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Glenn Hoddle was born at Hayes, Middlesex, on 27th October 1957. The
family later moved to Harlow, Essex, where he was spotted by Martin
Chivers playing for a team that had reached a local Cup Final. In his
teens he sustained a bad knee injury but he overcome that and rapidly
worked his way through the school and apprentice levels to sign
professional forms for Tottenham.
By this time, of course, Bill Nicholson had resigned as manager of
Tottenham after 16 years. Inexplicably the Board had ignored his advice to
appoint Danny Blanchflower and Johnny Giles as his successors and had
appointed Terry Neill as manager. The shock of his appointment as manager
was as great as that of George Graham a generation later. Neill steered
Tottenham to safety in his first season and to mid table safety in his
second season. But he began what he saw as a long overdue clearout of
older players and fell out with both Mike England and Martin Chivers.
England tore up his contract and walked out of the club and Chivers signed
transfer forms for Servette the day before Terry Neill walked out on
Tottenham to go back to Arsenal as their manager.
But Neill gave Hoddle his chance as a 17-year old teenager in August 1975
when he came on as a substitute for Ian Smith against Norwich. His full
debut came the following February when Spurs played Stoke City at the
Victoria Ground. Typically, Hoddle scored from a long range shot that
totally deceived Peter Shilton in the Stoke City goal. It was the first of
110 goals that Hoddle would score for Tottenham. Spurs won 2-1 that day
with John Duncan scoring the other goal.
In his younger days, the Tottenham fans were split in two camps over
Hoddle's merits. There were those who argued he was gifted and should be
allowed to do his own thing and there were those who argued he was the
laziest player to wear a Tottenham shirt since Jimmy Greaves. There was
some truth in the latter description because Hoddle often disappeared from
the action when tackling became too rough for him. He was frequently
intimidated in his early days. But he worked hard on this aspect of the
game and also on playing a defensive role when called for.
His best season for appearances in a Tottenham shirt came in the promotion
season of 1977-78 when he only missed one match. It was Hoddle's vision
more than any other player that ensured we gained promotion at the first
attempt after being relegated the previous season.
Back in the First Division, Hoddle soon linked up with Ossie Ardiles and
Tony Galvin to form one of the finest midfields that Tottenham ever had.
Ardiles had been a member of the Argentinean World Cup squad that had won
the 1978 competition, wearing strangely the number 2 shirt as Argentina
numbered their players alphabetically. Galvin was a late comer to football
as he had completed his university studies before signing for Tottenham in January 1978.
Their apotheosis during seasons 1980-81 and 1981-82 saw Tottenham win the
FA Cup in successive seasons. It was odd the run began with a tie in the
3rd Round of the Cup against QPR in January 1981 and ended in the 1982 Cup
Final against QPR, both ties requiring a replay. Hoddle produced several telling moments in both Cup runs.
One vital moment was against Wolves at Hillsborough where Hoddle scored
one of the goals that ensured we grabbed a replay despite Clive Thomas
being bamboozled by Kenny Hibbitt's beautiful swallow dive in Tottenham's
penalty area. The replay at Highbury, of all places, saw Spurs outnumber
the Wolves fans and Hoddle dominate the game creating the chances from which Garth Crooks scored twice and Villa scored a 40-yard cracker.
I don't think there was ever a Final that saw such an enormous scramble
for Cup Final tickets. The Post Office lost my application in the post and
many fans only secured tickets through the touts who did a roaring trade.
I managed to get one from a friend the afternoon before the match.
We were all sure that Tottenham would win. And then Spurs chose that afternoon to
produce one of the most disappointing matches. Villa was substituted and
trudged off to the dressing room in tears as Manchester City led Spurs 1-0
thanks to a goal by Tommy Hutchinson after 30 minutes. As full time
approached, it looked all over for Tottenham. But Spurs won a free-kick on
the edge of the penalty area and Corrigan lined the wall up to his
satisfaction to cover the near post whilst he covered the far post.
Ardiles took the free-kick, Perryman killed the ball and Hoddle bent the
ball around the Manchester City defence. Hutchinson saw what was going to
happen and raced to the other end of the wall as Hoddle kicked the ball
but could only deflect the ball into the unguarded corner of Corrigan's
goal. As Hoddle flung his arms in the air and slid to his knees in front
of the jubilant Tottenham fans, Corrigan consoled the distraught
The replay was totally different. Villa grabbed an early goal with
Mackenzie grabbing an equaliser with a stunning goal that is largely
forgotten today. Reeves put Manchester City ahead with a penalty early in
the second half and it looked all over for Tottenham. Then Hoddle chipped
a ball ahead of Archibald and Crooks and Crooks stuck a lanky black leg
out to push the ball wide of Corrigan for the equaliser. And then a truly
magnificent goal. Galvin ran the length of the wing, on and on and on. He
steadied himself and rolled the ball to Villa. Villa ran with the ball,
dipping his shoulders one way, sending Caton the other, then slipped past
Ranson and drew Corrigan, then fell over Corrigan as the ball trickled
into the net. Villa streaked towards Burkinshaw who sat impassively on the
bench as pandemonium broke out all around him. On the terraces and in the
seats, the victorious "GLORY! GLORY! HALLELUJAH!" anthem wafted around the
Stadium. And then it was all over as Perryman thrust the Cup in the air.
Postcard images (not full size) courtesy of The Football Artist/The Spurs Postcard Collection
A year later, exhausted by a terrible pile-up of fixtures, Spurs were back
at Wembley. They had had to play 17 matches in 5 weeks to complete their
season. They were tired and certainly for long moments of both matches,
QPR looked the better side. Hoddle had put Spurs ahead in extra time and
Spurs looked like winning against all the odds when a certain Terry
Fenwick headed the equaliser seconds from the end. It was a tired and
somewhat dispirited Tottenham that dragged themselves back to Wembley for
the replay. It was another dull match but this time justice was done.
Roberts picked up a ball on the halfway line and ran on and on and on
until he was sent flying in the penalty area. Hucker, in the QPR goal,
didn't stand a chance as Hoddle took the penalty. Thereafter, Spurs were
ultra cautious. They were tired, very tired, and took no chances. They
rarely attacked and drew on their European experiences to contain QPR.
Perryman was so tired after the game he almost lost his Cup Winners medal
as he tried to hold it and the Cup at the same time.
Spurs were rocked by injuries throughout the last two years of
Burkinshaw's reign as Manager. There were also rows in the dressing room
as the blunt Yorkshireman fell out with Steve Archibald, who had been just
as moody as Chivers had been a decade earlier. But the arguments were
papered over as Spurs marched to the Final of the UEFA Cup .... without
Hoddle, who had been injured in a League match against Birmingham City and
who did not play again that season.
Hoddle, in fact, did not reappear until the second half of the 1984-85
season. Spurs were chasing Everton for the Championship and matching them
all the way. Hopes were high that Spurs would win the League for the first
time since 1960-61. But in a thrilling game on a Wednesday night in early
April 1985, Spurs lost to a side led by Andy Gray. Spurs were found
wanting at a crucial moment. They were not going to be as close as that to
the Championship for a very long time to come. Indeed, Spurs were about to
slide into obscurity.
The following season saw the start of some overdue rebuilding. Waddle was
signed from Newcastle but took the entire season to settle down but he was
still the second highest scorer.
During the summer of 1986 Shreeve was sacked as manager and David Pleat
succeeded him. With the minimum of changes to personnel and a complete
change of tactics, Spurs had what was arguably their best season since the
1960s in terms of pure football. Hoddle was the genius behind the team in
what was destined to be his final season at Tottenham. I am not going to
remind you about the events of that season because even today, thirteen
years after the event, I still cannot bring myself to even think about the
1987 Cup Final. I can remember the first three minutes but I have blanked
out the remaining 87 minutes of horror. It was Hoddle's last appearance in
a Tottenham shirt. When the team returned after the close season Hoddle
had left for Monaco, whose manager then was a certain M. Wenger. But in
1990, persistent injuries led Monaco to terminate his contract.
Back in England, Hoddle signed for Chelsea but did not play for them. His
contract was terminated to allow him to become player-manager of Swindon
in succession to Ossie Ardiles. He spent two years there and steered
Swindon to the top flight before walking out on them to become manager of
Chelsea. It was Hoddle who signed Ruud Gullit for Chelsea. Hoddle was not
manager of Chelsea for long as he was appointed Manager of England after
Venables had resigned the position to fight more litigation in the courts.
The FA wanted someone squeaky clean after the mess that Venables had
dragged around with him. But Hoddle had some eccentric ideas which led him
to make some unguarded comments about disabled people on TV which led to
his dismissal by the FA. He was out of football for a while before being
appointed manager of Southampton.
Hoddle was one of the finest players of his generation. It is something of
a mystery why he did not win more than 44 caps. There were those who
doubted his application and pointed to the fact he sometimes disappeared
from the action, a charge that was later pointed at Matthew Le Tissier,
another gifted footballer. Those of us who saw Hoddle play, particularly
at his peak, have absolutely no doubts. Not for nothing did the Shelf
sing, "BORN IS THE KING OF WHITE HART LANE!" of Hoddle, echoing similar
sentiments addressed to Alan Gilzean. One wonders what sort of transfer
fee he would command in today's crazy world where Real Madrid paid the
equivalent of £50M for Figo. Tottenham fans thought he was priceless and
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