James Lawton: One worry was Roy Hodgson asking for public support. That should be earned

Harry Redknapp might have produced the kind of excitement generated by his Spurs team

Roy Hodgson has always been a good and dignified football man and if any reassurance was required it came plentifully enough at his public unveiling as the latest England manager yesterday.

There were no false moves, no mad declarations and he was particularly adroit in dealing with a question that went back 40-odd years to his days as a young jobbing professional in a South Africa still under the yoke of apartheid.

Like many English players of rather high profile, including, Johnny Haynes and Rodney Marsh and Johnny "Budgie" Byrne, Hodgson, he explained, was playing football where he could rather than supporting an "evil regime".

There's no doubt about it. England has a safe hand on the rudder, a man who is not likely to mistake a football tournament for the outbreak of the third world war.

None of this, however, was quite enough to dispel the fug of complacency sent up by the Football Association chairman, David Bernstein, when he announced his unshakeable conviction that his organisation had not only made a splendid appointment but the only one possible.

What it was, plainly, was a piece of pragmatism that included the fact that if signing Hodgson was sweet, and relatively cheap, simplicity, negotiating with Harry Redknapp and his Tottenham Hotspur chairman, Daniel Levy, would have been an entirely different matter, and not least in the area of cost.

Nor did it address the rather important point that if the appointment of Hodgson was sound, going to Redknapp would have created another possibility. It was that while the FA would not have acquired a manager so willing to immerse himself at every level of the England operation, they would have been investing in the one English manager who in recent years has consistently produced a body of exciting football.

Hodgson is unlikely to let England down. Redknapp, on the other hand, might just have reached out for the rarest achievement in all the years of watching the national team sliding away from the once-in-a-lifetime level reached by Sir Alf Ramsey. He might have understood the psyche of the English player sufficiently well – after the long journey that started in the playing company of the young Bobby Moore – to produce the kind of excitement generated by his Tottenham team in the past few years.

Certainly this was not the candidacy of a token English football man. It was the claim of someone with a touch that might have turned to gold. Such a possibility, though, was certainly not recognised by the FA yesterday. Hodgson was the outstanding candidate, said Bernstein. They looked at his record, concluded he was the untouchable choice, and were then delighted by their own good judgment in leaving their approach so near to the end of the Premier League season that West Bromwich Albion chairman, Jeremy Peace, with no financial levies to claim on an unfulfilled contract, merely asked that the manager supervise the last two league games. It was made to seem like a marriage of both love and convenience.

Meanwhile, Hodgson was repeating his belief in the need for a strong show of public support. It was vital that the great football public throw their weight into the project. This, frankly, is worrying. Public support, as we saw as long ago as 1966, can never be anticipated as a constant travelling companion. It wasn't when Moore and Bobby Charlton and Gordon Banks were booed off after an opening draw against Uruguay at Wembley, and no matter that the South Americans had the reputation of being fiendish masters of defence.

You shape the public with consistent evidence of superior effort and dedication, some inkling or two that you are committed to the task. Wayne Rooney was dismissive of those England supporters who protested at the quality of his side's performance against Algeria in the last World Cup.

His indignation was befuddling, but not so far behind is this reaching out by the new man for the acclamation of the crowd, which of course will still include all those discriminating souls who feel it a duty to boo Ashley Cole every time he touches the ball while wearing the English shirt at Wembley.

It would be agreeable to think that some of Cole's recent performances might have carried him to a new level of respect when he goes about his work before the European Championship – and that Hodgson will win new degrees of support and patience from the supporters in whom he is now investing such importance.

Unfortunately, reality imposes a different likelihood. Already it is suggested by a statement from the chairman of the England fans that Hodgson's appointment is not expected to provoke widespread dancing along Wembley Way. Why would it?

Good football man that he is, Roy Hodgson shouldn't need telling that the terrace is really the last place to look for support – and this is especially so in the job for which, we are told so blithely, he was the only candidate.

Hodgson's predecessors: England managers down the years

Sir Walter Winterbottom (1946-1963)

P 139 W 78 D 33 L 28; Win %: 56.1

Sir Alf Ramsey (1963-1974)

P113 W 69 D 27 L 17; Win %: 61.1

Don Revie (1974-1977)

P 29 W 14 D 8 L 7; Win %: 48.3

Ron Greenwood (1977-1982)

P 55 W 33 D 12 L 10; Win %: 60

Sir Bobby Robson (1982-1990)

P 95 W 47 D 30 L 18; Win %: 49.5

Graham Taylor (1990-1993)

P 38 W 18 D 13 L 7; Win %: 47.4

Terry Venables (1994-1996)

P 23 W 11 D 11 L 1 Win %: 47.8

Glenn Hoddle (1996-1999)

P 28 W 17 D 6 L; Win %: 60.7

Kevin Keegan (1999-2000)

P 18 W 7 D 7 L 4; Win %: 38.8

Sven Goran Eriksson (2001-2006)

P 67 W 40 D 17 L 10; Win %: 59.7

Steve McClaren (2006-2007)

P 18 W 9 D4 L 5; Win %: 50%

Fabio Capello (2008-2012)

P 42 W 28 D 8 L 6; Win %: 66.6%

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links