Cap in hand of Hod

When you're deep in a credit crunch, the last thing you need is old footballers in search of cash...

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

However, this has been the unfortunate fate of a gang of City investors in recent weeks, as the former England boss Glenn Hoddle does the rounds looking to raise £4m in funding for his latest venture. Hoddle is hoping to persuade some City folk that investing in a new football academy concept is a much better bet than frittering it away on volatile stock markets, where it could all be spirited away by an unscrupulous French trader.

Hoddle’s big idea is to start an academy for 18-year-old footballers who have been released by their clubs, to give them a second chance to make the big-time. He reckons that he can rescue about 15-20% of these boys’ careers, allowing his academy to make money through player sales, milestone payments, agents’ fees and sponsorship revenue (including that staple of the modern business model: earnings from reality TV and documentaries).

As far as football-related business ideas go, this actually sounds like a pretty good one. After all, there are bound to be some late bloomers who slip through the net, and most won't have the resources to try again without the help of something like this. And it will only take one big success to pay for itself several times over.

It also sounds like a wise career move for Hoddle himself. These days he spends most of his time mangling the English language on Sky Sports (rumour has it that new boss Fabio Capello can already form the present tense better than Hoddle ever could), while unsuccessful spells in charge at Spurs and more recently Wolves have rather tarnished his managerial reputation.

But if he’s looking for business partners, he might need to work on his image. Sacked as England manager after reportedly claiming that disabled people were being punished for sins in a former life (quite how this affected his ability to switch between the catenaccio system and the traditional 4-4-2 we’re not sure, but there you go), he’s been regarded as a bit of an oddball ever since he was revealed to be a born-again Christian (prompting our favourite Hoddle joke, from comedian Jasper Carrott: ‘I hear Glenn Hoddle has found God – that must have been one hell of a pass.’)

On the other hand, there’s a generation of Spurs fans for whom Hoddle will always be a hero – the greatest player ever to pull on the white shirt. So as long as he can find these people in the City, he should be fine.

However, we reckon that to be on the safe side he should leave his faith healer at home when he goes to the pitch meetings, and instead reprise his partnership with Chris Waddle, as immortalised in the classic 80s pop hit ‘Diamond Lights’. Nobody who’s seen that video could be in any doubt that this is truly a man of many talents...

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