The savaging of Hoddle, part 812
By Joff Wild
It cannot have come as much of a surprise to find that less than a week after being appointed manager of Wolves, a Sunday newspaper had come...
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The savaging of Hoddle, part 812
By Joff Wild for THEspursweb.com
It cannot have come as much of a surprise to find that less than a week after being appointed manager of Wolves, a Sunday newspaper had come up with an angle that allowed them to run a negative story about Glenn Hoddle.
After all, it is no secret that Hoddle is loathed by almost every football writer in this country, principally because he has never taken the time to learn how to play their game in the way they like. However, what is more surprising is the relish with which some Spurs fans have embraced the Sunday People "story" as a means to resurrect old debates about Glenn and, in the process, to once again lay into him and show him a level of disrespect that no other Spurs legend has ever had to put up with.
Very briefly, the spirit of the Sunday People story was that Hoddle had not taken more than a six-month contract at Wolves because he is actively involved in a consortium that has already made two bids to buy Spurs. If the consortium is successful Hoddle will return as manager to put an end to the amateurish way in which the club is run and to fulfil his destiny. What's more, Hoddle believes that it will be successful because Daniel Levy cannot stand the pressure and Joe Lewis has given him one more season before he pulls the plug on ENIC's investment in the club. All this is backed up by direct quotes from Glenn himself.
On the face of it, it is an open and shut case. No journalist, not even on a tabloid, would make quotes up and put them in a story, because that is a route that leads directly to the courts. On top of that, the bloke who wrote the story, Neil Silver, is a seasoned hack who knows what's what. He is a Spurs supporter as well. So, Hoddle probably did say them things.
However, what we also know is that Glenn has denied talking to Silver and he has denied sitting down to talk with any consortium. Added to which, we know that John Bick, the guy that looks after ENIC's PR
, has also said: "Could the real truth behind the story be that someone is trying to embarrass Hoddle?" To me, that is a very significant statement.
So, how do we reconcile all of this? First of all, it seems pretty clear that if Hoddle did say these things he did not say them in an on the record interview with Neil Silver some time in the last week. Both Hoddle and the Wolves chairman have stated publicly that it was Wolves' decision to offer Hoddle the six-month contract.
Why would both men say such a thing in the full glare of publicity only for Hoddle to come out a few days later to flatly contradict this, so putting his relationship with Wolves under major pressure? The answer is, they would not. Added to which, if this was an on the record and recent interview, it would be featured elsewhere in the Sunday People in more depth. But there is nothing. We have these quotes, some stuff taken from the press conference Hoddle gave last week and no more. Quite revealing when you think about it.
Let's throw some more stuff into the pot. Although Daniel Levy is mentioned in Glenn's quotes, there is no mention of Santini, Jol or Arnesen. Why not? Surely these three are major protagonists at Spurs and if Glenn considers them to be amateurs he would say so, especially as he seems perfectly happy to make comments specifically about the chairman. He would at least make some reference to them wouldn't he?
One notable feature of the story is that when you look at it carefully you see that there is no mention of timing anywhere - except very broad stuff about one more season. And this takes us to the heart of the matter. We have no idea when Glenn Hoddle made these comments except that it is extremely unlikely he made them last week. They could have been made any time in the last 15 months. In fact, the situation he describes looks remarkably like the situation as it was prior to the arrival of Arnesen, Jol and Santini - when quite frankly Spurs was in a complete state, there was a whole lot of politics and discord, and Daniel Levy was copping an awful lot of flak.
So how about this for a take on the Sunday People story? These are quotes that Glenn Hoddle made. But there were made in private, maybe to Silver, maybe to a third party who taped them, maybe in an email or other written format, some time towards the end of last season. On that basis, what has Hoddle done wrong? He has spoken to people who say they want to buy the club, he thinks there is a chance they may succeed because Daniel Levy cannot take the pressure, he thinks that Spurs is run as an amateur operation, he does not think he should have been fired, he would like another chance to manage the club he loves. But to his knowledge he has made all these comments in private.
So, in no way can he be said to be trying to drag the club's name through the mud. Neither is he commenting on the current Spurs set-up. Neither is he doing anything to undermine his relationship with, or commitment to, Wolves. He is merely expressing personal opinions, in what he thinks is a private situation. We may not necessarily agree with all of them but so what? That is not the point.
But having expressed such opinions, Hoddle cannot retract them. Neither can he take anyone to court. The Sunday People has put him in a terrible position. Which is what the paper wanted and what John Bick is talking about. As I said at the top, that's no surprise. Either Neil Silver has just got hold of this information or he has been sitting on it waiting for Hoddle to get back into football - something that would give the story real impact. Anyone who thinks journalists run stories containing quotes only taken from on the record, recent interviews is living in a world far removed from reality. There are many, many ways to get a quote.
At the end of the day you will believe what you want to believe. Most Spurs fans and Wolves fans will see this story for what it is: yet another attempt to make Glenn Hoddle look bad. Some, on the other hand, will choose to use it as more ammunition with which to vilify him. As for me, I remember Glenn Hoddle as a home grown, Tottenham loving football genius who gave me more pleasure than any other player that I have ever seen in a lilywhite shirt. I wanted him to succeed as a manager at Tottenham but he did not. I am sure that he still thinks he was badly treated and deserved more time. He has a right to hold those opinions and to express them, even though most of us would now disagree with him on the latter point.
But Glenn Hoddle loves Spurs far too much to go public with any other kind of criticisms he may have and he is too much of a professional to seek to destabilise Wolves only days after becoming the club's manager.
Shame on anyone who thinks otherwise.