Managing a club in the Premier League that you have a meaningful affinity for is a dream for most managers. For Croydon boy Roy Hodgson, he managed his beloved Palace for several years and enjoyed good success. So much so that his arrival at rivals Watford never really annoyed Palace fans too much. While most hoped his retirement would have stayed that way, a return to the top-flight is always an appealing job for any manger.
However, the nature of his time at Watford has been negative to say the least. Performances have been poor, and the Hornets are facing a quick return to the Championship. Many of their fanbase, though, were less than impressed with how Hodgson conducted himself at the weekend.
Returning to play his old club, Hodgson spent much of the game shaking hands and talking with ex colleagues and old friends. On a day where Watford were relegated, most fans were outraged to see their coach having a great time talking with friends and Palace professionals.
The 1-0 defeat sent the Hornets back down to the Championship, but the real sting came from how little their present coach seemed to care. The quick announcement of the arrival of Forest Green Rovers coach Rob Edwards was enough to basically consign the Hodgson experiment to the bin.
After a few days of taking flack from the press and the fanbase, though, Hodgson defended himself by saying his snubbing of the Hornets faithful was ‘not deliberate’.
What did Roy Hodgson say about his actions against Crystal Palace?
After the game ended and Watford were down, the traveling Watford fans were perplexed to see Hodgson having a great time. He was seen shaking hands and having a laugh with Palace employees, something which soon began to grate and annoy many of the Watford fans in the away end. When asked about why he carried on this way, Hodgson responded by saying: If they saw that as a snub, I apologise – it definitely wasn’t meant that way, and my record is not one of going out and courting favour with fans.”
Hodgson continued in his typical manner, though, and perhaps made the situation worse by continuing on saying: “I didn’t realise that’s what I was supposed to do – I thought my job was to coach the team to win football matches and it didn’t occur to me, when I was walking off, that this subject might come up. Of course, I wish I had gone over to the Watford fans as well, but I didn’t so I have to accept the criticism.”
It’s an interesting remark, and reminds fans of his acerbic attitude after being sacked by England in the wake of the UEFA Euro 2016 exit. In the end, Hodgson summed the scenario up by saying: “It was an honest mistake, and it must in no way be put down to me trying to identify with Crystal Palace supporters when I was just responding to the incredible reception from them. When I left the club, 25,000 of them didn’t have the chance to give me that send-off because of Covid restrictions, and I was very flattered by it.”
While Watford fans will just be glad to see the end of this season, at least Roy got a chance to say farewell to the Palace faithful in a proper manner.