Glenn Roeder went from being a regular in Upton Park’s famous ‘Chicken Run’ to stepping out as manager of his childhood club, but he was never the type to take his football fortune for granted.
For a figure who seemed content to remain relatively low key, Roeder enjoyed an illustrious top-level career and became a trusted friend and confidante of an impressive array of big-name stars.
It was Roeder with whom a young and star-struck Paul Gascoigne bonded during their mutual period at Newcastle, to the extent that Roeder was later hired to accompany Gazza for his ill-fated spell at Lazio.
And it was to Roeder whom Harry Redknapp turned to bolster his West Ham coaching staff in 1999, paving the way to an appointment two years later of which the unassuming Roeder admitted he would “never have dreamed”.
Born in Woodford, Essex, Roeder played for Essex and London schools and was initially signed by Arsenal, but was rejected for a scholarship and went on to begin his professional career at Leyton Orient.
In 1978, Roeder was part of the Os squad that reached the FA Cup semi-final, and his classy skills at full-back earned the attention of Division Two QPR, to whom he moved in a £250,000 deal later that year.
Four years later, Roeder experienced another FA Cup milestone when he captained his unfancied side in the FA Cup final against Tottenham, although he would miss the subsequent replay due to suspension.
Roeder moved to Newcastle in 1984, and went on to spend five years on Tyneside, making 193 appearances and developing an unlikely relationship with the emergent Gascoigne, who described Roeder as “a natural leader… someone you could go to for advice” in his autobiography.
After winding down his playing career at Watford and back at Orient, he eased into management with a brief spell at Gillingham, before moving back to Vicarage Road to take charge in 1993, replacing Steve Perryman.
If Roeder’s first full managerial role was not entirely successful – he was dismissed in 1996 – it was notable for his signing of Kevin Phillips from non-league Baldock Town for £10,000.
Phillips said later: “When no-one else would give me that chance, Glenn took a chance on me and I owe him everything I’ve earned in my career.”
After a brief spell at Burnley, and a period assisting the then England coach Glenn Hoddle, Roeder was lured back to the Hammers by Redknapp in 1999.
Two years later, Roeder graduated to the top job in the wake of Redknapp’s departure, to the surprise of many who expected a bigger-name replacement – a situation of which Roeder was acutely aware.
“I know many supporters expected a bigger name to take over and I realise the huge responsibility that goes with the job,” he said. “But I am ready to embrace the task ahead – it is a very proud day for me.”
Roeder led the Hammers to seventh place in his first season in charge, but was forced to take a break in 2003 after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. The Hammers were relegated at the end of the season, and although he returned to the role, Roeder was relieved of his duties in August 2003.
He returned to football two years later, moving back to Newcastle in a youth development role, before once again graduating through the ranks to take charge of the first team following the departure of Graeme Souness.
Under Roeder’s charge, the Magpies won the Intertoto Cup, thereby qualifying for the UEFA Cup, but they struggled to readjust to the post-Alan Shearer era, and Roeder resigned at the end of the 2006-7 campaign.
Roeder moved on to Norwich, which was to prove his last managerial role, although he accepted further appointments at Sheffield Wednesday and Stevenage in advisory capacities.