To many outside the Crystal Palace bubble, news of Roy Hodgson’s one-year contract extension will barely register but for those who live and die with the Eagles’ results from week to week, it was an announcement that promised a continued sense of stability after more than a decade of almost constant turbulence.
The former England boss turned 71 on Friday, a milestone which makes him comfortably the oldest man in currently charge of a Premier League club but if results are anything to go by, age should be looked upon as nothing more than an afterthought. Upon taking the job last September, Roy was positively beaming at the prospect of being back inside the professional game; an environment which has clearly given his life a sense of purpose for 50 years.
A child-like enthusiasm, coupled with his unmatched experience has served Palace and Hodgson well so far, prompting many to dream of a campaign free of relegation fears between now and May. In years gone by, managers with stock as high as Roy’s would have have spent the summer with one eye on jobs elsewhere but after a career which has taken him from Malmö to Milan with World Cups and European finals thrown in along the way, both he and our supporters know that he’ll be staying put for as long as he is deemed the best man for the job.
Without any official record being kept of these things it’s difficult to know for sure but I believe the 71-year-old is the first Palace gaffer to ever sign a contract extension under the ownership of Steve Parish; an observation which serves as a testament to the sense of calm he has brought to SE25 during his 11 months in charge.
He said himself during last Friday’s press conference that he still feels like a 50-year-old; I and thousands of other Palace fans only wish we had the prospect of another 10 to 20 years with him at the helm.