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%

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before