Fulham manager Roy Hodgson has learned a lesson from the only time he was sacked – make sure you’ve got loads of spare players.
The Fulham boss is refusing to repeat the mistakes that led up to his dismissal from Blackburn Rovers – the only time he has been fired during an illustrious 33-year managerial career – and will beef up his squad over the next six weeks accordingly.
The 61-year-old admitted the situation at Rovers 11 years ago bears an uncanny resemblance to last season’s success in SW6.
Rovers were struggling in the Premiership when Hodgson took charge, but eventually qualified for the UEFA Cup.
However, the honeymoon at Ewood Park was short-lived, and after a poor start to the following campaign in 1998, the manager was given the boot just four months into the season.
He said: “It rankles a bit, because it was the only time I’ve been sacked – but I always felt it was their loss.
“We were very unlucky with injuries at Blackburn, and, although I was never denied money by Jack Walker, who was in charge then, it wasn’t always easy to persuade targets to come and join us.
“I’m pleased to say that so far at Fulham, the news is good as far as negotiations go.”
Hodgson likewise took Fulham from the brink of relegation to this season’s revamped UEFA Cup – now the Europa League – but is keeping his fingers crossed he gets new faces through the door – or has the same almost miraculous luck he had avoiding injuries last season.
He said: “When I was at Blackburn, we lost the services of Colin Hendry, Chris Sutton, Kevin Gallagher and Tim Flowers in quick succession.
“By the time I left, I was playing Jason Wilcox, essentially a winger, as the only central striker we had available.”
Hodgson initially claimed the Fulham squad size would be much the same as last season, but a Europa League tie secured on the very last day of the season has changed his mind.
He said: “Fulham is an easier sell than Blackburn was back then. The profile of the club has risen in the past few seasons, and I’m confident we’ll be that much stronger by the start of the season.”