Hello and welcome to our stay protection of the 4 Premier League three o’clock kick-offs, with Chelsea’s internet hosting of Wolves important as the house facet confirmed agreed phrases for Todd Boehly’s £4.25bn takeover within the early hours of this morning, bringing to an finish nearly twenty years of the the Roman Abramovich period. But there may be one other curtain closing on the different finish of the desk.
For Roy Hodgson, it’s lastly over. Well, most likely. A yr in the past he introduced his retirement after 45 years in soccer administration. It lasted simply eight months: after strolling away for the ultimate time from Crystal Palace final May, he was again within the dugout at Watford in January. This week, on the age of 74, he as soon as once more declared his intention to pack all of it in. And he insisted now he actually was hanging up his tracksuit. Well, except Manchester City come calling.
“I think you should definitely believe me this time,” he stated, addressing the media at Watford’s coaching floor.
“Unless one of the top-three clubs suddenly decide it’s got to be me and they will accept nobody else other than me – who knows, I might have my arm twisted. But I’m not looking to have my arm twisted. I think you can safely say my CV won’t be on the table of any club looking for a new manager.”
By one of many quirks of the fixture checklist, on Saturday he will probably be taking his Watford facet again to the scene of his earlier retirement: Crystal Palace. His departure from Selhurst Park 12 months in the past, after main the membership he had supported as a boy for 4 profitable seasons, was emotional certainly, the eulogies from these he had labored alongside lengthy and honest. And Hodgson admitted there might be some bemusement within the stands at his return accountable for another person.
“I am looking forward to going back, I have enormous affection for the place,” he stated of the journey to south London.
“Of course when you go back with another team, you want that team to win the game. What sort of reception I get on Saturday might be different, because I don’t think Watford has ever been one of Crystal Palace’s favourite opponents. I’m not expecting them to race out and embrace me with open arms. But I’d like to think the Palace fans know the job I did for them.”
Such was the heat of his departure, it appeared a becoming finish to an extended and distinguished profession that had then embraced 16 golf equipment and 4 nationwide groups in eight totally different international locations. It won’t be the identical when he walks away from Watford.
The fact is, at Vicarage Road he has presided over failure, accruing simply two victories in 14 Premier League video games in cost. Although nonetheless mathematically not but relegated, as Hodgson conceded, in all probability they are going to be down by the top of Saturday’s sport. But when requested, given the unimpressive run of outcomes, whether or not he regretted the choice to return to administration, he was unequivocal.
“No. There is no point regretting that,” he stated. “Yes, I regret we didn’t succeed in the task we took on – to help the club out of the relegation zone. But I don’t regret taking the job. I took it with my eyes open. My only regret is that it didn’t work out in the way I dreamt it might.”
His departure, although, will probably be quite extra muted this time. He will probably be leaving whoever takes over as supervisor with a big rebuilding job to get the crew into promotion competition. It is unlikely the Watford followers will probably be lining the road exterior Vicarage Road to see him off. But he prompt that was a part of the job: triumphant departures are uncommon in administration.
“I don’t regret, either, the send-off this time won’t be anything like the send-off from Crystal Palace. But that’s not necessary. I’ve had 46 years in this profession. If your hope and ambition is every time you leave a job you will be carried shoulder-high out the ground, then you are very naive and stupid. All I can hope for is that people here recognise we have done the best job we could do, in the most professional and correct way that we could.”
Meanwhile, all Watford followers can hope for from the sport with Palace is a short lived delay to the inevitable.
By Jim White