Saturday 23 February 2008

West Ham United v Fulham - English Football (Roy Hodgson and the Swiss National Team)


I used to follow football quite a bit in the late 50's, early 60's and now and again I have a butchers to see what West Ham United are doing. One day I will do a blog about them, but for now let it be sufficient to say that my dad grew up with them and I carried on the tradition - although now and again made an excursion to Brisbane road where the O's (Leyton Orient) were playing.

I noticed they were today playing Fulham. I thought big deal as Fulham is not exactly world class and I think I vaguely remember a trip to their stadium many moons ago, and thought thank goodness I can have a look at the boats on the River Thames when the going got boring.
Now reading through the Internet I discovered something. I was only talking to Mr. Swiss a few days back after the Swiss National team's surprising defeat in England in a friendly game, about one of the best trainers the Swiss ever had, Roy Hodgson, and what ever happened to him. He came to Neuenburg Xamax in 1992 as their trainer, one of our good Swiss football teams, from Sweden. He could speak more or less good Swedish. He then took over the Swiss national team and quickly learnt German and French to be able to communicate with the team. He was the man that managed to put the national Swiss team in the World cup in America. Surprisingly they did not win it (well there were many Swiss that thought they would) but they did put up a good performance.

He left Switzerland after a few years for an Italian club (think it was Inter Milano) but as the Italians don't like their teams to loose at any time, he soon lost the job. Today I found his name as trainer for Fulham where he seemed to have arrived via Finnland (did he learn Finnish as well?). Surprising how things turn out sometimes. Someone wrote somewhere that Fulham could be the banana skin that West Ham might slide on. Unfortunately I cannot go to the match or watch it on tv. My dad told me on my last visit to England the prices charged these days for a visit to a league match are exorbitant, so if I was in England it might be a bit on the expensive side for me. I was wondering how a father with his son(s) could afford it these days. My dad also said in this day and age he would be too frightened to attend a football match in case he got mugged.

Anyhow may the best team win - West Ham of course.

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