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Hodgson the man for all seasons

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Phil McNulty | 22:34 UK time, Saturday, 6 March 2010

As Roy Hodgson switched seamlessly from English into perfect Italian, he provided a graphic illustration of the scale and success of his reconstruction on the banks of the Thames.

Hodgson had finished discussing Fulham's fight on equal terms with Tottenham to reach the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley - and was moving on to the Europa League date with "The Old Lady" of Juventus in Turin on Thursday.

This cosmopolitan and experienced manager has brought heady days to Craven Cottage, and his presence alone guarantees "La Vecchia Signora" will treat Fulham with unswerving respect on the next stage of their European adventure.

Hodgson is still admired in Italy after his time at Inter Milan, and while the tight and tense FA Cup quarter-final with Spurs was not an example of his finest work, it still demonstrated the sound principles and pure common sense he has brought to Fulham.

When Hodgson succeeded Lawrie Sanchez at Craven Cottage in December 2007, Premier League survival was a long shot. The suggestion that Fulham might, at some future date, have to break off from FA Cup quarter-final combat with Spurs to meet Juventus in the latter stages of European competition would have been regarded as residing somewhere between fanciful and farcical.

And yet this is what Hodgson has done, drawing praise from Spurs counterpart Harry Redknapp, another member of management's older brigade, when I asked him about his achievements at Fulham.

He said: "Roy has done a great job. They went away to Shakhtar Donetsk, the holders of the Europa League, and got one of the results of the season to get through.

"They are well-organised, strong defensively and a very well-coached side. Roy has to take great credit for that and when you look at results like they got against Shakhtar you see why we won't be taking them lightly in the replay, even though we are happy with a draw."

Fulham boss Roy HodgsonHodgson has been the architect of Fulham's upturn in fortunes

Hodgson's sure touch was in evidence, even during a cup encounter that lacked spark and was short on opportunities. Fulham, as Redknapp said, were meticulously prepared in defence and varied in attack. The creation of players such as Zoltan Gera and Damien Duff was mixed with a willingness to go route one and serve the transformed Bobby Zamora.

When I put it to Hodgson that to follow up an FA Cup quarter-final with Spurs by playing Juventus in Europe was an obvious indicator of his club's development, he was only too happy to agree, but with the humility that is the hallmark of his club.

He said: "I would quite happily accept a 0-0 draw against Spurs in the last eight of the FA Cup to take to Juventus in the Europa League. It is very pleasing and I often remind the players that this is what you are in the Premier League for. I tell them these are the games you want to play, and there are lots of people in the lower divisions who are very envious of you.

"We play Juventus then we play at Manchester United, then we have Juventus and Manchester City at home before we have the replay at Spurs - although we just have to accept we might not win them all."

Hodgson is happy to take the taxing programme as a sign of success, saying: "I'm not sure you can say we are victims of success by having to play all these games. Success is what you strive for and this is an indication that this team has been successful.

"We should bask in the glory because it's not every year Fulham get close to playing 60 games and lots of times we barely scrape to 40."

One of the finest examples of Hodgson's powers of renewal is the rejuvenation of striker Bobby Zamora. The days when he was a victim of terrace taunts at Craven Cottage seem an age away - and his performance was testimony to the manner in which his confidence, and indeed his whole whole game, has been reassembled by Hodgson.

Zamora would have been barely recognisable to the Spurs fans who watched him toil at White Hart Lane as he probed tirelessly, chasing all causes and emerging as the pivotal figure in Fulham's plans.

If there is a sole symbol of what Hodgson has been able to achieve at Fulham, it is Zamora. He may not have found the finishing touch to see off his former club on Saturday, but the doubters have been silenced by his development into a striker of real Premier League quality.

Fulham striker Bobby ZamoraZamora's form has led to talk of him potentially filling a strikers's role for England

Hodgson accepted a draw was a fair result, and one which was also welcomed by Redknapp as Spurs now assume the mantle of favourites to progress to Wembley with home advantage in the replay.

Both managers complained that the Craven Cottage pitch undermined any attempts to play constructive football. Jermain Defoe's hamstring problems, which Redknapp revealed were a result of Wembley's own poor surface when he played for England on Wednesday, forced him to pair Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko in attack. It was not a comfortable fit.

And if Hodgson deserves praise for his work with Zamora, then the same credit is due to Redknapp and his staff after a faultless display from Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes.

Craven Cottage was the scene of Redknapp's first defeat as Spurs boss in November 2008 - and Gomes was the villain when he dropped Simon Davies' cross into his own net and blundered for Andrew Johnson's second.

Redknapp described the Brazilian's errors that day as "farcical" - adding, somewhat unconvincingly, that he simply had to keep faith with Gomes. When Redknapp followed this up by insisting "confidence is king" it appeared little more than an attempt to keep Gomes' spirits up before flogging him at the first opportunity.

He did stick with Gomes, and saves of the calibre he produced from Gera's header, plus a performance of all-round assurance, justified the belief Redknapp had in the keeper.

Gomes denied Fulham a victory that would have taken them back to Wembley for the first time since 1975 - but there is no denying Craven Cottage has undergone a remarkable transformation the expert guidance of Hodgson.

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  • Comment number 1.

    A big congratulations to Roy Hodgson for what he is doing at Fulham, they are a really compact unit. That being said, you could have put your house on the result yesterday given the way Spurs and Fulham have been playing recently.

  • Comment number 2.

    Phil I understand your ambition in life is to hype everyone up each and every way even on the occasions there's absolutely nothing to talk about, a bit like the flatterers of the palace from years gone by, but I sincerely hope you have Sky and watched a bit of La Liga last night to get away from the dross that is English football.

    Oh and Fulham were played off the park by Donetsk, both results were obviously a travesty.

  • Comment number 3.

    There is a question I want to put to this forum.

    Who is the better manager? Would Spurs have more chance of a top 4 finish this season if they had Hodgson instead of Redknapp?

  • Comment number 4.

    3# - Well, lets see. Spurs are currently....fourth!

    So I cant really see how another manager could hypothetically be doing a lot better. Realistically you might say that Spurs shouldnt have donated points to Wolves on 2 occasions, but then again teams like Liverpool and Manchester City have also dropped silly points.

    Whether they manage to stay in that spot with their tough fixture list and mounting injury list is another matter, of course, but thats hardly the fault of the manager.

  • Comment number 5.

    Very simplistic as usual, but it will do. Hodgson deserves all the praise he gets. When I used to say he should have been picked England manager instead of Brolly Man people used to give me a weird look, but as you said, he's well regarded every where he's been abroad, I don't get why he was never taken seriously here in the UK. Glad to see that changing, he seems a nice man on top of being a good manager.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    Fulham are, in my opinion, the best ORGANISED team in the Premiership. People talk about defending with two banks of four, and nobody does that better than Fulham.

    It's a testament to Hodgson that he has a squad which may well be languishing in the bottom half of the league in the hands of a less capable manager.

  • Comment number 8.

    Re nibs: You are right, the almeria vs barca game alone showed how overated the premier league is. The hype that some of these commentators lavish on the league and some of its players is sometimes hard to believe. Rooney at some times this season has been put on a level of his own which sometimes makes you wonder have they not seen villa, hiquian or messi in action this seen. I find it amusing that some British commentators keep saying he is the best in the world and no one is on the same level. Just makes you wonder are they ignorant of of what's happening outside of the PML. For those who love football I would recommend you search For highlights of The real Madrid vs Seville game, this game really showed everything the PML is not.

  • Comment number 9.

    I cannot for the life me imagine you can compare Oul 'Arry, with Roy Hodgson. Apart from the title of the job, what have the got in common? I mean can you see Harry being sought out to be the next manager of Real Madrid for example? Hodgson has a Europe wide reputation and Harry couldn't touch him with the proverbial barge pole.
    The real story of Rebirth at Fulham is for me Damien Duff. This is the guy who went down with Newcastle remember. Now he is playing once again like a top notch player.
    Hodgson is a master because he is mature intelligent and respectful. I can't imagine him making remarks of the type Harry did about his Goalkeeper or star strikers when he first arrived at Spurs... Harry no class, Hodgson for Man United when Fergie retires at the end of next season.

  • Comment number 10.


    I would be interested to hear who exactly holds Hodgson in high esteem in Italy. It must be people you have had contact with who actually work within the football world. In my experience mentioning the name of Hodgson here in Italy is met with a laugh and a shake of the head. Opinions range from the polite "a person who was out of his depth" to the less polite idea that "he was/is completely useless".

    I in fact have a very high regard for Hodgson and would like him to take over at my team Liverpool when/if Rafa leaves, but I have found it impossible to convince my italian friends and clients that he has any managerial ability.

    I am not having a go, just pointing out that things outside of England are often viewed from a very different perspective.

  • Comment number 11.

    He's one of the most under-rated managers of all time. I've liked him since he was coaching the Swiss national team - and he always creates a team that's better than the sum of its parts. Such is my admiration for the man, that if Wenger were to move upstairs or move on from Arsenal, I'd be happy for Hodgson to take over.

  • Comment number 12.

    To nibs...totally uncharitable and unfair to a manager who has done an excellent job at Fulham.

    Hype? Not a chance. Why is giving someone the credit they deserve hype?

    He has taken a club that was destined for the Championship, established them in the Premier League and got them into Europe getting good results. Fulham, as Harry Redknapp rightly said, are well coached, well organised and a fine side.

    I'd be very interested to hear the views of Fulham fans on what this poster has said. Needless to say I disagree with pretty much all of it.

    And I think it is worth noting that a lot of Spurs supporters generously applauded Hodgson when he received his manager of the month award. A fine gesture.

    Hodgson has earned a respect that goes beyond Craven Cottage and rightly so.

  • Comment number 13.

    Nibs and bash82 miss the point of the article. It's not about the quality of the EPL in comparison to other leagues. It's about the ability of a manager to take a team which was facing almost certain relegation to a European place in a season, and with a team without any recognised "stars".
    There are a number of players who were not peforming (or worse) under Sanchez and the early Hodgson days: Zamora is the highest profile player, but the same applies to Chris Baird and Zoltan Gera. There were few West Ham supporters who mourned the departure of John Pantsil, but they are all contributing fully to Fulham's current position (injuries permitting).
    It's clear that Hodgson's strength is in his organisation, and Fulham certainly aren't the most flamboyant of sides, but to achieve the position we have so far this season is remarkable, given the long term injuries to some key players like Andy Johnson, Clint Dempsey and Pantsil.
    At the end of last season, pundits were suggesting that Fulham would do well not to reach Europe because the pressure of fixtures would place our Premiership status in danger. Reaching the last 8 of the FA Cup and the last 16 of the Europa League, alongside a comfortable mid-table position in the league is something that most Fulham supporters would only dare to have dreamt about last May.
    Hodgson's even manner and balanced interview style, both pre and post-match contrast starkly with some other Premiership managers, such as Wenger and Allardyce, for example, who see matches through the filter of partisan spectacles, and manage to find fault in the officials for any failings of their own team.
    Hodgson's abilities in creating unlikely success is also reflected in his international career (Finland and Switzerland). Maybe he is more suited to this style of management, and he may find it difficult to recreate it at clubs where success is taken for granted, and a second place finish is considered failure.
    Long may he remain at Fulham.

  • Comment number 14.

    I really think that your praise of the admirable Roy Hodgson goes a little far when you actually deify him.

    "The creation of players such as Zoltan Gera and Damien Duff"

    Or maybe you meant creativity?


  • Comment number 15.

    Post no2 and post no8 - are you two serious?! Youve seen TWO games of football and you think you can criticise an ariticle which sums up perfectly the transformation undertaken in little under 2 years by fulham.
    "Oh and Fulham were played off the park by Donetsk, both results were obviously a travesty."
    In case you havent grasped the concept of football yet, when your winning by such slender margins, you aint gonna go away from home to a notoriously difficult place and play free flowing, attacking football and expect to win 4-0 against the holders of the europa league so i dunno what you were hopin to see but i feel sorry for the team you support.
    "I find it amusing that some British commentators keep saying he is the best in the world and no one is on the same level. Just makes you wonder are they ignorant of of what's happening outside of the PML."
    Whose better? Messi, maybe Ronaldo atm but then who? Xavi, Iniesta? Ive heard so many people rave on about them being better than Rooney but if you actually spent time watching them over the course of the season i can garuntee you Rooneys impact has been way more important than theirs. They play in a team of superstars which helps them no ends, Rooney is playing in, by all accounts the weakest Man U team in a few years and yet they stand top of the league and still on for a treble.
    I think what Roy Hodgson has achieved at Fulham is nothing short of a miracle considering at one point against Man City away they were relegated before an amazing fightback and they havent looked back since. When you talk about fa cup quater finals and games against Juventus whilst still being in the top 10 in the league, manager of the season, you wouldnt argue?!

  • Comment number 16.

    Nibs is completely wrong. The Shahktar game confirmed Hodgson's ability at the highest level. Fulham were outclassed in first half at Craven Cottage but whatever Hodgson did/said at half time transformed the tie. In the second half Fulham improved considerably, Shaktar had few chances and Fulham went ahead.

    Similarly, in the return leg, Fulham were supremely well prepared. They had little possession but restricted a superb Shahktar team to hardly any clear cut chances. I think their second half goal was the only shot that was on target and from inside the penalty area.

    It's not luck when you win a fixture over two legs.

    Hodgson is perfectly suited at a smaller club like Fulham, he's a nice man managing the nicest club in football. I think he knows this and (please God) won't move elsewhere. Any true fan knows we are in a golden period and punching well above our weight.

  • Comment number 17.

    I agree with the comments about la liga and that the best football is probably played there. However I doubt that Barca would get quite quite the same game from the 17th place team in Spain that than Man U got from Wolves yesterday. The EPL is the hardest league to win without a doubt, whether it is the best league for the football purist is another question ?

    On Roy Hogdson I despair with any negative comments about this man, if you cannot see what a good coach he is then I question your knowledge of football. He might have been lucky against Shakhtar Donetsk but you earn your luck in football.

    Take a look at the guys who have got the England job over the 20 years... Taylor, McClaren, Keegan (great man btw, just not a good coach). Can you please tell one thing they can do that Roy can't ? The only other English coach in his class is Redknapp, one the pure coach in Hogdson and one the man motivator in Harry who is better technical coach they we give him credit for.

    Lets hope one of these two guys get a crack at the England job before another foreign coach takes overs. Finally lets celebrate having coaches like Roy and Harry rather than trying to find the negatives. When they retire in 4-5 years please tell me what young English coach is coming through ? Plenty of Scots, just can't think of one outstanding young English coach, bar Kenny Jackett of Millwall !!!

  • Comment number 18.

    I am a Fulham fan and I think what Nibs said is so untrue its unbelievable.

    Yes I watched the Shakhtar game. Yes they were a better team, they played better football. But we defended resolutely and took our chances when they came. Football doesn't always have to be an expansive passing game.

    Hodgson should have got manager of the year last year; our player's performances to get us into Europe were immense. I believe now Fulham are one of the most feared team in the Prem outside the top 4 which is great :)

  • Comment number 19.

    I think Hodgson comes across as both genial and sensible. He has done well with Fulham as he did with Switzerland. I do not however believe he is the right person for a truly big club. I suspect he he is happier working quietly away with 'unfashionable' sides and getting the best out of them.

  • Comment number 20.

    I rate Hodgson as THE BEST manager in the league bar none.

    SAF and Wenger are tactically naive - Wenger more so. It took Fergie years to work out how to get to the latter stages of the Champion's League. The likes of Benitez and Mourinho are far superior tactically and I would put Hodgson up there too.

    He's performed miracles with Switzerland on a regular basis, he's coached at Inter too and is well respected in Italy. Blackburn were too keen to get rid of him .. their loss.

    Currently he's the only manager in the country that I would have no problems taking the helm at Arsenal if Wenger ever left. Fantastic manager who knows world football better than most. Fergie may be the most successful but he isn't the best.

  • Comment number 21.

    I am a big admirer of Hodgson, he is vastly experienced and shows great quality's such as common sense tactics and humility in defeat and victory. If I were a liverpool fan (which I am not) I would be shouting from the rafters to get rid of Rafa and replace him with Hodgson. He is just the antidote that their team needs.He would stablise the team and re-build.

    Phil do you think Hodgson's mission at Fulham will be cut short by the offer of a bigger and better premier league job? No disrespect to Fulham of course.

  • Comment number 22.

    He's a great asset to Fulham. A rare breed of English manager who has actually gone out to manage in across Europe which more English managers should do to gain a different perspective.

  • Comment number 23.

    Really good article Phil. Fulham are a solid team now. Hodgson has done excellently and extending the contract of players like Hangeland is a good sign for the future too.

  • Comment number 24.

    Re forest 82: Wasn't it a year or two ago when people were saying Rooney looks ending up a like a has been player? Wasn't he under the shadow of the great Ronaldo? Some might argue he looks good this year because he is playing with one of the worst Man Utd teams in years. I am not saying rooney is rubbish. But he has only played this good for only a season. The reason United are challenging for 3 competitions is not just Rooney but Ferguson must also get credit for what he doing with such an average side compared to the past United teams he has had.

    I have been watching Xavi, Iniesta and Messi for the past few seasons and the Impact they have made has redifined football in many ways. In last season's champions leage semi against Chelsea with a man down did you see these guys reverting too root 1 football? Nope they just kept playing with plan A (lets not mention the ref here) These guys all grew up together for the past few seasons and have made this Barca team into one the most admired teams ever. So admired many teams & owners want to emulate them (Roman at chelsea being one, and even Wenger has used started using their Famous 4 3 3 formation this year)

    But as other have mentioned This blog was about Roy and his achievement with Fulham. All good praise must go to him and I do hope he wins a cup with fulham for what he has achieved with such a small budget and squad.

  • Comment number 25.

    Nibs and Bash are both missing the point. For a start nobody that I have heard has ever said Rooney is better than Messi, nearly every pundit say he is probably the 3rd best player in the world. Which I think is a fair enough viewpoint given that Ronaldo was lauded for all the goals he scored and he had Rooney supplying him yet Rooney does not now have Ronaldo supplying him yet will end up with a similar goal tally.
    They also make it sound as if every game in the Premier League has been a boring 1-1; they obviously missed games like Chelseas destruction of Arsenal and Spurs demolition of Wigan plus all the other amazing games this season.
    To the article anyway, Hodgson has done a fantastic job. Fulham are now a side that people dread to visit, they are tough to beat and can hurt you in attack. If the fact that they were outplayed makes the result a travesty then does that mean that they agree it was a travesty that Barca of their beloved La Liga won the Champione League last season? Given that they were outplayed by Chelsea and only got through courtesy of the single worst refereeing display since Uriah Rennie left the Premiership? Food for thought...

  • Comment number 26.

    Plus Rooney played exceptionally well with Van Nistelrooy

  • Comment number 27.

    No. 10 Livinginitaly

    I suppose there are similar sentiments in the UK about about Jean Tigana, Gerard Houllier, Juande Ramos and Christian Gross. Successful and well respected in their own countries but not here. I reckon Roberto Mancini will go the same way.

  • Comment number 28.

    Another case of the prophet in his own land...I was working in Switzerland when he was their national team manager taking them to no.3 in the world.I am glad that he is now getting the respect he deserves in the brutish world of English football.
    Mr Hodgson is a class act and a gentleman to boot..I think those that preferred 'the wally with the brolly' to him as the England manager have certainly qualified themselves.

  • Comment number 29.

    I'm suprised by the fact that people like nibs have found a bad word to say about the man. Along with Coyle he seems the nicest manager in the premiership and some of his career achievements are incredible.

    Also love the comment about creation instead of creativity. Phil, you have to laugh at yourself for that one.

  • Comment number 30.

    Firstly, am I the only person who is sick of people using these boards to constantly criticise the author or to voice their personal grievances. It makes me laugh that often McNulty is condemned for constantly talking about the Big 4 (well, three this season) and yet the same people turn a Fulham post into a debate about Rooney and the big Spanish clubs!

    Secondly, I agree that Hodgson has done a good job at Fulham. They are now a stable premier league club and very difficult to beat.

    However, if we are talking about his wider reputation as a manager, I do think that his record at inter (7th and 3rd) and his subsequent performance as Blackburn manager (rock bottom of league when he left and conducted some terrible transfer deals) should be considered.

  • Comment number 31.

    No 27 TwoWardrobes

    Very true, there has been a long list of failed foreign managers in England with better reputations abroad.

    However I was just addressing the view that Hodgson is "admired" or highly respected in Italy, which is direct contrast to the general opinion that I have encountered.

  • Comment number 32.

    Nothing much to say except that I'm a Fulham fan and that I am hugely appreciative of what Roy Hodgson has done for the club. May he stay with us for a long time!

  • Comment number 33.

    I am a big fan of Roy, a sound manager with great outlook on the game.He could manage any team, like all good football men can, Like Harry at Spurs,Martin at Villa and Moyes down at Everton ... I am one who would be interested what they could at teams like Man Utd,Chelsea.

    @MILLWALL AL ... your spot on.

    @BASH82 .... Wayne as always been class .... you don't pay 30million on a teenage player, on a hunch his going to turn a good season in one day!

    The man as been pivotal,Even the brainless beauty that is ron knew half of his game only flourished under Rooney's eye for a pass and selfish work ethic.

    Fergie Is great do not give me wrong,but what some players have,no manager just can't teach, otherwise you'd have a team of perfection, with each player worth 80million but you don't.

    Even your average coach knows when you have a half decent player on his hands, you give him the belief and reinforce that belief with each game.

    and I am quite sure people like scholesy or even giggs had more of an influence on the player then alex himself.

  • Comment number 34.

    STENDEC - How about we ask another question - Could Redknapp do a better job at Fulham than Roy?!

    Why you use Redknapp at Tottenham as a mediator is just showing as much bias as the other way around.

    Hodgson for me is a better manager, and if we're being honest - and judging by Redknapps own remarks recently you can almost say Redknapp would agree.

    Redknapp has spent his entire career in England and therefore you could say that's all that matters as you're english and it's what has effected you.

    I personally don't really rate Redknapp as a tactical manager but more of a man manager who's picked up the trade whilst he was a player. How do I prove this - look at his transfer history. He needs big players and big finances to achieve top results - look at Portsmouth, and also the amount of cash he's chucked about at Tottenham!

    When you have players being brought in of that quality, if you're a good man manager then more than half of your job is done. See Villa - The pace and aggression at which Ashely young runs and always has done at opposition defences creates problems for other teams, which means O'neill can relax a bit more and let the other teams worry about his tactics, whilst he can also brush up on the defensive aspect of his game. The better player the more complete they are and with Redknapp playing with budgets that can allow him to target the best players makes his job that much easier.

    Now we compare that to Hodgson!

    Hodgson has hardly any budget and the most he'll probably ever spend on average on a player at Fulham is around £5mill max. Obviously there's the one exception (only two in Fulhams history! - Compare to Tottenham) in Andy Johnson which exceed that and go way above to just over £10 million but most of Fulhams players (etuhu, Pantsil, Zamora, Davies, Murphy etc) were pulled out of various teams reserves for low cost transfers! - Murphy If I recall correctly was a free, along with Gera and Schwarzer.

    Players aside though and budgets aside, you also have to look at the bigger picture - The time Redknapp spent in England winning...!? The F.A Cup!!! - Hodgson has taken obscure teams like Switzerland to World Cups ad European Championships, whilst also taking them to ranking 3rd in the world. He's managed at Inter Milan, getting them into UEFA Cup finals and taking them to 3rd and 7th respectively whilst winning titles year in year out in 2 other countries.

    That aside he's a memeber of UEFA's Technical committee and is one of the most respected men in european football, with many of the premier league managers admitting to going to his training open days to learn from him.

    Now lets look at what he's done at Fulham, with Fulhams resources.

    When he came to Fulham we hadn't won away for I think 1 or 2 years. We were rock bottom and by quite a margin too. He had 17 matches to come in, with a club who's mentality on and off the pitch were at rock bottom, the players low on confidence, with non existant confidence and keep us up! We had been written off by everyone, fans, tabloids every premiership fan. We stayed up on the last day, won 4 of our last 5 games and since then haven't looked back.

    In his first full season he got us from Premier LEague fodder into the Europa League, beating Utd comfortably 2-0 and has lead us into this season - around 10 points off of 4th, having started our competitive season in July! 2 or 3 weeks before the premier league started.

    Since then we've beaten Liverpool 3-1, Man Utd 3-0 and have hosted and beaten the reigning European Champions (something tottenham failed to do last season and whos stadium cost in excess of half a billion!), played the likes of Basle and Roma and now have a tie, where we arguably go into it as equals. We've already played up to 50 games this season and there are 10/20 left in the league alone, let alone including the F.A Cup games we have left and the double header against Juventus coming up.

    Just to put things into perspective last month (when Fulham ended the month undefeated and with Hodgson and Schwarzer picking up both the player and manager of the month awards) we managed to play 8 games in four weeks, with the gap between some of these games being just two days!!!

    This month our fixtures go like this - Tottenham (Fa cup QF), Juventus (last 16 europa league) , Man Utd Away, Juventus (H), Man City (H) and then Tottenham (A). Many Fulham fans expect us to find this month hard, Hodgson may come out of it undfeated and it wouldn't be because of luck either!

    I find fans who don't respect Hodgson really hard to grasp, they evidently have very little knowledge of football and base their entire opinions on the team the support and not real hard facts.

    A close friend to SAF, Capello and many other top managers the world over, it is a testament to his ability that he not only has their respect but is deemed by many to be their friend. A true footballing man who's life work is respected and eclipses most. He may not be a big club manager, but it's a testament to how good he is in my opinion that he isn't. His persona and everything about him suggests class and respect and that's not only to his personality off and on the pitch but his ability to get success on the pitch too!

  • Comment number 35.

    Re post 2. Do you have a problem with Roy Hodgson. The work he has done with Fulham has been amazing, considering the atrocious state that sanchez left the club in when he took over, to then qualify for europe in what is still a very competative league with the playes and budget that he has available is remarkable. Not only that but to then, this season, have a strong europa league and F.A. cup campaignu as well as premiership campaign is equally impressive. i admit, Donetsk dominated against fulham, but Hodgson is astute enough to realize that fulham cant play beautiful attacking football against the hosts at their own ground and expect to come away with a comfortable victory. It does occasionally happen in football that the team that has dominated doesnt always win, and its not as if fulham played particularly badly, so i dont know why you could say it was a travesty, on your theory travesties must occur every week.

  • Comment number 36.

    Cottager wrote:

    actually he has a problem with all things british, in all sports. he is a vile person who somehow hasnt been banned from the site. he tries to hide his disdain by trying to sound clever

  • Comment number 37.

    He is a cracking manager.

  • Comment number 38.

    Good to see so many backing Roy Hodgson and rightly so. Here is an experienced manager who has revived a club that looked to be heading for the Championship. To have deserved praise of Hodgson dismissed as hype is very strange.

    An experienced, common sense manager. And in response to LivinginItaly, I have spoken to plenty of members of the media from Italy who have told me Hodgson is held in the highest regard for his work, not just in Italy but around Europe.

    Let's praise an English manager who has done so much admirable work at home and abroad, but his rejuvenation of Fulham really stands out.

  • Comment number 39.

    Hodgson is a cracking manager, does well whatever team he coaches, has a fantastic mannerism about him, doesnt show any disrepect towards referrees, has kind words for his fellow managers-all in all a good guy, who deserves any success that he brings to Fulham.

    Hopefully he will be lifting the F.A cup at the end of the season, and after working in Italy for a few years, who would bet against him getting another result in Europe, by putting out the 'old lady'?

    On another note though I think its quite worrying that there do not seem to be an influx of talented English coaches/mangers in the game down south at the moment-apologies if this a somewhat ignorant question but could any contributors to this board or yourself Phil, tell me of any up and coming English coaches they think will make an impact in the next 3-7 years?

  • Comment number 40.

    Hodgson - one the few English coaches who have done the job on the continent and in the EPL. Good manager who knows his coaching and always comes across as a decent guy. One of the best English coaches going and always at unfashionale clubs

  • Comment number 41.

    What Hodgson has done at Fulham is a credit to the man. They are transformed as a team and, on song, a threat to many of the bigger teams in the league and Europe.

    However, lets not get too carried away.

    He did very well as the Swiss national coach and that is what got him the post at Inter Milan. There he did an even better job than he's doing now in many eyes. He single handedly rebuilt Inter Milan and handed Simoni a very good outfit that finished second in Serie A. When he'd joined they were in turmoil. Ring any bells?

    He then went to Blackburn - a journey that took him a long time to recover from. He spent a fortune on some of the worst buys in history - when he had money to spend. He almost wrecked his career in football at Blackburn and those on here that recall the performances the club put in every week will know why. They were absolutely appalling.

    So, off he went again, this time to Denmark where Copenhagen won the league under his stewardship. Not a huge feat if the truth be told and he showed a complete lack of loyalty by then going back to Italy and getting himself fired after 6 months at Udinese.

    So...bags packed and off to the UAE where he did okay for a couple of years and then got fired again - this time choosing Norway as his next destination. What he did at Viking was very impressive, and he was roundly worshipped by their fans....when he abandoned them to go to Finland as their national coach. Loyalty or a lack of it is becoming a common angle in this, is it not?

    My point being...?

    He shows very little loyalty to clubs in my opinion and a rise in stock is nearly always followed by a short term appointment - and if you look back at his career you'll see a lot of those. He doesn't seem to know if he wants to be a national team coach or a league coach.

    He certainly hasn't handled big money signings well in the past. A glance at Blackburn Rovers screams that.

    But, the main point, the key with Hodgson is the third season. That, in terms of full seasons, will be next year. If he stays at Fulham then next year will be the acid test.

    I can understand a few Liverpool fans thinking he might be a good choice for them but his record with spending money would terrify me.

    He's an excellent manager.

    For a small to middling club.

    He should stay at Fulham.

    He isn't good enough to go higher.

  • Comment number 42.

    Im a Fulham fan and at times still cannot quite believe the fantastic job that Roy Hodgson has done at Fulham. He has transformed us from regular relegation fighters to contenders in Europe and the FA Cup. On top of all this he is a gentleman and a genuinely nice guy.

    As to the poster who said that Redknapp is a better manager than Hodgson just because Spurs are in fourth place, just how much has Redknapp spent on players to get Spurs up there? Yesterday the team put out by Redknapp must have cost 3 or 4 times that of the Fulham team and yet it was an evenly matched game. Suggest to me and anyone with any sense that Hodgson has done a lot better for less money.

    Oh and the Shaktar games. Yes, yet another VERY expensively assembled team had vastly superior possession but the bargain basement team restricted them to mostly long range efforts and took its chances when they arose. You cannot fluke a result over two legs in the same way as you can a one off cup game. How many times have the likes of Man U been under the cosh for 89 minutes in Europe and then score a winner in the 90th minute?

    Maybe the posters who have posted uncomplimentary remarks have become accusttomed to the ungartious and unsporting comments of their teams managers. You can keep your Redknapps, Wengers and Sir Alex's, Id rather have a gentleman in control of my club and as he is also giveing us some of the best football and most success ever then even better.

  • Comment number 43.

    I rate Hodgson as THE BEST manager in the league bar none.

    SAF and Wenger are tactically naive - Wenger more so. It took Fergie years to work out how to get to the latter stages of the Champion's League. The likes of Benitez and Mourinho are far superior tactically and I would put Hodgson up there too.

    He's performed miracles with Switzerland on a regular basis, he's coached at Inter too and is well respected in Italy. Blackburn were too keen to get rid of him .. their loss.

    Currently he's the only manager in the country that I would have no problems taking the helm at Arsenal if Wenger ever left. Fantastic manager who knows world football better than most. Fergie may be the most successful but he isn't the best.


    Im afraid to say this but you really are not serious. To say SAF is not the best is just being foolish. I agree Wenger is not tactically good but how how can you say Fergie is naive? apart from the CL final last season, fergie had always been spot on in europe since the defeat by Milan far back in 2007. They have reached the last 2 finals, not because their squad was particularly brilliant but because of Fergie, and this season again they are on course for yet another CL and you say JM and Benitez are tactically superior? i agree that benitez is quite good tactically but give me a break about Jose. If he was that good while didnt he knock United out last season? if he was that good tactically, why didnt he lead Chelsea to win the CL with all those millions? - he couldnt even reach the final. SAF man management is alsoo SECOND TO NONE. I can say it anywhere Fergie is best in the world.. You cant be that successful without you being very special.

  • Comment number 44.

    As to the poster who said that Redknapp is a better manager than Hodgson just because Spurs are in fourth place, just how much has Redknapp spent on players to get Spurs up there? Yesterday the team put out by Redknapp must have cost 3 or 4 times that of the Fulham team and yet it was an evenly matched game. Suggest to me and anyone with any sense that Hodgson has done a lot better for less money.

    I didn't actually say that this makes Redknapp a better manager. If you read what I wrote I was responding to the person that suggested that Hodgson would have done better with the same resources. Spurs are currently as high up the table as any realistic supporter would hope to see them this year, so I don't feel that the job Harry is doing should come under scrutiny.

    Yesterdays game was evenly matched, but then as I mentioned earlier you could probably have put your house on that match finishing 0-0, considering how the teams were set up. I'm not taking anything away from Roy Hodgson though, he really has done an exceptional job with a club that Lawrie Sanchez had almost relegated and flooded with dreadful players.

  • Comment number 45.

    I feel that Roy Hodgson has done a job at Fulham that no-one expected.
    He dragged them from the dire straights and brought in players with his smart thinking and pulled a unknown club flapping around in the Premier League to the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup and into the Europa League ties against Juventus.
    He could have just gone back to Inter and retired there, he had that offer but he turned it down and has transformed Fulham into the team that they are now.
    He deserves the Manager of the Month and I hope he does manage the British Olympic Football Team in 2012, because he has the tatical nous and experience that can help the British Football Team try and grab success at our Home Olympics in 2012.
    He is one of the best managers in the Prem and I hope that Fulham keep him for the long term.

  • Comment number 46.

    Lets not get carried away here. He is good and decent but not as amazing as everyone is raving here. Would a top 7 side have him? Not sure. Will he win anything? Not sure. So let's put it in perspective.
    Harry is a modest manager but most importantly he is a player's manager. He has made the core of England and been responsible in nurturing some of the finest talent this country has seen over the last two decades.
    Players love him and its easy to see why.

  • Comment number 47.

    Phil, good blog...Roy Hodgson has been nothing short of a revelation for Fulham Football Club and long may our successful run in all competitions we take part in continue...

    As for 'nibs''s post (2.)at 08:42am on 07 Mar 2010 - this person has done nothing but embarrass themself.

    Shaktar did dominate both legs against Fulham in terms of possession but we stuck to a game plan and played effective and disciplined counter attacking football over the 180 minutes...therefore 'nibs' it is certainly NOT a travesty that we progress into the last 16 of the Europa leagu with our heads held very high - something you shouldn't as your opinion is of the utmost ignorance.

    I also think that I speak on behalf of the majority of english football fans when I point out that you have let yourself down yet again when quoting that '...the dross that is English football'.

    All I can advise 'nibs' is that you book up for an eye test with immediate effect as it is clear to the majority of us that you appear to be distinctly short-sighted.

    Fulham for Europa league honours...Roy Hodgson to be knighted.


  • Comment number 48.

    Why do you think Spurs appointed Harry and not Roy. They are both fantastic managers but one has made and nurtured some amazing players. Players play for both men.

  • Comment number 49.

    I totally agree with the praise for Hodgson, he's done a great job at Fulham and they punch well above their weight. They're well organised and play decent football and most importantly, get results on a limited budget. Compare them to the likes of Sunderland, who splash money around and get no success.

    However, the praise should have perhaps come after a different match. Fulham's style is ideal for the league because it's 38 matches. However, in the cup it's more win or bust, and their best chance of beating Spurs has probably gone. They should have gone for it more and tried attacking Spurs, especially as they have so many injuries. I feel they should have been more adventurous rather than doing their 'happy with a point' kind of style.

  • Comment number 50.

    'The man for all seasons' - expect the one where he took Blackburn down!

  • Comment number 51.

    Hodgson has been a great manager for Fulham. I don't have anything but praise for him. Of all 4/5 teams left in the FA Cup I'd like to see Fulham win it the most as a neutral.

  • Comment number 52.

    A classic example of a guy who has gone abroad and learned his trade. This guy has done it all. He's managed one of Europe's super clubs (Inter), managed internationally with Finland and Switzerland, and has finally managed to show what he can do in the Premier League. For me, if Capello walked away tomorrow, we have a ready made replacement.

    He seems like a genuinely good guy as well.

  • Comment number 53.

    # 24 Bash82 – Who exactly was saying a couple of years ago that Rooney was a ’has been’??! By saying he was ‘’under the shadow of Ronaldo’’ is also ridiculous! Ronaldo was voted World Player of the year…..wouldn’t it be kind of difficult to outshine such a player?? Rooney accommodated Ronaldo’s style of play by being the unselfish player he is, but he still played a significant role in United’s achievements in the last few years.

    #30 monkeyofthenorth – I am with you on being bored of people coming on purely to criticise the authors. I’m quite sure Phil has paid his dues to get to where he has, so to even comment how the article is written is a little sad i.e. #5 xth ‘’very simplistic as usual, but it will do’’!! Who do you think you are and what exactly do you want from an article??!!! The blog is there to initiate debate, which in my opinion, it does.

    As for Roy Hodgson, he has done a fantastic job at Fulham. I have to admit, that when he was initially appointed I had my doubts. This was largely due to my ignorance and not being fully aware of his achievements in the game before. As others have mentioned, my only knowledge of him was his unhappy time in charge at Blackburn. Since arriving at Fulham he has got the best out of a small group of players, made some inspired signings (most notably Brede Hangerland and a rejuvenated Damian Duff) and conducted himself impeccably throughout. He’s a credit to the game.

  • Comment number 54.

    Just look at the budget that Hodgson has had compared to Harry Redknapp......

  • Comment number 55.

    At last some recognition of Fulham's extra-ordinary achievement over the last few years... Phil and co. are usually too busy to blog about your UTD's and Chelsea's than are to comment on the football clubs that form the backbone of our league

    Now with that out of the way... Onto Roy... I understand alot of the talk about Roy still stems from his time at Blackburn ... I think many Fulham fans were slightly skeptical when Hodgson arrived (in hindsight nothing cud have been much worse than lawrie sanchez) but if you look at his track record its phenomenal... On the Inter Milan comment... He took over Inter when they had just finished a lowly 13th ... He came in and took them to 7th qualifyin to the UEFA cup in the process before guiding Inter to 3rd in his first full season in charge with a UEFA Cup final appearance to add some gloss to that... To me thats a pretty good record especially given the players at his disposal at the time... Yes Inter fans wont be signing his names in the stands for years to come but Fulham fans will do gladly especially if there's a trophy to show for at the end of the season

  • Comment number 56.

    Can't really do much more than agree with #17, echoes my thoughts almost word for word. Though #2 nibs, do you ever have anything positive to say at all? Whenever I see a comment of yours its invariably a narrow minded diatribe against both author and subject matter.

    Hodgson would be my next England manager were Capello to leave although such a big job and the accompanying pressure would be some departure from his current situation!

  • Comment number 57.

    Echo thhe comments on Roy Hodgson, has done very well at Fulham.
    Although many people forget that Hodgson allowed Zamora to talk to Hull, however he didn't want to leave, this is a HUGE slice of luck , but he deserves it.

  • Comment number 58.

    Although I've heard a lot about Zamora making a case for england inclusion recently, when push comes to shove Carlton Cole was dancing round the edges of people's (including Capello's) potentian world cup squad lists over the last week or so, whilst Zamora didn't get a look in (or so it seemed to me). Why is this?

  • Comment number 59.

    #43 is correct, Ferguson is the manager of his generation and would have won the Champions League earlier had it not been for the 4 non Brits rule, (forcing him to drop Schmeichel + Irwin for big games).

    This season though Hodgson has a strong shout for Manager of the season.

  • Comment number 60.

    I rate Hodgson as THE BEST manager in the league bar none...

    Fergie may be the most successful but he isn't the best.


    Maybe, maybe not but I'm sure you'd encounter difficulty in proving that statement given the fact that, as you point out, Ferguson is the most successful.

  • Comment number 61.

    What a ridiculously one sided and one eyed article whose sole purpose seems to just be to build up a manager without offering any sort of balance.

    Few would argue that Hodgson has done a great job at Fulham but I have issue with the fact you have flagrantly ignored the less successful stints in his career and failed to offer any insight in order to just produce this sickeningly biased article. Are you trying to be Hodgsons PR man or worse, is this meant to be an accurate summary of his career?

    You mention when Hodgson took over Fulham they were destined for the championship. Why not mention that this was because of the inept Sanchez who had the team punching way below their weight? Hodgson did well to get them out but this is hardly Moses parting the Red Sea. Since then he has done very well to turn them into a solid, difficult to beat team that is generally on the cusp of European Football.

    His tenure in Italy with Inter and Udinese is generally considered lukewarm. TO say he is much admired over there as a coach is stretching it. He is much respected as a person, but as a manager most Inter and Udinese fans would not be so glowing in their praise.

    His stint at Blackburn was a complete catastrophe from which his reputation took a severe beating. Despite being given over 20 million to spend he left the club rock bottom and ultimately relegated.

    I couldnt have more respect for Hodgson as a man who conducts himself with humility and dignity, seldom blames referees or others for his teams failure to win and always has the class to congratulate the opposite team. He has done a very good job at Fulham and can draw upon vast experience both domestically and abroad. But this article is just praise for the sake of praise. Theres no balance to it and very little insight or analysis. A few quotes from Harry Redknapp is hardly sufficient. If your going to simply look at his acheivements with Fulham in isolation then by all means do but why allude to his time at Inter and why title the article "A man for all seasons?".

    Even though Hodgson most definately deserves high praise for what he has done with Fulham, a completely one sided peice like this without tempering it with any sort of balance, perspective or historical pretense just looks like journalistic PR rather than an accurate summary offering praise for a job well done.

  • Comment number 62.

    # 15. forest_88

    You have got to be insane! Or possess no football knowledge. How can you say Xavi and Iniesta aren't that great, or "others make them look good". They are the midfield! They are the engine! They are so good that they make others look better! Do you think Toure's combative style helps their game?? They help Messi shine constantly giving him perfect, crisp passes. Look how Messi plays for Argentina... I agree that Rooney has deeper individual impact, mainly because he gets service from a much inferior midfield. But that, by no means, should degrade the quality and the revolution these two have brought to football. They are changing central midfield play. Back to where it was 30 years ago. All-action, but above all, classy.


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