Friday, July 2, 2010

Roy Hodgson

Roy Hodgson starts his Liverpool tenure
Roy Hodgson starts his Liverpool tenure

Born: August 9, 1947
Birthplace: Croydon, England
Previous Clubs: Halmstads BK; Bristol City; Örebro SK; Malmö FF; Neuchâtel Xamax; Switzerland; Internazionale; Blackburn Rovers; Grasshoppers; F.C. Copenhagen; Udinese; United Arab Emirates; Viking FK; Finland; Fulham
Honours: Swedish Allsvenskan: 1976; 1979; 1986; 1987; 1988; 1989, Svenska Cupen: 1988/89, UEFA Cup runner up: 1996/97, Danish Superliga: 2000/01
After Rafael Benitez left Liverpool in summer of 2010, Roy Hodgson was tasked with brining the famous club back from the abyss following one of their worst ever seasons in the Premier League.

Much-travelled English coach Roy Hodgson has effected a change in philosophy wherever he goes.
Hodgson is the very definition of 'seen it all before' and has English top flight experience in the form of an impressive stint with Blackburn (guiding them to a UEFA Cup spot). Indeed, after a career trailing around Europe, he now cuts a convincing figure as the stereotypical cultured, cosmopolitan European coach, despite his current location on Merseyside. Hodgson was a moderately successful player with Crystal Palace before spending several seasons in non-league football. He made his name in coaching with Swedish club Halmstads BK - where he spent five years from 1976, winning the championship twice - and then with Bristol City and Sweden's Orebro SK. Stints with Malmo FF - where five consecutive Allsvenskan league championships, two Swedish championships and two Swedish Cups were placed in the trophy cabinet during his tenure - and Neuchatel Xamax followed before Hodgson truly made his mark with the Switzerland national side. A country that had not qualified for a major tournament since the 60s, Switzerland soon became used to the thrill of big competitions by reaching the second round of the 1994 World Cup under Hodgson and they then qualified for Euro '96 after he had left. Lured back into club football, Hodgson had joined Serie A giants Inter Milan and reached the UEFA Cup final in the 1996-97 season, but didn't last much longer than that. Choosing to return to England, Hodgson then joined Blackburn (amid a number of Premier League clubs clamouring for his signature) and he guided Rovers into Europe at the first attempt. However, after spending £20 million on strengthening the side, Rovers struggled and Hodgson's reign was cut short after a poor start to his second campaign. He was apparently so distraught at being sacked, that he was unable to drive away from Ewood Park himself and needed a chauffeur. Short stints with Inter, Grasshoppers, FC Copenhagen, Udinese, and Norwegian outfit Viking FK saw him fail to settle until he chose to return to national team management with Finland. Once again, he did what he does best - creating a team that was remarkably hard to beat, but the Finns missed out on the European Championship finals by only three points, losing out to Portugal and Poland. Having come so close to creating Finnish history, the journeyman boss opted for a new challenge at Fulham's Craven Cottage in the Premier League. He worked miracles to keep the club in the top flight in his first season; but his second was even more impressive as he led the club up the league to seal a Europa League spot (7th) at the end of the season. The feats were superseded in his final season in South West London though as he led the side all the way to the inaugural Europa League final against Atletico Madrid - a 2-1 defeat - sealing his place in Fulham folklore and cementing his place among the most respected managers in the game. Choosing a new challenge in the form of Liverpool, Hodgson will require every ounce of his weighty experience to ensure that reputation stays intact. 

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