. His football career started at Crystal Palace were he turned out to be quite a mediocre player, this was then followed by many years in non-league football with Tonbridge, Gravesend and Northfleet, Maidstone United and South African side Berea Park. Maidstone was the club where Roy first got into management as an assistant coach.

In 1976 he was a shock appointment as head coach for the Swedish side Halmstad BK. Nobody in Sweden had obviously never heard of Mr Roy Hodgson before so this appointment obviously got a lot of attention. Bob Houghton, then at Malmö FF, was the man who managed to persuade Halmstad BK to appoint the unknown Englishman. In 1975 Halmstad barely managed to retain their top league status just avoiding relegation, so one have to say it was a bit of a gamble. The media attention would continue for all the right reasons when rookie manager Hodgson steered the club to the championship title in his first year in charge. He stayed with Halmstad for five years and managed to win the Swedish league with Halmstad once again in 1979.

Bob Houghton and Roy Hodgson introduced what’s known in Swedish football as the”English Style”. And both managers are very well respected over here.

In 1980 Roy returned to England to take over as assistant manager to Bob Houghton at Bristol City. In 1982 Roy was appointed manager at Ashton Gate only to be sacked four month later. The sacking came after the club got new owners and they weren’t particularly impressed with the recent results.

After having been forced to leave Bristol City Roy returned to Sweden, where he managed Örebro, and then Malmö, who won five consecutive championships and two Swedish Cups under his reign.

In 1990 it was time to leave Sweden for Switzerland, taking over at Neuchatel Xamax were he stayed for two years before taking over the Swiss national team. He took Switzerland to the 1994 World Cup in the USA and was in charge of the team that qualified for EURO -96 in England. He left the Swiss team before the tournament however, to take charge of Italian giants Inter Milan in 1995.

He managed the Inter side to the UEFA Cup final in 1996/97 before leaving Italy to once again return to England.

His first season with Blackburn was a success when he got them into the UEFA cup, but he was sacked early on in the second season after a string of poor results.

In 1998 he was very close to get the job as the German head coach, but in the end the German FA decided to go with a domestic coach. Having lost out on this job Roy returned to Italy for a very short spell with Inter again before moving back to Switzerland to coach Grasshoppers for one season.

In the year 2000 Roy was one of three candidates to take over the Three Lions, but as we all know the job went to Sven-Göran Eriksson instead. Having lost out once again on a high profile international team Hodgson decided to move to Denmark and take over as manager at FC Copenhagen. He won the championship in his first season before breaking his contract in order to return to Italy and Seria A club Udinese. He didn’t really stay very long with Udinese and decided to go into international management for the United Arab Emirates in 2002. A position he was sacked from after having reached a 5th place in the Gulf Cup in January 2004.

A few months later Roy moved to his third Nordic country taking charge of Viking Stavanger in Norway. Just 17 months later the Finish FA convinced him to leave Norway and move to the other side of the Baltic Sea in order to help Finland reach EURO 2008. He nearly did it, just missing out in the end of the qualifying race. The Finnish FA was very pleased with his accomplishment and wanted to extend his contract by two years, an offer that Roy turned down. The reason, he said, was that he missed being able to work with football on a daily basis and Inter Milan once again had offered him a job. Up until Fulham FC revealed him as their new manager most people believed that Roy would once again team up with Chairman Massimo Moratti in an ambassador role at Inter. Although he was linked with the jobs as replacement for Steve McClaren and also the same position for the Republic of Ireland.

We now know that all the speculations were wrong, we got him!

Style of management:

Roy Houghton has most of his career thought his teams to play a direct passing game. Mainly favours the 4-4-2 formation. He has been known to play 4-4-1-1 as well if the squad has been more suited for that.

Roy was interviewed by the UEFA Coaching newsletter some time ago and got asked to describe his management style:

-“It is not always easy to describe oneself, but I would like to think that my style could be considered as studied, player-orientated, and with an emphasis on preparation and tactics. Because you take on leadership responsibilities, inevitably you have to be somewhat authoritarian. The game of football doesn’t lend itself to true democracy. Certainly as I get older, I have become more aware that you can delegate certain things. For example, the players’ opinion can be useful when discussing training

times or deciding travel schedules, etc. Indeed, most things to do with the players’ preparation can be open for discussion. When it comes down to the major issues, for example, team selection, how you are going to conduct your training sessions, what you will emphasise, and how you will deal with any conflict situation which might arise, I don’t think there is any room for a democratic approach when dealing with these matters. Players expect you to take the lead, because that is what you are paid for. But I think it is good to involve them in things which make a big difference to their life but don’t compromise your position.”

Quotes about Roy Hodgson:

To say that Roy Hodgson has been around the block and has some experience would be a massive understatement. You can’t be in management for 30 years without knowing what your doing.

He has never enjoyed steady success, and perhaps worrying for Fulham fans due to his recent successful role with Finland, one good job is usually succeeded by an average one.

However, Hodgson is known for building teams that are hard to break down with a solid foundation and players playing at their maximum potential.

If anything is certain, Fulham could have done a lot, lot worse, and it will be certainly interesting to see how Hodgson performs in his 16th different managerial post. Andy Glover, Liquid football.

Brilliant first 6 months at the club when he took a squad of players still smarting at the departure of Shearer and made them believe in themselves again, and we became one of the fittest teams in the prem. The demands of the Premiership took its toll and the last few months of the 97-98 season we were terrible and only a last minute free kick from Sutton got us scraping into Europe.

I liked the guy, and thought at the time he was harshly treated but when it comes to managing a club you have to stand up tall and take account of your mistakes. He lost the dressing room and didn’t spend the big money well at all.

I still think he’ll do OK at Fulham though. Without any big egos or expectations I think he’ll have them playing well as a unit and as he’s used to managing a team of underdogs (so to speak) it will suit his style. – DP, Blackburn Rovers Fan

Hopefully Roy will turn out to be a miracle worker, but only time will tell. I am however very pleased with this appointment and think that the club might have got it right this time.

It was actually quite nice to receive lots of phone calls from friends supporting other teams here in Sweden congratulating us to the appointment. I guess he’s still very well regarded in Sweden.

Welcome to Fulham Football Club Roy. Make us proud!

Come on YOU WHITES!

// Nick