A good number of Roy Hodgson's players were involved in great Champions League clashes on the evening of the 22nd October, which demanded the question of what he's doing sat in the Union Society talking to student newspapers. "I know all of my players already," laughed Roy, saying that he would rather be here. Although he did also curse his planning; maybe he should have picked a Europa League night instead.
Talking to journalists before the main event he very much towed the FA line. No, he doesn't know any gay players, but the FA is doing a good job in fighting homophobia in football. No, it’s actually rather good that England had 55,000 fans attend the San Marino game, only beaten that night by the 56,934 people watching the Poland vs Germany match. This smoothly excluded the fact that many stadiums don't have a 55,000 capacity at all. Unfortunately, half full is still half full.
He strode into the nearly full chamber to loud applause. In the time honoured tradition of Union speakers he attempted to break the ice with a joke or two about his lack of education, but had the audience laughing the most when admitting the lowlights of his career, including "overseeing the fall" of Bristol City during an ill-fated stint as a coach.
His approaches to management and leadership formed the main part of his talk. Unfortunately this came at the cost of the anecdotes. His ideas on leadership didn't seem to be particularly insightful. It mainly included suggestions of expecting passion from players and keeping things in perspective. The anecdotes, when they came, were far more natural and freely explained. They revealed the relaxed and humourous side of the man charged with the almighty task of bringing international success back to England.
On England’s chances at the Euros in 2016 he remained non-committal, saying that although he would like England to do well he is still more focused on building a dynasty for the coming years. He was more forthright when answering questions from the audience. He blamed the media for trying to find faults in his relationship with Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and rolled his eyes as somebody asked him “yet another” question about Wayne Rooney.
Overall it was an enjoyable evening, although he could perhaps have given a little more structure to his talk. “Talking to you doesn’t have the same weight as training my team,” he said as an excuse for his minimal notes. But then again why should it? As he left the chamber he was surrounded by audience members, who wished him luck and thanked him for his talk. It was well deserved.
Don’t forget to listen to Cam FM’s interview with Roy Hodgson here.