So he hasn’t had an invitation to the palace – well not yet anyway. But at least he has been recognised by his peers an extraordinary season at the helm of Craven Cottage.
Last night the League Managers’ Association voted Roy Hodgson Manager of the Year after steering Fulham to their first ever European final in only their second season in European competition.
“Since joining Fulham, Roy has transformed the club’s fortunes,” said the LMA chairman Howard Wilkinson. “He initially saved them from the brink of relegation then took them to their highest ever league position last season. This year he has capitalised on that platform, achieving remarkable success in this season’s Europa League.”
“He is highly respected by the LMA members and also on an international level where he has worked his miracles in no fewer than seven countries. He is a great role model for all aspiring managers and coaches and is fully deserving of this recognition.”
Despite Carlo Ancelotti winning the title in his first year at Chelsea and Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp breaking the Big Four’s hold on the Champions League by guiding Spurs, who were bottom of the league when he took over last season, to a fourth-place finish – Hodgson was the deserved winner. In fact, he has to be the main contender to be Fabio Capello’s successor as England manager. In fact, I don’t give a shit what the queen thinks, I’m going to call him Sir Roy. Quick, someone start up a Facebook campaign.
It’s not just the fact that Hodgson, sorry, Sir Roy, has worked wonders on a shoestring budget, but he has managed to pluck players from relative obscurity, such as Brede Hangeland from Copenhagen and Zoltan Gera from West Brom, and salvaged the careers of players whose careers were seemingly going nowhere, such as Danny Murphy, Damien Duff and Bobby Zamora.
Then he has shown all of his European experience and tactical genius to knock out the holders Shakthar Donetsk, the German champions Wolfsburg, the final hosts Hamburg and Italian giants Juventus – coming back from 4-1 down! – on this incredible European odyssey.
No wonder Mohamed Al Fayed has said that the 62-year-old’s going nowhere. In fact the Fulham owner isn’t either – and with £1.5bn burning a hole in his pocket from the sale of Harrod’s one suspects he has just about enough to hold on to the new manager of the year.
Let’s just hope the Fulham boss, who lost the UEFA Cup final on penalties when he was in charge of Inter Milan 13 years ago, doesn’t fall again at the final hurdle. Losing the next game has often been the curse of the manager of the month winner, but the good news is they’re underdogs again. So give it up for Sir Roy and good luck to the Super Whites tomorrow.