Revealed: The six British Football League managers capable of being the next Roy Hodgson
He’s the Special K One, wholesome and full of goodness.
Roy Hodgson will never be a Karma Chameleon in the manner of Jose Mourinho.
He’s a Grandad tending the allotment, rather than a glory hunter cultivating the legend.
Yet the pair are blood brothers, Eurostars of modern management.
Each, in his own way, is revered at Inter Milan.
They’re brilliant tacticians, men of substance who strategise as effectively as any QC.
They’ve both exported their talent. But in Hodgson’s case, football has come home.
He’s reminded us of the merits of that under-rated breed, the British manager.
To give an indication of his importance, we present Woy’s Men in Waiting.
They’re six Football League managers, suited to this age of austerity. All deserve bigger stages, better budgets, greater recognition:
Ian Holloway (Blackpool)
A cross between Spike Milligan, Sir Bobby Robson and an Old English sheepdog. You don’t know whether to laugh, listen, or let him off the lead.
Like most comedians, Olly has a serious side. He re-evaluated his football principles during a dark year out of the game. He was radio’s loss, Blackpool’s gain.
He went for experience, leavened by bargain signings such as Charlie Adam – the find of the season in the Championship.
DON'T MISS: The essential guide to the Ian Holloway school of management
Nigel Pearson (Leicester)
Not one of life’s sunny optimists, he tends to the gloomy side of dour. He’s as solid, and reliable, as pre-stressed concrete.
He’s not a natural performer, which puts some chairmen off in an age in which football is an extension of the Big Brother house.
But he is a clever, commanding presence on the training ground.
He has worked wonders on limited resources at Leicester, and looks like a Premier League boss in the making.
Paul Lambert (Norwich)
A thoughtful Scot, his management style incorporates some of the traditional disciplines of the German game.
The highlight of his playing career was dominating Zinedine Zidane in Borussia Dortmund’s 1997 Champions League Final win.
He’s adapted to the rough and tumble of League One, and has Mourinho’s flair for getting under the skin of rival coaches.
At Colchester he halved the size of the away dressing room, painted it black and took out all the power sockets. Nice.
Kenny Jackett (Millwall)
On the day he was appointed, Jackett bumped into David Moyes, who told him: “If you can manage that club, you can manage any club.”
Jackett, the best coach you’ve never heard of, is regarded as a ‘proper’ manager by the most demanding fans in the game. At Millwall, that’s a symphony of praise.
He’s transformed a club which chewed up eight managers in 28 months before his arrival.
Tactically astute, he spends his chairman’s money as if it is own, and is now tantalisingly close to the fourth promotion of his career.
Keith Hill (Rochdale)
He plays up to his image as the Rochdale Cowboy by wearing flat caps and dispensing the sort of
homespun advice that stuns Prime Ministers.
You have to love his contempt for the way Notts County have bought the League Two title with money they do not have.
He’s unorthodox, inspirational and it takes real resilience to recover from having your best players sold to balance books.
Eddie Howe (Bournemouth)
He’s 32 but looks 23, a boy band refugee who has somehow found his way into a working men’s club.
He began by keeping Bournemouth in the League despite a 17-point penalty. He followed up by winning promotion, despite a transfer embargo which limited him to 19 players.
Widiculous, as the sainted Woy would say…