the one who got away

Originally featured in MEHSTG Issue 11 - December 1999

Have you heard of Luciano Marangon ?? Me neither, but he could have been a familiar name to all Spurs fans, as our Italian correspondent, John Crockett reveals ...


Ramsey - Willis, Baker - Henry, Kinnear - Knowles, Thomas - Hughton. All well-known full-back combinations which helped Spurs to win various trophies in different periods of the clubs history. But what about the defensive pairing of Stevens - Marangon ??

O.K. So Gary Stevens we know about. He also played for England, but was finally forced to retire from the game after a series of injuries, especially the one incurred in an unnecessarily harsh challenge by Vincent Jones. But who is Marangon ?? Well, he’s an ex-Italian international full-back (not in the Tramezzani mould) who revealed in a recent interview in the Friday supplement of the widely read Milanese daily newspaper “Corriere della Sera” that he had agreed to sign for Tottenham during the 1987 - 88 season. This was around the start of El Tel’s reign, but the move didn’t come off because the President and owner of Internazionale - Ernesto Pellegrini - told him that he couldn’t go. This was in the pre-Bosman era, so Marangon was forced to do what his President said. However, at the age of 31, Marangon decided to give up football.

So, what sort of a player was Luciano Marangon ?? Quite simply, he was a very useful player. A defender by trade, he even managed to break into the Italian national side, making his debut for Italy in April 1982 in the same side (more or less) than won the World Cup about three months later. For a defender in Italy, he must have been good to make the national team.

As a club player, he played at youth level for Juventus. However, as often happens in Italian football, he had to move on to a smaller club to get first team football and he made his senior debut in Serie A in 1977 for Vicenza, alongside the famous striker Paolo Rossi. One factor that characterised his career was that he played for teams that were in with a chance of winning the Scudetto, even though these teams were often considered surprise packages when they made their challenge. This was true as regards his one season with Napoli, where he helped form a very solid defence with Dutchman, Ruud Krol. Before then, Napoli had never won the championship, but in 1979 - 80, they made a serious challenge for the title with Marangon’s help. His next stop was Roma, who again put in a very good campaign before losing out in the end.

His real glory years arrived when he moved to Verona, where he gained a championship winners medal in 1984 - 85 alongside Peter Breigel, the German non-stop dynamo, in the heart of the defence. His club were rank outsiders which managed to see off the challenge of hot favourites, Juventus. This success precipitated his move to Internazionale, which was his last club before retirement.

Would Luciano have been useful to Tottenham ?? Undoubtedly, in my opinion, especially if we consider the number of players Spurs played in defence around that time. Where is he now ?? He’s running his own bar in the Dominican Republic - another reason to indicate that he would have been able to settle in another country and come to terms with the style of play in the English championship and English culture. It will forever be a thorn in his side that he was not allowed to join Tottenham and we will never know how it would have turned out in the end if he had.

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