As we prepare for our penultimate game of a crazy season, the sporting grapevine has announced the pending retirement of surely the most travelled manager in British footballing history.
Roy Hodgson, a Geordie by birth, started his childhood supporting life at Selhurst Park and “the Palace.” (He recalls having seen the great Real Madrid side of Puskas and di Stefano in a midweek game there).
He was even briefly a sometime player for them, although he didn’t make the first team. But what a career begun in the depths of Souf London!! Having given up on a playing career he began coaching in Sweden – Halmstad and, later, Malmo – where his team famously knocked Inter Milan out of the European Cup in the 89/90 season.
The Italians must have been impressed because he immediately went there briefly, before coaching Switzerland, the UAE and Finland. His reputation brought him back to the UK, and spells at Bristol City and Blackburn, before probably his most successful achievements at Fulham.
Many will still remember an unlucky loss in extra time in a UEFA Cup final, and his coaching prowess then brought him brief periods at Liverpool and West Brom, before England called.
The full circle back to his beloved Palace was then completed and, with due reverence to a fine man and coach of the old school, I personally, hope we can spoil your farewell (with fans) to the Park, tonight.
Never been one for predicting what Mikel will do for selection, so will make my own outrageous choices and expect to get three or four right:
Chambers – Holding – Mari – Tierney
Partey – Azeez
Nelson – BOdegaard – Martinelli – Balogun