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Roy Hodgson will step down from his role as Crystal Palace manager at the end of the season after the 73-year-old confirmed he is stepping back from full-time coaching. Hodgson’s final home game in charge of Palace will take place on Wednesday evening when Arsenal visit Selhurst Park, and it is well timed as the government allows fans to return to stadiums for the final two matches of the season.
“After more than 45 years of coaching I have decided that the time is right for me to step away from the rigours of top-flight Premier League football, so our final two matches will be my last ones as manager of Crystal Palace,” Hodgson said. “It’s been a particularly rewarding period of my football life and career to have been able to spend these last four seasons with Palace. I feel now that at the end of another successful season, in which we have secured our Premier League status, the moment is right for me to step down from my responsibilities of being a full-time manager.”
Asked whether he was retiring, Hodgson said: “One never knows. It is a dangerous thing to do when you still feel good about yourself to start making bold statements about retirement. I am certainly not leaving Crystal Palace with the idea of putting myself back on the market for another job.
“I really am stepping away from football for a while, but who knows what the future will be? It is a never-say-never moment. I’ve seen so many people retire with all the fanfare blazing, only to surface again somewhere in a fairly short period of time. I’d prefer not to do that. I am looking forward to spending a little bit more time with my wife and son and maybe listening to what they want to do for once, because it hasn’t happened very much in the last 50 years.”
Hodgson grew up in Croydon and was part of the Palace academy, but never established himself in the first team and began his management career aged 29, in charge of Swedish side Halmstad. He went on to win Swedish title in five successive seasons with Malmo.
Coaching took Hodgson all over Europe, most notably to the Swiss national team, Inter Milan, Copenhagen and Udinese. He managed the United Arab Emirates and Finland before returning to the UK in 2007 with Fulham, whom he took to the 2010 Europa League final. A brief spell with Liverpool followed and Hodgson took charge of England for four years, guiding the national team the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 before disappointing premature exits at the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016.
But Hodgson restored his reputation in his four years at Palace, keeping the side in the top flight with a well-organised tactical setup which used the attacking exploits of Wilfried Zaha.
He added: “It’s been a particularly rewarding period of my football life and career to have been able to spend these last four seasons with Palace. I feel now that at the end of another successful season, in which we have secured our Premier League status, the moment is right for me to step down from my responsibilities of being a full-time manager.
“I have had so much support from my wife and family throughout my career and I have been contemplating this decision for some time, and now I believe the time is right to consider them and to see what the future holds for me.
“I have really enjoyed my time at Palace, I have been privileged to work with an outstanding group of professional and dedicated players, most of whom have been with me throughout the four years. A manager is only as good as the players who perform on the pitch. I have been fortunate that those in my charge have certainly given me that and I thank them for it.
“I am sure I speak for all the players, my coaching staff and backroom team, when I say I am proud of the work we have done together to retain our Premier League status during this time.
“I would also like to thank our Chairman Steve Parish, his partners David Blitzer and Josh Harris and Sporting Director Dougie Freedman for all their support over the years. They gave me an opportunity to return to my hometown club and I have always felt we were singing from the same hymn sheet in trying to achieve our joint goals. I can only wish them all the very best of luck for a successful future and I am convinced that the club will go from strength to strength.”
Hodgson’s long-time assistant Ray Lewington will also be stepping down at the end of the season. Frank Lampard is the early frontrunner to take over from Hodgson, after he was sacked by Chelsea in January. Burnley manager Sean Dyche and Swansea’s Steve Cooper are also in contention.
Palace chairman Steve Parish said: “It has been an absolute privilege and pleasure to work alongside Roy, who is both a magnificent human and an outstanding football manager. I know how much it has meant to Roy managing the club he supported as a child, adding to his distinguished and unparalleled career in football management.
“His record with us simply cannot be overstated, he is the only Palace manager to secure four years in the Premier League and he has helped give us stability in the most turbulent of times. We will be forever grateful for his immense contribution and I am delighted that we will have the opportunity to show our appreciation at Selhurst Park after the Arsenal match, alongside 6,500 supporters.
“Roy will leave us after our final Premier League match of the season with our enormous thanks for his incredible contribution to our club, and with our very best wishes for the future.”