Roy Hodgson a worried man?

Posted by - September 23, 2010 - EFL Cup, Liverpool

Woy weally wound up by woeful weserves

One of the remarkable things about sport is its ability to turn glory into despair, to elevate people to status of deities only to knock them back down to a level lower than which they started.

This is done through media and public opinion, but also through performance. Just ask Steve McClaren and Fabio Capello. There is a new boy in the club: Roy Hodgson.

Three months ago Sir Woy was on top of the world (or at least Craven Cottage). He had transformed an unglamorous Fulham side from mid table mediocrity into (almost) world beaters. They had dispatched of Wolfsburg, Roma, Shakhtar and Juventus.

Hodgson’s reputation was enhanced to such a status that when Liverpool parted company with Rafa Benitez, Woy was the new dawn. This was a challenging job, of that there was no doubt. Liverpool had ownership problems, and had finished outside the top six for the first time in 11 years, crucially not qualifying for the Champions League.

Fans (and possibly Roy himself) hoped that he would bring a degree of stability to the club, halt the slide, and inspire players whose interest had seemed to be waning in the latter stages of the Benitez regime.

As Roy takes training this morning, he must be wondering exactly what he has taken on, and exactly how much trouble he is in. Last night, as Roy stood in the teeming rain at Anfield, early season optimism was washed away as quickly as Liverpool’s League Cup campaign.

Liverpool have gained five points from their opening five Premier League games, the first time they have got so few since the first season of the Premier League. Last night they found a new low, losing to Northampton Town at home, 69 places below them in the Football League ladder (I tried to find out the last time Liverpool lost to a club in the bottom league at home, perhaps someone will help me).

There will be those that point to the fact that there were eleven changes to the Liverpool team last night, but this was a team that started with six full internationals. Moreover, these are the players on which Hodgson may have to rely in the coming months.

Liverpool are a club in turmoil and in poor form. As previously discussed, Fernando Torres cuts a lonely figure currently, and none of Roy’s summer signings (Jovanovic, Cole, Jones, Meireles, Poulsen and Konchesky) have bedded in or impressed. This means that Hodgson has to be a man under pressure.

It should not all be negative on the red side of Merseyside. They have already played three of their potential rivals (although admittedly only gained one point), and have commenced their Europa League campaign with a degree of efficiency. Liverpool now have two home games (against Sunderland and Blackpool) which could take them back to the top half of the Premier League.

Despite this, there is a nagging doubt that Woy of the Wovers may just be out of his depth. The marking for the goals conceded against Manchester United was sloppy (even after an alteration from Benitez’s zonal system), and if the best cannot be drawn out of Fernando Torres then it would seem a losing battle is on the cards.

It is difficult to know what a success would be for Liverpool this season, but the way in which Manchester City outclassed Liverpool hints at top six over top four. Whatever, if maximum points are not taken from the next two games, then the pressure will truly be on: two of the following four games are Everton away and Chelsea at Anfield.

One of the principle problems for Hodgson is that Martin O’Neill is currently out of work. If Roy left, O’Neill would be odds on for the job, and a man of his calibre being available is likely to ring true with any prospective new owners.

It would be a horrible shame if Hodgson went the way of McClaren, achieving success in Europe beyond his means, and thus being given a shot at the big time, arguably prematurely and arguably through lack of more viable options. It is not the fault of these mean that they are lauded and worshipped only to be vilified and discarded on a football manager’s scrapheap.

The man is a gent, a worker, and a true professional. Lose at home to Northampton though, and these things tend to pale into insignificance.

  • Blindside

    Much here to think on but try as you might the glaring fact is that Hodgson IS NOT a manager of quality and at top EPL levels is not so much as out of his depth as more like lying in the bottom weeds drowned!
    He does not have the knowledge to alter the situation, gent though he may be, Much is said around the web sites that he has only the players of the Benitez era to play with yet this ignores the blatantly obvious FACT that any new manager inherits the incumbent team. It is , in the first instant, what he does with this team that counts. It as hard to think of a new manager/team combination that has encompassed such a catastrophic initial slide as that undertaken by Hodgson/LFC.
    He never was the man for the job and will continue to under-achieve at it whatever changes may come re players et al. It should be no surprise that rumour ( I know only rumours) has it that some who are doing due diligence do NOT WANT him at the helm. Perhaps those are people ( unlike present owners and board) who know something about EPL football – it is to be hoped.

  • Crying Shame

    Martin O’Neill – your having a laugh aren’t you? – he’s just walked out on a club of similar stature due to board room and cash restraints – in its current state not even Gary Megson would want this job!

  • orca16

    bring back Kenny.

  • hitman

    sell torres & stev G then u wll get a second class team like fulham
    wat a shame ………..

  • N

    I like Roy, I think he’s a fine guy, but I’ve never been sure he was right for Liverpool. Once Roy’s hat was thrown in the ring, it was obvious the board would pick him. He took Fulham to a Europa League final, and lost not in full time, but penalties. A tremendous achievement, to be sure, but not the right man. Some of his tactics are just plain bizarre, and it’s no wonder we’re hitting trouble.

    That said, the problems do not all stem from Hodgson. If you look at the team he fielded against United, Reina/Carra/Torres/Gerrard were the only real regulars from last season out there. Some, like Skrtel and Johnson, popped up a decent bit, but the team was essentially a team of new boys. They need time to get to know each other, and there are signs of that happening.

    I’m not one to call for Roy’s head so soon, and I think especially given the current situation (bad owners, coming off a bad run, post-World Cup, new manager etc.), the man deserves some slack. I think once we do have new owners, and once these players have gelled, give Roy two seasons and see where we are. Unless he is a complete and utter disaster before then, in which case, yes, sack him. But it’s unfair to call for giving him the boot so soon.

    As to Martin O’Neill, well, if word on the street is true and some of those potential new owners want Roy out, I’d rather they not bring in O’Neill. Good manager, to be sure, but there are other currently unemployed managers who are a lot better, and new owners could afford their paycheques.

  • ssssss

    Look at Mark Hughes at Fulham…..
    Its like he came, he saw and he is about to conquer.