Exclusive: Behind-the-scenes of Roy Hodgson’s mascot rage

The Crystal Palace boss is not one bit happy with the Watford mascot and is in lairy form ahead of the most unlikely grudge match in the Premier League...


*This should not be taken to represent Roy Hodgson’s actual words or thoughts on Harry the Hornet. He hates that mascot much, much more than this.

“Yellow-headed little pr*ck,” Roy Hodgson fumes as he storms from a Crystal Palace press conference. “I’m gonna nut ‘im, cut ‘im and shut ‘im right up. The cheek!”

Outside, it’s an unusually chilly Friday afternoon on the leafy streets of Bromley, London. A gentle breeze braces the young couples who closely envelope each other while they trot out for a mid-afternoon luncheon. As the first sepias of Autumn bare their hazelnut warmth against the darkening clouds of suburbia, locals can feel a storm brewing. Little do they know just how furious this storm shall be.

Because despite the serenity of life on the streets, Roy Hodgson is feeling vengeful. Someone has riled him up.

Soccer Football – Pre Season Friendly – Halmstads BK v Crystal Palace – Orjans Vall, Halmstad, Sweden – July 16, 2018 Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

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That someone happens to be a hornet, or, more accurately, a man who probably wears pyjamas dressed as a hornet. His name is Harry and back in 2016 he theatrically dived behind the back of Palace’s Wilfried Zaha to mock the winger for falling after a foul. It was all just some innocent fun and games, hilariously geared to irk by comedy hero Harry.

Looking back on the incident before Sunday’s game at Watford, however, Roy Hodgson isn’t laughing. He told the press immediately before the expletive laden rant above that HH’s actions were “disgraceful”. Behind closed doors, though, things got a lot worse and the full fury of the veteran gaffer was unleashed.

“Seething!”, the boss bawls.

Soccer Football – FA Cup Third Round – Brighton & Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace – The American Express Community Stadium, Brighton, Britain – January 8, 2018 Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson before the match Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

“I will not have my players taken the proverbial out of by that jammy little ragamuffin. Should he repeat that action or behave in any way that I consider inappropriate, I will have him sanctioned and I will do so myself. Believe you me, I’m ‘ard. I’m about as ‘ard as it gets. Saaf Landon, my son, born and fackin’ bred.”

At this juncture it’s important to note that Roy’s dulcet, waffling voice had transformed into the most raging cockney accent you’ve ever heard. He was like Danny Dyer and Vinnie Jones’ love-child and he was on a roll.

“Any ‘a that crap and my God I will exert my fury. Don’t get me started on ‘ah unfunny it is, let alone offensive. Slapstick shoulda died when Chaplin did.”

“It’s ‘is muggy little face that does my canister in. That perma-grin of ‘is; so fackin’ smug. Tell you what, I’d like to bash it right in. Til ‘is nose goes down inside ‘is boat. Wouldn’t need no boys, neither. Nah, not the ol’ Hodgy: goes alone and kick-bashes mugs til they beg for mercy.”

Things took on a slightly biblical level of retribution at this point as Hodgson dropped the mockney, turned heavily on his heel and stared down the group of staff who’d amassed to hear him rant.

“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak from the taunts of mascots, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children,” Hodgson, 71, is reported to have said.

“And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to dive and humiliate my players. And you will know my name is Roy when I lay my vengeance upon thee.”

Boy, does Roy have some vengeance to lay.

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