Full name: Glenn Hoddle
Date of birth: 27/10/1957
Arguably one of the greatest British players to have ever graced the hallowed turfs of the beautiful game, Hoddle was an attacking midfielder of the highest order, who had incredible vision to pass a ball and was gifted with the close ball control of a genius. Pivotal to the England squad for 9 years between 1979 – 1988, Hoddle then went on to manage the national team following retirement. His club career was also prolific. With Tottenham Hotspur he scored 110 goals in 499 appearances.
Glenn Hoddle began professional football with Tottenham Hotspur as a schoolboy apprentice in 1974, but it wasn’t until August 1975 that he made his first team debut, as a substitute against Norwich in the cup. He made an explosive impact in his First Division game debut when he scored a spectacular strike, beating the England and Stoke City goalkeeper Peter Shilton.
The following season, Spurs were relegated to the Second Division for the first time in 27 years, but Hoddle proved an inspiration in guiding their immediate return to top flight football. By the 1979-80 campaign, Hoddle had burst onto the scene as one of the truly top class players around in British football. That season he was awarded PFA Young Player of the Year at the age of 22, having scored 19 times in 41 league appearances.
Hoddle hit the peak of his career the following year (1981) when he was fundamental to Spurs claiming the FA Cup. The following season, Hoddle assured their retention of the FA Cup, scoring in the final and also the replay. To top this off, Spurs also reached 4th place in the league the same season, attaining their best position since 1971. They also reached the semi-finals of the European Cup Winners Cup.
In 1984, Tottenham Hotspur triumphed by taking home the UEFA Cup and Hoddle was once again the cornerstone of this success. In a particularly memorable second round match against Feyenoord Rotterdam, he produced a phenomenal performance, containing the Dutch genius Johan Cruyff and leading Spurs to a pounding 6-2 victory. Hoddle lasted three more seasons of relative success with Spurs before being signed by Arsene Wenger who managed AS Monaco at the time. By the end of his time at Spurs, Hoddle had scored 110 goals in 490 first team appearances in all competitions.
Wenger brought Hoddle into French football, reportedly being particularly taken by his genius on the ball and his European-style creativity. In fact, on his exit from Spurs, Hoddle himself made the statement that he was going overseas where his creative style of play would be more appreciated by fellow players and managers. Hoddle did indeed experience great success in French football, helping Monaco to the 1988 Ligue 1 Championship and then to the quarter final stage of the European Cup the following year. Were it not for the serious knee injury that he obtained in 1990, he would have perhaps stayed in France, but at the age of 33 he left Monaco by mutual consent.
Returning home, Hoddle spent a brief time in a non-contractual agreement with Chelsea. He didn’t have time to make one senior appearance for Chelsea however, before moving into the managerial phase of his career with Swindon Town.
Many pundits will argue that Glenn Hoddle never really realised his full potential on the international football arena. He was a skilful and creative player and often did not fit in well with the game-plan of many of the England managers of this period, who favoured hard work and a more physical game.
Hoddle made his debut for England in an Under-21 fixture against Wales in December 1976. It was not until November 1979 that he made his first team debut against Bulgaria. In the 1982 World Cup, he made appearances against Kuwait and Czechoslovakia but played a more important role in 1986 when England got as far as the quarter finals before being eliminated by Argentina.
Hoddle’s managerial career began with Swindon Town, which in 1991, was in the midst of a financial scandal. "The Robins" had been stripped of their promotion honours, due to serious financial illegalities that had earned the club considerable bad press and was beginning to affect their league form. Things began very well for Hoddle as he managed to prevent The Robins from dropping further into the Third Division. The following season, things continued to improve, as Swindon finished in ninth place, narrowly missing out on a play-off place. In 1993 Swindon were riding on two seasons of success and reached the new Division One play-offs. In the final, against considerable odds, they beat Leicester City F.C. 4-3 at Wembley and were subsequently promoted to the Premier League. As a result of his turning around Swindon, Hoddle was in demand from several major clubs, one of which was Chelsea.
He joined Chelsea as player-manager in 1993 and made 36 appearances for the side, despite his ripe old age of 36. His successful streak seemingly continued: Chelsea reached the FA Cup final, but they were thrashed 4-0 by Manchester United. Chelsea, however, were admitted to the Cup Winners Cup by default as Manchester United won the double that year and under Hoddle, they reached the semifinals, before being eliminated by eventual winners Real Zaragoza. In the 1995/6 season, he guided them once again into touching distance of silver ware. This time they were knocked out in the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
In 1996 Hoddle took the England job. All began well, as he assured their qualification for the 1998 FIFA World Cup Finals, securing their place in a 0-0 draw with Italy in Rome. The squad he took to France caused controversy, famously omitting Paul Gascoigne in favour of faith healer Eileen Drury and earning the team the name of "The God Squad" in the press. England were knocked out in the second round by Argentina, a match which included the famous dismissal of David Beckham from the field.
In the most bizarre of circumstances, Hoddle was sacked from the position of England manager in 1999. He came under fire for comments made in an interview with The Times newspaper in which he blamed disability on bad karma from actions in the past life. The uproar that followed this incident was considerable, Hoddle coming under vehement criticism from Tony Blair in a TV interview, with Blair stating that his comments were "very wrong" and that it "would be very difficult for him (Hoddle) to stay".
Glenn Hoddle continued to manage clubs after this obvious low-point in his career. In 2000 he joined Southampton, replacing Dave Jones as manager. He saved the Saints from relegation that season, but left in 2001 to return to Tottenham Hotspur, as the man in charge. In his first season he guided Spurs to the league cup final, which they lost 2-1 to Blackburn Rovers. The following season started well, but with Spurs’ form deteriorating across the season and finishing in a mediocre 10th place, Hoddle fell short of the expectations of board and manager. In September 2003 he was sacked from the club he had served as a player for so many years.
Ever resilient, Hoddle bounced back in 2004 for another dose of management, with first division club Wolverhampton Wanderers. He was then fundamental in steadying a dangerously rocky boat at Wolves in the latter part of the 2004-5 season. Wolves began the following season strongly and were firm favourites for promotion. Disappointingly, they missed out on a play-off place, that being the minimum expected of them that season. Despite continued backing from the board, Hoddle chose to resign in July 2006. Since then, he has been working for Sky Sports, analysing games as a pundit.
Despite his mixed success as a manager and varied treatment as an individual in the press, Glenn Hoddle was a great and prolific football player and here is some Youtube footage of him with Tottenham Hotspur and England to prove so.
- PFA Young Player of the Year: 1980
|1975-1987||Tottenham Hotspur||377 (88)|
|1987-1991||A.S. Monaco||69 (27)|
|1991-1993||Swindon Town||64 (1)|