Football: England Axe Was Bitter Pill to Swallow ..It's Just Fabulous to Be Back; GLENN HODDLE EXCLUSIVE

By Harris, Harry | The Mirror (London, England), January 29, 2000 | Go to article overview

Football: England Axe Was Bitter Pill to Swallow ..It's Just Fabulous to Be Back; GLENN HODDLE EXCLUSIVE


Harris, Harry, The Mirror (London, England)


GLENN HODDLE opened his heart to Mirror Sport about his year in soccer exile last night and insisted he never deserved to be sacked as England coach.

Hoddle revealed exclusively how he swallowed the bitterness of being booted out by England to return revitalised and ready to rescue Premiership strugglers Southampton from the threat of relegation.

Hoddle is delighted be back in football after the events 12 months ago which stripped him of his job and his dignity.

Exactly a year after his fateful comments about the disabled cost him his international post, Hoddle has been reincarnated as Southampton manager claiming he has "no reservations" about his return to football's mainstream.

Hoddle said: "I come back into football having spent almost a year away with my batteries recharged and having a good rest from it all. It's fabulous to be back.

"I've had plenty to think about in almost a year and my experience with England can be of good use, not bad, but it can only be used now that I'm back in the game. The England experience was more good than bad. I prepared the national team for a World Cup and as a coach you can only learn from those experiences, even though club management is a different style.

"People may think it's taken a long time to get England out of my system. That's not the case. It happened quite quickly in fact because it was not as if I was sacked for disastrous results - my last two games with England was a draw and two wins.

"I was given the sack for reasons unrelated to football...untruths. For that reason it was a hard pill to swallow, but it's a pill I have had to swallow. It was an injustice. But you can't look backwards, you have to look forward."

Hoddle was sacked as England coach in February 1999 when the Football Association, already annoyed at his reliance on Drewery and his kiss-and-tell World Cup diary, acted decisively.

In an interview with The Times, Hoddle insinuated that disabled people were paying for their sins in past lives. Asked whether he regretted those comments, Hoddle said: "I'm glad you asked me that question because I never said those things.

"They were not portrayed anywhere near what I was talking about. I know what I said and those are not my beliefs.

"I never believed that's the punishment for disabled people. They were untruths and it's unfortunate for anyone that it is the disabled who got upset about it - but that's life.

"I don't feel any bitterness about what happened because I'm not that type of person, but I came out of the England situation after a draw and two wins and got the sack.

"I've had thousands of letters of support from the public since then, so I've got no reason to lose my confidence.

"It was a tremendous experience with England and it just added to me as a football coach."

Asked if he would be consulting predecessor David Jones, who has been given a year's sabbatical to fight child abuse charges, Hoddle said: "David won't be working with us, but I'll contact him at some time for a discussion.

"This is not the moment for obvious reasons, but I would like to send David and his family my best wishes for his court case because that's more important than football. …

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