Managers Month: No.3 – Glenn Hoddle

No.3 | Glenn Hoddle | Manager April 1991 to June 1993 | Score 404.6

Bringing Hoddle over from Monaco to replace Ossie Ardiles was definitely the right choice. The former Tottenham midfield maestro secured the points needed to avoid relegation in 1991, but only just, as Glenn’s side won 2, drew 1 and suffered 5 defeats in his eight games to finish 21st.

Over the summer Hoddle made three key signings, which now look to be fantastic bargains. Martin Ling returned for £15,000, David Mitchell joined from Chelsea for £30,000 and £200,000 persuaded Exeter to part with ‘OOH!’ Shaun Taylor. Add in change in formation with Glenn preferring a 5-3-2 over the 4-4-2 diamond – with Nicky Summerbee and the returning Paul Bodin at wing back and Hoddle playing as a libero – Swindon became a better balanced attacking team.

Even a mid season blip of 9 games without a win couldn’t stop Town from mounting a serious charge towards the play-offs. What did, however, was player sales. After the 5th Round FA Cup defeat to Aston Villa, first Fitzroy Simpson was offloaded to Manchester City for £550,000, then Blackburn poached the man who’d been their downfall previously, paying £850,000 for Duncan Shearer and his 32 goals in all competitions, in order to stop the Town promotion charge.

Goals dried up in the remaining 9 games and Town eventually finished 8th, 5 points shy of the play-offs. A remarkable achievement and turnaround.

With one of the greatest Swindon goals, Glenn started 1992/93 as he meant to finish it, scoring against Sunderland in the opening game with a 30 yard screamer. As the season progressed Town were really in the hunt. A 1-0 win at home to Barnsley in late October cemented 2nd place until two successive 4-2 defeats tumbled Town down to 6th. That Derby County 4-2 win at the County Ground in front of the Central TV cameras saw Town 3 nil down with 2 minutes remaining. Cue me persuading Dad, against his better judgement, that we should make an early march for the exit. We did so we missed two Swindon goals and Derby’s fourth in the remaining 3 minutes. I’ve never left a match early since.

The new year couldn’t see Town catch up with Newcastle and West Ham, however enough points were won to ensure 5th place was secured, despite a winless final 4 games when just two points were added to the tally.

With Town back in the play-offs for the first time since demotion, Portsmouth were favourites having narrowly missed out by just 1 goal, yet the unpredictability of the play-offs sent 5th placed Swindon and 6th place Leicester to Wembley.

As for Wembley you don’t need me to describe the action. Just re watch history in the making. I can see you smile when Hoddle gives Swindon the lead and when Bodin strikes his penalty low past Leicester keeper Poole. Magnificent!

Immediately after the final whistle Hoddle was pressed to confirm his future. Days later the posters proclaiming “Don’t Go Glenn!” tarnished the celebrations and victory parade, as the prospect of losing the inspirational manager was as important as the match result. When he was confirmed at Chelsea just days later it didn’t come as a surprise, just gut wrenching for the Town faithful in disbelief he didn’t want to stay and finish off the job he started.

Good, Bad or Ugly? – Good – To take Swindon to the top flight (for a second time) after spending so little, the inspirational Hoddle led from the front, well from the back, throughout his two years at The County Ground. To juggle both playing (a total 120 games) with management, helped by John Gorman in the dugout, Hoddle’s achievement is even greater and unlikely to be repeated.

  • Leagues: 3 seasons in Division Two / One
  • FA Cup: 4 ties & 2 tie wins | Best 5th Round in 1991/92
  • League Cup: 6 ties & 4 tie wins | Best 4th Round in 1991/92
  • Achievements: Division One Play-Off Final Winner 1992/93
League Pld Won Drn Lst For Agg League Pts P/G League Score FAC Score FLC Score
103 43 29 31 166 138 152 1.476 254.64 67.50 82.50
TOTAL SCORE: 404.6

Click here for a full list of the managers in the countdown so far and their scores.

See my earlier post for an explanation of how the scoring works.

* Header photo and videos from swindon-town-fc.co.uk

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