As another Premier League seasons draws to a close this coming Sunday, one man stands out from the masses who ply their trade in the professional game of football.
That one man is Roy Hodgson, yet next Sunday will not be the final game of his season, as due to his excellent management ability, he has bagged another game the following Wednesday
As many of you will be aware this fixture is the first ever Europa League Final to be held in Hamburg as Hodgson’s unfancied Fulham take on the Spanish side Atletico Madrid, conquerors of Liverpool.
Hodgson and his team have worked wonders at Craven Cottage since his appointment back in December 2007, this was followed by a final day survival effort to maintain the clubs Premier League status.
Hodgson continued to work his magic with a fantastic 7th place finish last season, thus allowing the Cottagers to go on this magnificent European run. Believe me, as a Middlesbrough fan, it is an unbelievable feeling to experience as well as turning up the noses of the so-called big teams along the way.
I hope Roy and his team of hard-working journeyman, free signings, mis-fits; basically whatever name you want to throw at them, achieve success in the final, but should they fall short like my beloved Middlesbrough did, then this season really have been a success for Fulham.
Roy has had a fantastic career managing many a recognisable club including; Inter Milan, Udinese, Malmo, Zürich and Viking as well as managing at International level, notably with Switzerland and Finland.
Yet his reputation appears tarnished by a mostly unsuccessful spell at Blackburn Rovers, yet this spell shouldn’t discredit his reputation but it appeared to have, as he worked abroad for almost 10 years following this spell before another opportunity in England.
He has to be crowned LMA (League Managers’ Association) Manager of the Year in the coming weeks and appears to be most peoples preferred choice for the England managers position, should it become vacant in the near future.
I believe he deserves a knighthood for his services to football and for the image he has projected abroad as the English gentleman he certainly is. Many an Englishman clubbing in Magaluf has certainly tried their hardest to tarnish.
As we experience the uncertainty in the current prime ministerial elections, if Roy was to run for this role, I feel sure he would win the vote hands down.
Wouldn’t you agree?
His management ability appears simply to apply a system to which his group of players can perform in and as easy as it seems to be, it works with obvious results. He has developed a keen eye for talent, a criticism levelled at him for spotting the talents of Kevin Davies when he signed him for Blackburn.
With this Roy has excellent man-management abilities, able to develop the skills of all players, notable examples in his present Fulham team would be Bobby Zamora and Zoltan Gera, to name but two.
He really is a national treasure.
Good luck to Roy, his Fulham team and all associated with the Cottagers in the Europa League final in Hamburg.
I truly hope you win the trophy and when you do please parade it round London and annoy those obviously jealous neighbours of yours.
Oh and should you see Roy out and about shopping in Richmond upon Thames, say well done from me!
Read more of Derek’s articles at his excellent site Gaffers Sports Blog