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Tuesday, February 2, 1999 Published at 20:44 GMT

Sport: Football

Hoddle sets out defence

The Hoddle story is stretched over many pages

Glenn Hoddle launched a public bid to "put the record straight" as he fought in vain to save his job as England football manager.

The Hoddle File
A major TV interview with ITN's Trevor McDonald was followed by a report in The Mirror newspaper on Tuesday, in which England's football coach announced: "I'm not some crackpot."

His agent Denis Roach also defended his client on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, saying he remained the best man for the England job.

Hoddle wasted little time in trying to explain himself after Saturday's newspaper was published.

[ image: Hoddle still has plenty to say]
Hoddle still has plenty to say
He told the BBC's Grandstand programme he had been "misconstrued, misunderstood and misinterpreted".

He also spoke of the work he had done with disabled charities.

Hoddle was quoted in Tuesday's Mirror newspaper as being unwilling to talk about charity work, because "of the obvious reaction that would get".

The latest interviews instead concentrated on further explanation of his comments, with a plea for people to reassess exactly what he said.

He also maintained his attack on The Times, the paper that reported the fateful interview.

'My conscience is clear'

Monday night's ITN interview saw him distance himself from the controversial interpretation of his words.

"The only reason people are saying I should resign is that they are saying I have come out and said that people disabled and handicapped have been paying for their sins - and I have never ever said that," he told Trevor McDonald. "I don't believe that."

He said the hurt caused by the reporting was "more important than any football job", although he would not resign over something he did not say.

He did mention charity work to ITN and said "that is the reason why I can put my head on the pillow at night".

Future suffering

In The Mirror Hoddle was quoted as saying he was not one to "come out with stupid remarks to cause controversy".

He argued that his views were motivated by good intentions: "I'd like answers to try and stop future generations suffering."

The suggestion that disabled people deserve what they get was "an obscene thought".

He was "only too happy" to talk to disabled people hurt by the reports. They simply had to get in touch.

Reputation on line

But as far as The Times was concerned, he admitted he had not been misquoted, just misinterpreted.

Yet he said subsequent accusations of him being heartless and cruel were unfair and upsetting.

He added: "If I get sacked for this, then that is something I will have to face up to."

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