Tag Archives: Roy Hodgson

Iconic Moments: Palace’s gamble backfires (September 2017)

After guiding another club to survival in May 2017, Sam Allardyce elected to step down as Crystal Palace manager, insisting his time as a club manager was over. Of course, ‘Big Sam’ wouldn’t be finished just yet. Owner Steve Parish turned to Frank de Boer to fill the vacancy at Selhurst Park.

As a player, de Boer’s CV is really impressive. He won league championships with Barcelona and Ajax and was part of Louis van Gaal’s squad at the latter that won the UEFA Champions League in 1995. In management, he’d enjoyed title success at Ajax too but had a dismal time in Italy, lasting less than three months in the Inter Milan job in 2016.

His appointment at Selhurst Park was a gamble that spectacularly backfired. The Eagles were woeful on the opening day, being heavily beaten 3-0 by Premier League newcomers Huddersfield Town. Further losses followed to Liverpool FC and Swansea City and the pressure was already on the Dutchman. His ambitious style of football he wanted his players to play wasn’t working. They had been used to Allardyce’s style and the methods between the pair were vast to say the least.

After the August international break, Crystal Palace tumbled to a 1-0 defeat at Turf Moor against Burnley. With four games played, no points and not even a single goal scored, Parish decided to admit to his error in judgement. De Boer was dismissed after just 10 weeks in the job. His reign is the shortest in Premier League history. Jose Mourinho later labelled him as “the worst manager in Premier League history.”

With statistics like de Boer achieved, it’s hard not to disagree with this sentiment but the story had a happy ending for Eagles supporters. Roy Hodgson came in and steered the club comfortably to safety. They finished a commendable 11th, considering they lost their first seven matches without scoring a single goal.

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Shock Results: Crystal Palace 2-1 Chelsea (October 2017)

Goalscorers: Cesar Azpilicueta 11 OG, Tiemoue Bakayoko 18, Wilfried Zaha 45

Teams:

Crystal Palace: Julian Speroni, Scott Dann, Mamadou Sakho, Patrick van Aanholt, Joel Ward, Yohan Cabaye (Jairo Riedwald 86), Luka Milivojevic, James McArthur (Timothy Fosu-Mensah 85), Jeff Schlupp (Jason Puncheon 75), Andros Townsend, Wilfried Zaha

Chelsea: Thibaut Courtois, Cesar Azpilicueta, Marcos Alonso, Gary Cahill, David Luiz, Victor Moses (Davide Zappacosta 39), Tiemoue Bakayoko, Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard, Willian (Charly Musonda 65), Michy Batshuayi (Pedro 57)

Referee: Andre Marriner, Attendance: 25,480

Crystal Palace looked in dire straits at the start of October 2017. Seven games into their campaign and the Eagles had made the worst start ever in Premier League history. Seven defeats, no points earned and not even a goal scored. Their situation seemed hopeless already. Frank de Boer had been sacked just four games into his reign, replaced by Roy Hodgson. Hodgson had a reputation to repair himself. He had been out of work since England’s humiliating exit in the 2016 European Championships at the hands of Iceland. The chance to revive Palace’s fortunes and put himself back on the managerial map was too good to turn down.

After the October international break, Selhurst Park was packed to welcome the visit of league champions Chelsea. Antonio Conte’s side had recovered well from a shock opening day loss at home to Burnley and were boasting a 100% away record following fine victories away at Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City and Stoke City. The Blues were widely anticipated to keep that record going.

After 641 goalless minutes at the start of the season, Crystal Palace finally registered a goal to take a surprising early lead. Andros Townsend picked out Yohan Cabaye who showed great persistence in the penalty area, causing havoc which Chelsea’s defenders couldn’t deal with. David Luiz panicked and the ball eventually came off his teammate Cesar Azpilicueta and rebounded into the back of the net. It set the tone for an uncomfortable afternoon for the reigning champions.

Conte’s side were missing the energy of N’Golo Kante, who had been injured playing for France during the international break and it showed. However, his replacement did provide the equaliser. Tiemoue Bakayoko escaped his markers to guide home a corner from his central midfield partner, Cesc Fabregas. However, Chelsea’s front three of Michy Batshuayi, Willian and Eden Hazard failed to seriously test Julian Speroni on a regular basis.

It was another Palace returnee who would ultimately score the winner. Wilfried Zaha had been out of action since the opening day of the season but he returned with perfect timing. On the stroke of half-time, he escaped Azpilicueta’s challenge and slotted the ball beyond Thibaut Courtois.

Despite enjoying 60% of possession and piling the pressure on in the second half, Conte’s side couldn’t find a way through. He experienced back-to-back defeats for only the second time as a Premier League manager. Palace were finally off the mark for both goals and points. Their season finally had lift-off, thanks to the management guile of Hodgson and the skill of Zaha, who proved to be their integral matchwinner throughout the 2017-2018 season.

Premier League Rewind: 30th August-1st September 1997

Results: Arsenal 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa 1-0 Leeds United, Chelsea 4-2 Southampton, Crystal Palace 1-2 Blackburn Rovers, Derby County 1-0 Barnsley, Manchester United 3-0 Coventry City, Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 Leicester City, West Ham United 3-1 Wimbledon, Liverpool FC P-P Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Everton

The 1997-1998 season saw an action-packed August as the majority of teams played five games in the opening month of the campaign. Nine games took place on the final weekend of the month and 19 goals were scored. The tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales in the early hours of Sunday, 31st August 1997 led to the postponement of the match at Anfield between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United.

The early season pacesetters were current champions Manchester United and the former winners of the Premier League, Blackburn Rovers. Blackburn had largely been in the doldrums since winning the title in 1995 but looked like a revitalised side under the guidance of the former Inter Milan coach, Roy Hodgson. They were scoring goals for fun too, netting 13 in their first four matches. Their fourth win in five games came at Selhurst Park over newly-promoted Crystal Palace. First half goals from Kevin Gallacher and Chris Sutton spearheaded Blackburn to a 2-1 victory and therefore, top spot at the end of August on goal difference.

Manchester United’s start to the season had been business-like. They’d scored eight times in their first five games and Peter Schmeichel hadn’t conceded a goal yet. Coventry City were the latest side to feel the punch of the Red Devils. Andy Cole, new skipper Roy Keane and Karel Poborsky were on the scoresheet as the home side eased to a 3-0 victory.

Another team who had made a strong side to the season were West Ham United. Harry Redknapp’s side won a London Derby at Upton Park against Wimbledon, winning 3-1. All the goals came in the second half, with West Ham’s three goals arriving in a seven-minute period through John Hartson, Marc Rieper and Eyal Berkovic.

The Hammers moved above Arsenal who were held to a goalless draw at Highbury in the North London Derby by Tottenham Hotspur. It would turn out to be Gerry Francis’ final North London Derby match in-charge of Spurs and he left having lost just one of seven encounters against the enemy from Highbury.

Another goalless came would be a controversial one between Bolton Wanderers and Everton. It was Bolton’s first game at their new state-of-the-art ground, The Reebok Stadium. During the second half, referee Stephen Lodge failed to spot that Gerry Taggart’s header had fallen six inches beyond the goal-line when it was hooked away by Everton defender Terry Phelan. This came at a time when goal-line technology was only a pipe dream. Come the end of the season, the teams would finish level on points with Everton above Bolton on goal difference. They survived, Bolton were relegated. It was a cruel twist come the end of the 1997-1998 campaign.

Aston Villa had made a rotten start to the campaign, losing their first four matches, having only scored twice. Brian Little’s side finally got off the scoreboard with a 1-0 victory against Leeds United. Dwight Yorke scored the only goal to inflict a third defeat in a week on Leeds. Another side who achieved their first victory was fellow Midlands side Derby County, beating Barnsley 1-0. However, they were only playing their third match of the season and their first game at their new home, Pride Park which completed the whole 90 minutes.

What else happened in August 1997?

  • The United Kingdom is left in mourning by the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales. She is killed in a car crash in Paris, along with her companion Dodi Al-Fayed when the Mercedes she was travelling in crashes in a tunnel whilst trying to escape some paparazzi photographers.
  • Steve Jobs returns to Apple Computers, whilst Microsoft buys a $150 million share of the financially-troubled giant.
  • Korean Air Flight 801 crashes while attempting to land in the United States territory of Guam, killing hundreds of passengers.
  • Former Grandstand presenter Helen Rollason is diagnosed with cancer and will undergo emergency surgery.
  • The controversial animated sitcom ‘South Park’ debuts on Comedy Central.
  • Britpop band Oasis continue to break music records. Their third album, ‘Be Here Now’, becomes the fastest selling album in UK history.

Shock Results: Liverpool FC 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers (December 2010)

Goalscorers: Stephen Ward 56

Teams:

Liverpool FC: Pepe Reina, Paul Konchesky (Fabio Aurelio 73), Sotirios Krygiakos, Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Lucas, Raul Meireles (Joe Cole 73), Steven Gerrard, Dirk Kuyt, David Ngog (Ryan Babel 62), Fernando Torres

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Wayne Hennessey, Christophe Berra, George Elokobi, Richard Stearman, Stephen Ward (Steven Fletcher 78), Ronald Zubar, Kevin Foley, Nenad Milijas, Stephen Hunt, Matt Jarvis (Dave Edwards 89), Sylvan Ebanks-Blake

Referee: Peter Walton, Attendance: 41,614

The final Premier League match of the 2010 calendar year came at Anfield where the storm clouds were hanging over the 18-time English champions. Liverpool FC were in no form, having only won two matches since early November and they were likely to head into 2011 in the bottom half.

However, few gave Wolverhampton Wanderers much of a chance in terms of getting a result. Mick McCarthy’s side turned up on Merseyside bottom of the table following a Boxing Day defeat at home to relegation rivals Wigan Athletic. Wolves also were playing their second game in three days, whilst two successive postponements due to freezing weather meant this was Liverpool’s first league match in 18 days.

Under-fire Roy Hodgson could welcome Steven Gerrard back to his ranks after injury had sidelined him for the last six weeks. However, not even the inspirational captain could fire the Reds up as they lacked any creative spark all evening. The first half of this match was cagey, much to the chagrin of the home supporters. The only shot of any note came from Raul Meireles but his strike was hit straight at Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey without any severe pace.

The visitors looked comfortable as they chased down a first win at Anfield in 27 years and as the second half began, they grew in confidence. Defender Ronald Zubar forced Pepe Reina into the first significant save of either goalkeeper on the night. Then, the home crowd’s frustration turned to a sense of boiling anger 11 minutes into the second half. Sylvain Ebanks-Blake threaded a ball past the Liverpool central defenders. Full-back Stephen Ward had timed his run superbly and kept his composure to slide the ball past the advancing Reina in his 200th Premier League appearance. It wasn’t going to be one for the Spaniard to celebrate.

Hodgson looked like a beleaguered manager who knew results needed to improve and quickly. He brought on Joe Cole and Ryan Babel in a vain attempt to find the spark missing. However, with Gerrard lacking match fitness, Dirk Kuyt looking uncomfortable in a left-wing role and Fernando Torres showing little sign of the world-class form he’d demonstrated previously, Liverpool rarely threatened to spoil Wolves’ evening.

They did have the ball in the net two minutes from time as Martin Skrtel connected perfectly with Gerrard’s free-kick. However, replays showed several LFC players including the goalscorer were standing in offside positions.  At the full-time whistle, it was the visiting supporters celebrating in delirium at their first away win of the season.

Hodgson lasted 10 more days before leaving the Liverpool post after a miserable six months in-charge. He was replaced by Kenny Dalglish, who steered the club to sixth position come the season’s end. Wolves went on to beat reigning champions Chelsea and Manchester United and it was these results against the top teams that ultimately protected their top-flight status for another season.

Premier League Files: Bobby Zamora

Bobby Zamora’s career took its time to really get going but he represented all of his Premier League teams with great loyalty and desire to succeed. His best spell was with Fulham where he helped Roy Hodgson’s side to a UEFA Europa League final in 2010 and earned himself international recognition from Fabio Capello and England. A lifelong West Ham United fan, he would spend five seasons as a player for the club he grew up supporting and was often a scorer of some spectacular goals.

He started his Football League career as a trainee with Bristol Rovers in 1999 and made a few sporadic first-team appearances before going out on-loan to first Bath City, then Brighton & Hove Albion. He made an immediate impact at Brighton, scoring six goals in six matches during a three-month loan spell in 2000. This encouraged the Seagulls’ to sign him permanently for the 2000-2001 season. He would score 83 times in 136 appearances, breaking into the England Under-21 setup during this time and helping Brighton towards the second-tier of English football with back-to-back promotions.

Several Premier League clubs had been monitoring Zamora very closely, particularly Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs paid Brighton £1.5 million in July 2003 to take Bobby to White Hart Lane. He was one of Glenn Hoddle’s prime targets that summer. However, the manager was sacked in September 2003 after a poor start to the campaign which saw Tottenham winning only one of their first six games. Zamora struggled to settle too, scoring just once in 18 matches and that was in a League Cup victory over West Ham United. Had he just blown his big Premier League opportunity?

In January 2004, he dropped back down to the Football League but it was a move he needed for his career. Joyfully for Zamora, it was West Ham United where his next port of call would be as the Hammers struck a deal with Tottenham which allowed an unhappy Jermain Defoe to go in the other direction. Zamora struck an instant cord for West Ham supporters, scoring in his first two matches for the club as they narrowly missed out on an immediate return to the Premier League via the play-offs.

There was no play-off heartache in 2005. Zamora was the ultimate difference behind West Ham’s return to the top-flight. He scored four goals in the play-off matches, including the winner to defeat Preston North End in the final. He was heading back to the Premier League and it was with his boyhood club too. He made an important contribution to the 2005-2006 team under Alan Pardew that finished in 9th place and reached the FA Cup final. Bobby scored on the club’s final visit to Highbury which ended in victory over Arsenal but was one of the unfortunate victims to have a spot-kick saved in the FA Cup shootout defeat to Liverpool FC.

He started 2006-2007 in brilliant form with five goals in four matches but as the club hit a dreadful run of form, the goals also dried up for Zamora. Pardew was sacked and replaced by Alan Curbishley. Zamora did score some vital goals in the run-in which saw West Ham pull off a remarkable escape with seven wins in their last nine matches to avoid relegation. Among those goals was a winning goal at Arsenal which made West Ham the first away winners in the Premier League at The Emirates Stadium. In 2007-2008, he missed five months of the campaign because of tendinitis which restricted him to just 14 Premier League appearances and would leave Upton Park in the summer of 2008 to join Fulham.

Zamora struggled to find the net, scoring just twice in 35 league appearances over the 2008-2009 season and it looked set that his stay in the west of the capital would be just a sole season. Fulham agreed a fee with Hull City for Zamora to be sold in July 2009 to the Tigers. However, he turned down the move because he didn’t fancy moving away from London.

It was an inspired decision to stay. Zamora enjoyed his best-ever campaign in 2009-2010, scoring some vital goals in the run to the UEFA Europa League final as Fulham beat the likes of reigning holders Shakhtar Donetsk, Bundesliga champions VfL Wolfsburg and Italian giants Juventus. Fulham suffered heartache in the final, losing 2-1 to Atletico Madrid but finished a comfortable 12th in the Premier League table and he scored 19 goals in all competitions.

A late season injury ended his outside hopes of playing in the 2010 World Cup finals for England but he made his international debut in August 2010, featuring in a friendly victory over Hungary. Another injury meant he would figure just once more for the Three Lions – against Sweden in November 2011 which ultimately turned out to be Capello’s last match in charge of England.

He signed a new four-year contract at Fulham in September 2010 but just 24 hours after putting pen to paper on his new deal, he suffered a broken leg in a home match against Wolverhampton Wanderers. This would keep him out of action for over five months. He did return to action before the 2010-2011 season finished but fell out with new Fulham manager Martin Jol and would leave the Cottagers in January 2012 to join Queens Park Rangers.

He scored on his debut for the club which was a 2-1 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers and scored twice in 14 games as the club narrowly avoided relegation. He never hit the heights of his Fulham days at Loftus Road and experienced two relegations in three seasons. He did score a Goal of the Season contender against West Bromwich Albion in April 2015 and scored another play-off final winner over Derby County but by now, injuries had taken their toll.

In August 2015, he returned to Brighton & Hove Albion and scored seven times in 26 appearances before being released after Brighton missed out on promotion through the play-offs. He didn’t play any part in the campaign after March due to a hip injury and in December 2016, he decided to hang up his football boots. He scored 182 goals during his club career.

Zamora is currently pursuing business interests, including a social housing scheme with ex-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand and West Ham United midfielder Mark Noble.

On his day, Bobby Zamora was unplayable and certainly made an impact on many of his clubs. His best Premier League spell was with Fulham and he is still fondly remembered by Brighton supporters, who came up with the chant: “When the ball hits the goal it’s not Shearer or Cole, its Zamora,” to the tune of Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore.”

Premier League Files: Nicky Shorey

Premier League Career: Reading (2006-2008), (2012-2013), Aston Villa (2008-2009), Fulham (2010), West Bromwich Albion (2010-2012)

Now a coach at League Two side Stevenage, Nicky Shorey enjoyed his Premier League stint, featuring for four sides across seven years. He was most prominent at Reading, where he had two spells for the club, during which time; he managed to win two England caps from Steve McClaren.

Shorey grew up as a West Ham United fan. He started his career at Leyton Orient as an apprentice in 1998 before moving onto Reading in February 2001 for a fee of just £25,000. He would spend the next seven seasons with the club, helping them reach the promise land of the Premier League.

It wasn’t until October 2001 when he got a regular chance in the first-team. Shorey established himself, making 36 appearances and helping the club to promotion to the First Division. Now at a higher level, he made the transition look easy, scoring his first professional goal in October 2002 to win a match at home to Bradford City. Shorey helped Reading make the First Division play-offs where they were edged out by Wolverhampton Wanderers over two legs.

In 2004, there was a nasty scare for his career. Following a routine match with Stoke City which finished goalless, Shorey noticed at home that his foot had started swelling and was throbbing by the time he reached hospital. The resulting infection kept him in hospital for a fortnight and he received further treatment at home for three months on his departure from A&E.

In 2005-2006, he missed just two matches as the Royals’ finally achieved promotion to the Premier League. He was one of Reading’s superstars in their excellent debut season in the top-flight, when they defied all expectations to finish eighth and only narrowly miss out on European qualification. He missed just one match and scored in Reading’s 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur in November 2006. Praised for his excellent delivery from set-pieces, this was shown in full when he contributed to four of the team’s six goals as they gave West Ham United a New Years’ Day mauling in 2007. The season ended with Nicky becoming the first Reading player to represent the England national team in almost 100 years when he played in the 1-1 draw with Brazil. It was also the first match to be played at the new Wembley Stadium.

He was consistent again in 2007-2008, scoring twice but couldn’t prevent the club from being relegated. Relations between club and player became more strained when a proposed move to West Ham United collapsed during the season. The full-back decided after relegation his future lay away from Berkshire and his departure left a bitter taste in the mouths of many supporters. He joined Aston Villa in the summer of 2008.

His time at Villa was a real struggle, unable to hold down a regular place in the side. Although he started the first four matches of the 2009-2010 campaign, he was made surplus to requirements by Martin O’Neill and turned down a loan move to financially-ruined Portsmouth on transfer deadline day in September 2009. Loan spells followed at Nottingham Forest and Fulham during that campaign. He made 12 appearances for the Cottagers’ but was cup-tied during their historic run to the UEFA Europa League final. Shorey impressed Roy Hodgson but when he left Fulham for the Liverpool FC job, the club decided not to take an option up on his loan contract for a permanent switch.

He went back to the Midlands but joined newly-promoted West Bromwich Albion for £1.3 million in August 2010. He made 57 Premier League appearances across two seasons and had another spell working alongside Hodgson when his Liverpool experience turned sour. The arrival of Liam Ridgewell in the 2012 winter transfer window pushed Shorey out of his regular left-back role at The Hawthorns and he was released at the end of that campaign.

He rejoined Reading in the summer of 2012 on a free transfer, four years after his initial departure in fairly acrimonious circumstances. He made 21 appearances but couldn’t stop Reading’s immediate return to the Championship. He was released following their relegation and experienced spells afterwards with Bristol City, Portsmouth, Colchester United and Pune City in the Indian Super League. He retired in October 2016 to take up a coaching role under the guidance of 34-year-old Darren Sarll who is the current manager of Stevenage.

Fate drew the two sides Nicky is commonly associated with together in the third round of the 2018 Emirates FA Cup. Stevenage and Reading played out a goalless draw and will need to replay to see who progresses to the fourth round.

He might have moved elsewhere, both in his playing and current coaching guise but Nicky Shorey will always be a Royal.

Shock Results: Liverpool FC 1-2 Blackpool (October 2010)

Goalscorers: Charlie Adam 29 PEN, Luke Varney 45, Sotirios Kyrgiakos 53

Teams:

Liverpool FC: Pepe Reina, Jamie Carragher, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Martin Skrtel, Glen Johnson, Christian Poulsen (Milan Jovanovic 60), Raul Meireles, Joe Cole (Maxi Rodriguez 88), Steven Gerrard, Dirk Kuyt, Fernando Torres (David Ngog 10)

Blackpool: Matt Gilks, Craig Cathcart (Dekal Keinan 20), Neal Eardley (Matt Phillips 46), Stephen Crainey, Ian Evatt, Charlie Adam, Elliot Grandin (Keith Southern 63), David Vaughan, Gary Taylor-Fletcher, DJ Campbell, Luke Varney

Referee: Mike Jones, Attendance: 43,156

In October 2010, storm clouds were gathering around Anfield. Liverpool FC started this match against Blackpool in the bottom three of the Premier League, having mustered just one win from their opening six matches. The Reds’ had also been embarrassingly dumped out of the League Cup on penalties by Northampton Town.

It wasn’t the start that reigning LMA Manager of the Year Roy Hodgson was expecting. With the club’s sale being challenged in the courts by unpopular American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, there was gloom all around the red half of Merseyside.

Blackpool arrived with two away wins already under their belt and Ian Holloway’s side were looking forward to their first league trip to Anfield since 1971. Despite back-to-back defeats, a win would take the Tangerines’ into ninth place in the table. The mood around the home supporters was not helped by the loss of star forward Fernando Torres to injury inside 10 minutes. As he trooped down the tunnel, Blackpool’s confidence grew and they nearly took the lead shortly afterwards when DJ Campbell guided a half-volley only fractionally wide of the far post.

In the 29th minute, the visitors’ got a golden opportunity to silence The Kop. Glen Johnson’s clumsy challenge on Luke Varney earned Blackpool a penalty. Johnson protested his innocence but Mike Jones rightfully gave the spot-kick. Under a chorus of pressure, Charlie Adam kept his composure and drilled his penalty underneath Pepe Reina’s body to give Holloway’s side a shock but deserved lead.

Liverpool were dismal in the first 45 minutes and the scoreline was about to get worse. Gary Taylor-Fletcher’s superb angled pass played in the dangerous Varney, who made no mistake from 12-yards out and put Blackpool supporters into dreamland. The home fans booed their own players off at the half-time whistle. This was turning into another painful afternoon for the Anfield faithful.

Hodgson had to revive his underperforming stars at the interval and they reduced the deficit in the opening eight minutes of the second half. Steven Gerrard’s free-kick was powered home by Sotirios Kyrgiakos. The Greek came close again later on from a similar routine but was denied by a fine stop from Matt Gilks.

Blackpool held on for a famous win – their first at Anfield since 1969 and they went on to complete a league double over LFC. It was Liverpool’s worst start to a season in 57 years and Hodgson eventually left in January. Kenny Dalglish returned to the dugout and they would rally to finish sixth. Despite thrilling neutrals all season, Blackpool were relegated on the final day of the season. This though is a day their fans will never forget.