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Monday, February 1, 1999 Published at 22:38 GMT


UK

Eileen Drewery: Hod, God and the Squad

Eileen Drewery's daughter was Hoddle's teenage girlfriend

Their friendship has spanned more than two decades - and all of Glenn Hoddle's trials and tribulations.

The Hoddle File
Faith healer Eileen Drewery has been described, among other things, as Hoddle's Achilles' heel.

But her career has certainly gone from strength to strength since she met the man who would become coach of the England football team.

1976 - The Meeting

The young Hoddle hobbles into his girlfriend Michelle's house with a footie injury looking for sympathy. The 17-year-old finds instead that his love interest's mum is faith healer Eileen Drewery.

Initially spooked by an offer of psychic help for his torn muscle, Glenn makes his excuses and leaves. Mrs Drewery, however, opts for remote access healing ( "distance" healing to those in the know) and the adolescent Glenn's injuries sort themselves out in no time.

Early 80s - Drewery phenomenon filters into football

Mrs Drewery has given up pulling pints in her local, and now devotes more of her time to following Hoddle to Monaco, Swindon and Chelsea. She offers healing and counselling - to both Hod and fellow footballers he points in her direction.

In a recent interview with Sky, Mrs Drewery said that during this period she met most of the players who were to form the England squad. She also offers her services as a healer and a medium to "normal people off the street".

She claims to bring her own husband, Phil, back from the brink of death on three separate occasions.

He tells journalists: "The doctor said I had to go into intensive care because of blood clots behind my eyes, but I knew I would be all right with my Eileen."

1986 - Alliance with Hoddle goes holy

Aged 28 and holidaying in Israel, Hoddle has an "experience" which leads him to become a born-again Christian. He explains the "wonderful feeling of peace" he has found to Eileen - and she finally comes clean about her healing powers, saying: "When I heal I link in with God, so I feel the peace of God."

The healing, she tells Hoddle, does not come from her, rather it is the "channelled energy of God" doing the trick.

1997 - Hoddle moves in with Drewery

Eileen puts a roof over her friend Glenn's head when his marriage of 18 years comes to an end in October.

Her counselling skills are probably appreciated. Not only is Hoddle away from his wife and three children, but Shreddies drop an ad featuring them eating breakfast together as "inappropriate".

Meanwhile, around the same time, Hoddle signs on the dotted line to become a director of Mrs Drewery's planned spiritual sanctuary - a move which will later result in a "Hodgate" scandal.

Build-up to World Cup 98

The faith healer has been dealing with ever higher profile cases. QPR's Danny Maddix experiences a "miracle".

Middlesbrough star Paul Merson hails Mrs Drewery as a key figure in his fight against booze and drugs - and Gazza is a regular caller at her Wokingham home.

Later, Ian Wright and Darren Anderton are both to seek her help in their attempts to make the England squad.

Robbie Fowler, however, is less impressed. He said he spent his visit to the spiritualist watching telly with her husband.

1998 - Celestial controversy Drewery is brought into the England team as an advisor. Hoddle tells the press she is "more of an agony aunt".

The England coach is forced on several occasions to confront speculation that his faith healer friend's opinion is a key factor in selecting squad members.

Proclamations of his pal's powers - and her counselling through team disappointments - take up regular column inches throughout the tournament.

As if Hoddle's World Cup tactics hadn't courted enough hostility, he cocks himself another snook in August with the publication of his diary of the tournament. Revelations of private conversations with players - and frequent references to Mrs Drewery - are roundly criticised.

Hoddle writes that his one big mistake of the World Cup was not to take Mrs Drewery to France.

The end of August brings "Hodgate". Hoddle and Drewery's plans to open a fee-paying Lychgate Sanctuary Ltd come to light. The issue of Drewery being pushed into the limelight by the England coach takes on a new aspect.

In October Mrs Drewery holds her own in an interview with the Duchess of York - although she has earned herself a reputation as a controlling interviewee.

January 1999 - Disabled furore

Hoddle's reported remarks that disability is a payback for sin in previous lives leads to renewed and vigorous demands for his resignation. But Eileen is still there backing him.

She tells GMTV: "I am so distressed to think that this has gone out the wrong way and I know the man is so compassionate and cares so much and puts himself out and raises money," she told GMTV.

"He has offered so much to invalids I can't tell you."



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