SHOCKING: West Brom boss holds talks as FA snubs Redknapp
LONDON: Roy Hodgson arrived at Wembley Stadium late yesterday for talks with the Football Association about taking over the England manager's job, a post to which he could be appointed within days.
The FA's surprise decision to go for the 64-year-old West Bromwich Albion manager instead of long-time favourite Harry Redknapp left much of the British press underwhelmed.
"What are the Hods on that?" was the front-page story in The Sun tabloid, while the Daily Mail said the "fans' backlash" has already begun.
With just six weeks to go until England play their first match at Euro 2012, the FA confirmed on Sunday they had been granted permission from West Brom to speak to Hodgson about the position vacated by Fabio Capello.
Tottenham manager Redknapp appeared to have conceded defeat, telling Sky Sports: "It's no problem. If Roy takes the job, I wish him all the best. He's a great guy. I've got a great job here."
Hodgson, who has already guided West Brom to safety this season, would be available to take over immediately unlike Redknapp, whose buyout clause at Tottenham could have cost the FA up to STG10 million (RM49 million).
Hodgson has already spoken with the FA chairman David Bernstein and was set to meet with the four man FA panel tasked with finding a new England manager.
Bernstein said Hodgson, who has managed Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Finland, and club sides in Sweden, Italy and England, without ever winning a major trophy, was the only manager the FA had approached.
"Roy is the only manager we have approached and we remain on course to make an appointment within the timescale we set-out soon after Fabio Capello's departure," Bernstein said.
Hodgson took over at West Brom in 2011 after an unhappy and unsuccessful time six-month spell in charge of Liverpool.
Several newspapers recalled Hodgson had given an interview at the start of the season in which he said he would only consider taking the England job if he had the backing of the FA, the media and the players.
"I would rather hope if I was ever going to be offered the England job, it would be with the backing of the important people," he told journalists then.
"And that would be of course the fans and the people like yourselves (the media), who represent the fans. Otherwise it's going to be a very difficult job for anyone who takes it and has not got the backing of these people."
England's present situation has been compared to that they faced in 1977 when fans favourite' Brian Clough, who'd taken unfashionable Derby County to the old First Division title, was overlooked in favour of 'safe' choice Ron Greenwood.
And in 1982 Clough, who by then had guided Nottingham Forest from the second tier to champions of England and two European Cups, was again ignored for the England job, this time in favour of Bobby Robson.
Redknapp, who has had nothing like the same success, is being cast in some quarters in the Clough role, with Hodgson likened to a latterday Greenwood.
Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick when England last won a major trophy by beating West Germany in the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley, said he could understand the comparisons.
"Yes, I certainly could. He (Redknapp) is the most popular choice at the moment, as Brian Clough was at the time.
"Brian Clough was even more of a shock because what he achieved with Derby and Nottingham Forest was absolutely unbelievable," added Hurst, who played alongside Redknapp at West Ham when Greenwood was the club's manager.
England are currently under the caretaker charge of Stuart Pearce, the former England defender who is also the manager of the national Under-21 side and coach of the British Olympic team. AFP