Football: Hoddle unhappy as back seat driver

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The Independent Online
Glenn Hoddle made an England career out of finding players 50 yards away but now that he is the coach he has discovered it is much harder to reach them, writes Glenn Moore.

Hoddle will again suffer the frustration of the long-distance coach against Italy on Wednesday after Wembley refused his request to move the dug-out within shouting range of his team.

At present the Wembley bench is sited beneath the Royal Box, several yards of grass, sand and a greyhound track away from the action. Most dug-outs are within 10 feet.

After the Poland match in October, Hoddle asked if he could move to the side of the pitch with his assistants but Wembley refused citing "sightlines". Because of the stadium's archaically low viewing levels Hoddle would be blocking the view of paying spectators.

Wembley say the FA could have insisted but that they had "advised" it was impractical. However, they admitted they had not physically tested how many seats were involved nor considered selling the relevant seats at reduced price as they do with tickets behind pillars. The request came before tickets were sold for the Italy game.

"Obviously with an England coach we will do everything we can to accommodate him," said Martin Corrie, Wembley's press officer. "We know fans will understand if it is the England coach in their way but thought it could cause frustration. We are looking at the situation for future games."

"You want to be able to get something across when it is needed," Hoddle said. "At the moment the distance is too great."

Asked if he had tried to gain permission for one seat he said: "I'd look pretty silly sitting out there on my own."

Quite. It can be a lonely enough job as it is.