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Liverpool Announce Roy Hodgson as Manager

The Reds finally announce their new boss after weeks of speculation.

From the official site:

Roy Hodgson has been appointed the new manager of Liverpool FC.

The 62-year-old former Fulham, Inter Milan and Switzerland manager has agreed terms with the club on a three-year contract and becomes the 18th manager in our history.

He will be unveiled to the world's media this afternoon after overseeing the first day of pre-season training at Melwood.

Hodgson joins us from Fulham, where he guided the Cottagers to the Europa League final in May and was voted Manager of the Year by the League Managers' Association.

I'm struggling to think of how to put my reaction into words.

For all the trials and tribulations of the 2009-2010 campaign, I had expected to be bowled over with some sort of emotion at the announcement of who was to replace Rafa Benitez.

I hoped it would be unbridled joy---some hero of a thousand faces at the climax of his monomythic journey arriving at Anfield to lead the once-powerful Liverpool back to domestic glory. But given the three-ring circus that's settled in the back offices and boardrooms in the past few years, I was obviously also prepared for monumental disappointment and rage. Not directed at any potential manager in particular, but certainly not far from reality.

So when Liverpool finally confirm what we've heard in the past few weeks about Hodgson's appointment, I almost find myself manufacturing a reaction.

It's not meant as a slight to Hodgson, who by all accounts is one of the more respected names in English football and has a proven record with a number of sides at both the international and club level. He seems a decent, stable man who manages his teams and his players in a manner that's won him plenty of fans.

And the work he's done in the Premier League with Fulham in the past few seasons almost was a monomyth---after struggling in the month immediately following his arrival in December of the 2007-2008 season, Hodgson's side earned 12 points from their final five matches and survived one of the most enthralling relegation battles in recent memory. The success continued, with the club finishing seventh in 2008-2009 and making a fantastic run to the Europa League final this past season.

But whether it's a product of his relatively benign demeanor (which could very well be just what the doctor ordered and can't be seen as negative) or just my displeasure with Liverpool on the whole, "Oh" is about as animated as my reaction got.

I think I'm mostly filled with a sort of anxious curiosity---curious to see what he's able to do in the transfer market, curious to see how he handles Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, and Javier Mascherano (the three most prominent names linked anywhere and everywhere), curious to see what brand of football his Liverpool will play, and curious to see how he handles an off-the-pitch environment that has, at times (many, many times), been simultaneously toxic and comical.

In any case, it's some sort of step in some sort of direction for Liverpool. We won't have to wait long to find out what sort of direction that is---training camp starts soon, and before we know it the 2010-2011 campaign will be underway. It's a quick turnaround for most of Liverpool's first-team regulars, and Hodgson's going to tasked with getting to know his squad at the same time he gets them prepared to rebound from a dismal season gone by. And regardless of my ambivalence or lack of reaction now, just thinking about the start of a new season has me excited.

Welcome Roy, and best of luck.

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