Five minutes with... Ossie Ardiles
Wed 18 May 2022, 16:00|Tottenham Hotspur
Ossie Ardiles, 69, joined Spurs after winning the World Cup in 1978, a pioneering move alongside Ricky Villa. He went on to achieve ‘Ossie’s Dream’ by winning the FA Cup at Wembley in 1981. He made 311 appearances 1978-1988, adding the UEFA Cup in 1984. Now a Club Ambassador, Ossie is on the mend after recent heart surgery.
How are you today?
Ossie: “I’m feeling good, to be perfectly honest. First, I would say I had a big heart operation about one month ago, and I’m recovering well. I’d like to thank all the people, especially in the hospital, they were wonderful, different class. To recover from something that big, I’ve had the support of all my family and, I have to say, from the Club and the supporters as well. I’d like to use this opportunity to thank everyone.”
What do you remember most after arriving at Spurs in 1978?
Ossie: “The first thing, knowing it was going to be an incredible adventure. To arrive in a new country… now, it’s a lot easier, information available on the internet, for instance, but it was difficult at that time because everything was new, the country, the language, the food. Luckily, I arrived with Ricky Villa, so we helped each other. We were friends, but became even closer, like brothers. It was so positive though, discovering so many new things, including football as well. Football is played in a different way here, so we had to adapt. It wasn’t easy, but we did it.”
How is Ricky, by the way?
Ossie: “Ricky is fine. He’s on his ranch in Argentina, smoking a big cigar! As you know, he normally comes over at the end of April, but with how I am right now, we’ve decided that he’ll come over in September. It will be great to see him again.”
What have you made of Cuti Romero’s season?
Ossie: “He’s absolutely brilliant. I was incredibly happy when he arrived at the Club, because his CV was wonderful. I didn’t see him play in Italy a lot, but he was voted best defender in Serie A, and so on… I have, however, seen him play a lot for Argentina and in a very, very good team right now, he’s one of the most important players. Certainly, number one in defence. I was happy when he arrived. I knew it would take a little time to adapt, but he has adapted quickly. He’s also from my hometown in Argentina, Cordoba.”
Tell us about Cordoba...
Ossie: “Cordoba is the second city in Argentina, after Buenos Aires. We’re talking about three and a half million people, about the size of Greater Manchester, I would say. Of course, in a football way, it’s very big, with important teams there. In fact, Cuti isn’t from my team (Instituto Atletico Central Cordoba), but the opposition (Club Atletico Belgrano)! It’s a very footballing part of the country!”
Favourite Spurs moment...
Ossie: “It has to be winning the FA Cup in 1981. It was our first trophy of that era, we were becoming incredibly good, playing superb football, very good for the eye as well, very exciting, but we wanted to win things, and the FA Cup was the first one. That gave us even more belief to do even better things. That was also the centenary of the FA Cup, the replay, Ricky being very sad after the first game and then scoring two goals in the replay, the second voted the best goal at Wembley in the 20th century. It was pure joy.”
Do you have a Spurs WhatsApp group - and who is in it?
Ossie: “Yes, we do, and with all the legends, everyone – Stevie P, Micky Hazard, Gary Mabbutt, Robbo – yes, very nice.”
Did you have any superstitions?
Ossie: “I didn’t really believe in superstitions. In football, when you go to play a game, you’d sit in the same place, have your kit arranged in the same manner, look, that’s clever. You know exactly where everything is, you’re not asking, ‘where’s my sock?’. You follow that pattern. All of those things that some people call superstitions you kind of do them automatically anyway! You mind is 100 per cent concentrated on what you are going to do on a football pitch.”
Finally, what are you up to today?
Ossie: "At the moment, it’s all about my recovery. I walk quite a lot. My recovery is going extremely well. I’m doing a bit of everything, watching television, resting a lot, of course, and one day doing a bit more than the day before, and so on.”
We spoke to Ossie last week...