All week the Swindon Advertiser will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Swindon Town's promotion to the Premier League following their 4-3 play-off final victory over Leicester City at Wembley on May 31, 1993.

FORMER Swindon Town boss Glenn Hoddle says his role as player-manager made all the difference as he guided his team through the 1993 play-off final at Wembley Stadium.

After gaining a 3-0 lead against Leicester City, Swindon found themselves level after 12 minutes of madness in which the Foxes scored three times in quick succession.

With less than 10 minutes to go, Swindon were awarded a penalty which was duly dispatched by defender Paul Bodin to earn a 4-3 win, promotion and legendary status for Town’s class of ‘93.

Hoddle, who played the full 90 minutes, says being on the pitch did the trick as he was able to influence his players directly, something he may not have been able to do from the sidelines.

“I had the advantage of being the player-manager. It must be hard being on the sidelines, you can’t affect it, where as I actually was able to get round to most of the players,” he said.

“That was the key to it at the time. I sensed at the time that they were flat, and that they were shell-shocked.

“I was shell-shocked, but I had the experience to know we had to go again. I had to tell them there is no way we are going to lose that game, we had been too good all season.

“It wasn’t just about that game, because we were in control of the game. It’s about the football we had played all season.

“Suddenly in the last 15 minutes, it was like being in the land of the giants. Leicester put their centre-back (Steve Walsh) up, they were all 6ft 5in guys and they were smashing it in the air.

“I remember looking at Shaun Taylor. I brought him in because I knew someone had to win the ball in the air in this league.

“I told him that he’s got three of them to pick up, because (Colin) Calderwood wasn’t going to be able to head it.

“It was a fantastic performance, a great day and a fabulous way to win it, but to be honest, I would have preferred to have won it 3-0 and canter in over the line.”

With thousands of supporters making their way to Wembley, Hoddle says the celebrations after the victory will live long in his memory.

Afterwards, the former Tottenham Hotspur man says he sensed the town was at a standstill waiting for the players to arrive back, as fans lined the motorway to catch a glimpse of their heroes.

“On the motorway on the way home, I remember people being on all of the bridges. You couldn’t get up the exit to Swindon. It must have taken us an hour to get into town,” he said.

“I think we had an event at the De Vere hotel. It was incredible, I didn’t think we were ever going to get back to celebrate, but we did eventually.

“The whole town was waiting for us. They knew there was only one road into the town and they knew we were coming.”

Speaking at the club’s 25th Anniversary dinner at the Energy Check County Ground in late April, the former England manager revealed he almost returned to the home dugout a few years ago.

Despite being heavily linked and talks taking place, the now-60-year-old says the club opted to go in a different direction as they appointed Italian Paolo Di Canio.

“That was very close. I spoke to a few clubs about what we were doing and it was very close,” said Hoddle.

“In the end, they went to the other end and got Paolo Di Canio in. We were saying that we had some wonderful players in our academy that we could groom and bring through.

“We were very confident that we could have brought in lots of players on a lower budget, sold them on, the club could have made a profit and we would have had another group coming through.

“It could have worked really well, but unfortunately for the academy and myself, they chose to go the other way and try to drag things up from there.”

DON'T MISS THE SWINDON ADVERTISER'S 16-PAGE SPECIAL CELEBRATING THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF TOWN'S PROMOTION TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE. OUT WITH YOUR SWINDON ADVERTISER ON THURSDAY