Roy Hodgson should get the Swansea City job. There, I said it.
Hold off on the abuse for at least the time it’ll take to read this – approximately 3-minutes – and I’ll explain exactly why I think Woy is the wight man to help Swansea stave off welegation.
Hodgson’s managerial career has spanned five decades, across eight different countries. I’m choosing not to focus on the vast majority of his managerial career because 1) I haven’t been alive for most of it, and 2) There are too many words on Wikipedia for me to read.
Instead, I’ll focus on his spells in charge at Fulham and West Brom. Both clubs were in a similar situation – a shitty mess – to the one Swansea now find themselves in, until Roy rode in on his fuck-off metaphorical white horse to save the day. Twice.
Cast your minds back to December 2007. Leon Jackson’s ‘When You Believe’ was Christmas Number One – remember him? Nah, me neither. Back to the football. Fulham Football Club were a Premier League outfit and had just sacked Lawrie Sanchez after a measly two league wins in the opening five months of their season.
Step forward Roy Hodgson.
Fulham continued to struggle for most of the season and relegation looked a dead cert. In fact, you’d have got similar odds on Hodgson keeping Fulham up as you’d have got for Iceland knocking England out of a major football tournament. Shit. Let’s not talk about that.
The turning point came against City in the third-to-last match of the season, when at 2-0 down, Roy had his eureka moment and threw on Diomansy Kamara. His two goals sparked a comeback that saw Fulham clinch a vital 3-2 win. Wins against fellow strugglers Birmingham and Portsmouth ensured survival on the final day of the season. Cue pitch invasion and scenes of jubilation.
However, it’s the magic that Hodgson employed over the following two seasons that leads me to believe he’s the perfect candidate to stabilise Swansea City Football Club, and at the time, led me to question whether he was an actual warlock.
In the 2008-2009 season, Fulham finished in a remarkable 7th place, ensuring qualification for the Europa League, and reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. Not bad, eh?
In the 2009-2010 season, Fulham finished 12th and again reached the FA Cup quarter-finals. Fulham also had a pretty impressive run in the Europa League. And by pretty impressive, I mean fucking spectacular.
His cheaply-assembled team of merry men, inspired by Knight Commander Bobby Zamora, left their home on the bank of the Thames to pillage Europe’s finest, knocking out Hamburg, Juventus, Shakhthar Donetsk, and Basel to reach the final of the Europa League.
The final, however, proved to be one step too far as an extra-time goal from Uruguayan princess Diego Forlán saw Atlético Madrid run out 2-1 winners.
Hodgson’s work at Fulham that season saw him voted 2010 LMA Manager of the Year by a record margin.
Fast forward to February 2011 and Hodgson was again asked to perform footballing miracles, albeit this time in the West Midlands.
After a disastrous spell at Liverpool and with his reputation in tatters, Roy took on the unenviable task of managing a West Brom side, who’d lost thirteen of eighteen games under Di Matteo to sit just above the relegation zone on goal difference. Five wins and five draws from the Baggies’ twelve remaining games saw them finish 11th in the table – their highest finish for three decades. Some turnaround.
In the 2011-2012 season, Hodgson continued to build on his work at the Hawthorns, guiding West Brom to a 10th-place finish – their highest top flight finish since 1981. West Brom’s final win of that season saw them beat Liverpool at Anfield, which funnily enough, was one more win at Anfield than Hodgson managed during his entire 6-months in charge at Liverpool. Jokes, obvs. Boing-boing.
So, we’ve established that Roy Hodgson did a bloody good job at both Fulham and West Brom. But, even with his messianic powers at the helm, do Swansea have the tools in place to climb the league?
OK, their defence is currently a footballing cesspit and needs serious improvement, but there are glimmers of hope. Llorente appears to be settling into English football, Gylfi Sigurðsson is a gift from the Nordic Gods, who should really be playing at a bigger club, and Leon Britton will be in a Swansea shirt passing the ball very well from side-to-side for the remainder of time.
And, guess what? Hodgson’s recruitment at Fulham and West Brom wasn’t too bad either.
Fulham players in: Schwarzer, Hangelaand, Chris Smalling, Gera, Duff, Zamora and Andy Johnson.
West Brom players in: Ben Foster, Carson, McAuley, Liam Ridgewell, Keith Andrews and Gera.
Look at how big an impact each of those players had – and how big an impact Ben Foster and Gareth McAuley continue to have at West Brom – and it’s fair to say that Hodgson could be trusted in the January transfer window.
(Yep, some people will rightly point out to the dross that Hodgson signed at Liverpool – the likes of Brad Jones, Paul Konchesky & Joe Cole – I’ll stop there before I simultaneously weep and vomit at my laptop – but I’ve chosen to focus on Hodgson’s record at Fulham and West Brom because they’re the most sensible comparisons to make when discussing the position Swansea find themselves in).
Right, this blog’s gone on for far too long so I’ll finish with this: Roy Hodgson twice took charge at clubs that looked destined for relegation, transformed both to perennial mid-table-sitters, and brought them unparalleled success. Exactly the task on hand at Swansea. And he’s a dab hand in the transfer market when it comes to signing the right players to lift a relegation-threatened club to the dizzying heights of mid-table comfort, which is exactly what Swansea need after 18-months of terrible decision-making and poor recruitment.
I’ll leave you with one of my favourite Mother Teresa quotes.