Hyde Hoping To Be Touched By The Hand Of Hod

by Mike Moore

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Can the Hod bring a touch of Spanish sunshine to Hyde?

It might have escaped many people’s notice this month, but one of the most intriguing lower-league stories of the week involves the return to England of one Glenn Hoddle, former national team boss and psychic-consulter extraordinaire. Hoddle and his eponymous football academy have linked up with Conference North side Hyde FC, a team which now looks set for a remarkable transformation.

To understand why this is, you have to look back a year or two to see what the Glenn Hoddle Academy (GHA) has already done. Hoddle, coaching along with former legends Nigel Spackman, Graham Rix and Dave Beasant, established the organisation in Spain in May 2008 in order to give a second chance to young English footballers prematurely released by sides over here, nurturing their talent in the hope that someday they might succeed. According to a BBC article on the GHA, many of its players now play for English teams, and one, (their first graduate, Ikechi Anya, formerly of Oxford United) signed for Primera Liga side Sevilla.

Events then took a new turn with a hook-up with local fourth division side Jerez Industrial, whereby the Academy would provide the entire playing squad and coaching staff. The club desperately needed investment, which the GHA was able to provide in return for the opportunity to give professional football to its students. However, the relationship did not last, and so now Hoddle is bringing the enterprise back home.

A tie-up with fellow Conference side Rushden and Diamonds was put on hiatus following their extreme financial troubles (which I’ve covered in previous articles) and so Hyde were chosen as the Academy’s new partner, with the academy now based at Bisham Abbey. However, this partnership will be different to that seen in Jerez, as Hyde will still retain their own players and have complete control over coaching and team selection. The team have also taken over the registration of the GHA players, using this to their own advantage by transferring two players to Port Vale this week. Yet the GHA have stated that the link-up with Hyde is designed to generate interest in their players, all of whom were released by their parent English clubs early on and are now desperate for a second chance.

It promises to be an interesting season for Hyde, providing they can retain some of the obviously talented youngsters the GHA will bring. Hoddle chose the Academy’s first location in southern Spain because the area enjoys 300 days of sunshine each year, and he believes that gifted players develop better in sunny climates, saying, “You only have to look at the sunshine countries like Spain, Portugal, Brazil and the African sides to see that.” It could be intriguing to see how this plays out next season.

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  • Nutty boots

    Best coach England have had in years, good luck to him

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