Stephen Brian Hodge (born 25 October 1962) is an English retired footballer who enjoyed a high-profile club and international career in the 1980s and 1990s.
|Full name||Stephen Brian Hodge|
|Date of birth||25 October 1962|
|Place of birth||Nottingham, England|
|Height||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
|1994||→ Derby County (loan)||10||(2)|
|1994–1995||Queens Park Rangers||15||(0)|
|2013||Notts County (caretaker)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
On 27 October 2013 Hodge was appointed caretaker manager, reverting to his position as Development Squad Coach on 6 November 2013 with the appointment of Shaun Derry as manager.
Hodge, a left-footed midfielder who was comfortable in a central or wide position, was born in Nottingham, England and joined his boyhood club Nottingham Forest as an apprentice in 1980 and made his debut against Ipswich Town on the final day of the 1981–82 season.
A favourite of Forest's charismatic manager Brian Clough, Hodge became a first-team regular the following season as the club tried to build a new young team after the side which won two European Cups began to age and disintegrate. Hodge was a frequent goalscorer from midfield as Forest consolidated their League position were unable to push for trophies other than a semi-final in the UEFA Cup in 1984, where they lost in controversial circumstances to Anderlecht.
However, the move to Villa did work initially but really the team was in decline and once he had got England recognition it was perceived by the Villa fans that he was not committed to the Villa cause which was typified during a 4–1 home defeat by Norwich City where he his intended back pass to Kevin Poole was slotted in by a Norwich player – the boos ringing round the ground signalled the beginning of the end for his Villa career. Hodge signed for Tottenham in December 1986 for £650,000.
Though he was only three caps into his international career by the time Robson announced his squad, Hodge was given a place on the plane to Mexico, coming on as a substitute in the first two group games against Portugal and Morocco, which England lost and drew respectively.
Making urgent changes for the final group game against Poland, Robson put Hodge in the side and he responded with an outstanding personal display within a crushing team performance. Hodge's superb left wing cross on the run gave Gary Lineker his second goal in a first half hat-trick which eased England's passage to the second round.
There they faced Paraguay, and it was a sliding, stretching Hodge who kept in an over-hit cross from Glenn Hoddle, by pushing the ball into the path of Lineker to tap home. Again England were 3–0 victors, with Argentina awaiting ominously in the last eight. Here Hodge would earn his own mildly dubious place in England's history – inadvertently setting up Maradona's 'Hand of God' goal – and a highly prized memento, Maradona's No. 10 shirt.
Tottenham manager David Pleat put Hodge wide on the left of a vibrant, attacking five-man midfield which also included England teammates Hoddle and Chris Waddle, Argentinian veteran Osvaldo Ardiles and hardworking ballwinner Paul Allen. Each were expected to contribute goals and assists behind one main centre forward, Clive Allen, and it worked. Hodge scored on his debut on Boxing Day 1986 in a 4–0 thrashing of West Ham United and scored three times more while creating plenty for others as Spurs chased three trophies.
Sadly for Hodge, his quest for domestic success eluded him again as Spurs were knocked out by fierce rivals Arsenal in the semi finals of the League Cup, tailed off in their First Division title charge and came third, and lost a thrilling FA Cup final at Wembley against Coventry City, following an outstanding 4–1 semi-final win over Watford in which Hodge scored twice.
Return to ForestEdit
Robson recalled Hodge for the first game after the European Championships – a 1–0 win over Denmark at Wembley – as Hodge had been back on form after an astute Clough paid Spurs £550,000 to take him back to Nottingham Forest. Hodge was again cast aside internationally afterwards, but his club form improved dramatically and he found himself regularly called up by Robson as a result, though actual appearances were scarce.
Forest won the Full Members Cup in 1989 and then reached the League Cup final, with Hodge finally winning a major domestic medal. The 3–1 win over Luton Town at Wembley saw Hodge play a crucial part as it was he, making a foraging run from deep, who was brought down for the penalty which Nigel Clough converted, setting Forest on the road to victory. A week later, however, Hodge was one of the Forest players who had to cope with the horrors of the Hillsborough disaster during the opening minutes of their FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool. Hodge played in the rescheduled game at Old Trafford, which Liverpool won 3–1.
The following season, Hodge played as Forest retained the League Cup with a 1–0 win over Oldham Athletic, having managed to force his way back into the England reckoning with a strong appearance as a substitute against Italy at Wembley, by which time England's place at the 1990 FIFA World Cup was secured. Hodge subsequently played in the final four warm-up matches before the tournament itself.
To his delight, Hodge then made the final squad but he then suffered an injury and, as a consequence, the ignominy of being the only outfield England player not to kick a ball during the tournament, even though England reached the semi-finals. He didn't even regain his fitness in time to get on the pitch for the third-place play-off game.
Robson quit after the World Cup and Hodge was not selected initially by successor Graham Taylor. At the time he was struggling to hold down a regular place in the Forest midfield after the emergence of teenage Irish phenomenon Roy Keane to partner Garry Parker, who had become the first-choice central midfielder despite being the only one of the three never to play international football.
Taylor brought Hodge back for a 2–0 win over Cameroon early in 1991 and he was then given his 24th cap in a 1–0 win against Turkey in İzmir in a qualifier for the 1992 European Championships. He had, however, lost his Forest place by then and was only named as a substitute by Clough for the 1991 FA Cup Final against his old club Tottenham Hotspur. Hodge came on as a second-half substitute but Spurs ran out 2–1 winners after extra time.
In the summer, Clough sold him to Leeds United for £900,000 – the highest transfer fee Hodge had commanded even though he was seemingly past his best and had seen his international career almost certainly brought to an end. He struggled to win a regular place at Elland Road, though played enough times in his first season to earn a First Division championship medal.
He had a loan spell with Derby County.
He joined Queens Park Rangers for a nominal fee in 1994. Two seasons followed with Hodge playing just 15 times.
An unsuccessful trial at Walsall came in the autumn of 1996, followed by a brief spell playing in Hong Kong. He signed for Division Three side Leyton Orient in March 1998, playing just once before finally retiring from playing at the end of the season.
He had brief roles at Notts County as development squad manager, and as caretaker manager of the first team.
In 2010 Hodge released an autobiography entitled, "The Man With Maradona's Shirt".
- with Tottenham Hotspur
- with Nottingham Forest
- with Leeds United
- with England U21
- with England
- "Hand of God, 30 years on: Where are the England team that Maradona knocked out of the 1986 World Cup?: Steve Hodge". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2018.