Super-organised Roy Hodgson will dig Crystal Palace out of trouble

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 15 September 2017, 09:19

Roy Hodgson and Sam Allardyce may come across as chalk and cheese but the two managers are not so different, which is good news for Crystal Palace fans fearing relegation, writes Andy Dillon (@andydillon70).

IT’S hard to imagine the sight of a 70-year-old man in tracksuit inspiring a Premier League football team to dig themselves out of a hole.

Yet that is precisely what Crystal Palace’s players are being presented with now that Roy Hodgson has officially taken over the reins at the division’s bottom club.

Hodgson inherits a squad which is yet to score a goal and yet to earn a point after four games of a season remarkable even by their turbulent standards.

And there is only one way the former England manager knows how to get the best out of a team and that is by getting his hands, well feet actually, dirty on the training pitch.

Hodgson is renowned for his well-organised teams.

Getting little Fulham to the 2010 Europa League final as the only English team left in Europe was some achievement, beating Juventus along the way.

That in itself shows that Hodgson is expert at getting the most out of smaller clubs, finding it within a squad of less fashionable players to go above and beyond expected levels.

Sam Allardyce did it last season when he saved the club from relegation from the Premier League but in a different style.

On the pitch the two men have vastly different characters. Big Sam is in-your-face and does what it says on the tin.

Hodgson likes to see himself portrayed as the thinking man’s manager. Bookish and cerebral.


Whilst at Fulham, club staff were astonished when he was paid a visit at the training ground by Sebastian Faulks, renowned author of the critically-acclaimed, sweeping WW1 novel ‘Birdsong’.

It’s hard to imagine Big Sam enjoying such intellectual company but the two men share lots of common ground on survival on the football pitch.

Hodgson is super-organised. People who have worked with him remark that he will insist on being outside in all weathers to oversee training first hand, not leaving it to assistant Ray Lewington and the other coaches to do the hard work.

Those same people also say that training can be so meticulous that often the players need extra running afterwards because they have not been physically stretched enough.

There are times when Hodgson, it is claimed, will bring a tactical exercise to a grinding halt to order a player to stand a further metre to the left or right - it is that detailed.

Again it is unlikely Allardyce would go to such extremes and it probably could probably get quite annoying when a troop of pumped-up Premier League stars are told to stop and start every couple of minutes to line up in formation.

If the team didn’t like his predecessor Frank de Boer’s methods then Hodgson’s might be just as hard getting used to.

But Allardyce - who claims he turned down an offer last weekend to return to Selhurst Park - is not so dissimilar. Hodgson lite maybe?

Allardyce’s demands for organisation during a game are the cornerstone of his approach to football.

Get the defence sorted first and foremost. And that requires the same kind of mental discipline which Hodgson will need also.

There will be an emphasis on counter attacking. Not so much possession based passing but well-drilled positional awareness - another facet from the Allardyce textbook.

The appointment of a new manager at Crystal Palace is a joke in itself so early in the season and the vision of Hodgson in boots and trackie-bottoms might be just as funny.

But when it comes down to the serious business of getting Palace back up the Premier League table the club is in hands second best to only Allardyce himself.


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