Hardman stressed that Swindon had not been approached by anyone about Hoddle, who was yesterday reported to be Chelsea-bound with his No 2, John Gorman. 'There has been speculation about the future and we need to clarify the matter,' Hardman said. 'I should be in a position tomorrow to know what the future is.'
Hardman was responding to a story that his manager has agreed to sign a three-year contract at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea, managerless since David Webb's exit, have not won a trophy of substance since their Cup- Winners' and FA Cup successes of the early 1970s. Hoddle is widely admired as the type of influential individual who would inspire players to end such a trend of under-achievement.
But Hardman was adamant that Hoddle was his. 'I have not talked to any clubs about Glenn, and nobody has talked to me about him. We have had no approaches,' he said. 'The regulations of both the Football League and the Football Association say that it can't happen.
'I can't state for certain that he will be here next season, because Glenn will do what he wants in the end. He has a clause in his contract which says he can be released to another club. I wouldn't stand in his way if he decides to go. We know he is going to go sometime; he's a megastar. But we will do our utmost to keep him.'
Employees at Hoddle's former haunt, Tottenham Hotspur, yesterday received a letter from Alan Sugar in which the chairman stressed his commitment to the club. Sugar, who returns to the High Court next week to fight Terry Venables for control of Spurs, was reacting to 'various comments made to me that some staff members are concerned about my commitment to the current circumstances surrounding Tottenham'.
Sugar wrote: 'We are all fully aware of the events that have occurred with regard to court hearings and during this awkward time the press have launched a heavy campaign and have effectively created a Sugar/Venables war. It is rumoured that this is a strategy to wear me down personally so that I will simply turn around and say 'What the hell am I involved in all this aggravation for?' and walk away.
'I have no intention whatsoever of selling my shares to anybody and as far as I am advised, the Court will not force me to do so. You can be sure that I will most strenuously object to any such suggestion no matter how long or how far up the legal ladder it goes.' Sugar concluded that he would not 'give in' to 'intimidating'
demonstrations directed against him.
The Scottish FA has rejected the FA's offer of pounds 1m to settle a television row over the Charity Shield. Sky Sports' live coverage coincides with a full Scottish programme, forcing the Scots to re-emphasise their anger over the FA allowing such broadcasts. The FA, which has permitted over-the- border extra-terrestrial screenings of Premier League action since concluding the deal with BSkyB, faces a Uefa fine of at least pounds 5m.
Gordon Cowans yesterday joined Aston Villa for the third time, returning from Blackburn on a free transfer.