Part 3 of our Sibling Rivalry series looks at the contrasting fortunes of the Hoddles; one had the world at his feet while the other struggled to come to terms with life in his brother’s shadow, as MATTHEW CRIST explains.
For anyone who didn’t know better the similarity was uncanny. They shared the same name, the playing style was similar and they even had the same haircut; but that’s where the comparisons ended. One would go on to make 53 England appearances and star for Spurs, Chelsea and Monaco, while the other’s life took a very different and desperate path.
Like his sibling, Carl Hoddle began his career at White Hart Lane with Tottenham but their journeys were polar opposite. Whereas Glenn went on to represent Spurs on 377 occasions scoring 88 goals, Carl failed to make an appearance for the club having joined them aged just 18 before being released some five years later.
He didn’t take the rejection well and never really recovered, failing to live up to the potential that had caused clubs from the top-flight to squabble over his signature in the hope that he might achieve a fraction of what Glenn was able to.
“The tears kept rolling down my cheeks. I was choked,” claimed Glenn when remembering that day some years later. “Perhaps I hadn’t helped him enough. Perhaps I’d helped him too much. I couldn’t stop blaming myself.”
And as Glenn, who was about to move to the south of France and join Monaco, was appearing on Top of the Pops with Chris Waddle to sing the duo’s hit single “Diamond Lights,” his brother was attempting to rebuild his shattered career and after spending six months in the Singapore Soccer League, he returned to England to play for Leyton Orient.
But his time at London Road was short-lived and he only managed 29 appearances for the O’s, even so the move provided him with much needed stability and the opportunity to make his own way in the game which ultimately led to him re-joining Barnet in 1991, a club which he had been with as a youngster until manager Barry Fry called him “fat.”
Carl enjoyed the most settled period of his career at Underhill, playing just under 100 times and seemingly thriving in a side who were now a Football League outfit, boasting the likes of Stuart Nethercott and David Howell; but financial difficulties often meant he would go weeks without being paid after former chairman, Stan Flashman, had left the club almost bankrupt.
In the meantime, Glenn was making a name for himself as a promising player/manager with Swindon Town in the days when ageing players often took on the dual role as a pathway into a coaching career, and it wasn’t long before an ambitious Chelsea side called upon his services to revive an ailing but ambitious club.
And in the true spirit of the FA Cup it was only a matter of time before the two brothers would be drawn against each other when, in January 1994, Barnet travelled to Stamford Bridge for a third round tie.
Carl and his teammates excelled themselves with a hard-fought 0-0 at the Bridge, earning a lucrative replay which Chelsea eventually came through after a 4-0 away win; but that was about as good as it got when a year later he left the club. He also split from his first wife and mother to his two daughters, Lisa, after she found out that he was having an affair.
With his football career fizzling out Carl became landlord of the Red Cow pub near the Hoddle family home in Hertfordshire but was fired after a drink-driving charge and a year later, just hours after Glenn was appointed England team coach, he reportedly overdosed on paracetamol.
In 1997 Carl tried to resurrect his football career by playing for Aylesbury United but was exposed as a benefits cheat when it was reported that he’d claimed income support while being employed by the Buckinghamshire club. In the years that followed he took on a number of roles including a car salesman and a postman, trying his hand at anything in order to earn a living.
Ultimately, big brother Glenn did provide Carl with another avenue into football, employing him as a scout for Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2004; but it would be his final role in a game with which he had endured a turbulent relationship for over 20 years.
On March 2nd 2008, Carl Hoddle was found collapsed at his home after what was originally thought to be a heart attack but eventually turned out to be a brain aneurysm and died the same day at the age of just 40.
The contrast in fortunes between these two footballing siblings only goes to highlight, not just the massive rewards that are available in football, but also the many pitfalls which face a player if they don’t make the grade in such a cut-throat industry.
One brother became one of football’s top earners and a household name thanks to a glittering career before going on to manage his country, while the other drifted and struggled to make ends meet in the lower reaches of the game before his tragic and untimely death.
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