Hodgson's record reads: P 52 W 20 L 20… Is this a job for Mr Average
23:14 GMT, 29 April 2012
00:31 GMT, 30 April 2012
Poor old Harry Redknapp: in the end, he just wasn't ordinary enough for the Football Association and England. Ordinary would have fitted the schedule. Mediocre could have slotted right in. The last thing the FA wanted was a manager whose season went to the wire, who was still in there sparring with Arsene Wenger and Roman Abramovich come May.
'Roy Hodgson is the only manager we have approached, and we remain on course to make an appointment within the timescale we set out,' David Bernstein, FA chairman, said.
Thumbs up: Redknapp is in pole position to land the England job after being approached by the FA
In other words, having imposed a foolish and unnecessary schedule – let Stuart Pearce run England and parachute the manager in at the last minute – the FA's priority was to make that work.
Hang getting the best English manager, because one look at the league table says that's Redknapp. FA Cup winner in 2008, League Cup finalist in 2009, Champions League qualifier in 2010, Champions League quarter-finalist in 2011, top four again in 2012, and by popular consent architect of the most attractive team in the Premier League. And he's not for them.
Out of his hands: Despite being the fans' favourite to land the job, Redknapp has been snubbed by the FA
Not for the quartet of individuals who have hoodwinked the nation into thinking there was some grand plan. Not for the geniuses who lost Fabio Capello, unbeaten as England manager in over year, and replaced him with a man who is lauded for winning as many matches as he has lost with West Bromwich Albion.
Played 52, won 20, lost 20, drawn 12: that is Hodgson at The Hawthorns. His team lie tenth, neither up nor down. It would be hard to sit more squarely on the fence. Ensconced neatly in the mediocrity of mid-table, Hodgson is approachable in a way that Redknapp is not.
All white on the night: Redknapp's Spurs are back in the top four after beating Blackburn on Sunday
He is the man the FA can go to in their speciously self-imposed time frame without startling any horses. Cheap, too, with a contract that expires in June and no compensation.
An admired coach he may be, but it is no way to get the job. The FA know Hodgson's recent record is no match for Redknapp's, which is why unquantifiable justifications are given for his prospective arrival.
Stalemate: West Brom drew 0-0 with Villa on Saturday
Hodgson will be more useful around the new complex at Burton-on-Trent, overseeing development, it is said. Yet what of the squadrons of elite development officers already employed by the FA If the England manager is the educator as well as the man who has to qualify for tournaments and win trophies, what will the rest do Hey, stick a broom up his backside and he could sweep as he goes. Save on cleaning costs. The committee will like that.
The players wanted Redknapp, the people wanted Redknapp, but this seems one for the suits. Hodgson has a fine coaching pedigree but, just as importantly, they love him at UEFA and FIFA.
Hodgson can cosy up to all the executives that are put off by Sir Dave Richards taking a header into the water feature or Bernstein making his short-lived stand against Sepp Blatter and pals. Files a nice report, does Roy. Writes a lovely technical account, He is the English Andy Roxburgh.
Hodgson has done a good job at West Brom, and at Fulham, but England is different, England is immense. Unless results are good, the England manager needs to carry the country and, if he does not, the roof quickly caves in. It did on Steve McClaren once he lost to Croatia, because the basic support for his appointment was lacking.
Hodgson knows what that is like from his brief time at Liverpool. It means if England endure a poor European Championship campaign, he will not be indulged. The conclusion may be that the FA messed up, but Hodgson will be seen as part of that aberration. He will certainly need to grow a thicker skin than was displayed at Anfield.
Three Lions: Hodgson is set to take charge of England at this summer's European Championships
So there was no cunning plan after all. Throughout this crisis – and never forget it all begins with the clumsiness of losing Fabio Capello – the four man FA committee have behaved like Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog weather prognosticator, seeing shadows as they emerge from their hidey-holes, letting week after week pass without an England manager.
The FA were too lily-livered from the start. The approach for Redknapp should have been made the same month that Capello quit as England manager, February, but that opportunity was missed.
Yet the uncertainty around Redknapp as good as scuttled Tottenham's form, so any hope that their Premier League business would be concluded with games to spare evaporated.
Gone: Capello quit the England post earlier this year after falling out with the FA
If the FA had been bolder, any manager could have been on their radar. Instead, they needed one whose season was as good as dead.
Hodgson, not too hot, not too cold, was just right. By the admission of Alex Horne, the FA general secretary, as his rivals prepare and pore over detail, England's new coach will now be presented with a schedule and as good as told to lump it.
'We know exactly what we're doing between now and our first game against France and we just need to slot a manager in, giving that individual enough time to get used to the set-up,' he said, earlier this month.
Yet whose set up is that Not Hodgson's. Everything, from opposition scouting reports to the pre-tournament trip to Auschwitz, is out of his hands. Players are getting injured, others are reaching finals that could impact on training schedules, and none of it is within his remit.
The FA would never have treated a foreign manager this way, but because the new appointment is an Englishman, they feel empowered.
Here's the plan, now pick your squad, pick your team, and leave the thinking to us, the brains of the operation. Except few events around England in the days before Capello's departure, or subsequently, smack of great insight.
The pity for Hodgson is that, as at Liverpool, he may be rejected in the minds of many before the job has even begun.
If Redknapp's Tottenham now enjoy a late resurgence in the league, the FA decision will come under increasing scrutiny, as will their preferred choice. Hodgson may discover, on pulling the cord, that the FA's parachute is more of a knapsack.