Roy Hodgson or Harry Redknapp? The FA indicates that it has solved a dilemma

April 30, 2012

An FA statement indicates that it is preparing to approach Roy Hodgson for the vacant post of England team manager. But have they solved their dilemma?

Updated post after appointment of Roy Hodgson [1st May 2012]

A terse announcement from the Football Association [29th April 2012] triggered speculation concerning the appointment of a new manager for the England Football team. The story may not be as simple as that.

The FA statement

West Bromwich Albion have today granted permission for The FA to speak with Roy Hodgson regarding the position of England Manager. This follows an approach from FA Chairman David Bernstein to West Bromwich Albion Chairman Jeremy Peace.

David Bernstein said: “I’m grateful to Jeremy and all at West Bromwich Albion for their co-operation in allowing us to approach Roy, who I have since spoken with. Roy is the only manager we have approached and we remain on course to make an appointment within the timescale we set-out soon after Fabio Capello’s departure. Further conversations will now take place with Roy and my Club England colleagues before any further announcements can be made.”

The Daily Mirror called it a surprise move. The Mail “an astonishing decision”.

Harry Redknapp, The Tottenham Hotspur manager, has been a strong favourite and would have been a popular appointment.

Dilemmas in the appointment process

The FA received considerable criticism over the way the appointment of the last England manager, the Italian Fabio Capello. As is inevitably the case, there were difficulties of timing then, as now. This track record of presumed bungling may have added to the concern in the FA to avoid accusations of bad timing again. Rednapp’s team is intensely engaged in a battle to secure a place in the European Cup competition next season, while Hodgson’s West Ham may be considered as having a less-focussed immediate concerns (although their fans may disagree).

The dilemma may have been how to address an overriding concern of the FA to make an appointment without drawing attention to possible bungling in the process. If so, initial reactions suggest they have not achived public support for their choice.

The Official announcement

The Press Conference [May 1st 2012] announcing the appointment and also revealed to FA’s official position. As the Press Release put it:

“Hodgson, aged 64, who has won a total of eight league titles in a distinguished career, and coached the national teams of Switzerland, Finland and the United Arab Emirates, met with FA officials at Wembley on Monday.

Having taken Switzerland to the FIFA World Cup in 1994 – their first Finals competition for 28 years – Hodgson also achieved [for Switzerland] a FIFA ranking of third in the world as well as successfully qualifying the team for Euro 96.

His former clubs include Inter Milan, Blackburn Rovers, Grasshoppers, FC Copenhagen, Fulham and Liverpool. He has also managed in Norway and Sweden. In addition, he has been a regular member of FIFA and UEFA’s technical study groups at tournaments.

Along with his vast experience of international and European football, Hodgson is the only English manager currently working in the top flight to have won the League Managers’ Association manager of the year award.”

What can we interpret from the statement?

There is a lot of evidence presented by the FA which indicateds why Roy Hodgson can be considered a strong candidate for the post. The unwritten information is what made the media find the decision such an unexpected one. Why was there such a widespread belief that Harry Redknapp was the front-runner? Suggestions welcomed.