‘It was the siren call from the mermaid as the sailor passes by’


Roy Hodgson said he regretted the analogy within minutes but he will from now on be associated with mermaids, ships and answering a “siren call” – a little like Eric Cantona with his seagulls and trawler, perhaps – after he was presented as Watford’s manager.

Maybe it was also an acknowledgement of the 74-year-old’s seniority and track record that the struggling Premier League club have awarded Hodgson the title of manager until the end of the season rather than, as has been usual for them, “head coach” although he personally has given the issue so little regard that he was unaware of his actual title.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s vital league encounter away to Burnley, Hodgson was asked why he had been lured out of apparent retirement even though “the slippers weren’t itchy”. “I thought I would find it easier to resist than I have found,” he said having left Crystal Palace last May when his contract ran out. “That’s why I was never going to turn it down as it was the siren call from the mermaid as the sailor passes by on his ship. It was out of the blue but I’m glad it came because I am ready.”


Presumably Hodgson is the sailor and Watford – in 19th place – the mermaid although, hopefully for both parties, this is not leading towards the rocky shores of relegation.


“I am beginning to regret already the siren analogy. It’s going to come back and haunt me, I am afraid, in years to come,” Hodgson added before expanding on why he took the job following the sacking of his friend, Claudio Ranieri. “This certainly did appeal to me when it came up. I suppose to some extent the unexpected nature of it appealed too. I don’t know if they had come to me in two or three weeks time and said ‘there’s a possibility that we’d like you to do this’, I don’t know necessarily if I would have given the same answer to be perfectly honest because I wasn’t waking up every day and thinking ‘oh God I wish I was at training’.

“Whether this (taking the job) was the heart ruling the head we will find out. It was a question of ‘if this would be fun and if I could do a good job?’ When the answers to those questions were yes, I jumped in at the deep end. I can only hope that jumping in at the deep end won’t see me drowning.”

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