From 'Diamond Lights' to Jack Charlton, Chris Waddle tells us about the highlights of an unforgettable career

Ex-England, Tottenham and Marseille player joined Off The Ball for a feature interview

BY Raf Diallo 21:00 Tuesday 17 January 2017, 21:00 17 Jan 2017

Footballer of the Year Chris Waddle with his trophy at the Football Writers Association Dinner in London in 1993. Picture by Michael Stephens PA Archive/PA Images

Back in 2013, Chris Waddle came out of retirement at the age of 52 to play for English non league side Hallam FC.

In a way, the former England, Tottenham and Marseille winger had come full circle as non league was where he started out.

On Tuesday night's Off The Ball, the 56 year old looked back on a career that took him to a World Cup semi final in 1990 when he would miss a penalty in the shootout against Germany, to a sejour in France where he would reach the European Cup final.

And then there's the music.

Waddle discussed his musical exploits, including his Top of the Pops appearance alongside Glenn Hoddle as they played 'Diamond Lights'.

"In anything I've done in football, whether it was the penalty miss with England, whether it was a cup final, a semi final, a Champions League final... I was never more scared or nervous than going on Top of the Pops," he said, adding that he and Tottenham legend Hoddle were introduced as the new Wham!  

He also talked about his early career when he had given up on a football career as he played non league while combining that with working in a seasoning factory, before a growth spurt and determination helped him. 

Marseille's Chris Waddle goes past AC Milan's Paolo Maldini. Picture by Ross Kinnaird EMPICS Sport

He joined Newcastle United in 1980 under the tutelage of then Magpies manager Arthur Cox who was a very hard taskmaster but who saw plenty of potential of the future England winger. 

"It was all about proving him wrong to get him off my back," said Waddle, before reminiscing about playing under Cox's successor Jack Charlton at St James Park.

Big Jack's tactics worked initially but opposition teams began to work Newcastle out.

Waddle said: "I sat in his office once for about half and hour, explaining football tactics wise how he could get more out of me and Peter Beardsley because teams had worked out how we did and after half an hour, I said 'That's my case' and all he said was 'No! Get out!'"

But Waddle emphasised that he always had a lot of respect for Charlton.

He also looked back on his relationship with former team-mate Paul Gascoigne on and off the pitch with Tottenham and England, giving an example of when Gazza was tasked with marking Germany legend Lothar Matthaus in the 1990 World Cup semi final, but remarked "Who's he?"

Waddle saw that as a sign of how great Gascoigne in the sense that the reputations of the opposition did not bother him.

Plus he recalled what it was like rooming with the former England player at major tournaments. 

Waddle also recalled his successful time playing in France with Marseille between 1989 and 1992, including the initial struggles settling in abroad.

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