Hodgson for England. With our blessing.

HAD a brief snooze. Saw Torres score a hat-trick. Chelsea’s Torres. Was I still asleep? Went out. The car said it was three degrees and flashed its warning about ice. There were bits of tree all over the road, at least in the bits of road that weren’t under water, and it’s May in a couple of days. Maybe I was still asleep.

No, a face-stinging walk in that horizontal freezing cold rain would wake anyone up. Water looked choppy, sky was dark, like it was the middle of winter. Everything’s strange. Back home, groggy again, phone out of earshot, computer out of reach, something boring on the telly and none of it news. No idea how Spurs went on, but otherwise not expecting much to have happened in the world of football. Eventually, the computer goes on, the email gets checked. And still everything’s strange.

Slap bang in the middle of an email that started off so normally is this:

“Hodgson for England”

What? Haven’t we done that already? He had a predictable draw yesterday didn’t he?

“Madness from the FA?”

Come on, it’s the wrong end of April for that kind of joke.

Wait; what? They’ve not. Have they?

I checked. “England have been granted permission to talk to Roy Hodgson.”

They had. They really had.

They’d taken sarcastic calls from Liverpool fans, “Hodgson for England”, as if they were serious words of advice. Well, ok, they’ve not listened to Liverpool fans because listening to Liverpool fans isn’t something The FA particularly like to do. “That bit of noise up there is off again,” they probably say, closing the windows of that expensive pad they had built where Wembley used to be.

Not that we want them to listen to us on England matters, because England doesn’t really matter to us. It only matters to us when they do something that matters to our club. We don’t want them to break our players, as we keep telling them, but they break them anyway. They’ve never really known how to look after our players though.

They use our players for meaningless friendlies when their club (our club) would have thought twice about using them for a match that actually mattered. They use them out of position and make good players look like ordinary players. Their fans, when they’re borrowing our players (like, for example, when one of the best wingers ever to be eligible to play for them is turning out in their shirt), boo those players.

They boo their own players.

England – the FA, the parts of the media that still think it’s 1966 and the fans that still think it’s 1944 – is something we struggle to relate to. But to be fair, the feeling is probably mutual.

Their cheerleaders still believe Roy Hodgson was good enough for Liverpool and that he was just a victim of impatient fans. The same Liverpool who had gone through just four managers in the twenty years prior to his appointment.

Some of them will probably be a little worried now, deep down, but probably not too worried. England’s problems, after all, are mainly down to having had that foreigner in charge. Much the same as they said it was the problem at Anfield when Liverpool were underachieving with second in the league and only getting to the final of the Champions League. No need to question Roy’s CV because the only word that matters is “English”.

And he’s media friendly. As long as you aren’t a member of the press from Scandinavia. Or north of Croydon. Or mention formations.

Roy is ideal at a club where draws will do and entertainment is an afterthought. That’s probably enough to keep him at Club Wembley for a long time. England’s expectations have been way too high for way too long – and there’s few better than Roy for removing, never mind lowering, expectations.

One of the enduring images of Steve McLaren’s ill-fated reign as England manager is that of him with that umbrella in the tipping down rain as England failed to qualify for the Euros. One strong memory of Roy (putting the face rub to one side) also involved heavy rain and an embarrassing hope-destroying defeat. Roy didn’t bother with a brolly and was soaked to the skin watching his side fail to overcome the “formidable challenge” (his words) of Northampton from Division Four (in old money) in the league cup.

That on its own could have been forgiven but there was always more. When it wasn’t going bad on the field he was making it bad in the press room. He became a parody of himself in the end.

Those who know why Roy was wrong for Liverpool know why Roy will struggle to be what England expects their manager to be.

Those who don’t, well they’re welcome to him.

Utopia awaits.


  • Greg


    I have just read with some embarrassment your ‘article’ and felt compelled to respond. Yes yes yes we get the languid opening, you do not believe that Roy Hodgson has been approached as for the England Managers position.

    I will not disguise the fact that I am a WBA supporter nor the fact that you may feel that my reply is a typical supporter related response, however as I have many LFC fan friends I have suffered for a while lots of Woy comments, the self righteous and sanctimonious belief that your club is CURRENTLY better than anyone else outside the top four and has a devine right to be at the top table of English football.

    I detect the same under current in your writing.

    So, should Roy Hodgson be the next England manager??? Well according to your article, you really do not care, apparently the national team, the pinnacle of any players career is an inconvenience and another excuse for your club not dominating world football!!! But in my opinion YES why not, let’s just be honest it was always going to be an Englishman, (don’t worry King Kenny is safe to guide you onwards) so RH or Harry are the only realistic candidates, you could throw in Alan Pardew but I think the FA are not that forward thinking. In my opinion Harry’s recent brush with the courts was enough to rule him out, that coupled with Spurs recent slump in form has probably led them to Roy.

    Taking the emotion out of the situation and dealing with the facts it is the right course of action.

    As as a West Brom fan however it is disappointing to lose a coach who has guided us to Premier league survival and this season stability, sure our expectations are lesser than yours, but the word EXPECTATION is where most of the LFC fans I know fall down.

    You have great owners now, just look at what they did for the Red Sox and the patience they showed and money they spend to finally reach the goal of the their first World Series in nearly 100 years, you should be grateful.

    No one has a devine right to be successful, success is a journey not a destination, some journeys take longer than others, our own journey has taken 10 years to establish our club in England’s top league, and yes done with the help of Roy Hodgson amongst a cast of many including the current Chelsea caretaker manager.

    So Roy as head coach of England, nothing to manage, all done for him, he is simply to select from a WILLING pool of players a group of individuals he is to mould into a team, impress his style and tactics, his obvious organisational skills and try to win football matches.

    As your article states those that know Roy will know why he is wrong for England and those that don’t are welcome to him!! Can you apart from witnessing a difficult time for your club on and off the field post Benitez and during a hostile takeover, respond with personal knowledge why this man with nearly 40 years of football experience should not be Englands head coach?? Have you witnessed training sessions?? Have you sat in on tactical conversations??? Please do enlighten us.

    I will not prejudge your response that would be unfair, and I accept the premise of opinion, let’s just be honest I am only responding because I have one!!

    In my opinion, I am a proud Englishman who only wishes succes for OUR national team, even in this instance at the expense of my club, but not for my clubs sake, but for the individual, he has the right to achieve the highest accolade he can, I am pretty certain if a top newspaper read your article and wanted you to become their chief football writer, whatever your current employment status you would probably consider it a great honour and good luck.

    By the way if you are reading this Pep, get yourself a British passport quick

  • Superb piece Jim. I like how Woy brings out your darkside.

  • Owen Serjeant

    Jim, at the end of the day, this will be a marriage made in heaven, as much as the one between LFC and Hodgson was doomed from the start. Some will deem the appointment as success no matter what, since their objectives would not be ours.

    This appointment if it comes off is not about ambition on the pitch….how could it be. It’s about the safe pair of hands syndrome. Somebody who will not rock the boat, be media friendly and along the way get a decent result ot two. But win a competition, excite the fan base…no chance

    But, I don’t care. What happens with England is immaterial to me so long as it doesn’t have a bearing on LFC, unfortunately it does though….negatively. So I’m ambivalent at best.

    I have no bad feelings to Roy. i wish him well, Perfectly decent bloke, but never an LFC manager, and never somebody who will rally the country behind the England team.

  • dave pownall

    liverpool went after a safe pair of hands and got roy now england have followed siut, do people never learn, the person who should have an interview is Martin O’neil. full stop.

  • Ken Hawkins

    Nice one, Jim

  • Bomber25

    Believe me, Roy Hodgson is better off as England’s next manager. I wish him the very best if he gets appointed.

  • Djbaggie

    A fantastic reply Greg. I think that speaks for all Albion fans. Roy was never given a chance at Liverpool, they wanted King Kenny and they got exactly what they deserved!
    I will be gutted to see Roy leave the Hawthorns, but he is a perfect fit for England.

  • Chris

    England make Liverpool’s “good players look like ordinary players”. That’s becuase they are.

    “England – the FA, the parts of the media that still think it’s 1966”, whilst I couldnt agree anymore, ‘stones and glasshouses’ come to mind.

    I could go on, but like England doesnt matter to you, Liverpool doesnt matter to me or indeed the majority of genuine football fans in this country, so I unlike some I wont shout my mouth off.

  • Alexander Gerschenkron

    Good article Jim, but here’s why I think this might not be such a stupid appointment (bear with me on this):

    – England never had any chance of winning Euro2012 (see South Africa 2010 and previous Euros) anyway, so the outcome will be no different
    – Roy is “on a free”
    – The media will not drum up opposition to Roy, the tournament will go ahead and England may scrape through opening round and then likely go out on pens after an “heroic” backs-to-the-wall performance
    – England have even less chance of winning the next World Cup so this gives FA option to replace Roy with a manager whose real role will be to manage toward the following tournament (with expectations lowered)
    – regardless of the above, it’s England – which is win-win (if they win, well, I’m largely English I suppose so not unhappy with that outcome; when they lose – it’s simply very funny indeed – see the opening comment from Greg who sees playing for England as the “pinnacle” of any players career).

  • Greasy

    Roy was brought to Liverpool and basically given the sh*t end of the stick. I feel for the guy and wish him every success in the future. There’s no hard feelings towards him from me. He’s a decent manager and good at bad football that gets results. I think he will be suited to the England job and will probably take the team to the semi final.

    My only interest in Roy being next England manager involve the captaincy. Surely it’s time to hand the armband over to Gerrard.

  • kevin Roche

    I’m delighted for both Roy & for England, the best of luck to both of them. Let’s hope he continues to get the support he did from those who felt that we were being unkind to the man. More importantly I hope Gerrard hangs up those England boots for good now after this tournament.

  • Great article. Although I think that England are a hopeless case.