Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson is well known as a man with a varied and successful managerial past; a reputation that goes hand-in-hand with this wonderful long read about the time the 70-year-old spent in charge of the Switzerland national team between 1992-1995.
With the World Cup now just around the corner, the above piece acts as the perfect accompaniment to the growing sense of excitement Palace fans will be feeling ahead of the month-long feast of football, charting the ridiculous success the current Eagles gaffer enjoyed with a group that were never expected to get close to reaching the heights they did under his stewardship.
Whilst I’m keen not to delve too deeply into the details for fear of spoiling the above piece for you as a reader, it’s worth highlighting that Hodgson took a side who hadn’t qualified for a single major tournament since the 1966 to the 1994 World Cup in his first two years in charge, losing just one game in qualifying as part of a group which included Italy, Portugal and Scotland.
After an impressive showing at the World Cup itself, the Swiss comfortably qualified for Euro ’96, finishing top of their group thanks to victories over the likes of Iceland, Turkey and Sweden but sadly for them, Roy resigned soon after their place at the tournament was assured, having decided to take up Inter Milan’s offer of a permanent post at the San Siro.
It is a story which is as unbelievable as it is impressive, shining a light on a quite remarkable period in both Hodgson and Switzerland’s history. At one stage during his tenure, the team were ranked as the third best side in international football by FIFA, which I’m sure you’ll agree is a mind-boggling feat given their relative lack of success before or since.
Each week we seem to discover more about Roy’s multi-layered career within the game but this tale is up there with the very best.