Celebrities

Glenn Hoddle’s heart ‘stopped for 60 seconds’ in near-death experience: ‘I was gone

Glenn Hoddle admits he's 'lucky to be here' in 2019

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Former England manager and Tottenham Hotspur legend Glenn Hoddle appears on The Chase Celebrity Special tonight. Hoping to win thousands of pounds for charities, Mr Hoddle is joined by DJ Scott Mills, choirmaster Gareth Malone and former BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin. Mr Hoddle, who took over from Terry Venables as England manager after the Euro 96 tournament, released his autobiography this week.

A wonderfully gifted No 10, he rose through the ranks at Tottenham, earning himself club legend status along the way. 

He went on to play under Arsene Wenger in Monaco, before joining Swindon Town and Chelsea.

He served as the Blues’ player-manager, before taking the England job, and spells at Southampton, Spurs and Wolves followed.

Since his retirement from coaching, he has done a number of punditry roles, including work for ITV and BT Sport.

On his 61st birthday in October 2018, Mr Hoddle was carrying out his punditry work for BT Sport on the Live Saturday Morning Savage show, when he collapsed.

The programme’s host Robbie Savage urgently called for help, as sound engineer Simon Daniels rushed to Hoddle’s aid. Mr Daniels broke seven of Mr Hoddle’s ribs while desperately pounding his chest, attempting to bring him back to life.

Mr Hoddle told The Sun in 2019: “My heart stopped for at least 60 seconds. I was gone.

“The engineer ran to me and brought me back to life. I wouldn’t be here if not for him. It just wasn’t my time to go.”

Mr Hoddle and Mr Savage had been playing the “keepy-uppy game” which involves chipping a football back and forth on a curved table tennis table as the programme came to a close.

He recalled: “Robbie said that after the credits rolled I was just at the moment of volleying the ball back to him when I fell backwards and smashed my head on the floor.

“It’s ironic that if I had died, the last thing I would have done on this earth was kick a ball. What a way to go.

Mr Hoddle said Mr Savage had initially thought he was messing around, but “stopped laughing” when he realised “something very serious had happened”.

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Mr Hoddle continued: “Thank God first-aider Simon was nearby and got to me so quickly. If he had been in the toilet, or left the studio, or not on duty, I would not be here to tell my story.

“He performed chest compressions and fitted a defibrillator on my chest to keep me alive.”

Hoddle fell so hard that medics were concerned about his brain. He said: “My head was so black it looked like I had been burned. 

“They were worried about my brain. Only after that did they sort my heart.”

Given the severity of his condition, an air ambulance took him from the BT Sport studios in Stratford to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, just four miles (6.4 km) away.

Scans determined he had not suffered brain damage, so Mr Hoddle was transferred to nearby St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

Writing in his new autobiography ‘Playmaker: My Life and the Love of Football’, Mr Hoddle revealed he was not supposed to be in the BT Sport studios on the day of his cardiac arrest.

He explained that he was supposed to be having tea and cake with his daughters and grandchildren to celebrate his 61st birthday, but asked if they could rearrange for the day before.

Mr Hoddle wrote: “I was gone for several minutes, lost to this world, and I wouldn’t have come back if I’d told Terry that I wanted to spend that Saturday with Lisa, my girls and my grandchildren.

“It would have been horrific if it had happened in front of my family.

“They wouldn’t have known what to do when I fell and it was just as well that I was at work when everything went black.”

“I was out of it – powerless and unable to cry out for help.”

The Chase Celebrity Special airs on Saturday at 8:30pm. 

Glenn Hoddle’s autobiography ‘Playmaker: My Life and the Love of Football’ was published by Harper Collins in 2021. It is available here.

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