One of England's finest talents of the 1970s and 1980s, Glenn Hoddle was hugely appreciated by the Spurs crowd, while his skills were derided in some other parts of the country and his return of caps for England showed a scant disregard for his abilities, when other journeymen were selected ahead of him for the national team.
Born in Middlesex, but with his family moving to Harlow at an early age, Hoddle attended St. Albans junior school and Burnt Mill Comprehensive, Harlow, playing football for Harlow district football team, Essex County Under-15, Under-17 and Under-19 sides. He also played rugby at fly-half for West Essex Boys, as his sporty nature lent itself to a number of different disciplines.
Spotted by Spurs and joined as a junior aged 12, working his way through the ranks at the club, during which time he represented England Youth, before going on to play for the Under-21s and the senior national side.
Signed for Spurs on 27th April 1974 as an apprentice at 16, before he was signed as a professional with Tottenham Hotspur on 8th April 1975, having represented England Youth in that year.
Hoddle didn't have to wait too long for his first appearance, coming on as a substitute for Cyril Knowles in the home game v Norwich City (First Division) 30th August 1975. His first start was later that season away v Stoke City (First Division) 21st April 1976, when he marked it with what was to come to be a trademark goal. Picking the ball up twenty five yards out, he thundered a low drive out of the muddy turf to beat Peter Shilton and secure Tottenham a valuable win.
Glenn Hoddle became a cause celebre with many and for others, he was the fancy-dan midfielder who had no place in the England side, but his quick footwork, his vision to know where each team-mate was on the pitch and his laser precision passing, which could lay the ball exactly where the recipient wanted it made many a colleague look a better player than perhaps they were and turned seemingly dead-end situations into goals. There were few players who could do what Hoddle could do with a football and many of his detractors would not be fit to play alongside of him.
Relegation in 1977 saw Hoddle stay with the club and it was perhaps during this campaign that he learned to be strong on the ball, with Second Division opponents not always willing to give players the time or the opportunity to play as they would like. How Spurs contrived to need a last day draw with Southampton to go up, when they had been so dominant for most of the campaign is a mystery, but promotion back to the top flight was achieved, with one major factor being developed during this season which should not be over-looked - the partnership between Glenn Hoddle and Steve Perryman. The club captain had started out as a midfielder, but had dropped back and when he took up a place behind Hoddle, he acted as the ball-winner that the talented youngster needed. He became Hoddle's enforcer too, with players knowing that if they thought they could kick Glenn out of the game, they would have to face up to Stevie P. Winning the ball and laying a simple pass off to Hoddle, Perryman provided the support the midfielder needed and never really got playing for his country.
It was not just Hoddle's passing that caught the eye, but he was able to strike a ball true and hard. Many shots from dead or moving balls left keepers grasping at clean air and a few will live for a long time in the memory. The long clearance up-field that was headed on by Gerry Armstrong for Hoddle to volley home past Peter Shilton (again) for a goal against Forest that didn't touch the floor form one end to another; His waist high volley from just inside the area against Man U in the League Cup at the Lane 1979; a rip snorter of a shot at Liverpool in 1982 from about 30 yards that left Grobbelaar helpless; The 1983 chip against Watford, when he took Garry Brooke's pass inside the box, turned his marker with a Cruyff turn and chipped the tall Hornets keeper Steve Sherwood with a delightful dink that left him stranded; his debut goal for England in a match delayed because of fog, when he side-footed a half volley into the top of the net from the edge of the box. All goals that showed a fine technical skill level little seen in English players of the time.
When Ossie Ardiles and Ricardo Villa signed for Spurs on the clubs return to the top flight, their presence took all the headlines and while it took time to integrate into the side, Hoddle and Ardiles were like-minded souls, who played the game the right way and their linking in midfield became one of the defining reasons Tottenham found success in the early 1980s. Two FA Cup wins, a share of a Charity Shield, a League Cup Final and a UEFA Cup final win in Keith Burkinshaw's last match gave the manager a fine send off and it was his belief in them which brought silverware, goals and many memorable moments. None more so than in Ossie Ardiles' Benefit match when the sight of Ardiles, Hoddle and Maradona together in a Spurs shirt was something that might never have been imaginable. It was only a shame that Ossie could not take a greater part in the match because of his knee injury, but Maradona and Hoddle played together as if they were born to do so. It was a performance that was nothing less than sublime.
Glenn's time at Tottenham also featured three spells in goal for the club, taking over from injured goalkeepers. His first experience of taking the gloves in a match came at Leeds United, when Barry Daines was injured in the 11th minute on 20th October 1979 and he was called on again in an FA Cup tie at Manchester United on 9th January 1980, when Milija Aleksic was carried off with a broken jaw. His final turn in goal came when Aleksic once more sustained an injury, this time gashing his knee when catching it on a hook on the goal-post at Carrow Road on 27th December 1980 during the First Division match with Spurs.
Hoddle was often a target for opponents to try to kick him out of the game and only once, against Brugge in the UEFA Cup, did Glenn lose it and get sent off. Most of the time he got on with the game and even when he suffered nasty injuries, such as the gash in his forehead against Bohemians of Prague, he simply got it bandaged and carried on. He was tougher than a lot of the people how nicknamed him 'Glenda' thought.
Some of this lightweight reputation was borne out of his singing partnership with Chris Waddle, which produced a hit single in "Diamond Lights", although the follow-up "It's Goodbye" was not as successful and was perhaps a prophetic end to their pop career.
His last season at Tottenham saw the team, under David Pleat, play a new formation that produced plenty of goals for lone forward Clive Allen and many came from the moves involving Glenn Hoddle and Chris Waddle. Hoddle was performing at a very high level of technical ability and the loss in the FA Cup Final came as a disappointment to a fine season in which Spurs once more failed to make the most of the assorted talents available to force a championship challenge. In his last home game, Hoddle scored against Oxford United in a 3-1 win. Taking the ball halfway inside his own half, he pushed the ball forward past two defenders, who he sent the wrong way with a shake of his hips and then did not touch the ball again until he knocked it into an empty net, having sent goalkeeper Peter Hucker diving the wrong way when he feigned to shoot. Four touches in 60 yards and all the players done with a drop of the shoulder or sway of his hips. Pure class.
After the 1986-87 season, Hoddle decided to move on from Tottenham and accepted a move abroad to broaden his horizons and he played his football in France at Monaco, where the manager was Arsene Wenger (later to take over at Arsenal), winning the French league in his debut season. When he wanted to return to England, Swindon Town were first in for him and he had a successful time at the County Ground, Hoddle took over as player manager and guided the team to the Premier League for the first time. Unfortunately for the club, Glenn became hot property, with a number of clubs seeking his services.
Moving on to Stamford Bridge, he had a good spell at Chelsea, although he did suffer from some injuries, then he assumed the role of player manager once more. He made a fundamental change to the way the club operated in terms of the playing side and they reaped the benefit after Hoddle had left for the England manager's job.
Glenn lost the England manager's job after an interview in the Times that quoted him as making comments about the sins of their past being visited upon the disabled and this came after a lot of debate about his continued use of Eileen Drewery, a faith healer, who Hoddle had used at club level and introduced into the England set-up, much to the derision of the Press and some of the players. There was also controversy over his selection for the 1998 World Cup finals. After qualifying from a tough group and getting the point needed away to Italy to go through to the finals in France, his choice to leave Paul Gascoigne out of the squad, leading to him smashing up his hotel room, brought criticism. When David Beckham was sent off against Argentina in the quarter finals, Hoddle's refusal to back his player also brought media condemnation. Worse was to come when his book - a diary of the World Cup experience - was published and it revealed how he told players they were not being taken to the finals and this was deemed to be something that should be kept in house. Thus, with the media against him, it was only a short leap to them finding an excuse to get him the sack.
In 2008, Hoddle set up the first independent football academy based in Montecastillo, Spain taking academy players discarded by Premier League clubs and trying to develop them to have a future in the game, where he teamed up once more with coach John Gorman. The academy linked up with a local team - Industrial Jerez - and filled it with the players at the facility, but, despite doing well, a disagreement over money in 2011 saw the academy move to England, using Bisham Abbey as it's base and striking up an agreement with Hyde FC of the Blue Square North to give their players game time, after a similar deal with Rushden and Diamonds.