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Glenn Hoddle: My 1998 World Cup Story Hardcover – 20 Aug 1998
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This is the story of how Glenn Hoddle coached England to defeat in two of their four matches in France 98, and thus failed in his efforts to lead the country to World Cup triumph. Though to read Hoddle's unrepentant assessment of his decision making and approach, you might initially be fooled into thinking that England actually won the thing, until we eventually get round to David Batty's missed penalty and sad reality is again restored. Hoddle, as he must be in his position, is a stubborn and talented man who is utterly certain of his own mind. This is fine when you're winning but, as ever in football, when you lose it's not enough to say that you should have won. All that matters is the final score and so, for instance, Hoddle's cruel disclosure of Paul Gascoigne's response to being left out of the squad or his trust in faith healer Eileen Drewery now sound just embarrassing, while if he'd pulled it off they might seem like strategic masterstrokes. But at least in this book you get Hoddle's side of the story absolutely straight. Sporting biographies are the home of the dilute and the banal but here what you see is what you get and the reader can judge Hoddle accordingly. So start judging! --Nick Wroe
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a) appreciate he has one of the best coaching brains in England; b) realize he isn't some religious zealot; c) appreciate that just perhaps Eileeen Drewery has a special ability to heal; d) discover that the gazza revelation wasn't 'cruel' whn put in context; e) wish he were still England coach . . . and more.
I enjoyed tagging along on the World Cup roller-coaster ride with Hoddle, and I felt I learned a lot about him from his personal life details. Looking back on World Cup qualifying in late '97 and the tournament itself in the summer of '98, I can now view that period from a very different perspective because I have been behind the scenes with the England coach. More than ever I'm convinced that Hoddle was our best coach since Ramsey.
The ONLY irritation for me was Hoddle's constant references to his having 'a strange feeling' about this, that, and the other. I would say he reads too much into things. If someone is injured, for example, it's a simple fact. The player is injured. It doesn't mean that myserious workings are in place so that a substitute can emerge to save the day, and so on. We all have 'funny' feelings about things from time to time. They don't necessarily have to mean anything!
Despite Hoddle's 'constant references,' it doesn't qualify him as a religious nut!
It's a good book. Read it and enjoy it.
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