Roy Hodgson is preparing for an emotional farewell after deciding “the time is right” to step down from Crystal Palace at the end of the season and retire as a manager.
Hodgson, who began his coaching career in Sweden in 1976 and went on to manage England between 2012 and 2016, will take charge of his last Selhurst Park match against Arsenal on Wednesday before facing one of his former clubs, Liverpool, on Sunday in his final game.
Frank Lampard is understood to be among those in contention to take over from the 73-year-old, who has been in charge of Palace since September 2017 and also managed Blackburn, Fulham and West Bromwich in the Premier League before his appointment by England.
The announcement ends any uncertainty over Hodgson’s future and means fans returning to Selhurst Park will have an opportunity to pay tribute to the Premier League’s oldest-ever manager.
“Goodbyes have never been my forte,” Hodgson said. “I’ve been much better at hellos. It risks being an emotional occasion and I’m not good on emotional occasions.”
Hodgson said “the moment is right for me to step down from my responsibilities of being a full-time manager” after four seasons at the helm of his hometown club.
“It’s a decision which hasn’t exactly been taken overnight,” Hodgson said. “It’s been really brewing for a long time. I had in the back of my mind that the right time to leave the club and maybe even to leave football for a while would be at the end of the season. I’m pleased that despite the speculation of the last two or three months, we’ve been able to keep things on a pretty even keel.”
The Palace chairman, Steve Parish, is understood to have sounded out potential candidates in recent weeks, with Lampard interested in returning to management having been sacked by Chelsea in January. Burnley’s Sean Dyche also has his admirers in the Palace boardroom and could emerge as the most similar candidate to Hodgson, although it is believed he would cost up to £10m in compensation. Dyche expects to hold contract talks with Burnley. “I’m sure over the coming weeks they will be speaking to me,” he said on Tuesday. “They’ve certainly mentioned that they want to.”
It seems unlikely Palace will risk appointing a manager untested in the Premier League despite interest in Swansea’s Steve Cooper and Valérien Ismaël of Barnsley – whose sides contested the first leg of their Championship play-off on Monday.
Palace have not finished lower than 14th in Hodgson’s four seasons, and victory against Arsenal would mean they could record their highest Premier League points total by beating Liverpool. Parish paid tribute to the impact Hodgson has had on his boyhood club since replacing Frank De Boer with the team bottom after losing their first four matches.
“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,” said Parish, who also confirmed that Hodgson’s longtime assistant Ray Lewington would leave. “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.”