Born on April 1st 1969 and brought up in Skelmersdale, John attended Barnes Road Primary before moving onto Glenburn High School.
He was attached to Everton as a schoolboy for two years, whilst also playing for Skelmersdale, West Lancashire and Lancashire Schoolboys teams.
After leaving school he started on a YTS training scheme as an electrician, playing in the Liverpool Sunday League for Darby Arms FC, consistently winning League and Cup Honours over a three season period.
At the age of 18 he went to live in Newquay, Cornwall, working in his uncle’s bakery and in a sports shop in town. A year or so later, he went on a two month trial at Manchester United in November 1989.
A successful period playing for Jewson South Western League Side Newquay, which saw him win League and Cup honours and gain selection for Cornwall County Representative XI, winning an Inter-County Competition in 1990, he joined Falmouth Town, prior to joining the professional ranks at Exeter City in September 1991.
Signed by Swans manager Frank Burrows in July 1993 for a fee of £20,000 plus midfielder Russell Coughlin joining Exeter as part of the transfer, he had earlier impressed manager Frank Burrows when the Swans played the Grecians in FA Cup and Autoglass Trophy ties in the 1992/93 season.
During his period at the Vetch Field, he proved to be a very popular figure with the clubs supporters, who appreciated his wing play, and ability to cross accurate balls to his teammates.
His first season at the Vetch Field culminated in him playing at Wembley in the Auto Glass Trophy Final against Huddersfield Town, and in the following two seasons, after establishing himself as a vital part of the Swans team.
However, he saw both humiliation and glory in the FA Cup competition, following success against Middlesbrough, and a good performance against Newcastle, with humiliation to Fulham, losing 7-0.
In May 1994 he was included in the Swans squad that beat Ammanford Town in the West Wales Senior Cup Final, and at the end of the season was voted ‘Player of the Season’ at the Vetch Field.
During the 1996 close season, he was unable to agree terms over a new contract with the Swans, and in September 1996 he was allowed to leave and join Walsall on a free transfer.
During his time at the Vetch Field, the winger netted ten goals in 111 League games.
In an interview with the Independent Saddlers Supporters’ Association website, Hodge had this to say about his time at Swansea:
There was competition for players in attacking positions, there were always three or four options so there was fight for places and they had Jason Bowen. There was a great day out at Wembley in the Autoglas Trophy against Huddersfield Town, it was fantastic to play in. We won thanks to a penalty shoot out. We played 66 games in total that season including the Welsh Cup and I was named in the PFA team of the division. We weren’t far off from the play offs the following season either.
He (Kevin Cullis) was crazy, a joke, who looked like Rockefeller! In his broad Black County accent and his line was “I know Kenny Dalglish!”.
Jan Molby wanted me to stay. There was an offer but I told him I didn’t want to stay here for another two years. I want to be appreciated but I’m not greedy.”
Moving to Gillingham in July 1998, he helped them reach the Second Division play-off final in 1998-99 and FA Cup sixth round in 1999-2000. He joined Northampton in March 2000, helping clinch promotion.
Joining Gillingham in 1998, he made a substitute appearance in the Second Division Play Off Final at Wembley, replacing Patterson, against Manchester City, but lost out 3-1, on penalties.
By the end of the season 1999/2000, with Gillingham this time gaining success over Wigan Athletic in the Play Off Final, he had joined Northampton Town, making eight league appearances for the ‘Cobblers’ as they secured the third automatic promotion place from the Third Division behind the Champions, Swansea City.
He made a sparkling debut for the ‘Cobblers’ against Leyton Orient by laying on both goals in a 2-1 victory, but despite thrilling the crowds failed to maintain his high standard, and at the end of the 2002/03 season was released on a free transfer.
After hanging up his boots in 2004, he returned to live in Cornwall a year later.
In 2007, with Newquay AFC in crisis, John stepped in and offered his services to the committee as a director of football, before leaving the role two years later to spend more time with is family.
He is now involved with a local business in Cornwall, called Kernow Sport and Leisure.
During his career ‘Hodgy’ was known for always being the dressing room joker at all the clubs he played for.
The ‘Swansea Town/City Players A-Y’ book written by Colin Jones was an excellent reference guide for the information contained on this page. The information was reproduced with the kind permission of Colin.