Glenn Hoddle: The trouble with Glenn

Hubristic, indiscreet, cultist - or talented professional drawing strength from his faith? Sophie Goodchild and Julian Kossoff on the coach with the foot-in-mouth habit

THE DUAL personae of Glenn Hoddle the evangelical Christian and Glenn Hoddle the England coach have become increasingly difficult to countenance for his detractors.

For some, the lacklustre performance of his players since the 1998 World Cup has been blamed on Hoddle allowing his personal beliefs to spill over into his professional life.

Indeed, Steve McManaman, the former England midfielder, has compared Hoddle's training camps to a "cult", accusing him of favouring those players who choose to embrace his beliefs.

The high priestess at the centre of his world is Eileen Drewery, a faith- healer and Berkshire housewife, who has exercised a formidable hold over him since he was a teenager.

The young footballer was introduced to Mrs Drewery by her daughter, Michelle, after he suffered a knee injury. Since that first meeting, the England coach has increasingly relied upon Mrs Drewery to bring him good luck. Despite her lack of sporting qualifications, he hired her as a consultant during the World Cup to cure the players of a range of physical and psychological ailments, a move that laid him open to ridicule.

Hoddle denies that any of the England team was forced to succumb to her influence though one Arsenal player who mocked her healing talents failed to make the squad. His comment "Short back and sides please" as she laid her hands on his head was not well received.

What bonds Hoddle and his mentor together is not a love of the beautiful game but a belief in the afterlife. Through her, he has progressed from mainstream Christianity to radical evangelism. Considered a loner and outsider by former colleagues, he refers to himself as a "spiritualist" with an individual connection with God. He confessed he spent time before every World Cup match in prayer.

Sir Cliff Richard has also been credited with helping him on the path to salvation. The pair were introduced in 1981 at a Christians in Sport dinner when Hoddle was 24 and experiencing "confusion" over his religion. A visit to Israel with the England team followed, where Hoddle found spiritual solace from sightseeing at Christ's birthplace.

God has certainly been on the side of his career so far. At Tottenham Hotspur, he is remembered as a talented and gifted player whose personal highlights included a key role in the FA Cup-winning side of 1981. After joining Monaco, he helped the team to the French league title in 1988.

As a manager, he steered Swindon to promotion from the First Division to the Premiership. This led to his appointment as manager at Chelsea and thence to the England coach's job in 1996.

However, his hubris and lack of discretion appear to have increased in proportion to his success. He was pilloried for publishing dressing room secrets in his book Glenn Hoddle: My 1998 World Cup Story.

His much-criticised diary included graphic detail of how Paul Gascoigne raged at being left out of the squad, as well as Hoddle's own contract renegotiation. Instead of apologising, Hoddle insisted that his World Cup revelations, from which he made pounds 200,000, had betrayed no one.

His saintly image also took a tarnishing over his divorce from his wife, Anne. Hoddle fiercely denied that he had been unfaithful and even released a statement through the FA to that effect. Yet his affair with another woman was cited in his wife's divorce petition. Previously regarded as the epitome of the devoted husband, he was chosen to feature with his family in an advert for Shredded Wheat: the project was hastily dropped.

Hoddle recently confessed to The Independent that he would consider resigning if criticism of him affected his family. If he does step aside, it is intriguing to speculate what form his next incarnation might take.

Sport, section 2


Glenn Hoddle on: Faith: "Most people look for answers outside themselves, but the answers are on the inside. We are all equal in God's eyes."

The power of prophesy: "Two days before, on the night of the Morocco game, I'd dreamt that Gazza was sitting across the table from me crying his eyes out. At the time I didn't quite understand the significance of the dream."

The power of prayer: "It wasn't a prayer to win the game. It doesn't work like that. It's more like a positive vibration, asking for an energy to help overcome any negativity in the stadium."

Managing England: "This job is huge ... Tony Blair told me he didn't envy my task."

Being knocked out of the World Cup: "I found myself asking the same question again and again: `Why I am here?' "

Football: "At the end of the day it's only a game."

Regrets: "There is no one to apologise to. If I felt that, I would have done it already."

(Source: `Glenn Hoddle: The 1998 World Cup Story')


1958: Born 27 October, Hayes, Middlesex.

1976: Professional debut for Spurs at 18.

1979: Wins first of 53 England caps.

1981: FA Cup winner with Spurs.

1987: Joins Monaco and helps win French league.

1993: Begins managerial career with Swindon. Wins league promotion and moves to Chelsea.

1996: Appointed England coach.

1997: England qualify for World Cup finals.

1998: April: sues psychic Uri Geller after he claims Hoddle and faith healer Eileen Drewery visited him before he took the England job; May: leaves Paul Gascoigne out of World Cup squad; June: England out of Cup in second round -but he is insistent that with a little luck England could have won the event; August: his World Cup book causes a storm - various revelations are criticised by leading figures in the game but he insists players will still trust him; September: FA's international committee backs him over his book; October - alleged row with Alan Shearer after 3-0 win in Luxembourg.

January 1999: Criticised after alleged comments about disabled people.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little