Player Profile: Chris Waddle

Early Life

Chris Waddle was born in 1960 in Felling in the North East of England.

Waddle played non-league football in County Durham for Tow Law Then FC and after trialling unsuccessfully for other professional clubs, joined Newcastle United in 1980 for £1,000.

The first four seasons at Newcastle were in the old Second Division however with tremendous players such as Peter Beardsley and Kevin Keegan they were then promoted at the end of the 83/44 season.

Waddle however spent just one season in the top tier with Newcastle and was lured by the bright lights of London by Tottenham Hotspur. The transfer fee was £590,000.

Tottenham

Waddle went on to score 33 goals for Tottenham in 138 games over four seasons during which he formed a devastating partnership with midfielder Glenn Hoddle. There was no silver wear won though with the closest effort being an FACup Final where Spurs lost to Coventry in the final in 1987.

Surely one of the finest teams to not have won anything.

 

Playing style

Waddle had a superb ,wand like, left foot and although lacking pace and with a lazy running style he was able to ‘put the ball where he wanted to’. As well his passing range he also chipped in with his fair share of goals. Fellow England legend and Spurs player Paul Gascoigne once said of him;

” When Chris dropped his shoulder, most of the stadium left”

Frustration at Home

The ban following the Heysel disaster meant English players had been left frustrated by not being able to play in the European Cup and so a move overseas was talked about for some time. Waddle eventually moved to Marseille in France in 1989 for a fee of £4.5m , a staggering sum in the 1980s.

In France, Waddle became a cult hero playing in an attacking team that also featured Abede Pele and Jean-Pierre Papin.

The fans liked him so much they nicknamed him ‘Magic Chris”. The Marseille team were good and in 1991 they reached the European final only to lose to Red Star Belgrade.

Moving Back Home

Waddle returned to Sheffield Wednesday in 1992 for a fee of £1m so he could finish off his career in the UK. So good was his form still in 1996 at the age of 36, that the Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan attempted to bring him back to help them try to win the league. The bid was rejected.

The end was near and he had a short stay in Falkirk before stints at Bradford and Sunderland. At Bradford a wonderful F.A cup round goal against Everton was a terrific highlight.

Manager

Waddle tempted by the player manger role at Burnley. Waddle played 32 games but only scored 1 goal and the season was considered a disappointment with Burnley only just avoiding relegation.

He left Burnley in the summer and played 7 times for Torquay before taking on a coaching role at Sheffield. However Sheffield Wednesday were relegated and Waddle left after a season.

England

Over 6 years Waddle represented England 62 times but only scored 6 goals. Waddle had a fantastic World Cup in 1990 where he played superbly in England’s run to the semi-final.

Waddle had several close chances with one brilliant strike struck the post. Unfortunately his efforts are often remembered for missing the final penalty in the penalty shoot-out against West Germany.

Waddle also managed to be a squad member in the World Cup 1986 and Euro Championships1988 campaigns.

Life After Football

Following his playing, coaching and managing career, Waddle continued to play amateur football. He is now a regular radio match commentator for the BBC.