By our Town Hall correspondent, PEARL LEE
Roy Hodgson, Croydon lad, Freeman of the Borough and all-round local hero, has firmly ruled himself out of the reckoning to become the first directly-elected mayor of Croydon next year.
Hodgson was at a sumptuous, black-tie mayoral dinner on Thursday night, attended by around 200 people, including the majority of Labour councillors from the cash-strapped council, and some Tories, too, who were all keen to stick their snouts in the trough of the freebie meal provided by the Grand Sapphire Hotel off the Purley Way.
Oddly, Inside Croydon never received an invitation to buy any tickets to attend the event from the people who bankrupted the borough.
The dinner was intended as a launch event for ceremonial Mayor Sherwen Chowdhury, a mere six months after his investiture.
Who knows, if they’d asked, iC could have flogged a couple of tickets for them and raised a few bob for Chowdhury’s worthy, but desperately poorly publicised, causes, the Lily Pad Appeal and Crisis UK.
Hodgson, the popular former Crystal Palace and England football manager was constantly in demand throughout the evening from star-struck and giggling autograph and selfie hunters, such as the unselected Fairfield Labour councillor and Eagles fan Caragh Skipper.
Hodgson, 74, retired as Palace’s manager earlier this year.
And when approached by an eager journalist intern for a quick quote, the veteran football boss made it abundantly clear he has no plans to make a comeback in the sordid little world of local politics.
The intern, apparently, forgot to turn on their tape recorder (oh dear!), but it is understood that Hodgson, referring to his time as England boss, may have said something along the lines of, “I’ve already done the ‘impossible job’. Why would I want to take on something that was even… impossibler?”
Hodgson, proudly wearing his Croydon Freeman’s medallion, was making a reference to a 1990s television fly-on-the-wall documentary which followed the gaffe-prone time in charge of one of his predecessors managing the national football team, Graham Taylor, and which gave to the world the expression, “Do I not like that.”
Sources close to Hodgson told Inside Croydon, “It’s kind of people to ask, but it’s really not a serious proposition.
“Roy did well to keep Palace in the Premier League for four years and avoid relegation. Taking on the task of running Croydon’s bankrupt borough, after the mess all these politicians have made of it… well, it would be like taking over a team at half-time with them already 6-0 down.”
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