Glenn Hoddle: ‘Everyone who comes out of school should have CPR training’
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One year after a cardiac arrest left him fighting for his life, Glenn Hoddle is planning a run of events where he’ll speak about his glittering football career in front of a live audience. The last of these shows, on January 21, takes place at Alexandra Palace.
It didn't take long for the mood to change.
Seconds earlier, Glenn Hoddle had been playing a cheery game of football tennis with Robbie Savage, the former Welsh international and host of BT Sport's Saturday Morning Savage programme.
Hoddle had been in good form doing what he does best - offering insight and analysis of the game in which he achieved legendary status - on what was his 61st birthday. But as the cameras stopped rolling and the pair chose to complete their game off air, Hoddle collapsed, hitting the back of his head on the way down. He had suffered a cardiac arrest.
"If it wasn't for Simon Daniels at BT, I wouldn't be here talking to you now," says Hoddle, recalling that fateful day in October 2018.
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"At the very beginning [of recovery], there was a thankfulness for still being here. It's been an emotional journey - a very tough journey - but it's lovely to look back now and think that a year ago, I would never have dreamt about [being able to] talk about my career."
Hoddle is alluding to an upcoming run of appearances that he has planned for the start of 2020. Hosted by comedian Jed Stone, the 62-year-old will reflect on his life in the highest echelons of domestic and international football via five 'An Evening with Glenn Hoddle' events around the country, culminating in a night at Alexandra Palace on Tuesday, January 21.
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So how exactly will Hoddle's Ally Pally event unfold?
"It's a style I like to do, it's more an interview type of thing," he says. "I think sometimes they are better, and you get more out of it. We'll have a Q&A type of thing as well.
"I'm looking forward to it; with Spurs, England, Chelsea, Swindon - not forgetting Monaco, winning the league over there - there's enough there to talk about. With what happened to me last year as well, it's nice to have that opportunity to talk."
One of the defining players of his generation, Hoddle racked up 490 appearances for the club he supported as a boy - Tottenham Hotspur - earning 53 England caps and going on to represent AS Monaco, Swindon Town and Chelsea later in his playing days. Hoddle moved in to management after hanging up his boots, leading a clutch of top-tier clubs as well as the national team between 1996 and 1999.
Naturally, he's had to slow down after his health scare. "I used to hate walking unless there was a little white ball ahead of me [playing golf], but walking has been invaluable, it's given me time to think and be on my own, it was quite therapeutic.
"I've kept that going and it's really added to my health. It's one of those things that I've gained from something negative. I've enriched myself, I think it's a good thing for everyone - to have some time on your own."
Hoddle is also campaigning for the government to introduce CPR lessons in schools around the country. In an interview with The Sun earlier this year, he revealed that his heart had stopped beating for 60 seconds, and it was the heroic efforts of sound engineer Simon Daniels that kept him alive.
"Everyone should know how to do CPR," he adds, "because it will save people's lives. CPR is the reason I'm sitting here now; defibrillators are very, very important, [but the] first port of call is CPR. You are buying yourself time to go and get a defibrillator.
"That's why everyone who comes out of school should have training. We're hoping the government have got plans [to introduce legislation] in the next few years."
Hoddle says that Ally Pally "has always been special" to him. "It's great that I've managed to go there. Me and Chrissy Waddle, with Diamond Lights, we tried to play there but we just weren't big enough!
"I've been there a few times, it's quite a prestigious place to do this. It will be a relaxed evening, it's just me having a chat on the sofa if you like.
"There's always a story behind the career; the things you sacrifice as a kid and the things you have to do to become a footballer. With the way I played as well, [I was] a bit different to the system, perhaps more suited abroad than I was in this country in the '80s."
With a career that featured stunning goals, winning trophies and leading his country at the 1998 World Cup, it must be tough for Hoddle to pick out a highlight. I ask him about it anyway.
"On an individual level, I managed to score some special goals that people still come up to me in the street and remind me of. [Also] making your debut for England, and for a team you've supported all your life; those debut games are incredible. And managing to score in both [against Stoke City on his full debut for Spurs, then against Bulgaria with England] - it's what dreams are made of.
An Evening with Glenn Hoddle is at Alexandra Palace on Tuesday, January 21. More details and tickets here.