Ex-Fleet man lands big Anfield job

Roy Hodgson, former resident of DA11, takes the reins at Liverpool…

Former Gravesend & Northfleet defender Roy Hodgson has been appointed the 18th manager of 18-times League winners and five times European champions Liverpool.

The 62-year-old Croydon-born Hodgson played for Crystal Palace but struggled to break into the first team and dropped into Kent football, first with Tonbridge and then with the Fleet under Alf Ackerman in 1969. His arrival aged 22 at Stonebridge Road coincided with an upturn in the club’s fortunes and they were promoted in third place from the Southern League First Division in his final season.

After exiting Stonebridge Road in 1971 – having played 53 (+6) and scored once – Hodgson moved to Maidstone where he was assistant manager before leaving for Sweden in 1976 where he began his managerial career at Halmstad. He had a brief spell at the helm of Bristol City before a successful time leading Malmo to the Swedish cup and championship several times.

He enjoyed European wins over Celtic and Real Madrid while boss of Swiss side Neuchatel Xamax before leading their national side to the 1994 World Cup. He guided them to Euro 96 before taking the reins at Inter Milan and later Blackburn Rovers, Grasshoppers, Copenhagen, Udinese, UAE, Viking Norway and Finland before saving Fulham from relegation and later guiding them to the UEFA Cup Final. He was voted LMA Manager of the Year in 2010.

When recalling his time at the Fleet some years back, Hodgson said, “I remember my two less-than-glorious years at Stonebridge Road warmly. As a young player I learnt a lot about football whilst there – the characters I played with and my geography improved as we played in a number of locations I never knew even existed.

“Our training nights in cold, damp evenings helped forge my future ideas. I have accumulated a fund of memories from my spell at Stonebridge Road and I salute the men I played and trained with during this spell.”

Meanwhile, another old Fleet boy could also be mixing it with former European champions as Jimmy Bullard is mulling over a season-long loan move to Celtic from Hull City.


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