Roy Hodgson, who came out of enforced retirement last September to salvage Crystal Palace’s Premier League status, has been nominated for a Freedom of the Borough.
The council press release states that Hodgson, “has been recommended for the honour in recognition of his contribution to Croydon and to football, both home and abroad”.
The council’s announcement says of Hodgson’s association with Crystal Palace: “The club, which was a ‘10-minute walk’ from his boyhood home, has played a large part in his life with stints as a youth player, as well as manager. As a boy, he was a Palace fan who attended John Ruskin Grammar School, where he was a player in the school football team.
“The former England manager joined the Eagles in September last year, turning their season around from potential relegation to 44 points and 11th position in the table, truly cementing him in the hearts and affection of the fans.”
That’s understating matters: when Hodgson took charge at Palace, they had lost their first seven league games, and failed to score a single goal. At last weekend’s final fixture of the season, the transformation completed, supporter banners at Selhurst Park hailed “Sir Roy of Croydon”; the freedom of the borough might be low-balling things on the honours front.
The well-deserved recognition for Hodgson, 70, can also be seen as a piece of opportunistic crowd-pleasing grandstanding by council leader, and Fulham supporter, Tony Newman.
Hodgson’s 40-year-long coaching career has also seen him manage … Fulham, as well as having the top jobs at Internazionale, Blackburn, Liverpool, West Brom, Finland, Switzerland and the UAE. He was manager of England for four years from 2012, presiding over ultimately stilted and disappointing performances at the 2014 World Cup and 2016Euros.
Today, Hodgson said: “It would be a great honour to be awarded the Freedom of the Borough.
“I could never have dreamt that my journey in life would take me from walking to Selhurst Park with my father and sitting on the cross-bar at the Holmesdale Road end to managing the club I have always supported and to being recognised by Croydon Council for my career in football. It is very much an honour I would wish to dedicate to my parents.”
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