Updated: May 10, 2020
Ricky Villa was the first person we interviewed after Steve set us up, and it could not have been a more perfect start. A glorious summer day took me to leafy Hertfordshire where I passed a gardener tending to shrubbery on the way to the front door of Ossie Ardiles’s house, where the interview with the Argentine duo I remember so vividly Spurs signing was to take place. Inside an initial warm greeting from Ossie’s wife was followed by two long, informative and fascinating interviews with Ricky and Ossie. Ricky, still an imposing figure, could not have been more friendly or open, displaying many of the qualities that were to make his later autobiography – And Still Ricky Villa – such a good read.
What came across immediately was that Ricky was the more gregarious of the two – something which never came across at the time. And that was because ricky found adjusting to life in England much harder than Ossie did. He speaks movingly of the isolation and depression he experienced when he arrived in England. he said: “I like to talk with people, and now i can only talk with my wife and Ossie… Imagine if you moved to Argentina now; you have to know the people, the customs, the food, you can’t watch TV, you can’t read the paper. It’s very hard… If you can see the faces of the people but you can’t say anything to them you feel very unhappy.”
There’s plenty more on adjusting to England, some frank views on the Falklands conflict, and also a few words about a certain goal Ricky scored in an FA Cup Final.
• The Boys from White Hart Lane is available direct from Vision Sports Publishing in paperback for £6.99 or ebook on Kindle for £5.97.