My First Signing… Glenn Hoddle
After writing about Ossie Ardiles’ first signing back in January it’s finally time to look at his successor, Glenn Hoddle.
Glenn Hoddle joined Town in early April 1991 shortly after Ossie resigned to take over at Newcastle United. Although Glenn had to wait until July to sign his first player… Martin Ling, who joined Town for a second time.
Ling had originally joined Town back in July 1986 for £25,000 from his first club Exeter City. In his first spell, Ling made only 2 league appearances for Lou Macari and he lasted until mid October when he was sent packing to Southend United for £15,000. Lou had clearly brought in the wrong man to suit his style of play and Town suffered a £10,000 loss in no time at all.
Despite this less than successful time at Town, 5 years later Ling made his return.. this time on loan. Ossie Ardiles signed Ling on loan from Southend United in late March. Another Town old boy also returned on the same day, albeit one with greater pedigree.. none other than Paul Rideout joining from Southampton. Only 3 days later Ossie resigned and joined Newcastle United and soon Glenn Hoddle took over.
Although he only made 1 substitute appearance in the remainder of 1990/1991, coming on as a substitute in a 3-1 defeat at Port Vale on the final day of the season, he obviously made a good impression on Hoddle, who made Ling his first signing on the 15th July 1991 for £15,000.
Hoddle clearly brought the best out of Ling, 23 league appearances and 3 goals in 1991/1992 followed by the magnificent achievement of playing in all but one league and play-off games and scoring 3 goals in our triumphant 1992/1993 promotion year.
In the Premiership Ling never fulfilled his promise. Although that could be said of pretty much the rest of the Town squad. Following the Premier League season Ling couldn’t regain his form in his two further seasons at The County Ground. When first team chances became ever more limited he eventually left at the end of the 1995/1996 season after making a total of 155 league appearances and scoring 10 goals.
After retiring in September 2001 after playing spells at Leyton Orient, Brighton and Purfleet, Ling had to wait until December 2003 for his first foray into management at Leyton Orient. After 2 and a half years at Brisbane Road Ling had led Orient to their first automatic promotion in 36 years and then successfully kept the club in League One in 2006/2007. Orient were punching above their weight and with a restrictive budget the team found it hard to compete. Inevitably Orient slipped lower down the table and Ling was dismissed in January 2009.
In July 2009 Ling was back in management at Conference National Cambridge United, but only lasted 9 days, resigning citing irreconcilable differences with the then chairman George Rolls. Then for the turnaround 16 days after he original appointment Ling returned to take over the reigns after Rolls left the club. Ling is still at Cambridge after guiding the U’s to 10th last season.