Sports

Roy Hodgson “doesn’t expect to be carried shoulder-high” on daunting Crystal Palace return


Roy Hodgson doesn’t expect to be “carried shoulder-high out of the ground” when he makes an encore at Selhurst Park with doomed Watford.

But on the eve of his curtain call at Crystal Palace, the former England manager revealed why he refused to grant his successor Patrick Vieira an immediate audience to discuss the Eagles squad he left behind.

And he gave a fascinating – if slightly lop-sided – view on Watford’s bitter rivalry with Palace, which is likely to be sustained by gloating if the Hornets’ inevitable relegation is mathematically confirmed on Saturday.

Hodgson, 74, has promised his futile attempt to save his current club from the drop will definitely be his last assignment as a manager after inspiring only two wins in 14 games at Vicarage Road.

Palace, by contrast, have prospered under Vieira and Hodgson revealed: “He actually asked to see me straight away, before he’d even got his feet under the table. I said I didn’t think that was a good idea – it was better that he assessed the club first, saw what it was, and I said if any time after that you want to meet up, I’d be very happy.



King of the Palace: Hodgson collected his CBE earlier this week

“And that’s what happened. He invited me out to dinner, with our wives, we had a very nice meal together. It was a very much easier conversation. I didn’t want to be seen at the beginning making suggestions, I didn’t want the players thinking I was talking about them behind their back.”

Hodgson is relishing his chance to acknowledge Palace supporters after his short-lived retirement last summer was played out behind closed doors.

But he admitted: “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.”




Much of the enmity has been generated by Wilf Zaha’s perceived issues with gravity, although he was the aggrieved party at Vicarage Road in August 2018 when ex-Hornets captain Troy Deeney admitted Watford players took it in turns to foul the Ivory Coast winger to lessen the risk of a red card.

Hodgson was deeply unimpressed, saying: “To be fair, that was a mistake on Watford’s part.

“At first there were a couple of wicked fouls he had to accept. And then Troy Deeney going out in the press and saying, ‘That was our tactic – we decided that we were going to kick him and put him out of the game.’

“When you do that, you’re not going to bring about particularly cordial relationships between the two clubs and you’re not going to have Wilf Zaha saying: ‘Oh yeah, I like Watford. They’re a great club’. It is human nature.”

There is a difference between Deeney’s ‘tactical’ fouls to stop rapid counter-attacks and deliberately hobbling opponents, but it didn’t stop Hodgson taking on his short-term rescue mission at Vicarage Road – which is destined to fall miles short.

He insists there are “no regrets” about coming out of retirement, adding: “Yes, I regret that we didn’t succeed in the task we took on, which was to help the club out of the relegation zone. But I don’t regret taking the job.

“I took on it with my eyes open. And I don’t regret that the send-off this time won’t be anything like the one from Crystal Palace last year.

“I’ve had 46 years in this profession. If your hope and ambition is that, every time you leave a job you will be carried shoulder high out of the ground, then you are very naive and stupid.”





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

close