The Talent Of Glenn Hoddle
Glenn Hoddle, one of the most gifted and creative English footballers of his generation. A player whose style would have seamlessly fit into the modern era of football. His brilliance, passing accuracy, tricks, short shorts, lovely haircuts, and those distinctive Admiral kits that perfectly complemented his flair made him a standout figure at both Tottenham Hotspur and the England national team.
Glenn Hoddle was born in the unassuming town of Hayes, Middlesex back in 1957. These humble beginnings would nurture one of England's most remarkably skilled footballers.
During his early years, Hoddle developed a deep affinity for Tottenham Hotspur, a choice that came as no surprise, considering the club's glory days in the 1960s when they clinched a league title and secured the first European trophy for an English club. It was during a training camp with Spurs legends that he caught the eye as a young talent. At the tender age of twelve, he embarked on his journey in the world of football, joining the club as a promising junior prospect and officially signing with the team in April 1974.
Hoddle's remarkable on-field artistry and skill quickly captured the attention of influential figures at the FA, opening the door to an opportunity with England. This opportunity materialised as a journey to the pristine landscapes of Switzerland, where he proudly represented The Three Lions at the Under-18 Youth tournament in 1975. The experience not only showcased his footballing finesse but also afforded a youthful Hoddle the privilege of immersing himself in the scenic wonders of Switzerland. Moreover, he had the fortune to share the company of future stars of English football, including the likes of Bryan Robson, Ray Wilkins, and Peter Barnes. Together they united to conquer the tournament, donned in the first Admiral England kit, beating hosts Switzerland 4-0 and Finland 1-0 in the Final.
Hoddle's Tottenham debut took place in 1975, yet he didn't become a consistent member of the first team until the subsequent season. Unfortunately, that season turned out to be a forgettable one for the North London Club with Hoddle encountering his first setback in 1977 when the team were relegation from the top division for the first time since 1950.
This momentary demise coincided with the rise of the Admiral Brand in football, after producing kits for the likes of Leeds United and England, Admiral Sports took over as Spurs’ main kit manufacturer for the 1977-78 season. Although plying his trade in the second tier, this was the moment 21 year old Glenn Hoddle was turning heads at the top of the game, scoring 13 goals from midfield which were pivotal in Spurs’ promotion given they bounced back to the top flight on goal difference.
By the 1979-80 season, Hoddle solidified his position in the history books of English football by earning a place in the prestigious PFA team of the year and securing the PFA Young Player of the Year award. It was during this remarkable season that Hoddle achieved another milestone by receiving his first full International England cap.
Decked out in Admiral gear, the Three Lions aimed to infuse fresh, youthful talent into their squad, eager to recover from the disappointment of failing to qualify for the 1978 World Cup, just 12 years after Bobby Moore and co. triumphantly lifted the Jules Rimet trophy at Wembley. While Hoddle's Under-18s teammates earned their spots in the squad in early 1978, he had to bide his time until the onset of the 1980 European Championship qualifying campaign to seize his opportunity.
The majestic midfielder earned his first full international cap against Bulgaria on 17 October 1979 making an immediate impact by scoring in a 2-0 victory. This debut performance secured his spot in the squad headed to Euro Italia 80, where he made his first appearance at a major international tournament in the memorable 2-1 win against Spain. England's journey in the tournament came to an end with Hoddle making only a single appearance.
The next major tournament for England was the 1982 World Cup held in Spain. The English squad was announced and one of its iconic figures was Glenn Hoddle. England entered the tournament as a seeded team, driven by FIFA's hope to avoid a clash with Argentina due to the ongoing Falklands Islands conflict. Hoddle's dazzling flair and skill had endeared him to fans, yet his playing style, perceived as more continental than British, left him without a guaranteed spot in the starting line-up for England. During this tournament, he made just two appearances, one as a substitute, representing a missed opportunity to infuse creativity into the team, which ultimately led to their demise, drawing 0-0 against both Spain and West Germany.
Hoddle’s international career with England concluded with the accumulation of 53 caps, a total that we can all agree falls considerably short of his talent.