• By Yann Tear

Hodgson so grateful for 'fairytale' finale to career at top end of the game



He may have had his last home match spoilt by defeat, but defeat to Arsenal could not erase the over-riding emotion of the occasion.

Roy Hodgson is bowing out at Crystal Palace and not long after the Gunners had sealed a 3-1 victory with two injury-time goals, the Eagles' boss was addressing the crowd, which stayed behind to salute him.

And the over-riding feeling expressed by the former England manager was a sense of gratitude at being able to conclude a fine career in management by steering his boyhood club to stability in the Premier League.

"It has been exceptionally good," Hodgson said, reflecting on his tenure at Palace and longevity in the game, which has involved stints and many top flight clubs here and abroad as well international management.

"I never really envisaged it. From being on the terraces at the age of five to finish managing the team at the age of 73 - it is something of a fairytale or like Roy of the Rovers. It's been a privilege.

"I am delighted with the reception they [the Palace fans] gave me. It seems they appreciated me as much as I appreciated them and that's a nice feeling."

Asked about his favourite moment at the club, Hodgson said: "In a year or so I might say tonight was the standout moment. A guard of honour, people cheering you throughout and the reception at the end. Not all managers have experienced that in their life.

"It was a nice feeling. I am sure that will mean more to me than the odd game or good performance I remember."

"It has been a magnificent four years of my career and I enjoyed every moment. We would have liked to have finished the season here with a good result against a top team."

Hodgson has yet to declare whether he is stepping away from football for good but the tone of his departure suggests this might have been his last gig.

"I shall miss everybody, I shall miss football but it has been a fantastic journey and I thank you very much," he said.

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