Born to a baker and a factory worker in the South London borough of Croydon in Surrey, Roy Hodgson has built up an illustrious career that is nothing short of incredulous. The Swiss and the Swedes exalt him for elevating their nations’ quality of football, while fans of football powerhouses, including Brazil and Scotland, curse his name for handing them some of their national teams’ most humiliating defeats.
After retiring from playing for English football clubs in the 1970s, the tactical defender found stellar success in Switzerland, and Northern Europe as a manager of various football teams (as well as the Swiss national team) around the region. “I speak five languages — English, Swedish, French, Italian and German,” the England manager divulges to Singapore Tatler.“I have been fortunate to live in many different countries.”
When we ask him what virtues it takes to be a world-class manager, he replies: “Leadership, passion, enthusiasm, motivation, preparation, management and experience, just to name a few.” In fact, in 2014, Swiss watchmaker Hublot celebrated these virtues by launching a special edition King Power 66 Hodgson for the esteemed strategist.
Of his relationship with the Swiss watchmaker, Hodgson says, “I have been very fond of Hublot watches ever since they were introduced to me by my son Christopher many years ago. We have both become avid collectors and I like the fusion of unique materials, innovative design, and the sporty and classy blend. I have a few favourites, but love my Hublot Classic Fusion gold pieces. They are classy yet sporty and I can wear them to different occasions. I also like the new Hublot Big Bang Unico Retrograde Chronograph Uefa Euro 2016 watch, created in a lovely royal blue. The Hublot King Power 66 Hodgson is a special one that I feel sentimental about, seeing that it was a direct collaboration with Hublot, and a piece that my son designed and developed with Hublot. It is limited to 66 pieces commemorating England’s World Cup win in 1966. It is a beautiful piece that I wear frequently.”
Hodgson is also one of 10 ambassadors of football, among the likes of living legends Rio Ferdinand, José Mourinho, Lukas Podolski, Xherdan Shaqiri and David Trezeguet, who are celebrating 10 years of Hublot’s support of the sport with a campaign called Hublot Loves Football.
The Litmus Test
In his 40-year managerial career, Hodgson’s foes have pulled the rug from under his feet on more than one occasion, resulting in shocking defeats and the sudden parting of ways with football clubs and national teams, such as in the case of his ill-fated short stint at the helm of former English champions Blackburn Rovers in 1997.
Today, a new peak in Hodgson’s career hints at a new golden age of English football. Traditionally considered the butt of international football, the English national team achieved its all-time high placing at third in the world in the Fifa World Rankings under Hodgson after the Euro 2012. He feels the heat from the spotlight.
“There have been many tough decisions to make in my 40-year career with regard to player decisions, and personal decisions with job offers. Accepting the England position was perhaps not a difficult decision, but it was a daunting one knowing all the scrutiny and pressure that would come with this prestigious position.”
Although the merciless English tabloids have been seated on the sidelines keenly licking their lips, the revamped and reinvigorated England national team under Hodgson has enjoyed high-scoring squashes of its opponents in international tournaments and their qualifiers. Hodgson has already been tipped for managerial jobs in the English Premier League even before the Uefa Euro 2016 tournament kicks off.
“There are many tough hurdles and strong teams at this summer’s Euro tournament,” he comments on the immediate task at hand, while declining to comment on a possible domestic club managerial career beyond the tournament. “We are confident in our young, talented squad, and my main focus is to bring the best out of this group of players. Ensuring they perform and play to the best of their ability, despite a very high UK media scrutiny.”
He leads a team of young talents who have been compared to some of English football history’s most gifted stars, to the Euro 2016 in France. Given the 68-year-old’s track record of virtuosity and unpredictability, his detractors are eagerly waiting for him to choke, while the English are hanging onto the hope that Hodgson will inspire England’s star-studded line-up to live up to their immense potential at Euro 2016.