Roy interview

Good interview with Paul Hayward of the Guardian:

“West Bromwich Albion, like Fulham, have a certain appeal and I knew there were some good football players here, talented people. I thought they had the right attitude – the chairman and Dan Ashworth, the sporting director. I thought it would be a nicer way to finish the season than leaving Liverpool and not doing anything for six months.

“The beauty of the Fulham one was that there were more games: 18 as opposed to 12 here. The lack of fixtures bothered me because sometimes it takes four to six to make inroads. It happened quickly here, with the help of people like Nicky Shorey, who had worked with me before, Steven Reid who was quick to latch on, Jonas Olsson, James Morrison and Graham Dorrans. They half knew what I was going to work, what I would want.

“The template is organisation, not only defensive but offensive as well. We divide our time almost religiously between attacking and defending. We have a 60-40 swing. If you’re playing a difficult away game you might spend one and a half sessions defending. But for the most part it’s one on the defensive shape, one on the offensive shape and a third possibly divided between the two, or on specific work.

“The mantra is that we’ve got to be a very strong unit both when we’re attacking and defending. We talk about it globally. When the opposition have the ball how are we 11 going to deal with it? The two strikers might still be the most important people when we’re defending. And the guys who are there to stop it might have a big part in our attacking build-up. At Liverpool the players were receptive to the work we tried to do as they were at Fulham and are here. But of course players have characteristics and it suits them to do certain things rather than others – so you’re always going to find that battle against their natural desires.”

13 thoughts on “Roy interview

  1. That last sentence sums up a lot for me. Whilst you might expect other managers (our current one, for instance) to mention ‘moulding’ or ‘getting the best out of’ a player’s natural desires, Roy’s quite happy to say ‘battling against’.

    Seems to me there’s a really interesting paradox in his management style – on the one hand, he’s trusting of players and treats them as adults, whilst on the other, he’s trusting them to carry out exactly his instructions, which are pretty unchangable. Clearly it can work wonders in some scenarios but be disastrous in others.

    What makes Roy so intruiging is that he’s both candid and more articulate than most, so you always feel as if you’re getting a real insight into his mindset in a way that you don’t with, say, Mark Hughes.

    Really pleased it’s worked for him at West Brom.

    1. It lends the impression that Roy, whilst not being a strict disciplinarian, only works well when he is in complete control of the players. This will be places where the players respect him.

      Places where he had complete control:

      West Brom
      Switzerland (he restructured how the national team worked)

      Places where he had less control:


      The more I think about it, the more I am coming around to the idea that he is like a mini-Mourinho. Both have manifestly defensive outlooks that focus on positioning and teamwork, and foster a strong mental attitude within their squads. The difference? Mourinho has success at larger teams where Hodgson has ‘failed’. Why is this? More patience at getting players to buy into his system? A better understanding of how to unleash attacking players from a defensive base (Duff and Robben at Chelsea, Sneijder and Eto’o at Inter)?

      1. also he had complete control in Sweden, where he dominated for a long time.

        More of an alpha male personality I suspect. The WBA side seems to share a lot of characteristics with Fulham, some bright players who are good enough to make Roy’s ways work, but not so good that they don’t think they have to listen. This is the beauty of Hangeland, Murphy, etc, good players who can work in a system. Mourinho’s magic is as you say, along the same lines, but with extraoardinardy man management and much bigger budgets. If you think about it, he got his break by taking Porto to European glory; Fulham to the Europa is not a dissimilar feat.

        But it is strange how Liverpool played so poorly, whereas West Brom, like Fulham, seem to be playing a nice, fluid attacking game (when it suits). Odd.

        Finally, as you may recall from the last Fulham Review, Roy’s time at Blackburn started extremely well, but as the Hodgson advocates left or lost influence, the detractors (Sherwood) took over. Chris Sutton had an “If Hodgson goes, so can I” clause in his contract, which is amazing.

        1. Agree about Mourinho, he is undoubtedly a great manager but he has had several regimes that have been very conducive to winning – Chelsea, Inter and Real have given him boatloads of money and a relatively stable club to come into.

          Hodgson at Inter was there in a transition period when they really were struggling. Blackburn was more stable although when the owner says “Why do you want to sign Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood?” maybe all was not what it seemed. Liverpool was obviously more of a mess than we all realised, and as soon as the new owners were in with ‘their guy’ Dalglish, they threw £60m at two new strikers and, surprise surprise, money+stability = success.

          I am not in any way calling Hodgson as good a manager as Mourinho, but I can imagine a younger Hodgson getting the same breaks and doing much better at bigger clubs than he has up to this point.

  2. Doesn’t sound like he’s planning on staying there long either:

    “I thought it would be a nicer way to finish the season than leaving Liverpool and not doing anything for six months.”

  3. The key problem at Liverpool surely was that players and fans felt they were deserving of a much more high profile manager.

    Add in the fact that their preferred candidate was an “ambassador” sitting in the stands advertising his desperation for the job and new owners wanting to please the faithful and Hodgson had no chance.

    Something he should have realised of course before he took the job.

  4. would you guys welcome him back? with hughes out of contract this summer. it’s possible we could be looking for a manager again.

    i think i would take him. that’s if, hughes leaves. this season has been fun to watch at times, and he looks to be putting together a solid squad. if we only we had bobby z all season.

    1. I think having Roy back would be wonderful. But the rumor mill is that Martin Jol is waiting in the wings… that’s a tough choice to make, and I have a feeling that Chairman Mo burnt that bridge as Roy crossed it.

      1. Chairman Mo certainly seems to have a temper and holds grudges. I would be happy with Hodgson back but only if Hughes left first.

    2. I’m sure he will still be at WBA next season and I hope Hughes will still be at Fulham but if htis is not to be then Jol would be good, so long as he has the summer to do his thing and bring in some players.

      Roy definitely should not come back. He should be cheered by the fans as a visiting manager and hopefully Mo has let his bitterness go and will shake his hand but Mo could never work with him again and to be honest we have moved on as a team. I think most of the players prefer the Hughes style rather then playing in the fairly rigid format of Roy.

    3. Besides, didn’t Mo say Hughes was much better looking that Hodgson? Can’t really take her back after that! Though I do wonder where Jol would land on Mo’s spectrum of physical beauty…

      1. I’d love to have Jol as manager solely for the fact that each time I see his picture I imagine him screaming, “DONKEY!”

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