Premier League managerial positions become available almost every other week and for most of these positions the name of Glenn Hoddle is put forward in the press. Up to now he has managed to avoid getting any of these poisoned chalices but with Tim Sherwood’s short stay at Spurs rapidly coming to an inevitable end, the pressure for the club to return to one of their own will be powerful.
There are many people in football who will tell you that Glenn Hoddle was the most talented footballer England have ever had and the fact that he won a mere 50 odd caps was testimony to the national team’s mistrust of skill in favour of journeymen and workhorses during the 1980s. He was certainly the central figure for Spurs when they last won a meaningful trophy almost 30 years ago.
The jury is not so sure about his management skills however despite performing miracles with Swindon Town and doing a creditable job with the pre Roman Abramovich era Chelsea. The doubts that people have are largely based on the experience of Hoddle as England manager, an impossible job from which very few have emerged with their reputations intact. Like most incumbents, Hoddle was sacked but unlike the rest of them it was clearly not for football reasons.
In football terms he had done as well as anyone else having guided England to qualification for the 1998 World Cup with a memorable 0–0 draw in Rome against Italy. The actual performance in the finals was about par for the course with the traditional exit in the second round losing on penalties to Argentina. This exit was clearly not Hoddle’s fault, it was entirely caused by a swing of David Beckham’s famous right boot and an exquisite piece of gamesmanship by Diego Simone. After all it was not Hoddle whose effigy was swinging from the lampposts at the time.
Granted the start to the Euro qualifying campaign had not been auspicious and there was still some kind of hangover from Hoddle’s refusal to take midfield maestro and media darling Paul Gascoigne to France despite the fact that his best days were long past and his refuelling had reached 4 X 4 proportions.
The real difficulties had begun with Hoddle installing supposed faith healer Eileen Drewery as part of the England coaching staff, which led to the team being dubbed “The Hod Squad” and Ray Parlour’s request in response to the laying on of hands being to ask for a ” short back and sides “.
Hoddle’s response to criticism of an approach which intended to treat the ” whole ” player but was either utterly naive or light years ahead of its time for English football was to come out fighting in defence of his spiritual beliefs in an interview with a Times reporter.
” My beliefs have evolved in the last eight or nine years, that the spirit has to come back again, that is nothing new, that has been around for thousands of years. You have to come back to learn and face some of the things you have done, good and bad. There are too many injustices around.”
“You and I have been physically given two hands and two legs and half-decent brains. 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.”
“You have to look at things that happened in your life and ask why. It comes around.”
Hoddle’s comments were criticised by several politicians including Prime Minister Tony Blair who was never slow to leap on a PR bandwagon. Hoddle apologised for the offence that had been caused, stating it had never been his intention and claimed that he frequently acted as a fundraiser for disabled groups, but he was dismissed by the FA.
Some people thought that the reincarnation issue was an excuse and that he may well have lost his job for performances and a feeling that he was out of touch with his players but even disabled rights campaigner Lord Ashley while criticising Hoddle’s views, defended his right to express them, likening the campaign against Hoddle to a “witchhunt” and considered Hoddle’s dismissal “a sad day for British tolerance and freedom of speech”.
There is an ongoing debate about whether we should expect our sporting heroes to be role models for a generation that looks up to them despite the fact that their own background and education does little to prepare them for this aspect of their fame. But it is patently absurd to expect them to have a fine understanding of religious issues. Nicolas Anelka has, throughout his career, displayed an unerring sense of the position of an eight foot by eight yards piece of netting together with an ability to propel a spherical object into it, but is clearly at sea when it comes to the complexities of faith and belief.
It is interesting that the Dalai Lama takes great pains to avoid making statements about reincarnation to western audiences and would certainly not attempt to discuss the subject’s finer points with a reporter from one of Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers. Yet we expect Glenn Hoddle to come up with an assessment of past lives that takes into account the sensitivities of people with disabilities. What next, should we ask the Pope for his views on the role of the false nine and his local team Roma’s experiment with a 4-6-0 formation a few years ago ?
Perhaps the most significant question would be why Hoddle felt that he was an appropriate spokesperson for the subject of reincarnation in the first place. Well that’s clear from his chart. No birth time is available but a noon chart is sufficient for our needs.
Glenn Hoddle is a Scorpio, a sign that he shares with some of the most gifted footballers of all time . Scorpio is strongly connected to death and rebirth and many with this Sun sign go through deep and profound changes in life and emerge in entirely new situations.
The real telling factor here is the Sun’s close conjunction to the spiritual Neptune. This aspect does often endow the person with gifts that seem to come from another realm. It certainly does contribute towards a spiritual view of life although of course each individual has to interpret that relative to the level that they themselves function on.
Capricorn Research believes that we each function on different levels in different areas of life. The Dalai Lama for example would be on level 9 for religion and spirituality but probably not much above level 1 as a footballer. Hoddle you would imagine being at 8 or 9 as a footballer, 6 as a manager but not much above 3 as a spiritual advisor.
One of the problems with Neptune is that whilst it can bring illumination and spiritual enlightenment it can also bring delusion and even hallucinations. It rules meditation but also escapist tendencies through misuse of alcohol and drugs. Neptune’s downsides tend to be felt more with the opposition and square aspects than the conjunction.
It is interesting however that this whole episode occurred when the transiting Neptune was square to Hoddle’s Sun in 1998 and 99. Glenn Hoddle’s belief in spirituality and reincarnation was prompted by his Sun / Neptune conjunction but his declaration whilst in the England manager’s job was naive, classic transiting Neptune square the Sun stuff.
Hoddle’s peak was between 1984 and 85 when Pluto was conjunct his Sun as he was the architect behind Tottenham’s 1984 UEFA Cup win including a phenomenal second-round display as Spurs won 6–2 on aggregate against a Feyenoord side containing the legendary Johan Cruyff who offered Hoddle his shirt as a sign of respect. Spurs also reached third place in the First Division and the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup in 1985.
Perhaps there is just something about the close Sun / Neptune conjunction in Scorpio that convinces you that your are God’s emissary. After all there was another outrageously gifted attacking midfielder who claimed a connection with the divine.
Diego Maradona had his particular meeting with destiny though the intervention of the Hand of God during his own Pluto transit to his Sun in 1986.
Its interesting to note that his own version of Neptune square his Sun was in 2001 – 2 when he was at his lowest ebb with his cocaine addiction.
Maradona’s own rehab and his dramatic loss of weight after undergoing gastric bypass surgery and his bizarre return to football in the position of Argentina manager is testimony to the incredible Scorpio powers of reinvention. It didn’t work of course, Diego’s lack of understanding of overall team tactics were not sufficient to overcome his motivational abilities as a footballing deity. Either that or he was so determined that Lionel Messi should not inherit his God like status, that he deliberately undermined Argentina’s chances in 2010.
One of the cricitisms labelled at Maradona’s managerial ability was that he could not really understand or work with players so much less talented than himself. This same criticism has been levelled at Hoddle over the years.
So will Glenn Hoddle be reincarnated as a manager ? It’s hard to say, he seems to be quite comfortable as a TV pundit. Jupiter is square his Sun this summer so you can’t entirely rule him out although he might have to wait until 2017 when they will come together by conjunction.
The one thing for sure is that Neptune has no more transits of note for a long time so its likely that we won’t hear any more religious issues aired during another managerial stint.
It is arguable whether football is an appropriate place for religious debate, even if it has taken over as Karl Marx’s ” opium of the people “. Perhaps we could organise a penalty shootout between the Dalai Lama and the Pope to settle some of their doctrinal differences.