Wolves suddenly hear gospel according to Hod

Watford 1 - Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
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The Independent Football

Glenn Hoddle is too easy a target to make fun of these days and often does that job well enough himself. So no cheap jibes, even though the Wolves board do not seem sure about their decision to revive him, which is possibly why he returned to work from a 15-month hiatus on just a six-month contract.

Before yesterday's game Wolves were in 17th place, with 16 points to close in on automatic promotion, but the Championship is such a weak league that a play-off place is not beyond question. A more likely bet is that the Wolves board will not have to hand over the £500,000 set aside as Hoddle's promotion bonus.

Watford, who have now drawn 11 and not won a League game at home since August, fancy a run in the play-off race themselves and their manager, Ray Lewington, rated Wolves' first-half performance as the best he has seen this season.

Lewington said: "I was grateful to come in on level terms at half-time. Glenn will do well and the draw was a fair result for once."

Hoddle was, of course, the centre of attention and loved it - even the abuse from Watford fans. "I got a tingle from coming to the game and loved the banter and even some of the stick I got from the crowd," he said. "Promotion is there to go for, but will not be easy. The players have had only two days to adapt to a new diamond formation and I think we did very well overall. The board see me as the man who can lead them back into the Premiership. I could have gone elsewhere, but I saw this as a real challenge."

Hoddle's first game as a manager, in charge of Swindon some 14 years ago, ended in defeat to Watford. So he has made some progress. He then improved an average Chelsea side and took England to the World Cup finals before returning mixed results as the coach of Southampton and Tottenham.

He disagrees, but many think he now has six months to save Wolves and his managerial career, so it is vital his players make every second count. They were obviously slow to receive that message yesterday though, as they had not even got the ball into Watford's half of the pitch before they were behind to a Heidar Helguson goal in the fourth minute.

The Icelandic striker nearly scored a second three minutes later and Wolves struggled for a while. But there was no sign of Hoddle trying to sort things out. The job of barking instructions was left to his assistant Stuart Gray, who was handed a mobile phone in the 13th minute. No doubt the word of Hod was still not getting through clearly because we were treated to our first sighting of the great man when Hoddle appeared pitchside with just over 10 minutes remaining in the first half.

And, as if by magic, Wolves were back in the game moments later thanks to a cracking shot from the midfielder Seyi Olofinjana after Jody Craddock and Carl Cort had combined to set him up following a cross from Keith Andrews.

"I don't think I can take credit for that," Hoddle admitted when asked if his arrival from high had turned the game. The second half failed to match the tempo of the first and lacked the sparkle, for example, that Hoddle showed here back in 1985 when he scored his legendary chipped goal for Tottenham. Even some Arsenal supporters admit that that "Glenda" goal was half decent.

And that is the Hoddle most football fans want to dwell on. He has been bitten by the managerial bug, though, and is on a mission to be remembered as not only a great player.

His manner is not to every fan or players' liking, but who is to say he will not yet pull it off? Hoddle concluded: "I'm only 47 and young in managerial terms. I could have worked in television as I enjoy that too, but this game is in my blood and I am delighted to be back."