Saint Le Tissier has it wrong over Roy
By Kristian Balkin
Tuesday 01 May 2012 09:11:00
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Matthew Le Tissier doth protest too much, and so do many others. Roy Hodgson’s appointment as England manager is all but certified and, with an irritating sense of inevitability, the doubters have been irked and were in no mood to sit back quietly. Instead, they’d rather grumble, lament and bemoan in the vain hope that, maybe, just maybe, the FA are listening and will take notice.

They won’t and, in truth, they shouldn’t. The appointment process was far from a commendable one but at the very least it has offered an outcome of some substantial solidarity. Le Tissier won’t hear your plaudits for Hodgson, though; all he and many others see is a backwards step.  He’s the “cheap” option, said the former Southampton man of such staggering footballing talent. He’s the “safe” choice, said the Sky Sports News pundit. All very true but why are they such damning traits to him?

It’s probably because he got caught up in the media fuelled superlative-storm that surrounded Harry Redknapp in the traumatic post-Fabio Capello days. We were falling head over heels in love with this charismatic cockney who admitted, himself, that he “writes like a two year old” and is “completely and utterly disorganised.” Both of those, of course, being attributes that Club England felt were pre-requisites for the role.

In contrast, Roy Hodgson speaks five languages and has managed clubs in eight different countries, amassing a trophy haul that, despite being collected mostly in Scandinavia, would look rather favourable on any given curriculum vitae. “But he did rubbish at Liverpool,” I hear you cry. Ah, but so did every other manager that has trodden the Anfield route over the past decade.

Both Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez are currently unemployed and Kenny Dalglish is doing a fine job of establishing mid-table mediocrity for a side crafted through lavish spending that has recently topped the £100 million mark. And where is Roy, with his West Bromwich Albion side who are, let’s be honest, barely a touch on the financial might of Liverpool? They’re a meagre three points behind them.

Redknapp, of course, brought allure and pizzazz to the table but Hodgson only brings charm. Redknapp brought motivation to the table but Hodgson merely brings sheer footballing aptitude. And I beg you to answer honestly – what is more important? The media will have you believe it’s motivation but this is not a game, despite its beautiful intricacies, that is won in the changing rooms. It’s won on the field where you must be tactically sound, adept and enduring. Hodgson offers that and has evidence to show it.

His role at Fulham was nothing short of miraculous but, most importantly, what made it so was his wealth of knowledge; not something Redknapp can acclaim to to quite such an extremity. Yes, the Tottenham Hotspur boss has eked the best out of his side but at what financial expense? Hodgson, however, in SW6, had a vastly different remit. He had to work on a minimal budget and took his team to their highest ever league finish, as well as pulling them through a long, arduous campaign and reaching a European final in 2010, defeating Juventus, Shakhtar Donestsk and Hamburg along the way.

Organisation was his most prized asset, not money. Clubs from around the globe visited Motspur Park in an attempt to clone, copy and adapt his tactics and game-plans because, quite simply, they were so successful and astute; so finely put together and manipulated. They were the brainchild of a man who has lived through football and taken in all the rich pickings it had to offer. He never stood idly by. He was learning every day and this is now his pinnacle, where he can apply his talent and nous on the highest stage.

Yes, Redknapp had the overwhelming support of the vociferous majority but does he really have what Hodgson has and would he really know how to use it on the international stage? Only time would have told you that answer but time has already told us with Hodgson.

“Roy Hodgson is a broadsheet manager in a tabloid country,” said one unknown source. How poetically succinct and how much of a story it tells. Now this humble man can write his own tale.

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