Ian Herbert: It is not fair, but Anfield experience will always haunt Roy Hodgson

 

England have been here before, with Roy Hodgson.

When Sir Alex Ferguson, of all people, was pointing them in Sven Goran Eriksson's direction after Kevin Keegan's dramatic departure, 12 years ago, he was one of the English names on the huge, blank piece of paper Adam Crozier pinned to a wall for the selection committee's consideration in Helsinki, where the national side happened to be playing a World Cup qualifier. Hodgson fell at the first hurdle – failing what Crozier considered to be the "sustained success" test.

It is the very test which will stalk him into Wembley if he is handed the England job. Because although Hodgson has achieved more than Andre Villas-Boas in European football over the past two years – taking a club of Fulham's means to a Europa League final being a finer achievement than reaching that pinnacle with Porto – history will damn him again and again with one word. Anfield. Well, his record there may have marked him down as a "small club manager" in many eyes but in this season of relentless revisionism, when managers are built up and knocked down, history judges Hodgson's 191 days at Liverpool rather differently now.

The man whose head they all called for when "Hodgson Out" graffiti was being daubed on the exterior walls of Melwood and what Hodgson injudiciously described as "the famous Anfield support" was offering him ironic applause, can be viewed as rather less of a failure in the light of Kenny Dalglish's travails, with a considerably bigger Fenway Sports Group transfer budget. Hodgson won six league games at Anfield before he was sacked in January last year. Now here we are in April with Dalglish still seeking his sixth home win of the season. Certainly, Dalglish knows the nuances and history of the club and its supporters. He speaks of Shankly and does not play the long ball in a way so alien to the club's fabric. But as one observer put it after the 64-year-old Hodgson's West Bromwich Albion won at Anfield two weeks ago, Liverpool's stagnation "was once called 'The Hodgson Effect'. Nowadays, it is just called bad luck."

Keegan actually called it right. "It's not easy but Liverpool have been in decline for a number of years and I think Roy Hodgson is just picking up the tab," he said. "Where are all these youngsters they signed? None of them have come through. I think there are a lot of questions that need to be asked way beyond Roy Hodgson."

My only discussion of any length with Hodgson, talking Paris, Liverpool architecture, Steve Coogan's and Rob Brydon's BBC series The Trip four months into his Liverpool journey, revealed a man just starting to grow into Anfield. His dismissal cut him and it was a mark of him that he put it behind him, took West Bromwich to safety and might now lead them to their first top-10 finish in the Premier League.

Some will doubt the potential of his 4-4-2 systems to enervate either fans or his players. Others will crave the mass appeal of Harry Redknapp, a man with the word for every occasion. More still will point to failure at Blackburn Rovers and mixed results at Internazionale. But at least let the true, unvarnished story of Hodgson and Liverpool be heard. That of a de facto caretaker, asked to shepherd a club through the uncertainty of a messy takeover, who imbued Anfield with Raul Meireles, as well as Paul Konchesky and Christian Poulsen. At least then Hodgson gets half a chance to pursue sustained success with England.

England fixtures

Friendlies

Norway (a) 26 May, friendly

Belgium (h) 2 June, friendly

Euro 2012 group stage

France 11 June

Sweden 15 June

Ukraine 19 June

News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness