Hodgson calls time on his five decade football career

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May 19 – Former England manager and Crystal Palace legend Roy Hodgson will retire from the game at the end of the season. He was a pioneer for British coaches abroad and coached the Three Lions in the twilight of his five-decade career in the game. 

Hodgson, 73, said that “the time is right” to step down at Palace and retire from the sport that has dominated his life since he was a teen. He began his coaching career in Sweden in 1976 and went on to manage England between 2012 and 2016, and tonight (Wednesday) he will lead out his boyhood club out for one last time at Selhurst Park against Arsenal before facing one of his former clubs, Liverpool, on Sunday in his final game.

“Goodbyes have never been my forte,” said Hodgson. “I’ve been much better at hellos. It risks being an emotional occasion and I’m not good on emotional occasions.”

“It’s a decision which hasn’t exactly been taken overnight. It’s been really brewing for a long time. I had in the back of my mind that the right time to leave the club and maybe even to leave football for a while would be at the end of the season. I’m pleased that despite the speculation of the last two or three months, we’ve been able to keep things on a pretty even keel.”

Early on, Hodgson was an unconventional coach, making his name abroad. He established himself as a successful manager in Sweden, winning the league with Halmstad in his maiden season. He then excelled with Malmo, leading the club to five successive titles during the 80’s. His coaching spells and voyages across the continent would continue, managing the Swiss national team as well as Inter Milan.

His reputation was established in Europe, but less so at home. He led Fulham to the Europa League final in 2011 before taking on the England role, but his time with the Three Lions was tempestuous with a disappointing first-round exit from the 2014 World Cup and a disastrous elimination by Iceland in the round of 16 at Euro 2016. That result came to define his England reign.

But the coach from Croydon found redemption closest to home, keeping Palace in the Premier League for four successive season on a tight budget.

“His record with us simply cannot be overstated – he is the only Palace manager to secure four years in the Premier League and he has helped give us stability in the most turbulent of times,” said Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish.

“We will be forever grateful for his immense contribution and I am delighted that we will have the opportunity to show our appreciation at Selhurst Park after the Arsenal match, alongside 6,500 supporters. Roy will leave us after our final Premier League match of the season with our enormous thanks for his incredible contribution to our club, and with our very best wishes for the future.”

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1634565663labto1634565663ofdlr1634565663owedi1634565663sni@o1634565663fni1634565663