A FORMER Sunday league football coach has told of his time working alongside new England manager Roy Hodgson.
John King volunteered as an accreditation official during the 1996 European Championships and shared a Manchester office with the then Inter Milan boss, who was doing media work, for the majority of the six-week tournament.
And 68-year-old John, of Sandylands, believes Hodgson, who has managed in Sweden, Switzerland, Finland and Italy is the right man to lead the Three Lions, despite the criticism he has received from some quarters.
He said: “I thought he was very, very knowledgable. He was a real stickler for detail.
“His knowledge of the game was outstanding so you could see why he’d had such success with Switzerland and took Inter Milan to a final.
“I think we have to give him a chance and get behind him.”
John, who now organises reunions of the pub teams he used to manager and coach, said the former Liverpool boss explained to him that he wanted to return to his homeland during their time together in the Holiday Inn office.
He said: “I saw him most days for six weeks and we shared some good banter.
“I remember him saying he wanted to return to England and sure enough he went to Blackburn (in 1997).
“I said to him ‘you never know, you might be England manager one day’, and look what’s happened.”
While working at the tournament, John also rubbed shoulders with other football personalities including former Manchester United manager Ron Atkinson.
“It was like being in heaven every day,” said John.