sport news How Steve Hodge made £7.14MILLION from the Hand of God shirt and transformed ... trends now

sport news How Steve Hodge made £7.14MILLION from the Hand of God shirt and transformed ... trends now
sport news How Steve Hodge made £7.14MILLION from the Hand of God shirt and transformed ... trends now

sport news How Steve Hodge made £7.14MILLION from the Hand of God shirt and transformed ... trends now

With one deliberate swoosh of his left boot beneath a sizzling Mexican sun, England’s Steve Hodge inadvertently set in motion a chain of events that would make his future self a multi-millionaire, and enrich a sports memorabilia market into which Lionel Messi is the latest to venture.

What Hodge did on that day in 1986, and beyond, has led us to now, with Messi’s shirt collection from the 2022 World Cup set to fetch a world record of more than £8million when it goes to auction at Sotheby’s New York later this month.

But it was Hodge who raised the gold bar when, last year, he sold Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ jersey from the 1986 World Cup quarter-final

In an irony not lost on some of his England team-mates, it was from Hodge’s back-pass to Peter Shilton that the Argentina legend used his fist to score.

With a reserve of £4m when the shirt went under the hammer at Sotheby’s London, that figure was very quickly met. It remained the likely total with just minutes of the auction remaining. 

Steve Hodge sold Diego Maradona's Hand of God shirt for £7.14million at an auction last year

Steve Hodge sold Diego Maradona's Hand of God shirt for £7.14million at an auction last year

Hodge played the pass back to Peter Shilton - before Maradona used his hand to score in 1986

Lionel Messi's 2022 World Cup jerseys are set to sell for a world record at over £8m at auction

Lionel Messi's 2022 World Cup jerseys are set to sell for a world record at over £8m at auction 

Then, to the delight of Hodge, amazement of those present and possible angst of some ex team-mates, a frenzy of ‘dark bidding’ took the sale to a world record £7.1m for an item of football memorabilia.

The buyer remains anonymous and, at least when it comes to this subject, so does Hodge. The dad of three, 61, politely declined Mail Sport’s invite to talk about it. We understand he has spent time in the Far East but continues to live in the East Midlands, working as a co-commentator on Nottingham Forest matches for local radio and working the corporate lounges at Leeds United, two of his old clubs.

Those close to Hodge say the newfound wealth has not changed him, and nor was it ever likely to according to Chris Waddle, who played in the 2-1 defeat at the Azteca Stadium.

‘People ask, “Why does he still go to work if he's got millions?”,’ says Waddle. ‘Hodgey was just a normal, easy-going lad. He wasn’t extravagant. I remember at Spurs he had a Ford Mondeo. He used to drive down from Nottingham and back in a day. Everyone said, “Why don’t you get a BMW?”. He used to say, “I’m just not bothered”.’

But how did Hodge come to be in possession of a jersey that has transformed the landscape of football memorabilia at auction, and sent players of his era scrambling around their attics in search of treasure? Mark Wright recently listed a collection of his Italia 90 jerseys with a guide price of £200,000.

It was, in fact, Waddle and Hodge who were closest to Maradona on full-time. We have reviewed the BBC footage from the game and Hodge can be seen approaching the No.10, although there is no exchange of shirts.

Waddle says: ‘I remember he got it at the top of the tunnel. He waited, behind the goal, it was like a pathway down to the changing-rooms. Hodgey indicated to swap shirts and Maradona didn’t give a s*** really, he was like, “Yeah, have it”.’

Hodge’s version, from his autobiography ‘The Man With Maradona’s Shirt’, casts himself in a slightly more innocent light.

‘I went over to shake Maradona’s hand (on the pitch),’ he wrote, admitting the intention to get the blue jersey. ‘Chris Waddle was with him and he was being mobbed. It was bedlam all around him, so I didn’t bother. I just wished him all the best and walked away with Chris. I was asked for an interview by Gary Newbon which delayed me, and a couple of minutes later I walked off the pitch in my own world. I just happened to be walking down our tunnel as Maradona came walking along the Argentina tunnel. We looked at each other and I tugged my shirt. He nodded and so I did (get the shirt) - it was pure chance.’

Aware of the anger towards Maradona in the England dressing-room, Hodge slipped the shirt in his bag without saying a word. Maradona, meanwhile, swapped Hodge’s shirt with an Argentina team-mate, who had Gary Lineker’s jersey.

Hodge didn't want to speak about the shirt when he was approached by Mail Sport... and team-mate Chris Waddle (pictured) said the now 61-year-old 'was just a normal, easy-going lad'

Hodge didn't want to speak about the shirt when he was approached by Mail Sport... and team-mate Chris Waddle (pictured) said the now 61-year-old 'was just a normal, easy-going lad'

Waddle said Maradona 'wasn't bothered' about giving his shirt away and let Hodge have it

Waddle said Maradona 'wasn't bothered' about giving his shirt away and let Hodge have it

‘I can’t remember who I swapped with, but I had one,’ says Waddle. ‘I don’t even know if I’ve still got it. But I remember the quality was terrible. The badge was almost pinned on, not properly sewn. It was like they’d gone, “Oh s***, we’ve got no kit, what are we going to do?”.’

That, in fact, was true. Maradona said the official kit was too thick to wear given the heat and some plain blue jerseys were bought from a sports

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