Interview that led to Glenn Hoddle’s axing from England post

These days, it’s not uncommon to find football people in trouble because of comments made on social media.

But this month back in 1999, long before the advent of Twitter, Facebook and the rest, showed that careless words uttered in the public arena can have long-lasting and damaging consequences in any era.

Glenn Hoddle lost the most prestigious job in the English game after giving an interview to a broadsheet newspaper in which he made comments about disabled people.

Hoddle was steering England through the 2000 European Championship qualifying campaign when he made the controversial comments, interpreted as suggesting disabled people were being made to pay for the sins of past lives.

“You and I have been physically given two hands and two legs and half-decent brains,” he was quoted as saying.

“Some people have not been born like that for a reason. The karma is working from another lifetime. I have nothing to hide about that. It is not only people with disabilities. What you sow, you have to reap.”

The interview strayed into non-football territory because of Hoddle’s well-documented religious views and his use of faith healer Eileen Drewery as an adviser.

His words provoked a storm of outrage. He ruled out resignation, but following a weekend of speculation and mounting pressure, the FA announced that his contract was being terminated.

Their statement read: “It became apparent to all those concerned that this was the right decision.”

Later Hoddle said: “I accept I made a serious error of judgement in an interview which caused misunderstanding and pain. This was never my intention and for this I apologise.”

Former Leeds manager Howard Wilkinson, who at the time was Technical Director of the FA, took charge of the team as caretaker for the friendly against France a week later, and the following match against Finland, before Kevin Keegan was appointed.

Hoddle wasn’t permanently damaged and within a year, he was back in the game as manager of Southampton.

He kept the Saints in the Premier League but the following season left under controversial circumstances to return to Tottenham.

However, after a couple of mid-table finishes, he was sacked.

His last job in management was at Wolves, where he stepped down after 18 months in the summer of 2006.

Since then, Hoddle has been a regular TV pundit and is currently first-team coach at Queens Park Rangers.

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