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Tuesday, February 2, 1999 Published at 07:18 GMT

Sport: Football

Fleet Street puts the boot in

The Sun's view was printed six inches high

Glenn Hoddle's comments about the disabled received a chorus of disapproval from the national press.

The Hoddle File
Those that did not demand he resign called for his sacking.

Only The Mirror offered an escape ladder to Hoddle's perilous position, prompted by his reported comments that disabled people are paying for sins in a former life.

The Sun provided the most vocal opposition, filling its front page with the emphatic headline: "GO".

Its front-page comment declared: "Glenn Hoddle must go today. If he won't resign, he must be sacked.

"Hoddle was already a joke with his players, who laughed at his ridiculous antics with a barmaid turned faith healer. Now he is a figure of hate for the fans."

The Express was fiercely critical, splashing with a reader poll that puts dissatisfaction with Hoddle at 80%.

Its leader said: "Mr Hoddle's comments show him unfit to bear the responsibility of being England coach."

Mail first past the post

But with a prescient faith that would make Eileen Drewery proud, the Daily Mail trumped them all to announce confidently the sacking of the England coach.

It said the FA would tell Hoddle he had lost the faith of the nation.

And its leader had a further twist in the tail.

"It is time to bring a sense of proportion to the Glenn Hoddle affair," it said.

"Mr Hoddle's future should be decided by one thing - his performance as the English manager. And on that criterion he should almost certainly go."

The Times, which printed the interview that sparked Hoddle's lastest crisis, predictably took another damning line.

It said: "The English coach manufactured yet more reasons yesterday why he should now submit his resignation - and why, if that resignation does not come, he should be removed from his post."

It also gave front-page space to the writer of the interview, Matt Dickinson.

"Glenn Hoddle has changed his story so many times that I have lost track. Instead of issuing a proper denial, he is in denial," he said.

'A laughing stock'

The Guardian, no more supportive of the embattled coach, could not resist the biggest joke doing the sportswriters rounds.

"It is hard to imagine what sins Glenn Hoddle committed in an earlier life to have been saddled with such a disabled intellect in this one," it said.

"He is now ... a bit of a laughing stock. In the end, that may be the most persuasive reason to reap what he has sowed."

The Daily Telegraph weighed in with a doom-laden: "The fate of poor Glenn Hoddle is almost certainly sealed."

But for The Independent only the uncomplicated language of medieval times was good enough.

"Sacking Glenn Hoddle is just a painless way of telling ourselves we care. So - off with his head."

Mirror's tolerant reflection

It was the Mirror, which secured an exclusive interview with Hoddle, that took the only supportive line.

As well as giving Hoddle three pages to plead his case it carried a leader headlined "Honest Hod is worth one last chance".

It said: "Glenn Hoddle is not an evil man. Nor does he believe that disabled people are being punished for their behaviour in previous lives.

"Glenn Hoddle should remain as England coach with one proviso. He should never discuss his beliefs in public again."

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