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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 February 2008, 18:23 GMT
Hoddle tackles City for academy funds
By Bill Wilson
BBC News, business reporter

Glenn Hoddle
Glenn Hoddle with his prospectus for potential investors in his academy

Glenn Hoddle has known the pressure of taking a penalty in an FA Cup final at Wembley.

He knows all there is to know about the scrutiny and uncertainty that comes with being a high-profile football manager.

Now the ex-England boss faces a totally fresh type of challenge. He is trying to raise funding to open a new type of football training school.

Part of that task includes standing up in front of bankers from the City of London as he attempts to persuade them to part with chunks of 50,000 investment cash - the minimum price he has put on a stake in Glenn Hoddle Academy(GHA).

It was a bit of a challenge for me to go into the City to explain my plans - it was a bit like going on to Dragons' Den

The former Spurs legend has made two presentations about the proposed centre at Montecastillo in southern Spain, as he looks to raise 4m for 35% of the equity.

"We have had meetings in the City, and we have met a lot of interested potential investors," he tells the BBC business website.

GHA academy income streams
Outsourcing - clubs may send players for training
Sponsorship - companies can sponsor the academy
Signing-on, trial and loan fees for clubs signing graduates
Agent fees - the academy can manage its graduates careers
Development fees - paid by clubs when graduates pass milestones
TV programming - making of reality TV programmes

"It was a bit of a challenge for me to go into the City to explain my plans - it was a bit like going on to Dragons' Den.

"There is pressure in the business world, but it is a different pressure to being manager of England.

"Things happen more slowly than in football, but it is pressure just the same."

'Undiscovered diamonds'

What makes the 50-year-old's proposed academy different is that it plans to take on players who have been discarded at other clubs.

I have turned down six or seven jobs recently, that's a lot of finance - as my wife keeps reminding me

"We want to process talented youngsters back into football, that is why it is such a good business opportunity," says Hoddle.

"There are great opportunities for investors - we will find some undiscovered diamonds and they will become top players in UK football.

"If we can't spot the talent and get it back into football we will be doing something wrong."

Glenn Hoddle in the 1982 FA Cup final
Glenn Hoddle in his Tottenham Hotspur heyday in the 1980s

Profits, he says, can be made in a number of ways - through player sales and loan fees, agent and development fees, TV and sponsorship money, and other revenue streams.

Hoddle, who has been working on his idea for 15 months, acknowledges he cannot "turn them all back round", but think he could get between 15% and 20% of his trainees back into the professional game.

Those who did not make the grade would be given encouragement and support to take coaching badges, and would be given Spanish or other foreign language lessons.

But he stresses that offering players a second chance at making the grade is his prime motivation, rather than just profits.

Glenn Hoddle the player
Tottenham Hotspur - 1975 to 1987
Won two FA Cups and Uefa Cup
AS Monaco - 1987 to 1991
Won French League title
53 England caps - 1979 to 1988
World Cup quarter finals 1986

"The ideal for me is to get a player back into top level football after he has been released by a club," says Hoddle, who left the England manager post in controversial circumstances in 1999.

"I have looked on all my life and also as a manager at 18-year-olds being released by clubs.

"I think it is too early in their career but that is the age in England, and clubs have to go with it.

"The first seed of doing something about it was planted in my head when I was manager of Swindon and then at Chelsea. I used to find it quite hard to tell 18-year-olds that we did not want them."

Developing talent

Hoddle says his scheme will give players longer to develop and believes most youngsters are not mature enough at 18 to demonstrate their full potential.

The GHA centre is also very different from the schools run by the likes of David Beckham, or even the academies run by Premier League clubs themselves.

Glenn Hoddle gives media conference at 1998 World Cup
Glenn Hoddle faced the media spotlight as England manager

"David Beckham's school... is about letting anyone who wants to come in and enjoy themselves in that environment.

"Football clubs have lovely academies too, but I think they have a different role to what I want to do.

"No disrespect to the academies, but they prepare players for matches, I want to develop their longer-term playing talents."

Glenn Hoddle the manager
Swindon Town - 1991 to 1993
Chelsea - 1993 to 1996
England - 1996 to 1999
Southampton - 2000 to 2001
Tottenham Hotspur - 2001 to 2003
Wolverhampton Wanderers - 2004 to 2006

Mr Hoddle's academy hopes to open at the end of April or start of May, and to start a first round of player trials with youngsters released by top clubs this spring.

The company will rent facilities at the Montecastillo Resort in Spain.

'Full attention'

With no tuition fees, the academy will finance the initial intake of about 30 players through funding from investors.

"We are not talking about taking hundreds of potential players - we want to give the intake our full attention," he adds.

"Your Rooneys are always going to be there. We are talking about just under that level, and concentrating on the young players there that just get missed."

Meanwhile the quest for funding continues, aided by a team at London Capital investment firm.

And despite spending the majority of his life as a player or coach, Mr Hoddle is giving all to the new project. He has no intention, for now at least, to return as a manager.

"I have turned down six or seven jobs recently," he says.

"That's a lot of finance - as my wife keeps reminding me."



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