AS one of the greatest passers of his generation, Glenn Hoddle made many great returns.
But none were ever as daunting or harrowing as this.
The Tottenham and England legend did not know if he would ever be able to go back to the TV studio where he suffered his near-fatal cardiac arrest.
His heart stopped for at least 60 seconds when he collapsed during a live BT Sport broadcast on his 61st birthday, on October 27, 2018.
Almost exactly three years on, the pundit’s return to the studio is captured in a new BT Sport documentary on his life, due to be screened next week.
And as Hoddle went back to the place where his life almost ended, he had to ask for filming to be halted as he understandably became overcome with emotion.
Speaking to SunSport in the same studio, he said: “I knew it was going to be hard but it was probably harder than what we see in the documentary.
“Did I think about not doing it? Good question.
“It was tough coming back here. To come back to this point wasn’t easy. A lot of people speak about where we were born.
“You say the place and whether it was at home or in a hospital, whatever.
“But you very rarely get to talk about, or see again, the place you might have died.
“And there is a spot a few yards over there and that is nearly where I went.
“If it wasn’t for Simon who saved my life, I would have died that day.
“So it was tough to come back here. Am I pleased I did it? Now I am.
“But I was only pleased after I had done it.”
I was very lucky to be here in this studio, so it makes you look at your life completely differently.
The 63-year-old, now back on-screen as regularly as before, admitted he did have second thoughts about coming back.
He said: “There was a time before when I was asking myself why I was putting myself through this.
“Growing up as a young footballer and then as a professional, there are many adversities you have to overcome.
“You have to be strong-minded and go into that mode.
“That was never really me as a person but I knew I had to do that to make it in football.
“So I became an actor, in many ways. And I possibly had to do the same to get back into the BT Sport studio.
“I wasn’t looking forward to doing it.
“I can’t say I enjoyed it but I was happy I did it. In some ways, it has helped me.”
Hoddle insisted making the documentary also helped.
He added: “Incidents like this do change your life.
“My outlook on life was always a bit different . . . well not different, it was just what it was.
“I don’t believe we are here and that’s it. I do believe that we go on anyway.
“But when you’re that close to it, you realise there are so many facets to it that were fate or luck or good fortune, however you want to put it.
“I was very lucky to be here in this studio, so it makes you look at your life completely differently.”
Glenn Hoddle: Extra Time airs next Tuesday on BT Sport 3 at 10.30pm.
The programme looks at all of his life and career.
I am proud of the 53 caps I won — although had I been from another country, I probably would have won 153
He remains one of the most technically gifted footballers this country has ever produced.
Yet criminally, having played in the long-ball 1980s, he won just 53 England caps.
Hoddle said: “It was ‘Get the ball forward as soon as possible’ and that was hard for a creative player.
“I go back to the era before mine in the 70s — Alan Hudson got two caps. He was a wonderful footballer.
“Tony Currie, Peter Osgood… there were lots of great players just overlooked.
“I love to see the way football is played now.
“I am proud of the 53 caps I won — although had I been from another country, I probably would have won 153.”