30 Apr 2012

Is Roy Hodgson right for the England manager’s job?

With West Bromwich Albion’s Roy Hodgson likely to be chosen as the next England manager, Channel 4 News considers what it takes to get the top job in English football.

Hodgson is the only person the Football Association (FA) has contacted, dashing many people’s hopes that Harry Redknapp would succeed Fabio Capello.

Former England and Liverpool player John Scales is impressed by his CV, but told Channel 4 News that after Hodgson’s unsuccessful stint at Anfield, he wondered if he would be able to cope with the pressures of the biggest job in English football.

Redknapp, who won the FA Cup with Portsmouth in 2008 and could succeed in steering Tottenham to a top-four finish in the Premier League this season, may be the “people’s choice”. But the FA seems to have decided that Hodgson’s credentials are more impressive.


This multilingual grammar school boy has vast experience of domestic and international football, having managed 16 different teams in eight countries.

Success began in the 1980s at Swedish club Malmo, where he is still fondly remembered for winning five consecutive championships. A stint as Switzerland manager followed, with the minnows reaching the last 16 at the 1994 World Cup finals and qualifying for the 1996 European championships.

Hodgson left for Inter Milan, where his proudest achievement was making it to the Uefa Cup final in 1997. Unfortunately for him, Inter lost and the team’s fans reacted by pelting him with coins and lighters.

He managed to steer Blackburn Rovers to a sixth place finish in the Premier League in 1997-98, earning the club a place in the Uefa Cup. Hodgson had further success with Copenhagen, winning the Danish title with them in 2000-01.

Swedish league, 1985-89 – five consecutive championships

World Cup finals, 1994 – last 16
European championships, 1996 – qualification

Inter Milan
Uefa Cup final, 1997 – losers

Premier League, 1997-98 – 6th

Danish league, 2000-01, winners

Premier League, 2008-09 – 7th
Europa League final, 2010 – losers

Premier League, 2010-11 – relegation battle

West Brom
Premier League, 2011-12 – 10th

Two of England’s top jobs – England manager and Archbishop of Canterbury – are currently up for grabs, and both are close to the hearts and minds of the British public. What qualities will the winning candidate need, and are there any similarities? Ken Brotherston, chairman of Directorbank picked out the top five qualities [see graphic].”But if I had to choese one essential quality for a job in the public eye, it would be communication – if you don’t have that, nothing else will get through,” he told Channel 4 News.

Under his tutelage, Fulham finished seventh in the Premier League in 2008-09 – their best ever showing – and the club made it to the Europa League final in 2010.

It was Fulham’s first major European final, but it was Inter all over again for Hodgson as they slumped to defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid.

Hodgson’s comparative success at Fulham led to his appointment in 2010 to the Liverpool manager’s job. It was a big move at a tumultuous time in the club’s history. Rafa Benitez had left after failing to secure the top four finish and Champions League qualification Liverpool fans had come expect – and the club was up for sale.

At the time, many wondered how he would cope at one of the world’s biggest clubs. Reaching the Uefa Cup and Europa League finals were achievements, but Liverpool were used to Champions League football, having won the competition in 2005 and reached the final two years later.

Relegation battle

The contrast with 2008-09, when Liverpool almost pipped Manchester United to win their first Premier League title, could not have been starker. After seven games in charge, Hodgson’s team found themselves in the bottom three, with the manager saying solemnly that Liverpool were fighting a relegation battle.

The problem was that he did not seem to have an answer to Liverpool’s plight and fans were taken aback by what they perceived to be his defeatist talk.

After losing one game, he said other defeats were bound to follow, an attitude that hardly inspired confidence. The rot continued and Hodgson lost his job after just six months in charge.

He was then appointed manager of West Brom, who finished 11th in the table in 2010-11 – their highest league position for 30 years – and are currently tenth.

Hodgson’s credentials before he took over at Anfield were impressive. But it was his time at Liverpool that is likely to cause most concern to England fans. He may thrive in a small pond, but how will he cope in a job that is as high profile as they come?

John Scales, a former England and Liverpool player, has met Hodgson and likes and respects him, but “Harry (Redknapp) was and still is my favourite to take over”.


Mr Scales told Channel 4 News: “I think he is very astute, a clever coach and manager, which is crucial to the job. He brings great experience, at Inter and other clubs, and has been at the cutting edge of management for so long.

“There were exceptional circumstances at Liverpool and it’s unfair to judge Roy Hodgson on that experience alone. But the way he dealt with matters concerns me, and that gives me concern about the England manager’s job.

“You have to take into consideration his time at Liverpool. It’s a huge club and there were great expectations. It was a very difficult job and you get a sense of how someone copes in that situation. There are questions over that period, but also mitigating circumstances. In some ways it’s similar to what comes with the England job.”

Mr Scales said an “exceptional person” was needed for the England manager’s job, someone who could cope with the expectations of fans and the media. “He has a CV that ticks a lot of boxes. But we’ll never know until he does the job.”