Christopher Roland Waddle (born 14 December 1960 in Felling, Tyne and Wear, England) is an English former professional footballer who played during the 1980s and 1990s.
Waddle began his footballing career with Pelaw Juniors, moving on to Whitehouse SC, Mount Pleasant SC, HMH Printing, Pelaw SC, Leam Lane SC and Clarke Chapman before joining Tow Law Town
in the 1978 close-season.
After unsuccessful trials with Sunderland
and Coventry City
and from working in a sausage and meat pie factory he was eventually taken on by Newcastle United
in July 1980 for a fee of £1,000. He made his league debut at St. James' Park against Shrewsbury Town
on the 22nd of October 1980 and quickly established himself in the Magpies' side, playing alongside Kevin Keegan
and Peter Beardsley
as Newcastle won promotion to Division One
in the 1983-84 season. He was called up for the England
Under-21 side and soon made the full squad, making his debut against the Republic of Ireland
in March 1985.
After 46 goals in 170 games for Newcastle, he moved to Tottenham Hotspur
in July 1985 for a fee of £590,000. At Tottenham he established himself as a regular in the England team, playing in the side that reached the quarter finals of the 1986 FIFA World Cup
linking up again with Beardsley. After the World Cup he enjoyed his most productive season. He won an FA Cup
runners-up medal 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
Olympique de Marseille
In July 1989, after scoring 33 times in 138 appearances for Tottenham, Waddle moved to Olympique de Marseille
for a fee of £4.5 million. In a team of stars he was one of the top players and during his time there the club were French champions three times (1990, 1991 and 1992). He missed a penalty
in a shoot-out at the end of the 1990 FIFA World Cup
semi-final against West Germany
, hitting the ball over the bar.
Waddle was seen as a strong contender for the 1991 European Footballer of the Year but it was eventually won by his team mate Jean Pierre Papin. Chris Waddle's performances in the 90-91 season were phenomenal, and probably the most complete season of a British player abroad since John Charles in the 1950s and Kevin Keegan in the 1970s. Because of English lack of interest in Continental European football, having just come out of the Heysel ban, and a particular ignorance of French League Football, Waddle's time at Marseille is often overlooked.
During his years in Marseille, the fans gave him the nickname : "Magic Chris". He remains one of the top players in Marseille history for his dribbling skills and free kicks, and for his showmanship on the pitch. He is known as the heir of former Olympique de Marseille player Roger Magnusson. He was also voted second best OM player of the century behind Jean Pierre Papin for the club's century anniversary in 1998. Whilst at the club he also had a second stab at pop stardom, joining team mate Basile Boli in recording a song entitled We've Got a Feeling.
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 the 1992-93 season (losing both to Arsenal
- Waddle scored Wednesday's goal in the FA Cup final replay) and Waddle was voted the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year in 1993.
His performances were frequently praised by pundits like Alan Hansen as his skill and ability blessed English football once again. Despite his amazing form he was ignored by Graham Taylor, the then England manager, despite England crying out for some flair and creativity. He earned just one cap under Taylor.
Waddle originally a left winger, was playing some of the best football of his career on the right wing despite being left footed. This allowed him to perform his famous 'step over' and other tricks that frequently deceived left backs before he delivered pin-point crosses for the then prolific David Hirst and other strikers like Mark Bright.
Waddle's later career at Hillsborough was marred by injuries and he was released 5 games into 1996-97 season (when the Owls were top of the premiership and having taking young sensation Richie Humphries - 4 goals in 5 games - under his wing) after being frozen out of the team by David Pleat, having played 109 games and scored 10 goals with many more assists. He was past his best and had played in central midfield where he still was a creative force, but his physical deterioration was catching up.
Falkirk and Bradford City
He joined Falkirk
in September 1996 but joined Bradford City
the following month. With Bradford City, he scored a spectacular goal in the FA Cup
against Everton which came second in the February 1997 Match of the Day Goal of the Month behind Trevor Sinclair
's strike on the same day, which won Goal of the Season.
He moved to Sunderland
, the side he had supported as a boy, for a nominal fee of £75,000 in February 1997, but could not help Sunderland from being relegated at the end of the season, receiving a televised slating from Sunderland manager Peter Reid
during the fly-on-the-wall documentary 'Premier Passions'.
In May 1997 he was appointed player-manager of Burnley
, moving from Roker Park on a free transfer. Burnley had a disappointing season, only just avoiding relegation at the end of the season, whereas they had been expected to be challenging for promotion.
Waddle left Burnley in the summer, and in September 1998 joined Torquay United
. He played just 7 times for Torquay before taking up a coaching job with Sheffield Wednesday. He was appointed reserve team coach in July 1999, and played for a local pub side, but left in June 2000 on the appointment of Paul Jewell
Following his departure from Torquay United, Waddle enjoyed two seasons with Worksop Town
making 60 appearances and scoring 3 goals. His most notable appearance was in a 12-0 Northern Premier League record win against Frickley Athletic. He also had a brief spell with Glapwell
When not commentating you will often find him making appearances in the Wragg League Sheffield for HSBC Over 35s and for Devonshire Arms FC in the Sheffield Imperial League .
He now frequently appears on BBC Radio Five Live
as a summariser at Premier League
matches and also writes a column in The Sun
He contributed commentary to Electronic Arts' lineage of football video games, infamously including the ironic commentary remark "That's how we score'm, John." for a successfully-taken penalty. His name and occasionally photograph also appeared regularly on the Chanel 9 section of The Fast Show.
In 2005 he was charged with attacking a man in a pub in Dore, Sheffield, however the charge was dropped for insufficient evidence. He has one daughter, Brooke, and a son Jack.
Waddle was one of the England's fiercest critics after defeat to Portugal on penalties in World Cup 2006. In an article for the BBC website immediately after the defeat some of his harshest quotes included:
- "...we are a quarter-final team and no more"
- "Every time we play a team with a bit of craft and skill we can't deal with it."
- "We have got to face reality that we are a team nowhere near the top seven countries in the world."
- "But we have got to wake up in this country and realise that we are not a great team."
The comments were part of an article which included the post match thoughts of several high profile football analysts.
He represented Sheffield Wednesday in the 2006 Yorkshire Masters.
His cousin, Alan Waddle, played league football for Halifax Town, Liverpool, Leicester City, Swansea City, Newport County, Mansfield Town, Hartlepool United and Peterborough United.
- 1990 French Championship
- 1991 European Cup finalist
- 1991 French Championship
- 1992 French Championship
- 1993 PFA Player Of The Year
- 1993 F.A. Cup: finalist
- 1993 Football League Cup finalist
In popular culture
Waddle's name was often used amidst the nonsensical speech used in the Chanel 9
sketches on the British sketch comedy show The Fast Show
. Its use in this context has no easily apparent meaning; it might perhaps relate to the fact that Waddle became well-known on the Mediterranean
coast, where "Chanel 9" was vaguely supposed to be based.