Leading Article: Hoddle must go - and here's the real reason
Monday 01 February 1999
Others in the "Hoddle Must Go" camp, though, argue that Mr Hoddle's beliefs do in fact impinge on his ability as England manager. As the holder of power over his players, he could put undesirable pressure on individuals to go along with his strange ideas. Not all of them would be as robust as the player who agreed to see Mr Hoddle's faith healer, Eileen Drury, and who replied, when she started circling him and asked him what he wanted: "A short back and sides, please." Just as in the case of politicians, it turns out to be a little more difficult than it first appears to draw a clear dividing line between the privacy of home, family and church and the accountability of public office.
But what if, however wacky Mr Hoddle's beliefs seem to the majority, he had turned out to be an inspirational leader whose players found some aspect of Hoddle-Druryism helped calm their nerves when taking penalties? Then he would be feted as the latest in a long line of great English eccentrics, with the dark underside of his beliefs regarded as an unfortunate price worth paying.
Hoddle should go, then, but not primarily because of his tactlessness and dissembling. He should go, ultimately, because he is not a good enough manager and the England team is not - and has not been - playing as well as it could.
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