The Glenn Hoddle guide to a better life - next time

What do you think Manchester United's players were in a previous incarnation?
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THANKS TO the missionary work of Glenn Hoddle, public interest in reincarnation is being widely aroused again today. But what exactly is it and can it make England more effective in goal-mouth scrambles? Today we bring you a complete pre-match background briefing.

How does reincarnation work, then?

Well, first you die...


Then you come back again.

What? Back here?

No - somewhere else.

Somewhere like Milton Keynes?

If you'd been very bad, yes.

So living in Milton Keynes is a punishment for behaving badly in a previous existence, is it?


Or is that just a cheap joke at Milton Keynes's expense? And you might just as well have said Bracknell?


All right, then, what happens if you live in Milton Keynes and behave badly there? What would happen next? How would you be punished for behaving badly in Milton Keynes?

You'd be reborn in Basingstoke.

And if you misbehaved in Basingstoke?

You might come back as the England football manager.

So you think Glenn Hoddle is being punished now for some misdoing in a previous existence?

Not necessarily. But English football fans are being punished.

What for? Glenn Hoddle's misdoings in a previous existence?

Not necessarily. But the continuing frustration of English football followers in Euro 96 and World Cup 98 and every competition you can think of, might be due to England's misdeeds in a previous existence.

The England team is suffering now because of their players' misdeeds in a previous existence?

No. It is much more likely that they are suffering because of the misdeeds of their supporters in a past existence.

Supporters' misbehaviour? That's a bit unfair, isn't it? I mean, if England supporters had been Italian supporters in a previous existence, and had misbehaved as Italian supporters, and then were reincarnated as English supporters, then the present English football scene would be suffering for Italian supporters' misdeeds!


Well, that's well out of order!

Nobody ever said that reincarnation was fair. Life isn't fair. Football isn't fair. David Beckham being sent off wasn't fair. Gareth Southgate's penalty wasn't fair. Manchester United's success isn't fair.

What do you think Manchester United's players were in their last incarnation?

English, probably. But they've all come back as foreigners.

Of course, if your theory is true, then Brazilian supporters have all behaved well in a previous life, I suppose.

How come?

Well, Brazil is the most successful football team in history. Therefore their fans are benefiting from a multitude of previous blameless existences.

Perhaps. Also from the fact that their players have good finishing, individual flair and years spent practising barefoot football on the golden sands of Brazil's beaches.

Ah! So reincarnation isn't responsible for everything!

Certainly not. We all have to make use of the gifts we are given. Except Senor Juan Samaranch, of course. He doesn't make use of his gifts. He just puts them in a glass case and has them valued from time to time.

Do you think Senor Samaranch should resign?

No. I think he should die now and come back as a bed bug.

In Milton Keynes?

No. In the worst bedroom of a very low class one-star hotel in a city which was refused Olympic status by Samaranch himself.

I see. But does anyone actually seriously believe in reincarnation?

Oh yes.


Glenn Hoddle, and many major Eastern religions. Friedrich Nietzsche also believed in a perpetual cycle of destiny repeating itself which may have been some form of reincarnation, or may be more like listening to The Archers omnibus on Sunday morning and suddenly realising you've heard it all before.

Who do you think Nietzsche came back as?

Margaret Thatcher.

Margaret Thatcher? Good Lord! How does reincarnation work, then?

Owing to previous misdeeds, this conversation has been doomed to repeat itself for ever. Please go back to the top and start again.