The Hoddle Sacking: The Fall; `Misconstrued, misunderstood, misinterpreted'

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The Independent Online
FRIDAY, JANUARY 29 - First editions of Saturday's Times reveal the controversial Hoddle interview. Hoddle issues a statement before the night is out. He calls the interpretation of his views on the disabled "scandalous" and says "The motive behind it I can only imagine".

Saturday, January 30 - Reaction is swift on Saturday morning with Disabled Supporters Association chairperson Freda Murray calling Hoddle's comments "disgusting". Hoddle is interviewed on Saturday lunchtime's Football Focus programme. He says his views have been "misconstrued, misunderstood and misinterpreted". Later in the afternoon th Football Association spokesman, Steve Double, describes Hoddle as "an excellent supporter of the disabled".

The Football Supporters' Association are not convinced by Hoddle's statements and accuse him of placing a slur on the disabled. At 3pm Hoddle takes his seat for the Coventry v Liverpool game at Highfield. He pledges it is business as usual.

The FA issue a further statement in support of the embattled coach. The public are told that Hoddle's next media engagement is the press conference to name a team for the friendly against France at Wembley. It is confirmed that Hoddle has held talks with the FA's International Committee chairman, Noel White. Controversial faith healer Eileen Drewery is quoted in the Sunday Telegraph as giving her support for Hoddle. The Chelsea chairman, Ken Bates, a forthright FA Council member and Hoddle's ex-boss, attacks the England coach. He suggests that Hoddle has blundered because of his dealings with Drewery.

Sunday, January 31 - A bad start to the day for Hoddle. Stung by public reaction, FA acting chief executive, David Davies, appears on Radio Five Live's Sports Week programme saying FA chairman, Geoff Thompson, will be summoning the England coach to a meeting to explain his remarks. At lunchtime The Times issues a strong statement of defence for its story and says that journalist Matt Dickinson has provided an accurate representation of the Hoddle interview.

Monday, February 1 - The storm seems to be gathering force with the press strongly against Hoddle. Pressure mounts for Hoddle to go. The Prime Minister, speaking on ITV's This Morning programme says Hoddle's remarks, if true, are "very wrong". The Sports Minister, Tony Banks, and Football Task Force chairman, David Mellor, take up strong, anti-Hoddle positions.

David Davies announces he has been in constant touch with disabled fans and players' groups. He says senior FA figures will meet "urgently" to discuss Hoddle's position A statement will be issued within 36 hours. At lunchtime a Teletext poll reveals 82 per cent believe Hoddle should go.

William Hill say they have closed the book on bets as to whether Hoddle will leave his post. In the afternoon Hoddle announces he will not stand down. He gives a lengthy interview to Sky Sports in which he expresses sorrow for the reaction to the story but continues to state that the article has cast him unfairly as the villain.

By 6pm Hoddle's counter-off-ensive is in full swing. His agent, Dennis Roach, states that his client intends to sue The Times. They fight back with the editor, Peter Stothard, claiming Hoddle's defence of his position has been "incoherent".

Senior FA officials hold talks. Hoddle gives his side of the story and Nationwide, sponsors of the England team, are also involved in discussions. Hoddle is interviewed by Trevor McDonald on News at Ten but no new light is shed on the situation.

Tuesday, February 2 - Media reaction to Hoddle's interviews is cool with most papers calling for him to go. The Daily Telegraph and The Mirror suggest there could be a way out if he cuts off his links with Eileen Drewery and makes a further apology, but there are few crumbs of comfort. Nationwide marketing manager, Mike Lazenby, expresses disquiet about Hoddle's actions, saying he was "remorseful, not necessarily repentant".

David Davies announces a decision on Hoddle's future has been put back to tea-time today. At 6.54pm, Davies issues a short statement at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, which begins: "With regret the FA and Glenn Hoddle have today agreed to terminate Glenn's contract".

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