Skip to main content

News

  • Hoddles Wembley Wonder
Subscribe to newsfeed 

*Hoddle's Wembley Wonder

Posted on 4 October 2002  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

On Monday, the particularly long goodbye to the old Wembley Stadium drew to a close when 'Goliath', the giant mechanical claw began demolition work on the structure that surrounds English football's field of dreams.

We are promised that, possibly within 40 months, the finest stadium in the world will emerge from the rubble and the game will, once again, have a national focal point.

So with old Wembley now certainly consigned to history, we asked Glenn Hoddle for his memories of performing and directing operations beneath the Twin Towers - a venue where he has experienced both joy and despair.

It is no surprise, therefore, that he says recollections of Wembley bring mixed emotions for him. It all began for the boss when he made his England debut there back in November 1979 in a European Championship qualifier against Bulgaria.

The game was due to be played on the Wednesday but, just hours before kick-off, a thick fog descended on Wembley and Glenn's debut was put on hold for a night.

As a result of this, Kevin Keegan had to return to Hamburg and Kevin Reeves joined Glenn in the England debut stakes.

It was worth the wait and Glenn began his England cap count with a spectacular goal and his career-long affair with the old stadium was underway. It was only another 18 months before the venue embraced his club career as Spurs travelled the short distance to Wembley seven times in just 15 months.

Perhaps fittingly, but not result-wise, Glenn's final game for the club was in the 1987 FA Cup final against Coventry City. He later returned there as player-manager of Swindon for a thrilling play-off final against Leicester before suffering reverse fortunes as manager of Chelsea in the FA Cup final against Manchester United.

Wembley later became Glenn's home ground when he was appointed England coach and suffered only two defeats (one competitive) in 11 games.

"I've got lots of memories, obviously as England manager as well, leading England out for the first time was special too," reflected Glenn at Spurs Lodge.

"Playing there in Cup finals I've got mixed emotions. My last game for Tottenham was as a loser in a final and I've been there as Chelsea manager and lost.

"We won a play-off there with Swindon and I had two great wins with Tottenham there, but we lost in the League Cup against Liverpool.

"I've had masses and masses of emotion at Wembley, lots of games for my country.

"I've managed to score there and always seemed to have a knack of scoring there. I think I only managed to score one goal in the play-off year with Swindon - and that was in the final!

"It was always a place that I felt I could score."

Glenn admits to harbouring slight reservations over the knocking-down of Wembley and suggests that the old stadium could possibly have been renovated. But he adds if the futuristic designs become a reality we will have a footballing home to be proud of.

"There is a part of me that says I would have like to have seen the old stadium renovated. I just think there was a magic about it.

"In the end, if they go in and do what they plan it will be a new fantastic stadium. It will never be like the old Wembley. It had a special feel and look to it, there was something when you walked into that stadium - it just had something about it.

"You can't really put your finger on it. But if it is a big, lovely, modern type of stadium, which it looks like it's going to be, then it's going to be Wembley.

"It is right that we have a national stadium.

"The Millennium Stadium is a lovely place with a great atmosphere, but if Wembley is going to be built as a national stadium then that is the place to be."

So, out of a host of memories from the Wembley that was, which one is favourite?

"I really can't name one, someone asked me this the other day and it's a tough one.

"I think, on a purely individual personal note, scoring on my England debut was a bit special. I remember scoring, and Wembley is such a big place, I didn't quite know where to run and what to do!

"It was my first time playing there, so to score there like that and it was a particularly nice goal."

The delay due to fog did cause Glenn some anxiety before bedtime - wondering whether Ron Greenwood would completely alter his original selection.

"One of my major problems was worrying 'will the manager get up the next morning and change his mind on the team?' Fortunately for me, Ron didn't."

By Richard Hubbard

GLENN HODDLE WEMBLEY CONNECTIONS

As an England International (17 of 53 Full caps, 6 of 8 goals)
22.11.79 Bulgaria W 2-0 (one goal)
25.03.81 Spain L 1-2 (one goal)
20.05.81 Wales D 0-0
23.05.81 Scotland L 0-1
23.02.82 Northern Ireland W 4-0 (one goal)
15.12.82 Luxembourg W 9-0 (one goal)
01.06.83 Scotland W 2-0
26.03.85 Republic of Ireland W 2-1
11.09.85 Romania D 1-1 (one goal)
16.10.85 Turkey W 5-0
13.11.85 Northern Ireland D 0-0
23.04.86 Scotland W 2-1 (one goal)
15.10.86 Northern Ireland W 3-0
12.11.86 Yugoslavia W 2-0
14.10.87 Turkey W 8-0
23.03.88 Netherlands D 2-2
24.05.88 Colombia D 1-1

As a Spurs Player (8 appearances, 2 goals)
09.05.81 Manchester City D 1-1 aet FA Cup Final
14.05.81 Manchester City W 3-2 FA Cup Final Replay
22.08.81 Aston Villa D 2-2 FA Charity Shield
13.03.82 Liverpool L 1-3 aet League Cup Final
22.05.82 Queens Park Rangers D 1-1 aet FA Cup Final (one goal)
27.05.82 Queens Park Rangers W 1-0 FA Cup Final Replay (one goal)
21.08.82 Liverpool L 0-1 FA Charity Shield
16.05.87 Coventry City L 2-3 aet FA Cup Final

As Swindon Town Player/Manager
31.05.93 Leicester City W 4-3 Division One Play Off Final (one goal)

As Chelsea Player/Manager
14.05.94 Manchester United L 0-4 FA Cup Final

As England Head Coach (11 of 28 games in charge)
09.10.96 Poland W 2-0
12.02.97 Italy L 0-1
29.03.97 Mexico W 2-0
30.04.97 Georgia W 2-0
10.09.97 Moldova W 4-0
15.11.97 Cameroon W 2-0
11.02.98 Chile L 0-2
22.04.98 Portugal W 3-0
23.05.98 Saudi Arabia D 0-0
11.10.98 Bulgaria D 0-0
18.11.98 Czech Republic W 2-0

Statistics provided by Club Historian Andy Porter