Liverpool Football ClubPast Manager - Roy HodgsonBack to Previous Premier League Managers
Roy Hodgson's installation as the 18th manager in Liverpool's history sees a man with a rich footballing pedigree take the Anfield reins. The Croydon-born coach boasts over 30 years of hotseat experience including a hugely successful role with the Swiss national side, a productive time in the Inter dugout, as well as trophy-laden spells in Sweden.
His most recent post with Fulham saw him lead the Cottagers to what many regard as the golden era in their history, climaxing in a Europa League final appearance and the richly deserved LMA Manager of the Year award for 2010. Now, after landing one of the top jobs in English football, he faces arguably his biggest role yet, to restore Liverpool's fortunes and re-establish them among the Champions League elite.
Indeed, the 62-year-old has come a long way since his modest playing career, one that saw him fail to break into Crystal Palace's first team before going on to enjoy relative success in the non-league with Tonbridge, Gravesend & Northfleet and Maidstone United. It was during his time at the now defunct Athletic Ground that he had his first taste of life in the dugout, taking up a position as assistant manager to Bob Houghton, prior to a sojourn with Berea Park in South Africa.
From here he took a somewhat unique route into the world of top-flight management, starting a new life with Swedish side Halmstad. He enjoyed immediate success, leading HBK to their first ever Allsvenskan title in his first season at the helm. A four-year reign at the Scandinavian outfit climaxed with a second title before he opted for a move back to his homeland with Bristol City, where he was appointed assistant manager. In 1982 Hodgson was handed the chance to lead a side in the English league when he was installed as the top man at Ashton Gate, but he was hindered by financial problems and left within a year.
A move back to Sweden beckoned, this time with second-tier side Orebro. A third-placed finish did not deter Hodgson and the next campaign saw them land the First Division title. However, a defeat in the qualification play-off meant Orebro failed to reach Allsvenskan and Hodgson sought pastures new. His reputation amongst the Scandinavians had once again been enhanced though, leading to a chance to manage one of northern Europe's leading lights, Malmo FF, in 1985.
He didn't disappoint. Five league titles and two domestic cups were enough to suggest his five-year tenure was one of great success. Indeed, a section of the Swedbank Stadion is to this day still known as Roy's Horna - which translates as 'Roy's corner' - a lasting tribute to his achievements with the club. At this point the Hodgson effect was such that Malmo offered him a job for life, while he is also credited with being the man to introduce zonal marking to the country. However, the years of untold triumphs left him itching for a new challenge and in 1990 he moved to Swiss Super League side Neuchatel Xamax. A two-year reign was brought to an end by an opportunity he could not refuse, one that saw him take over as Switzerland's national team manager.
The Swiss had rarely made much imprint upon international tournaments but Hodgson soon changed that, with the Schweizer Nati losing just one game as they qualified for the 1994 World Cup. It was their first finals since 1966 and all the more impressive given that their group had included both Portugal and eventual runners-up Italy. Any fears that they may be overawed by the big stage soon proved to unfounded and after marching into the knockout stage with a second-placed finish in their group, they bowed out to Spain in the last 16.
Having established himself as a hero in Sweden, Hodgson had done it again in Switzerland and few observers were surprised when they booked their place at Euro '96. In fact, at one point during his tenure they were rated so highly that they were third in FIFA's World Rankings. However, the Swiss would arrive in England without their new messiah, as the lure of one of Italy's top jobs proved too difficult to turn down. He was appointed the head coach of Inter Milan in 1995.
Hodgson's two-year reign at the San Siro saw him take charge of a club in transition, but he received immediate acclaim as he helped them overcome a torrid start to the 1995-96 campaign to qualify for the UEFA Cup. And it got better the following year as he steered the Nerrazzuri to a third-place finish in Serie A, as well as a UEFA Cup final appearance where they were beaten on penalties by Schalke.
But Hodgson was once again tempted by a fresh challenge and the opportunity to take charge of Blackburn Rovers - a team that had won the Premier League just two years earlier - was one that he embraced.
However, a return to English football ended in disaster, despite a sixth-place finish and qualification for the UEFA Cup at the end of his first season in charge. The achievement raised huge expectation but his Rovers side slumped to the foot of the table at the start of 1998-99, leading to his dismissal in December 1998. The disappointment did little to damage his reputation on the continent though and he once again came to Inter's rescue with a brief spell as caretaker manager in 1999 before he enjoyed a season back in Swiss football with Grasshoppers. He was considered on a shortlist to become the next England manager, but his lack of success at Ewood Park was regarded by many as the main reason he was overlooked in favour of Sven Goran Eriksson.
Undeterred, Scandinavia would be his next port of call and his Midas touch returned when he led the previously mid-table FC Copenhagen to the 2000-01 Superliga championship. This in turn brought about more offers from abroad, although he would later admit regret at taking up the hotseat at Udinese, where he lasted just six months. In April 2002, a complete change of direction saw Hodgson accept a job with the United Arab Emirates national team before a spell of limited success at Norwegian side Viking in 2004.
His time as Switzerland manager had ensured now veteran coach had maintained an impressive reputation in international circles and in the summer of 2005 he agreed to the challenge of masterminding Finland's quest to qualify for Euro 2008. But it was not to be and although the Finnish FA appeared keen to prolong the relationship, Hodgson decided to move on. He continued to be linked with various high-profile roles before the surprise announcement that saw him take up the reins at Fulham in December 2007.
The Cottagers appeared destined for relegation to the Championship, but Hodgson instilled an organisation and spirit that saw them defy the odds. Not only did they avoid the drop, but he would go on to lead Fulham to an historic seventh-place finish the following season, thus ensuring qualification for the first ever Europa League. It got even better in 2009-10 as the Londoners enjoyed some of the greatest nights in their history on their way to the Europa League final where they were beaten in extra-time by Atletico Madrid.
The defeat was a bitter pill to swallow, but having overseen one of the most impressive transformations in English football since the turn of the Millennium, it was no surprise to see him linked with the Anfield job. And on July 1, 2010, after weeks of speculation, it was announced that Hodgson would take charge of Liverpool Football Club on a three-year deal for what is sure to be the biggest challenge of his extensive career.
But after a wretched first half of the League season that saw just 7 victories but 9 defeats from the opening 20 matches, the pressure that was piling up on the new boss reached breaking-point. Three days after a miserable defeat at Blackburn Rovers, Roy Hodgson left Liverpool 'by mutual consent'. Former Liverpool player and manager Kenny Dalglish was appointed to replace Hodgson until the end of the season.
Roy Hodgson was not out of work for long. On the 11th of February 2011, so slightly more than a month after being relieved of his responsibilities at Anfield, he was appointed to succeed Roberto di Matteo as Head Coach of West Bromwich Albion. With the Baggies used in recent years to fighting against relegation from the Premier League, it will be interesting to see if Hodgson can repeat his recent achievement of avoiding relegation with Fulham.
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