Hoddle – Chelsea’s “facilities were shocking” when I joined

Date: Saturday 11th April 2020 at 10:28 pm
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Glenn Hoddle talking inside a football stadium

Glenn Hoddle has revealed he had no office when he became Chelsea boss in 1993 and had to hold transfer talks from a telephone box.

Hoddle joined Chelsea as player-manager from Swindon Town, before retiring as a player after one season. He continued as the Chelsea boss until he took the England role in 1996.

Glenn has now looked back over his three-year reign at Stamford Bridge in Harry Harris’s new book ‘The Boss: Chelsea managers from Ted Drake to Frank Lampard’.

Hoddle’s time is recognised as starting the Blue Revolution by bringing in Ruud Gullit, Mark Hughes and Dan Petrescu, but all that glittered wasn’t gold when Glenn arrived.

Hoddle says: “When I took over as manager I knew it would be a massive challenge, but I thought the club would have been in a far better state than it was when I walked through the doors. I have to admit, I was shocked by what I encountered.

“The facilities were shocking enough, but the mentality was not of a club of its standing, or one that should be aiming high enough.

“I felt my first job and the most challenging was to change that mentality, which I set about doing, but it wasn’t just a question of changing the style of play but I also had to try to change the mentality off the pitch.

“For example the training ground and the facilities were simply not good enough: no gym, no eating facilities, just a few grubby old chairs.

“When I arrived I asked: “Where’s my office?” I was shown to a BT telephone box! The one where you had to shovel in 50p pieces. The one where you had to put in the 50p piece and it would shoot out the other end and you had to quickly put it back in again!”

The lack of facilities that Hoddle met when he started at Chelsea also left arranging transfer deals a little unconventional.

Glenn went on: “I will always remember trying to do a £2.1 million deal for Andy Townsend with Ron Atkinson with all the staff noise in the background, when I was trying to conduct a private deal with my 50p piece in hand.

“The facilities at modest Swindon – the club I had just left to sign for Chelsea – had better facilities, so, yes, it was quite a shock.

“It was hard enough sorting out the playing squad, which needed overhauling at the time and that took time enough, but eventually I was able to also change the mentality of the club off the pitch.”

Hoddle has become a key studio pundit in recent years, for ITV and BT Sport, but he looks back on his time at Stamford Bridge as being key for the transformation that took hold once he moved on.

“I have fond memories of Chelsea, I really do and I will take great pleasure in reading a book about the history of the managers of the club. I would like to think from the moment I arrived as manager, I played a significant part in seeing the club unfold.”

‘The Boss: Chelsea managers from Ted Drake to Frank Lampard’ is out now, written by Harry Harris. Foreword by Frank Lampard, introduction by Ivor Baddiel, preface by Glenn Hoddle. Published by Empire Publications.

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