It’s generally something shiny and exciting that supporters look for when a new manager arrives, and Roy Hodgson is, in all honesty, none of those.
“There will be no rainbows and blue skies and rose-colored glasses,” he once said, when asked if a top-half finish might be within the range of Crystal Palace’s expectations. “I’ve never used the word ‘confident’,” he said last year in the heat of the battle to save Watford, which he lost.
He’s back at Palace, aged 75, with the club either 12th or three points above the relegation zone, depending on how full your cup is. Just four points separate nine teams and this entire section of the Premier League is in a state of paralysis. Clubs will not commit to new contracts until the relegation picture becomes clear.
Hodgson won’t set the house on fire in his press conference, but he will restore a sense that age and experience have a place in a managerial career that now often seems to be the preserve of the young. It will also bring up the essential humanity that seems increasingly lost amid the controversies, egos, egos, and posturing of the modern managerial game.
The level of the show seems to be a little off at times this season, though, as the Premier League cycle spins so fast that some wicked little moments have passed almost without comment.
Roy Hodgson was confirmed to be returning to Crystal Palace as their new manager on Tuesday
Jurgen Klopp’s personal criticism of the respected Liverpool journalist at Wolves was venomous. Pep Guardiola’s little taunting moment towards Steven Gerrard was despicable.
Those tackles would have been baffling for Hodgson, who regards running along the touchline, letting everyone see how angry you are, also an alien concept.
Aleksandar Mitrović’s disgraceful behavior at Old Trafford was clearly the result of Marco Silva’s eye-roll, and the referee’s knocking.
I heard talkSPORT’s Jamie O’Hara, whose job I love very much, say that young players will not be affected by this behaviour. It’s hard to agree.
When it was announced last week that junior football referees would be wearing body cameras, no one batted an eyelid.
Never has the old-school decency and tact Hodgson brings has been needed more.
The grade has seemed thin at times this season with Pep Guardiola (left) and Jurgen Klopp (right) passing by almost without comment.
It is clear that Aleksandar Mitrović’s disgraceful behavior at Old Trafford was the result of Marco Silva (centre) being in his line of sight, and knocking on the referee before he was sent off.
Antonio Conte last week publicly criticized the Tottenham players whose arrival he had penalized
He definitely had some not-so-flattering moments. A press conference in Chantilly, north of Paris, in which he reluctantly appeared after England’s exit from Euro 2016 at the hands of Iceland, did not cover him in glory.
“I don’t want to come here as Uriah Heep and in a brash way,” he said. in a bold way. It is fair to say that his best work came in more modest surroundings.
But while many never recovered from that traumatic episode, Hodgson did.
Without accusations or self-pity, he climbed back up and started over. There is a lot of bravery in sport, but Hodgson showed it in the aftermath of that brutal public humiliation, seven years ago.
I remember him telling me, during a barbecue at the England team’s base in Hertfordshire before Euro 2012, that he was reading Stoner, written by American John Williams in the 1960s.
Hodgson resigned from his England post after Iceland’s exit from Euro 2016
It is the story of a no-brainer academic who is patient, earnest, formidable, and steadfast in equal measure, who seeks and finds a cherished inner space where the world congregates.
This was Hodgson in many ways: conservative, cautious, deeply thoughtful, and certainly not a smitten merchant of the multimedia age.
Also in contrast to the bleak self-absorption of Antonio Conte, who has the kind of acclaim and riches Hodgson never knew and yet returned to Italy this week after publicly criticizing the Tottenham players he approved of.
A discussion of the scale of expected targets might not last long with Hodgson. Nor talk about philosophies.
When asked during his England years how he defined his footballing style, he replied: ‘You can do the exact. We work on offense and defense.
Hodgson has been out of management since managing Watford last season
He simply loves the sport he gave his life to. He was found at the end of his career to be fairly decent with Palace, a well-run, community-focused club who have risen out of a state of financial crisis to enjoy ten consecutive years in the Premier League – their team’s longest run at the top level.
When he recovered from England’s plight and successfully rebuilt the palace, Hodgson reflected on the value of caution.
“I think it’s dangerous, right after the game, to come out with the emotions you’re feeling and to speak up, because you can make mistakes,” he said. “You need stability.”
Conte could have done worse than heed that wisdom. It’s good to know that age is not a barrier. Good to know Hodgson is back.
A shocking response to a podcast trying to get answers about the Bradford fire
The pathetic level of the investigation into the Bradford stadium fire, which killed 56 people nearly 40 years, has always been baffling. And the response to those who question its depth is unfathomable.
I discovered this when I wrote about Fifty Six: The Bradford Fire, an extraordinary book written in 2015 by Martin Fletcher, who lost his father, brother, uncle, and grandfather in the fire. “Get your nose out of our club,” he summed up the response. Fletcher has been demonized by many.
A new podcast investigation into those events, “900 Degrees”, coldly exposes the inadequacy of the investigation and asks, once again, how Bradford City and their chairman Stafford Higginbotham evaded an official inquest’s ruling that the tragedy was an accident.
There are many reasons why Popplewell’s superficial work lacks the furthest spirit of inquiry or curiosity.
The Bradford stadium fire in 1985 claimed the lives of 56 people
The podcast, which I contributed, details a letter from West Yorkshire County Council to the club in July 1984, warning City that they risked exactly the tragedy that unfolded a year later. They ignored him.
But Popplewell also decided that he would conclude an examination of a riot that occurred in Birmingham City on the same day as the Bradford fire in his examination of only five days of the disaster.
“I don’t think anything weird happened to us about this because they grew up in the same day and safety and hooliganism went hand in hand,” Popplewell says on the podcast.
Received the Wisdom Podcast Researcher Challenge. One interviewee said, “Just listen to me or I’m going to end this interview.” ‘Just shut up.’ They sound familiar.
Shame on Wednesday
Who knew you could actually “block” specific terms of abuse being sent to you on Twitter? I do now.
It helps when you’re on the receiving end of a dirty spell from a group of Sheffield Wednesday football fans, to describe how their club covered up an order to reduce the capacity of Hillsborough Stadium.
Wed are now considering going to court to challenge this order, which has been imposed on them by a safety advisory group set up to protect people. Stylish club, Sheffield Wednesday.
Sheffield Wednesday are considering going to court to challenge an order to reduce the capacity of Hillsborough Stadium, which was imposed on them by the Safety Advisory Group.
What happened to the legacy of 2012?
The condition of local public pools is not the only problem. It’s getting into them.
Some time I get the chance to take my seven year old grandson to Stretford Baths after school – time when he needs to burn off some energy. There is no chance.
By 2.30pm on Mondays and 3.45pm every other day of the week, the baths are closed. Swimming pools in Huddersfield, Milton Keynes, Coventry and Sevenoaks are closed.
The councils you run have no money. And we talked about legacy when we got to the 2012 Olympics.
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