After less than a year of retirement, Roy Hodgson has returned to the Premier League, agreeing to take a place at Crystal Palace until the end of the season.
Initially, Hodgson announced his plans to retire after the end of his previous tenure at the Palace, which lasted from 2017 to 2021.
But the offer to become a firefighter at Watford in the second half of last season turned out to be too tempting: the ex-Liverpool manager worked for six months before retiring again.
He insisted that was the case until Patrick Vieira was relieved of his duties at Selhurst Park earlier this month.
Palace had a 12-game winless streak, but the decision to dismiss Vieira came as a surprise even to some of his players, as Joel Ward admitted this week.
In any case, the threat of relegation proved too alarming for the club’s owners, who have now confirmed Hodgson’s return on a temporary basis until the end of the campaign.
It serves as a continuation of a remarkable career that began in 1976 in the Swedish team “Halmstads BK” and gained a foothold in Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, the United Arab Emirates, Norway, Finland and, including the national team, in England.
Hodgson, of course, is notorious on Merseyside for his miserable six-month reign at Liverpool, which yielded just 13 wins in 31 games.
Palace are currently 12th in the Premier League, but are one of nine teams with a real chance of relegation in May.
They are just three points above the relegation zone, having played two more games than West Ham in 18th place, and one more than Leeds, Nottingham Forest, Leicester and Bournemouth in 19th place.
After coming to power at Watford in a similar situation last season, the Hornets have won just twice in 18 games, losing 13 of them and dropping to the Championship.
Watford have scored just 11 goals in those 18 matches, conceding 37, which is worse than Palace’s current stats (22 scored and 38 conceded) in games under Vieira this season.