When Roy Hodgson was sacked from Liverpool in January 2011, anybody unattached to the Reds was keen to berate the club and it’s supporters for the treatment of one of the ‘nicest men in football.’
I don’t doubt for a minute Roy Hodgson is a lovely man.
He could have the generosity of Bob Geldof and the spirit of Ghandi for all I care – if he’s not doing his job as a football manager and winning matches, i’m not interested.
Hodgson not only failed to win as many matches as he should have done during his time as Liverpool boss, but created a team that played some of the most boring, one dimensional, football I have ever seen in all my time as a Liverpool fan.
And judging by England’s recent results and performances – the national side looks to be going the same way under Hodgson’s stewardship.
I think of myself as being as passionate as they come with regards to Liverpool – when it’s match day, nothing can break my attention.
I am not ashamed to admit then on two occasions in Hodgson’s short spell as Liverpool boss, the standard of football was so poor and the game so dull, that I fell asleep during Europa League matches. Properly asleep as well – out cold.
The home defeat to Wolves in December 2010 was without a doubt the worst performance I have ever seen from a Liverpool side, and the pre and post match press conferences from Hodgson were devoid of any sort of inspiration.
The crushing 2-0 defeat to Everton in October 2010 was when I personally started to panic, when Hodgson ridiculously told his post match press conference: ‘That was as good as we have played all season, and I have no qualms with the performance whatsoever. I only hope fair-minded people will see it the same way.
‘It’s just unfortunate that such a good game of football, a real credit to the Premier League, will revolve round the fact that Liverpool did not win.”
The defeat was not only hard to take as it came away to one of our fiercest rivals, but it also left the Reds second bottom of the Premier League only by goal difference – and here was Hodgson talking up his teams performance.
It just epitomised the fact that the job was too big for him.
It was a similar story for England fans in the summer, when following a dire goalless draw with Costa Rica, Hodgson inexplicably said afterwards: “I thought we were unlucky not to win this game, but I’m pleased to have given the fans something to cheer.”
Something to cheer? Out at the World Cup group stage for the first time since 1958, with two goals and not a win to our name?
Would a top level manager who understood the expectations of some of football’s most demanding fans claim they had given the fans something to cheer after a goalless draw with Costa Rica? Surely not.
When Hodgson was shown the door at Liverpool in January 2011, rival supporters could not wait to lament the Reds fans who had been calling for his head.
Liverpool fans had been looking for a scapegoat, and that man was Hodgson was the common opinion. The team’s shortcomings were the problem, not the man who had guided Fulham to the Europa League final the previous season, and been a complete gentlemen throughout his career in football.
The fact Kenny Dalglish took the team from the bottom half of the table to sixth place having replaced Hodgson in January goes some way to suggesting otherwise.
Hodgson is indeed a nice enough bloke, and I don’t feel good slagging him off – it’s almost like being mean about a kind old man collecting for charity outside SuperDrug.
I felt sorry for him when Melwood graffiti artists wrote ‘Hodgson Out’ on that wall. I pictured him at home watching it being reported on Sky Sports News in a dressing gown with a mug of Horlicks muttering ‘what a pity.’
That’s why I would much rather he stepped down as England boss before he goes from being a kind enough but basically useless old uncle, to a hate figure responsible for ruining the countries footballing hopes and dreams.
Last night’s dire 1-0 win over Norway proved England have hardly moved on from their abysmal World Cup showing, and if Liverpool fans have learnt anything from their spell with Hodgson as manager, things are not likely to improve.
There was a definite change to the tone towards Roy on social media following the result last night, with #HodgsonOut becoming an ever growing presence on Twitter.
I’m sure Hodgson is capable of guiding England through what should be a simple Euro qualification group, and getting us to another quarter final of a European Championships – but he is not the man to take us any further. And England fans seem to be realising that all of a sudden.
He appears to have the respect of the players for being the nice bloke that he is, but as Harry Redknapp pointed out after last night’s game, many of them look like ‘they don’t give a toss.’ And soon neither will the fans.
With each dire England performance that goes by, those same supporters that were so quick to blame Liverpool fans for his departure from a big job three-and-a-half years ago may now be willing to admit they were perhaps a bit quick to stick up for Hodgson.
The FA have given him a chance to redeem himself and prove the likes of me wrong over the course of the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, but if last nights game is anything to go by – it will be a struggle to stay awake in order to see it.
Can you see Roy Hodgson turning England’s fortunes around? Let us know your thoughts below.