osvaldo ardiles - fact file

1978 - 1991        midfielder
1994 - 1996        manager

Born on 3rd August 1952 in Cordoba, Argentina.

Height : - .m  (5' 6")

Weight : -  - kgs    (9st 10lbs)

A little man in stature, but his big reputation was built in winning the World Cup with his country and then having a glittering career with Tottenham Hotspur and showing that more than a footballer, he was a real gentleman.

With a solid career in his home country of Argentina, not many people had heard of Ossie Ardiles before the grainy TV pictures of the 1978 World Cup came through to our living rooms, where a slightly built figure with the number 1 on his back flitted through the midfield, hardly touching the ground.  But his neat passing and excellent link play allowed his colleagues to cut through the opposition in what was a breakthrough tournament for his country and when they beat the Dutch favourites for the trophy in the final, Ardiles was at the heart of what mattered to their play.

So, when news broke that Spurs were signing the Argentinian World Cup winning duo of Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricardo Villa, the English game was stunned.  In these days when foreign players proliferate, the shock of these two players coming to play for newly promoted Spurs was an exclusive of great magnitude.  Home-based players criticised the move as English players losing their jobs to these imports, with others saying they would never settle and make little impact.  In fact, nothing could have been further from the truth.

His performances in his first season overcame the culture shock of playing on another continent and won him many admirers.  Tottenham's matches were sell-outs across the country and while the team did not always meet the standard of play exhibited by the skilful midfielder, he always played the game as Spurs fans would like it to be played, even in the heaviest of conditions.  His work-rate matched the fact that he was one of the fittest players at the club and he never shirked getting back behind the ball when the opposition had possession.

In 1981, "Ossie's Dream" (as the Chas and Dave record set out) came true with an FA Cup victory against Manchester City in the 100th FA Cup final.  It took a fortunate equaliser in a dire performance in the first game to take the match to a replay and on the Thursday night at Wembley, he crafted the ball through to his forwards, despite the dogged attention of the physical Gerry Gow, to push the team on to victory thanks to his fellow countryman Ricky Villa's outstanding goal.

The following year, it was a different story for the Argentinian.  Playing a major part in the FA Cup semi-final victory against Leicester City at Villa Park, the news had come through the previous day that Britain had declared war on Argentina over the ownership of the Falkland Islands in the South Pacific.  Ardiles had already been on the losing side at Wembley that season in the League Cup, but wanted to put that right in the FA Cup.  He was denied that opportunity, as his cousin was an airman killed in the conflict and the player felt it would be wrong to continue playing in England while his country was at war with them.  He left for his homeland to prepare for that summer's World Cup finals, but was heartbroken to see "the two countries I loved at war."

After the summer, Ardiles did not want to come back to England where it was feared he might suffer a backlash and he was loaned out to Paris St. Germain.  The move did not work out for him and in January he came back to White Hart Lane, where the fans gave him a warm welcome as his arrival coincided with a tie in his favourite competition.  Unfortunately, it was a short run of games, as in his fourth match, he broke his leg.

While he always lit up games, with his skipping run and intelligent running off the ball, Ossie never recaptured his form, as a long series of injuries plagued his Spurs career.  However, his play alongside Glenn Hoddle and Steve Perryman was a joy to behold.  He featured irregularly in the run to the UEFA Cup final win in 1984 and then got a good number of games under his belt, as Spurs reached the 1987 FA Cup Final. 

After that, he was a peripheral figure under David Pleat and Ardiles eventually left the club in August 1988 for Blackburn Rovers.  After a loan spell at Ewood Park, Ossie left for good to join QPR and Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the US.

On leaving the playing side of the game, he moved into management with Swindon Town, earning them promotion to Division One through a play-off victory over Sunderland, but being deprived of a place in the top flight because of illegal payments.  After leaving the Wiltshire club, Ossie moved into the hot seat at Newcastle United, where he had to rescue them from dropping into Division Three with little money and a reliance on young players, then he took over at West Bromwich Albion in 1992, achieving promotion to the Second Division and his impressive management attracted Spurs, when they needed a replacement  for the departing partnership of Doug Livermore and Ray Clemence.  Ardiles was, ironically, replaced by Keith Burkinshaw as manager at the Hawthorns.

Ossie managed Spurs as he had played the game; with a reliance on attacking football, with the ball played to feet and with a style in keeping with the club's traditions.  The first season he was in charge all went well until injuries left the forward line light and Tottenham struggled, with only a penultimate game win at Oldham Athletic keeping them in the First Division.

The following summer of 1994 was one of the most sensational of the club's history.

Tottenham were found guilty by the FA of making illegal payments to players and were docked points and expelled from the FA Cup for one season.  In a show of defiance by chairman Alan Sugar, he brought in World Cup star Ilie Dumitrescu to join Nick Barmby, Darren Anderton and Teddy Sheringham in attack, where they were astonishingly joined by German striker Jurgen Klinsmann in what became the "Famous Five" forward line.

The season started with a flurry of goals, with Klinsmann becoming an instant hit in the attack minded side, but the defence was suffering and when results went against the club, a 0-3 defeat to lower league Notts. County in the League Cup at Meadow Lane was the final straw.  Ironically, Ossie was still in charge for the next game against West Ham United, which Spurs won to give him a winning send-off at the Lane.

Ironically, the point deduction was hanging heavy on the club's league position, with Sugar winning a legal battle to get the points back and a big fine imposed instead, but it came too late to save Ossie, with the club ironically almost getting to "Wemberlee" in Ossie's competition of the FA Cup after gaining reinstatement in the race for the famous old trophy too.

After Spurs, Ossie was still in demand as a manager and he was in charge at a number of clubs across the world as he managed Guadalajara (Mexico), Shizimu S-Pulse (Japan), Nagoya Grampus Eight (Japan), Croatia Zagreb (Croatia), Yokohama F Marinos (Japan), Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia), Racing (Argentina), Tokyo Verdy (Japan), Beitar Jerusalem (Israel), Huracan (Argentina), where Ricardo Villa was his assistant and Cerro Porteno of Paraguay.  In January 2009 he was strongly linked with the manager's post at Scottish club Inverness Caledonian Thistle, but by 2012 Ardiles was back in Japan managing Selvia Macheda in Japan in the second tier, where he had a one year contract at the ambitious club.

In 2009, Ossie was an inductee into the English Football Hall of Fame.



Career Record
Club Signed Fee Debut Apps Goals
Red Star Cordoba (Argentina) ?? ?? ??  ?? ??
Cordoba Instituto (Argentina) ?? ?? ??  ?? ??
Belgrano (Argentina) ?? ?? ??  ?? ??
Huracan (Argentina) ?? ?? ??  ?? ??
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR July 1978 ?? 19th August 1978  v Nottingham Forest (away) (League Div. 1) drew 1-1 385 (32) 37
Paris St. Germain (France) (loan) ?? ?? ??  ?? ??
Blackburn Rovers (loan) August 1988 ?? ??  ?? ??
QPR ?? ?? ??  ?? ??
Fort Lauderdale Strikers (USA) ?? ?? ??  ?? ??

Argentina international
63 full caps;  8 goals
Under-21 caps; goals
World Cup winners medal 1978
FA Cup winners medal 1980-81; 1981-82 (THFC)
UEFA Cup winners medal 1983-84 (THFC)
Managed Swindon Town to promotion to Division One in 1990 (team denied promotion because of financial irregularities)
Managed West Bromwich Albion to promotion to Division One in 1993
Managed Shimizu S-Pulse to Nabisco Cup win in 1996
Managed Shimizu S-Pulse to Tokai Cup wins in 1996 and 1998
Managed Yokohama F. Marinos to J League Championship (first stage) in 2000
Managed Tokyo Verdy to Emperor's Cup win in 2004-05
J League Manager of the Year 1998

- appearance

Ossie Ardiles was given the number 1 shirt in the Argentina squad for the 1982 FIFA World Cup. Argentina numbered their players alphabetically in both 1978 and 1982, with the notable exception of Diego Maradona, until 2006, when FIFA ruled that the number 1 shirt must be allotted to a goalkeeper.
Ardiles is married with two sons - Pablo and Federico.  Pablo was on Spurs' books as a youngster, but went on to play for non-league Hertford Town.
During the Falklands War Ossie's cousin, First Lieutenant José Ardiles, died when his Argentine Air Force Dagger fighter was shot down by British forces in the South Atlantic. 
José Ardiles was posthumously promoted to the rank of Captain.
Ossie secured a starring role as Carlos Rey in the 1981 film "Escape to Victory", featuring alongside Pelé, Bobby Moore, Kazimierz Deyna, Paul van Himst, John Wark, Mike Summerbee, Sylvester Stallone, Max von Sydow and Michael Caine
Ardiles still own a house in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire close to Tottenham's ground and has a property in Marbella in Spain too.
09.08.2009 (Sunday Times)
What was the best moment of your career ?  : -  In terms of achievement, it was winning the 1978 World Cup.  In terms of the way I played football, it would be the four years after the World Cup, a beautiful time I spent in England.  It was a pleasure playing in that Tottenham team, winning things.
Who was the best player you played against ?  : -  I never liked playing against Brazil.  They have incredible talent and are always there or thereabouts.  In English football terms, Graeme Souness and Bryan Robson were two wonderful and tough players.
Who was the best manager you played under ?  The two most influential managers were Menotti for Argentina and Burkinshaw for Tottenham.  Menotti influenced how I played.  Burkinshaw had a no-nonsense approach.  He didn't use elegant words or tactical wonders, but was right the majority of the time.
What was the best thing about being a footballer in your era ?  : -  To be able to play your game.  For a person who loves sport you cannot beat that feeling.
And the worst ?  : -  To be injured for two or three months is depressing.
Who is the best young player in the Premier League ?  : -  If I had to choose one player in England, it would be Ashley Young at Aston Villa. 
What was your worst moment ?  : -  Although not connected with football, it was the Falklands War.  It was between a country in which I was born and the country that had adopted me, and the fact that people were dying there was terrible.  Whether they were Argentinian or British, it didn't matter to me. 




What they said about Osvaldo Ardiles ...
Racing Club fans in Argentina ... to welcome Ardiles to the club where he was taking over as manager ... July 2002 (The Times)

"Go home English bastard !"

Tommy Smith (Swansea City hard man defender) ...  .. ()

"I think Spurs ought to buy a good stock of cotton wool for such poseurs.  He can't expect not to be tackled just because Argentina won the World Cup."

Glenn Hoddle ...  about his team-mate ... 1978 (Marshall Cavendish Football Handbook)

"There's no doubt he's a great player.  He's got great vision - he sees things quickly - and he's very busy.  it's true we are both naturally right-footed, but I really don't mind which side of midfield I play on.  So we started off with me in the centre and Ossie on the right, but we switch around during the game."

Alan Sugar ...  November 1994 (Spurs Monthly)

"The difficulty has been compounded by the fact that he is such a delightful and good man. The 16 months I have been associated with Ossie will always remain a milestone in my memory. I will recall forever his dignity and strength during a period in which he was under constant pressure and criticism in one of the most difficult appointments in football's modern day history by having to take the helm at Spurs following Terry Venables' departure. He will always be loved and welcome at the club."

Steve Perryman on being appointed caretaker manager after Ardiles' sacking ...  November 1994 (Spurs Monthly)

"I am disappointed to lose a colleague and somebody I learned a lot from. Ossie is a good man and I am sad for him. Whatever job you take in management you know that everything is on the line. You are given the job and you are expected to make a success of it. Obviously, it means more to you when you have been a player at the club and it must be a tremendous feeling to be successful at both. I have been appointed as caretaker manager and have not been given any time limits. I am just very honoured to have the post – even if it is only temporary I have been given the chance to manage one of the world's best clubs."

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What Osvaldo Ardiles said about ...
coaching of players in English football ...  24.02.2008 (Daily Mail)

"The coaching English players receive from a very early age is extremely poor.  Your best players, Hoddle, Gascoigne, Rooney, have had little coaching."

the arrival of Ricardo Villa and himself at Tottenham ...  24.02.2008 (Daily Mail)

"We were the first two foreigners.  No one was here before.  It was just the Scottish, Irish and Welsh."

the arrival of Ricardo Villa and himself at Tottenham ...  24.02.2008 (Daily Mail)

"I adapted a lot quicker than Ricky.  I moved around a lot.  He was a lazy bastard, waiting for players to give him the ball.  And they wouldn't.  I said to our captain, Steve Perryman: 'Just give the ball to Ricky !'  The first time Steve passed to him, Ricky tried to beat his man, lost the ball and the opponents counter-attacked and almost scored.  Steve turned to me and said: 'See !  That's why I don't give the ball to Ricky !' "

... playing the game when he first arrived at Tottenham ...  24.02.2008 (Daily Mail)

"We wanted to play a passing game, but we were looking at zoom, zoom, zoom, the ball passing overhead.  Long ball football was a big idea when we arrived.  The philosophy had been written in the Football Association's coaching directory by Charles Hughes, the coaching director.  He said Brazil had got it wrong, that you had to play direct. 
Everyone was saying that we had to copy Wimbledon and play long balls at that time.  I thought : 'Why don' you copy Liverpool ?  They pass the ball and win everything.' "

... about managing in Argentina ...  04.11.2002 (The Times)

"Football in Argentina is incredible.  Yes, there is passion in England but here it is more like life and death.  Lose one game and you are the worst person in the world.  I've gone from being the Devil to being God ... maybe I'll go back again."

... about managing Tottenham versus managing in Argentina ...  04.11.2002 (The Times)

"The biggest pressure in my life was when I was manager at Tottenham because I was so very close to the club, but you have to live it here to understand how incredibly big it is - even bigger than at Tottenham.  From one goal to the next, you feel the pressure."

... dangerous tackles ...  .. ()

"Really serious offences should not be given the name 'foul', but should be seen as what they are; criminal assaults."

... his footballing philosophy ...  01.11.2994 (The Times)

"I live and die by my principles, by the way I want my team to play football."

... football these days ...  February 2012 (Hotspur Magazine)

"Everything about football is better now than when I played – the pitches, the kits, the training and even the boots."

... his sacking by Spurs ...  November 1994 (Spurs Monthly)

"We worked extremely closely for 16 months. Alan (Sugar) is very honest, and from a personal point of view I like him very much. It was not really a complete surprise after our recent results and the very poor performance at Notts County. I believe the Notts County game sealed my fate. I was a little bit emotional this morning after speaking to the players. Being manager of Spurs was my dream and I am very disappointed that at the end of the day it wasn't successful.”

I have discovered that I am tougher than I thought. When I took this job I was not sure whether I would be able to handle the criticism, but I was able to deal with that and still concentrate on my job.

I don't have time to be bitter. As many people know, I am a religious man and I feel that bitterness is a very negative emotion. I have known disappointments before as a player and a manager and one of the features of my life is that I always bounce back.

It has been a privilege being manager here and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time although sometimes it has been very difficult. Now I will have a holiday, catch up on some books and think about something other than football."

... on his move to Spurs after the 1978 World Cup … 16.10.2011 (Newcastle United programme)

"The main thing for me was that I wanted to play in Europe … I knew my future was in Europe.
To win the World Cup was an amazing experience. To win it at all would have been great, but to win it at home was very special. Plus it was a nice way to close a chapter in my life before a new adventure with my family.
To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t thinking of England. I was thinking more about Spain or Italy because that’s where a lot of Argentinian players went at that time. But suddenly Spurs came in for me.
I went over to have a look and everything was nice, plus my Argentine team-mate Ricky Villa came over with me as well, which made things easier and I ended up saying yes."

... on the early days at Spurs ...  16.10.2011 (Newcastle United programme)

"It was brilliant. I settled in and we had some success, winning the Cup two years in a row against Manchester City (1981) and QPR (1982) plus we won the UEFA Cup a couple of years later.
But the most important thing is that with players like Ricky and Glenn Hoddle in the team, we were playing a style of football that people liked to watch. After that, a lot of teams copied us because it was a type of football that people loved.
When I first arrived, the style of football was very, very different to what I was used to. A lot of teams in England at that time played the long-ball game and that was something new to me. But I found it okay and during my first season at Spurs I was voted Player of the Year. From the beginning I heard about English football and how you didn’t get any space and had to create it for yourself, but I felt right at home and had no problems."

... on the Falklands War and a spell in Paris … 16.10.2011 (Newcastle United programme)

"In 1982 I moved to Paris Saint Germain on loan and that was a very difficult time for me and Ricky as well. The country that we were born in was fighting the country that had adopted us and that was very hard.
I decided to go tot Paris for one year, but after six months I was back. The Spurs fans were different class with me and when things got hard for me, they were right behind me and there were no problems.
I have always had a special relationship with the fans and I am now an ambassador for the club. I follow them very closely and go to a lot of games and it is a club that am very fond of because it was me second home for a long time."

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