Roy Hodgson may now be on the wrong side of 70 but late last week, the former England boss gave the impression that he’s more than open to the idea of signing a contract extension at Crystal Palace when the time calls for it.
Anyone who has been paying attention to the Eagles’ form under their new gaffer will have seen the huge impact he’s made but given his advancing years, large swathes of the club’s fan-base had automatically assumed that Hodgson would be apprehensive about sticking around next season.
You need only look at the departures of Freedman, Pulis and most recently Sam Allardyce to understand why Palace fans the world over have come to expect that their managers will leave them high and dry but in Hodgson, we appear to have acquired a boss who puts the club’s well-being above anything else and I couldn’t be happier about it.
It’s worth remembering that at both Fulham and West Brom, it took job offers from Liverpool and England respectively to tempt Roy away and now, thanks to a managerial career which has already spanned more than 40 years, Hodgson is in no way inclined to pursue employment elsewhere. Having started in south London, he seems more than happy with the idea of finishing here too; a coincidence which serves as a perfectly timed gift to us given the predicament we find ourselves in as things stand.
I’ll admit that I had fully expected Roy to call it a day in May regardless of our success or failure in the battle against the drop but he and Ray Lewington seem to be genuinely enjoying their time in SE25, leaving me to state that I will be over the moon to see them both standing in the Selhurst Park dugout next season regardless of the division we find ourselves in.
Should we pull off an escape act and retain our place in the Premier League I fully believe that Hodgson will lead us to a higher finish at the end of next term than this one and if we are to go down, I literally cannot think of a man I’d rather have in place to steady the ship and prepare us for the challenge of bouncing straight back into the top flight.
He may be getting on but Roy’s approach to the Palace job has been the living embodiment of the phrase “age is nothing but a number”. His energy and enthusiasm for the role has outstripped many who have come before him and his ability to firefight following the loss of more than a dozen first-team players has been simply remarkable.
I’d love him to stay for five more years let alone one.