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Roy Hodgson answers YOUR questions!

22 December 2020

What is the manager's favourite win at Palace? Who was his best leader? How does he create a gameplan for each and every game?

We asked Members and Season Ticket holders to submit their questions to Roy Hodgson, and you responded - we've picked out the best efforts and put them to the man himself.

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Check out his answers below:

Allan Adam and Paul Grant

­Well, that's a good question from Allan and Paul. I suppose it’s really a love of football that grew in me at a very, very young age and – certainly fortunately – has never left me. I still get as much pleasure from watching the games of football and in particular from training and preparing the games as I've always had.

So all the time that that lasts, there's no reason for me to consider leaving it behind because I know that when the day comes, when I do make a decision to leave the game behind and to not give myself the benefits of training every day, having matches every weekend, I'm going to miss it.

 

Matthew Griffin

I'm always tempted to say to Matthew that every win is a favourite win as manager, because most of the time, we're fighting hard to stay in the league and we're fighting against teams with far greater resources than we have.

But I suppose if I just had to pick one out, especially the longer that time goes by, I would say it is the one which many Crystal Palace supporters refer to and that's the incredible win a couple of years ago at Man City when we were leading in the game until a late goal almost pegged us back in a very exciting finish. And it was the game of course where Andros Townsend scored the goal of the season.

I mean, nowadays games are more recent in the memory and I could name others, but I think in years to come that would probably be the one that sticks in my mind because it was such a good performance and against a Man City side that were pretty much unbeatable at that time.

Stephen Hammond and Mark Silverstein

You’ll need good advice, Stephen, especially seeing as coaching a team like Under-5s is very different to the sort of coaching and the work that I do with the players I have at my disposal!

What has changed? Most things that have changed are within the framework of the game. Making certain that you've done your preparation for the session, that you've really thought it through and are aware of what you want to get from the session, what practices you're going to put on and what you want to see come out from those practices, what you want to see the players develop within the practices. That side of things really hasn't changed a lot since I took my badges in the late 1960s.

What has changed of course is everything around the game. The training facilities, sports science, and medicine. And of course we also benefit football-wise from the fact the pitches today are so different to the pitches if you go back 30 or 40 years. There have been changes to the laws that have been useful as well, not least of all being unable to pick up back passes and players being unable to tackle from behind.

So all of these things have made a bigger impact than the actual coaching. I think that the coaches who were good in the early 70s, their job would be every bit as good today. They would just adapt to the fact that football has changed and players have become more aesthetic.

Jeremy Redman

Well, I suppose there are bad moments like that in everybody's life where, whatever they do, Jeremy, they think: ‘Why am I doing this? Do I need this stress and pressure in my life?’ Unfortunately, the answer is you do.

If you are as much in love with the game and your job as I am and have always been, however frustrated I might get from time to time and however tempting it might be to say ‘I'll move away to some desert island and get away from the stress,’ it's never going to happen.

Often it's the stress and the adrenaline that adds a lot to your life rather than takes something from your life. So I fear that I'm always going to have to live with that side of things, but it's the price that you pay for the fact that you've got such a worthwhile job and a job that so many people would love to have.

Derek Marshall

I would agree with Derek entirely because that really was a treat. A team of these world stars as they were, [Alfredo] Di Stefano and [Ferenc] Puskas and these names that meant so much to us who had read about European football and had seen Real Madrid take apart Eintracht Frankfurt in that incredible final in Glasgow.

Suddenly to see them at Selhurst Park on a Wednesday evening, when we'd be used to watching Bradford Park Albion and these types of teams, it was a very, very special occasion. And, although my memory of it is hazy now simply because I've had so many games of my own that it's very hard to keep a strong memory so far back in time, I'd agree with Derek that if I had to pick one out that will be the one which I would immediately go to.

Shane and Gerry Jenner

It would be more of a global answer. I took the job at a difficult moment for the club. We had high hopes that we would get out of the situation, but we knew it was going to be very difficult.

So I think my most memorable achievement will probably always be coming in as I did after not having a pre-season and having no say in what players were brought to the club, to be able to work with that group of players that I was given.

Luckily they were good, both as players and as people. That group saw us through that season and actually finished quite high in the league eventually, we finished about 11th. But most of the year it was a point or two above the relegation zone and it was a very anxious time.

Every weekend we hoped that we would get our result and the teams around us in the relegation zone wouldn't get theirs. So I think I would refer more to the global time, the global achievement, the global good feeling that we all got that year, when we knew that we'd survive.

Alicia Hollings

Well, I think Alicia's probably referring to something outside of the actual football environment which I control at the training ground and at the matches, and basically we've never felt the need as yet to go outside of that.

The player’s confidence and form depends so much on his playing record. If he's playing regularly and he and the team are doing well, then of course he's flying high. And the opposite occurs when unfortunately he's not playing well, the team is losing and confidence just drains away from him.

But I think the answer almost invariably lies within the training ground, within the work we do to try and make certain people have got a very stable base. So they know exactly what's required of them and they feel comfortable doing it.

And of course in the conversations that I and the other members of the coaching staff have with players, because we are quite often able to recognise those moments that Alicia refers to, and hopefully nip anything more serious in the bud.

The club would certainly be prepared if there was a player who felt that he needed help outside of that environment, perhaps with a psychologist like Steve Peters who worked with England, if the player felt that some conversations with a guy like that would improve certain aspects of his mental health, we would be very quick to arrange it. But up to now in the three-and-a-half years I've been working with Crystal Palace that hasn't actually occurred.

Michael

Well, it's a two-fold thing. First of all, the work we do on the training field is a basic necessity we need to have in our game, irrespective of the opponent. The defensive and attacking principles, the awareness of what's required and how you deal with set plays. These are things which are 'sine qua non' when it comes to every football team, something you've got to work on a regular basis and the players need to have it almost ingrained in them.

But then you get the more specific preparation for the opponent at the weekend. And there, we rely very heavily on our video analysts, who after working so long with us are very much in tune with what is needed for the meetings.

Ray Lewington and Dave Reddington take on an awful lot of responsibility in that area. They work very closely with them throughout the week to look at any material that the analysts, Rob and Tom, have thrown up for us. They're getting so used to what we're looking for now they can short-circuit the process, which in the beginning was a lot longer with Ray and Dave having to make it clear to them what's relevant and what isn't.

Very often, it's a question of Ray and Dave going through the material with them and picking out the bits that we think are going to be the most salient ones for the game ahead. Ie: What's going to affect our defending most in terms of the way the opposition play and the type of players that they have? What areas can we find where we might be able to exploit weaknesses in their defence with our attacking play?

Then of course we deal with that twofold. It’s done very early in the week. We start probably on the Tuesday, which is our first main tactical session working on something in training, which is relevant to the weekend game. The same would occur on Thursday in another similar session.

Then in the meetings we highlight it all over again with diagrams and clear explanations of what we think we're going to be facing when the match comes around. The video analysts produce a little brochure, which gives everybody full details about the teams that our opponents have been using, the way they play, where the biggest threats to us lie, where the biggest weaknesses that we can exploit lie and also pen pictures of every player.

Then you go on to the field with a pretty good idea of what your opponent actually has been doing, and what his strengths and weaknesses are.

Andy Tomlins

That's a good question, Andy. It helps when we do our coaching on the training pitch, because we're always shouting and encouraging and exhorting players, reminding them of certain aspects that they might not be doing which we want to see and that's something which is really very much part of our daily coaching life.

You don't normally get the chance to follow that through to the same extent when it's matchday, because, as you rightly say, your voice won't carry. Ray's fortunately got a very strong voice which carries quite well. It carries a lot further than mine could ever do! But I do think it can be helpful to the players.

It’s not just tactical, the things Ray and I shout during the course of a game, sometimes it's just encouragement, sometimes it's praise for something that's been done and we'd like to see continue being done. So I see nothing but advantages from it.

I don't think it disturbs the players in any way because we're careful about when we shout to them. And we're very careful that there could be no messages going out that they aren't fully au fait with before the game, because it’s things we've done in training, if not every day for three years.

I think it's a big bonus for us to have that situation at the moment. And it's good that Ray is so energetic and puts so much into that. But we talked earlier about the passion and desire to do the job properly in respect to myself, I think that's very much the case in respect to the coaching staff as well.

Ray as assistant manager, but also Dave Reddington, Dean Kiely, Scott Guyett, when he's doing the warm-ups. All of us have a good manner in the sense that we are always trying to encourage and help the players to remember what they've got to do and to take pride in doing it.

Leslie Fuller, Kevin Lambert and Liam

We work closely, of course. At times more than others because Doug has a lot of functions he's been given as Sporting Director by Steve Parish, the Chairman. He has a lot to do with the Academy and also quite a lot to do with the administration of the club. He's got a very varied and very big workload, and he's got an office at the training ground, but of course he also has an office in Soho.

He does an awful lot of traveling himself because he's mostly in charge of the recruitment and the scouting and what information we're getting on players and which ones we're following, which also gives him a lot of work to do with agents, because they're very much in touch with him.

Then he keeps me informed well about what's going on, and we discuss very carefully what we think the club might need to progress in terms of signings.

Peter Jackson

It’s a good question, Peter, and it is one which one has to be careful not to delve too deeply into because it's like everything else: when you get to the age that both he and I are, things always seemed a little bit better in the past and your memory doesn't serve you quite as well.

It's pretty obvious for us having come through this post-lockdown period and Project Restart that we’re having such enormous problems with so many injuries and we’re not being able really to field anything like the team we would have liked.

To be thinking ‘well it was never really like that in the past’, I'm not so certain that facts and stats would necessarily prove that. I think the game has become so much faster, and has probably placed different sort of demands on the athleticism on the players and their muscles ability to withstand injury. So I think there is an element of that.

Another element of course, is that we are much more careful today with players. For example, the talk that we now have with regard to concussion, that would have been unthinkable years ago. The fact that so many players who played in that era are now very badly off in terms of their ability to walk and ability to bend and ability to move – I think we used people up in a way which was probably not really acceptable.

Of course, everyone wants to be a football player and you put up with it because that's what was necessary. Now we do try to look after the health and fitness of our players. To get them right to be able to play the match, but it also to make certain that we don't send them home ruined after a 10 or 12 year career.

James Stannard

Very difficult. Leadership is a difficult topic. One of the ones that comes immediately to mind here in the UK – and I've had many good captains who've captained the team well, and then as a result led the team well, so I could name a lot of people in that bracket – but strangely enough, the one that maybe had the biggest effect was Brian McBride when I came to Fulham.

I took over in troubled times with a big and somewhat troubled squad. It was very divided, a lot of players who basically weren't really pulling their weight necessarily, but were dragging down some of the other players who wanted to get behind the work that I, Ray and Mike Kelly were doing at the time. Brian McBride was a big factor there making certain that everyone pulled together and that any divisions within the squad were dealt with. He did that really without being the best player - because I think he might have been the best player several years earlier when he came from Everton - but he was near the end of his career then and in fact, at the end of that season, he left us to go back and play in MLS in Chicago.

So I would say him in the UK is very worthy of a mention by his qualities as a person, his leadership qualities on the field and his ability to find a way to keep a group reasonably well together when there were so many divisions within that group.

If we go abroad, then I'm tempted to go back a long time to the years I spent at Halmstad between 1976 and 1980, and to talk about a player called Hans Selander, who was a Swedish international and a player who really sacrificed a lot for the club in terms of where I asked him to play.

He was arguably one on the best centre-backs in the league, but I asked him to play in the centre of midfield because we needed somebody of his quality there. He led that club quite brilliantly and did some very, very interesting things during training with players in order to keep them under control.

By the same token – and it's not a person I coached because he was slightly older than me anyway – the principal advisor and consultant to Massimo Moratti at Inter when I went there was a really famous player. His name is Giacinto Facchetti, and I thought that he was a fantastic leader.

He helped me enormously as a sort of team manager if you like. I mean, we were pretty much inseparable both at training and going to games. I learned a lot from Facchetti, just like I learned a lot from Selander and Brian McBride. So I'll name those three, but I could name many, many more. As I said, I've had a lot of very good captains.

Paul Harper

That’s a good question, Paul. To be honest it's not one I've ever thought of because I don't think I have enough qualities in any other sports to be able to coach or lead a team! I suppose tennis might've been the one that I would have chosen simply because I really like the sport and have played a lot of tennis over the years.

But I'm far from certain that's something which would have ever been possible. It’s certainly nothing which has ever really crossed my mind.

I've never expected to receive an approach from another sport asking me if I could transfer leadership and coaching skills from football to them. I do think it's possible. The first guy that I worked with in Sweden who became my assistant wasn't a football man at all. He was in the sports platoon in the local army division and his sport was handball, but he had no problem in transferring his leadership skills.

When he learned a few practices and learned a few things that he should be saying to the players he became very good. So I can believe it's possible

It will probably be most feasible in another team sport, but I don't have any other team sports I really believe in except cricket. So maybe cricket I suppose! Cricket and tennis would be the two that I would favour, but I don't believe they would favour me…

Kevin Lambert

It’s an easy question to answer, Kevin, honestly. I felt like I could be a manager or first-team coach. I think it would have only occurred to me as a possibility if one or two of those things were not possible, and I couldn't actually lead a team, picking the team on the field of play, working with a team, coaching, leading with everything that is involved in preparing a team to play a football match.

If I couldn't do that, then certainly it would have been the next best thing.

But once again, I've been very fortunate that I haven't had to think along those lines because I've always been able to stay in football in the jobs that I really want to do, namely manager or head coach. I've always regarded myself as a coach.

Thanks to a period of time in the late 90s when people like Arsene Wenger, Gerard Houllier and even myself coming back from Inter, returned to English football, I think most people these days regard the word manager as meaning head coach rather than someone who never leaves the office, spends his time talking to the press and looking at scouting reports.

Nigel Croucher

It's a good question, Nigel. All these questions have been very good I must say, I commend the people who sent questions in - they've obviously given it a lot of thought! It's made me rack my brains a little bit here because I don't have quick answers to them.

The allure of coming back to Palace and the thought of being able to take on the job was very appealing. Poignancy is something that you could say was a factor. I would lie though if I said I've been working through all of my career thinking only about Crystal Palace, because that's not how it works.

I've taken on lots of different types of jobs at different levels, and certainly there'll be many times during that career where if Crystal Palace had come along it would have been certainly a step up from what I was doing and I'd have been anxious to jump at the chance.

But there have been other times when I've been in other jobs where if an approach had come from Crystal Palace I would've had to turn it down because I was doing something different.

So I was really pleased when the chance came along. I do feel it was very, very nice to come back and get the chance to manage Crystal Palace, the club I supported for so long and with such fervour. My dream was to play for them and that was never realised. It was nice to realise a dream in terms of being then able to coach and manage the team.

This has been a pleasure. Thank you and congratulations to the people who sent these questions. Hopefully there will be leads to be satisfied!

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