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Rediff.com  » Sports » Hodgson makes quick return as West Brom manager

Hodgson makes quick return as West Brom manager

February 12, 2011 21:23 IST

Roy Hodgson made a swifter than planned return to Premier League management on Friday when he was named West Bromwich Albion boss, one month after his departure from Liverpool.

Hodgson, who replaces the sacked Roberto Di Matteo, gets the chance to forget about his torrid six months at Anfield as he sets about saving West Brom from relegation and living up to the reputation he built as last season's Manager of the Year with Fulham.

"It was not my intention to return to Premier League football this quickly," the 63-year-old told the Albion website after committing to the club until June 2012.

"But I was so impressed by the way the chairman (Jeremy Peace) and (technical director) Dan Ashworth sold the project to me that I was very happy to accept the offer," he added.

West Brom are one place above the relegation zone in 17th spot, two points above bottom club West Ham United, and Hodgson will be hoping to emulate the success he had at Fulham where he transformed a struggling team into Europa League finalists.

Roy HodgsonWhen he joined the Londoners in 2007 the club were in danger of relegation but they eventually survived on the last day of the season. He then took them to seventh the following campaign, earning a European berth.

A fairytale run in the 2009-10 Europa League -- they defeated holders Shakhtar Donetsk, Italian giants Juventus and then-German champions VfL Wolfsburg -- took Fulham to their first major European final where they lost to Atletico Madrid.

RELEGATION BATTLERS

A well-liked manager whose name has often been linked with the England job, Hodgson boasts many managerial posts on his CV including taking Switzerland to the 1994 World Cup and leading Inter Milan to the 1997 UEFA Cup final.

Despite his success at Fulham he failed to win over Liverpool fans when he was appointed Rafa Benitez's successor last July as many thought he did not have the pedigree usually associated with the 18-times English champions.

During Hodgson's spell at Anfield the club won only seven of 20 league games and spent much of the time in the bottom half of the table.

He was often booed by the fans before he parted company with the club on Jan. 8 and they subsequently brought in Kenny Dalglish.

Hodgson should not struggle with the supporters in the same way at West Brom, with Internet fan forums featuring comments welcoming a "good appointment" and a "safe pair of hands".

"At such a vital stage of the season we felt it was important we identified and appointed the right man as quickly as possible," said Peace before adding Hodgson was the board's unanimous first choice.

"We believe his vast experience and knowledge of the game is exactly what we need for the challenge we face, both in the short and long term," he added.

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