There is a lot more to Glenn Hoddle than him simply being the former manager of Chelsea, Tottenham, Southampton, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Swindon Town and being the England manager sacked for making really dodgy remarks about disabled people. Before Glenn got all happy clappy and judgemental, we must remember that he was certainly one of the finest players ever to pull on a shirt for Tottenham Hotspurs, Monaco and England.
Hoddle was often described as being “before his time”. Sadly in the 70’s and 80’s this was often a euphemism for “A talented player, but won’t tackle.” This is akin nowadays for criticising Zinedine Zidane for not being Didier Deschamps. He made his debut for Spurs in August 1975 and over the next few years proved himself an immaculate passer of the ball, hugely creative, inventive and intelligent in possession and averaged nearly a goal every four league games, many of which were of an unsurpassable quality, as shown in the video below.
His time at Spurs ended in 1987 when he joined Monaco and proved an instant hit leading his new team to the league title. Indeed such was Hoddle’s effect on his new paymasters that many French football legends queued up to question the wisdom of successive England managers who only used the mercurial talents of the midfielder sporadically. His 53 caps a meagre return for a player of such immense talent. As Michel Platini pointed out when stating that had Hoddle been born French, “he would have won 150 caps.”
Hoddle’s managerial career was less auspicious. He led Swindon to the Premier League in 1993nd quickly joined Chelsea where he impressed the FA enough to appoint him as Terry Venables successor as England manager in 1996. Unfortunately this is where it all started to go a little sour for Hoddle, who drew criticism for appointing a Faith Healer as part of the squad (The aromatherapist had to withdraw from the squad with catarrh), criticising his players unduly and then the FA finally had to sack him in February 1999 after he had made his ill-judged remarks about disabled people during an interview with the Times newspaper.
“I hear Glenn Hoddle’s found God…Must have been one hell of a pass…” Jasper Carrott
Hoddle continued in football with Southampton, Tottenham and Wolves with mixed results, however it is as a player where Hoddle earned his place in the FootballTransferTavern hall of fame. Well it isn’t likely to be his contribution to pop music is it?
Hoddle had his problems and fallibilities as a manager but as a player, he was peerless. As Arsene Wenger stated when he was his manager at Monaco, Hoddle was a player “ahead of his time”. He could have been England’s ‘Zidane with a mullet’ and as such he is a worthy entry into the legends Hall of Fame.
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