Football: Le Tissier's phone call embarrasses Hoddle
Journalist and novelist Andrew Martin is the author of the 'Jim Stringer' series of novels based around railways. He has written for the Independent on Sunday, the Evening Standard, the Sunday Times and the New Statesman among others.
Thursday 13 February 1997
Le Tissier may face the wrath of the Football Association - not least his national coach - after revealing England's plans to the Italians via an unwise phone call to his brother, Karl.
Le Tissier was among the starting XI last night, but there was speculation that Hoddle had contemplated dropping the Channel Islander before the critical Group Two qualifier as punishment. After a week of tactical hide- and-seek with his Italian counterpart, Cesare Maldini, Le Tissier's phone call home appeared to have spoilt Hoddle's Wembley surprise.
Hoddle's master plan featured a recall for Le Tissier and Liverpool's Steve McManaman in a free-roving role behind Alan Shearer, but were wrecked when the player made a call to family in Guernsey on Tuesday night.
The news leaked out when the words of his brother, Karl, were broadcast on national radio, outlining England's tactics.
"What an idiot!" was one FA official's reaction to the news.
Hoddle must have been left wondering if there was any way of repairing the damage; perhaps by changing his plans, which were revealed to include Gary Neville in defence alongside Sol Campbell and Stuart Pearce, with no places for Gareth Southgate or Tony Adams.
The news took the edge off Le Tissier's recall to the starting line-up for the first time since the ill-fated game under Terry Venables in Dublin.
"He had no intimation whatsoever when the team was announced," his brother told BBC Radio Guernsey whose interview was then replayed by Radio Five Live. "He was very surprised. We were very surprised too, because he has played a lot better than he is at the moment and never got on."
Karl further embarrassed his brother, adding: "He's got a free role just behind Shearer. Matt and McManaman both have the freedom to roam around."
Latest in Sport
New day (slowly) rising – As Brasileirão gets underway, Brazilian football stumbles, rather than leaps into the future
The average Serie A crowd last year was 13,000 - comparable to Australia’s A-League.
by James Young
24 May 2013 04:31 PM
Monaco is a street circuit where driver ability is more important than anywhere else and if we take ...
by Gareth Purnell
24 May 2013 02:00 AM
Three weeks ago as I drove off the Eurostar, I remember thinking what a very long time it was until ...
by Martin Ayres
23 May 2013 05:29 PM
Why Manchester City were willing to fork out $500m on stake in MLS
Champions League final: Biggest German invasion since the fifth century as Borussia Dortmund face Bayern Munich
Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich: 50 things you should know about the Champions League final
Champions League final preview: Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund
Champions League Final: Can Jürgen Klopp and Borussia Dortmund stop the Bayern Munich machine?
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.