Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Born in Hepworth, near Gateshead, Waddle began his career as a midfielder at non-league Tow Law Town after being rejected at trials for Sunderland, Coventry City and Newcastle United. From working in a sausage factory he was eventually taken on by Newcastle in 1980 for £1,000. He did well at the club, scoring 46 goals in 169 appearances, and was picked for the England Under-21s. He was part of the team which won promotion to the top flight of English football in 1984, in an attacking trio of some quality alongside Kevin Keegan and Peter Beardsley.
The desire for greater success took him to Tottenham Hotspur in July 1985 for just under £600,000. Waddle played 173 games for Spurs and scored 42 goals as well as becoming a regular for England - he was in the squad which reached the quarter finals of the in Mexico.
Waddle had arguably football's most famous fashion-victim haircut by this time - the mullet. He cut this off after the World Cup though, and enjoyed his most productive season. The two are not necessarily connected. He was a runner-up in the FA Cup in 1987 when Spurs were beaten by Coventry, while they also finished third in the League and got to the semi-finals of the League Cup. In the same year, Waddle found himself in the pop charts, with the single Diamond Lights making the UK Top 20 in a duet with Spurs and England team-mate Glenn Hoddle. In 1988, he was in the England side which lost all three group games in the European Championships.
In 1989 Olympic Marseilles paid £4.5 million for him, the third highest fee ever up to then, and in France he truly flourished. In a team of stars he was one of the top players, during his time there the club were French champions three times (1990, 1991 and 1992). He infamously missed a penalty in a shoot-out at the end of the 1990 World Cup semi-final against West Germany, ballooning the ball over the bar. He'd regrown the mullet before the tournament, but then had it cut off prior to the semi. Again, the incidents are not necessarily connected.
Waddle returned to England in July 1992 in a £1.25 million move to Sheffield Wednesday, then managed by Trevor Francis. The club reached both domestic cup finals in 1993 season (losing both to Arsenal - Waddle scored Wednesday's goal in the FA Cup final replay) and Waddle was voted PFA player of the year despite suffering a number of injuries.
He was released by Wednesday in 1996 after more than 100 games and he played briefly for Scottish side Falkirk before being signed by Bradford City. He then joined Sunderland and then became player-manager of Burnley in 1997 but left after the club only escaped relegation on the last day of the season in 1998.
He then joined the coaching staff at Wednesday before deciding to start playing again with non-league outfits Worksop Town and Glapwell. He now frequently appears on BBC Radio Five Live as a summariser at Premier League matches.
- Newcastle Utd: 1980-1985, 170 appearances, 46 goals
- Tottenham Hotspur: 1985-1989, 138 appearances, 33 goals
- Marseilles: 1989-1992
- Sheffield Wednesday: 1992-1996, 109 appearances, 10 goals
- Falkirk: 1996, 4 appearances, 1 goal
- Bradford City: 1996-1997, 25 appearances, 6 goals
- Sunderland 1997, 7 appearances, 1 goal
- Burnley: 1997-1998
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