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Saturday, November 21, 1998 Published at 19:26 GMT

Hodgson quits as Rovers hit bottom

Blackburn have struggled since winning the Premiership title in 1995

Blackburn Rovers 0 Southampton 2

Roy Hodgson has parted company with Blackburn Rovers after the club hit rock bottom following a humiliating defeat at the hands of relegation rivals Southampton.

Hodgson wrote in his regular Saturday newspaper column only hours before the game: "The way a manager behaves in times of crisis can often be the decisive factor in determining whether a team pulls through or slides deeper into trouble."

Rovers fans will hope his decision to quit will not be the decisive factor leading to their relegation.

Two wins this season

The club, who won the championship only three years ago, have won only two Premiership games this season.

[ image: Roy Hodgson has thrown the towel in]
Roy Hodgson has thrown the towel in
Ironically, Hodgson had been touted as the next England manager and angry Blackburn fans were mockingly chanting "Hodgson for England" towards the end of game.

Hodgson failed to appear at the post-match press conference, and instead, chief executive John Williams announced that he had left the club.

A club statement said: "Following the run of recent poor results, Jack Walker and Roy Hodgson have agreed that Roy will be leaving the club.

"The club are disappointed at this outcome but feel the decision is inevitable and in the best interests of Blackburn Rovers."

Few would have expected Hodgson's Ewood Park career to end in such circumstances after he joined in a blaze of glory from Inter Milan in June 1997.

The former Switzerland coach had a CV which was the envy of most coaches and he was one of the hottest managerial properties in Europe.

He enhanced his reputation in his first season by leading Rovers into Europe.

He was even contacted by the German FA when they were searching for a successor to Berti Vogts.

Spending spree

Since the end of last season he spent 20m on strengthening his side, but instead of challenging for the top, he found his team battling against relegation.

It is expected that Hodgson's assistant Tony Parkes will be asked to take up the managerial reigns again until a successor is found.

The side's captain,Tim Sherwood, felt Hodgson had paid the price for the poor sequence of results.

Sherwood, who had his rows with Hodgson this season, said: "We had no inclination that this was going to happen.

"I think it's harsh to put sole blame on Roy Hodgson, but at the end of the day, results speak louder than words, and we have not been getting them.

"You have to respect Jack Walker's decision because the buck stops with the manager. It's Jack's club and Jack's money, and as a player and captain of this club, I respect whatever decision he makes."

Match report

Southampton were without hamstring victim Matt Le Tissier but Carlton Palmer took over as the creative provider.

He set up Matt Oakley's fourth minute opener.

Palmer sent Oakley running through a gaping hole in the home defence with a clever backheel and the youngster slotted home his first goal of the season.

Saints keeper Paul Jones saved a shot from Tim Sherwood as Rovers bounced back.

Missed opportunities

Blackburn continued to dominate but Sherwood, Blake and Gallacher all missed chances to level the scores.

Just after the break Christian Dailly shot just over the bar and Blake and Marcolin also had half-chances.

Damien Johnson then squandered a good chance when he headed straight into Jones' arms from Duff's inviting cross.

Last throw of the dice

Blake was left holding his head in his hands in disbelief after Jones produced a great stop to save his point-blank header from Gallacher's cross.

Hodgson's last throw of the dice came in the 73rd minute when he replaced Darren Peacock with former Saints striker Kevin Davies - a 7.25m flop.

But Davies was found wanting and in the final minute he headed wide from inside the six-yard box.

Substitute Steve Basham killed off Rovers' lingering hopes of an equaliser when he broke upfield and cut inside to score in stoppage time.

Blackburn: Filan, Kenna, Sherwood, Peacock, Henchoz, Gallacher, Duff, Blake, Johnson, Croft, Dailly. Subs: Davies, Wilcox, Broomes, Marcolin, Fettis.

Southampton: Jones, Dodd, Palmer, Oakley, Hughes, Ostenstad, Dryden, Ripley, Benali, Beattie, Hiley. Subs: Bridge, Basham, Kachloul, Moss, Monk.

Referee: Steve Dunn (Bristol)

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