Football: Hoddle leaves Town for the bright lights of Chelsea: Swindon lose the man who brought them promotion while Souness begins rebuilding at Liverpool by spending pounds 2m on Nigel Clough

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The Independent Online
FOUR DAYS after sweeping Swindon Town into the Premier League, Glenn Hoddle arrived at Chelsea as player-manager yesterday. John Gorman, Hoddle's assistant at Swindon, decided against following his close friend and has been appointed manager at the County Ground.

Hoddle had clearly outgrown the Wiltshire club, where money for team development was always tight and the sale of key staff - like Duncan Shearer and David Kerslake - a fact of life. 'I achieved a minor miracle at Swindon - it's different here,' he said at Stamford Bridge.

His introduction by Ken Bates came as no surprise - given the prolonged speculation - but the Chelsea chairman was keen to refute any allegation of illegal approaches. 'I thought it was very important not to do anything that would rebound on Chelsea, if Swindon had lost at Wembley,' he said. 'I spoke to Mr Hardman (the chairman) on Wednesday and he agreed to release Glenn.'

Compensation has yet to be finalised, but Bates added: 'I've assured Mr Hardman that we will honour whatever our obligation is.' Hoddle added that leaving a club who had given him his first managerial experience was a 'hard and emotional' decision. The Town End's loss is the Shed's gain.

Before joining Swindon in 1991 Hoddle was invited by Bates to spend a six-month convalescent spell at Chelsea, where he rebuilt his knee and fitness following his release by Monaco. Bates' working relationships with the men he employs are invariably eventful - and sometimes short - but Hoddle has few fears. 'I'm going to give Ken a shopping list for players and go on holiday,' he said after agreeing a three-year contract. The financial security ensured by an intelligently controlled and lucrative career gives Hoddle (like Kevin Keegan at Newcastle) an extra buffer against interference. 'I don't need the job,' he explained, 'I want it.'

On returning from holiday, the former England playmaker will familiarise his new charges with the footballing principles that proved so productive during his 26-month reign at Swindon. Hoddle, whose 35-year- old legs withstood 48 games last season, will continue in the sweeper role, with wing-backs pushing forward.

'Some of the players will not fit into the system so new ones may be needed,' Hoddle said. His knowledge of the Football League talent factories will serve Chelsea well. 'At Swindon I had to get players cheaply,' he added.

At the top end of the money market yesterday, Liverpool were paying pounds 2m for Nigel Clough, the Nottingham Forest forward. Graeme Souness, who sees the 27-year-old England international in the Kenny Dalglish mould, part-poacher, part-provider, said: 'Playing under such a dominating and forceful character as Brian Clough, with such high standards, shows Nigel has a strong personality.

'Lots of good players have not been able to play for Liverpool because they're not strong enough, but we feel Nigel is the right type.'

The securing of Clough's services casts doubt over Paul Stewart's future at Anfield; Souness has also been linked with David Batty, the Leeds midfielder, and Wimbledon's John Scales.

The Liverpool-born utility player, Paul Mason, a 29-year-old former Everton apprentice, yesterday joined Ipswich Town from Aberdeen for pounds 400,000 deal. Southampton have signed Simon Charlton, the Huddersfield left-back, for pounds 250,000 and the Hamilton strikers, Colin Cramb and Paul McDonald, for pounds 150,000.