Did it really have to end like this at Crystal Palace for Roy Hodgson?

<span>Roy Hodgson had upset <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Crystal Palace;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Crystal Palace</a> supporters by claiming they had been ‘spoiled here in recent times’.</span><span>Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian</span>

As Roy Hodgson trudged off the pitch last Monday night after Crystal Palace’s morale-sapping late defeat by Chelsea, he must have realised he was on borrowed time. Less than 11 months after his triumphant return to replace Patrick Vieira at his home town club, the manager who first visited Selhurst Park as a six-year-old in the 1950s could never have imagined it would come to this.

A campaign that has made the Premier League’s oldest-ever manager – a record he possessed even before answering the Palace chairman Steve Parish’s SOS call last March – increasingly irritable as his team struggled with injuries and poor form seemed to be taking its toll on Hodgson for several weeks. But news that he had to be taken to hospital for tests after falling ill during a training session last Thursday was an extremely concerning development. This season has caused the former England manager considerable anxiety and he has now confirmed that he will step down three months earlier than planned. “Given recent circumstances, it may be prudent at this time for the club to plan ahead,” he said in a statement.

Related: Crystal Palace appoint Oliver Glasner as manager after Roy Hodgson steps down

Hodgson turned 76 three days before Palace’s first game of the season against Sheffield United but showed he still possessed all of his old fighting spirit during a confrontation with Max Lowe that ended up with him being punched in the ribs by a player 50 years his junior. “His abs are stronger than I thought,” said Lowe. “Apparently Roy said he was quite pleased at his reaction because he didn’t know he still had it in him.”

Although Hodgson, a Croydon boy who has never been afraid to show his nasty side, made a decent start to Palace’s post-Wilfried Zaha era after agreeing to stay on for another year, a bout of illness on the morning of the game against Aston Villa in September was a reminder of his vulnerability.

Hodgson said that the whole experience had been “frustrating and very disappointing”, mainly because they never quite got to the bottom of what had affected him. “After all the excellent treatment I received – the tests and the way people were racing around to really look after me and check on me – people can’t be 100% certain what caused that attack which put me suddenly in a hospital after expecting to have lunch and go to the game,” he said.

A number of gaffes, including claiming supporters had been “spoiled here in recent times” as Palace’s problems stacked up, did not help calm the choppy waters, and persistent injuries to Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise left Hodgson short of creativity. He twice staved off the immediate threat of being sacked with Olise-inspired victories over Brentford and Sheffield United. But by the time Olise limped off having sustained another serious hamstring injury 11 minutes after coming on as a substitute with Palace 3-0 down against their arch-rivals Brighton, it was apparent the manager’s days were numbered.

Supporters have made their feelings known at recent games with a series of banners criticising the owners, leading Hodgson to describe the predicament at Palace as “the toughest period of my career for one reason, and that is that the fans have turned so much against us”. Having managed 22 teams in eight countries, that is some indictment. “It is a little bit hurtful but I’m certainly not going to be cowed by that type of thing,” he said after the Brighton loss.

Parish, who once again expressed his eternal gratitude to Hodgson for the role he played in keeping Palace in the Premier League for so long, is believed to have spoken regularly with him during the recent poor run of form. He would have preferred to wait until the end of the season to replace Hodgson but was convinced a change was needed after a run of four wins in 18 league games dragged the club into a relegation battle. “After four years in which he led the club to maintaining Premier League status season after season, he once again joined us nearly a year ago to steady the ship, and worked wonders,” said Parish. “That he agreed to continue in the summer speaks volumes about his commitment to our club.”

Related: Oliver Glasner: an ambitious, popular head coach who pulls no punches

The former Eintracht Frankfurt manager Oliver Glasner succeeds him after impressing Parish and the sporting director, Dougie Freedman, in a series of meetings over the past few weeks. Ipswich’s Kieran McKenna and Steve Cooper, who was sacked by Nottingham Forest in December, were also considered. The Austrian was confirmed in his new role before Palace’s trip to Everton on Monday, having been spotted meeting Parish at a hotel on Friday before heading to Tottenham’s game against Wolves the following day. Palace travel to north London on 2 March in what will be Glasner’s second game in charge after they host Burnley next week.

Always a manager of the utmost dignity, Hodgson never shirked a question about his future and had insisted after the Chelsea defeat that he could keep Palace away from trouble. The former Blackburn, Liverpool, Fulham and West Brom manager (to name just a few) has never been one to avoid a challenge but he and Parish must be reflecting on whether this was the way to end such a distinguished career.