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Taricco on the Town

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Mauricio Taricco would hate to see his old club Ipswich Town relegated - but that won't stop him trying to prod them a little closer to the Nationwide League on Saturday.

Argentinian defender 'Tano' enjoyed five seasons at Portman Road after arriving on these shores from Argentinos Juniors in 1994.

He played over 150 games for the Suffolk outfit and was a hugely popular player with fans before we snapped him up in November 1998.

Three years down the line and he is set to start against his former club for the first time - but there is no room for sentiment.

The 28-year-old declared: "I now play for Spurs, I want to win, we need to win and we want the points because we want to qualify for the UEFA Cup.

"This is football, not friends. I like Ipswich and I hope they do well because I have friends there and I think it is a great club but on the day I hope we win and get the three points that we need."

Tano is as surprised as most pundits to see George Burley's men struggling at the foot of the table, not least after their magnificent season last time around.

"It is quite a shock to see what is happening at the moment," he said. "I certainly didn't expect them to be where they are.

"They are better than that, definitely. But the Premiership is very hard and you have to be on your toes all the time, otherwise you get a few bad spells and you can't get out of them. I think that is what is happening at the moment."

Tano admits Ipswich and Argentina were 'different worlds' when he first arrived in 1994.

So how did the move come about? Tano recalled: "John Lyall was the manager at the time. He and his assistant were in Argentina, went to a couple of games, my agent was involved as well.

"Ipswich also signed a striker at the same time and both deals were done. Slowly I got a place in the team and things worked out well.

"My first year was very hard but after that I had a great time. The club was great to me. My wife settled very quickly as well, which was important.

"Argentina and Ipswich are two different worlds. It was big change. The language, the culture, Buenos Aires is a big city like London and then to Suffolk, Ipswich is like a small town in comparison.

"Myself and my girlfriend got married before coming here so the whole thing was a huge step in my life. It was the correct one, I think."

At least Tano gets the chance to play Ipswich in the Premiership. After all, he suffered two play-off defeats in his time at Portman Road and Town then missed out again before finally making it at Wembley in May 2000.

"I played twice in the play-offs and couldn't make it," he added. "That was disappointing for me but these things happen in football. Of course, I then got the chance at Tottenham."

By Paul Miles