Former Palace manager’s career recognised with prestigious award – ‘He made football better’
Gareth Southgate and Roy Hodgson, two Crystal Palace all-time greats, were among the award winners at the 2021 British Sports Awards on Thursday.
England manager Southgate was presented with the inaugural Sky/Kick It Out award, praised for using his voice and position to promote equality and inclusion in football and in wider society.
Hodgson, one of Southgate’s predecessors as England boss who retired as Palace manager at the end of last season, was honoured with the SJA President’s Award recognise his career in football.
The presentations were part of the 2021 Sports Journalists’ Association British Sports Awards, sponsored by the National Lottery.
Staged every year since 1949, the awards are the longest-established of their kind, organised by the SJA, the world’s largest national member organisation of specialist sports writers and editors, photographers and broadcasters.
Orpington’s teenaged sensation Emma Raducanu, winner of the US Open tennis, was voted by SJA members as Sportswoman of the Year, with Adam Peaty named Sportsman of the Year after retaining his Olympic 100metres breaststroke title at the Tokyo Games.
In a ceremony staged in central London attended by more than 300 figures from sport, the media and politics, SJA President Patrick Collins invited 72-year-old Hodgson on to the stage, saying, “As the English football season came to a close back in May, Roy Hodgson climbed out of a dugout for the last time. And a remarkable managerial career was at an end.
“They also included the national teams of Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, Finland and, of course, England.
“He enjoyed some memorable highlights, and a desperate disappointment in 2012, when England lost a Euro quarter-final. To Italy. On penalties, of course.
“In all, he managed 1,213 matches for club and country. He coached and encouraged countless thousands of young players. And he did it all with enormous skill, intelligence and decency.”
In presenting the trophy to Hodgson, Collins quoted Carlo Ancelotti, the Real Madrid manager, who said of Hodgson, “He taught a lot of managers how to behave. He made football better.”
The citation for the Sky/Kick It Out award said of Southgate, “In clear and well-argued explanations repeated in public and in so very many media conferences last summer, this leader supported his players’ continuing desire to demonstrate unity in taking a knee…
“In a powerful letter to the nation, this winner demonstrated genuine thought-leadership and a fierce ambition to harness the power and popularity of the England football team to make meaningful change and help educate others.
“Inclusive leadership is winning leadership.”
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