I have been blessed as a supporter of Tottenham Hotspur that in my many years following the great club, there have been numerous unbelievable players.
There have been none greater than Glenn Hoddle in my opinion.
Hoddle was blessed with such great talent, poise, technique and artistry that despite the wonderful Tottenham ballplayers that have followed, none have quite been able to manage to take his crown.
For such a tall player, he had amazing balance – beating players at will with a twist or jink, then gliding effortlessly passed them.
The ball-playing midfielder had so many exceptional qualities, he passed like quarterbacks throw, with amazing precision and deftness.
A pass from the Tottenham legend would often see him split a defence in two from 40/50 yards away and land in the perfect spot for the forward to strike or control with ease.
Hoddle’s prowess for scoring wondergoals would make him a £200 million player in today’s market.
The Tottenham maestro could score free kicks, volleys, long-range efforts. He could use power, curl or deftness.
Hoddle had so many great goals, it is almost impossible to pick just one.
There was the delightful turn and chip away at Watford, the brilliant free-kick routine where he thunders in a volley against Manchester United, the violent free kick at Wimbledon – the list is endless.
Perhaps fittingly, Hoddle’s last in the famous Lilywhite shirt was a solo effort that started in his own half.
The Spurs star nutmegged an opposition defender and ended with the Tottenham fan favourite dumping their goalkeeper on the floor with a bamboozling dummy as he stroked the ball effortlessly into the empty net.
Turning to take the adulation of his adoring fans, even his exit was beautiful and graceful, much like the way he played the game.
Those who frequented White Hart Lane from the Mid ’70s were treated to Harlem Globetrotter style football from the elegant genius.
He would often juggle the ball as he took it under control and have you spellbound whilst beating an opposition player.
If Hoddle had not been English and had been born Brazilian, Argentinian, French or any other football-loving nation, I am sure he would have won far more international caps.
He never received the acclaim he deserved – for some strange reason Hoddle was seen as a luxury by England.
Footballing geniuses of that time were often bemused by the English treatment of Hoddle.
The likes of Michel Platini, Osvaldo Ardiles and Johan Cruyff all poured praise on him, whilst ridiculing England’s management for misusing and ignoring the Tottenham man’s talents.
Then there was Diego Maradona, billed as the greatest player of all time, who after one game with Hoddle established the most-enthralling footballing partnership I have ever witnessed.
It was a mid-spring evening when Tottenham played Inter Milan in a testimonial for Ardiles – and compatriot Maradona was a guest in the Tottenham side that evening.
I witnessed a display that left me in awe and I still recount today with such glee and passion.
The players had never met before that evening’s game and did not share the same language,but what they did share was the language of football.
They were telepathic, able to find each other from almost any distance on the pitch, swapping passes and showing off their sublime talents. It was a joy to behold, something that footballers who have played a lifetime together cannot master.
Sadly, Hoddle has been unwell recently, so here’s hoping that he makes a swift recovery and we see him at the new White Hart Lane in the very near future.
Then we can hear the adoring chant once more “Hoddle, Hoddle, Born is the king of White Hart Lane”.
White Heart Lane has been developed from one man’s love of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. It is designed to be a forum of news, opinions, reaction and comment from this Spurs fan and the multitude of Tottenham supporters around the world.