News today that Ossie Ardiles has been involved in a car crash and reportedly received 20 stitches as a consequence.
The crash occurred in the Falklands Islands where Ardiles and his ex-Spurs and Argentina colleague, Ricky Villa, were filming a documentary.
Ossie arrived at United at a bad time, a struggling team with no money to spend and a fight for ownership of the club going on.
He played a key part in the development of young players such as Steve Watson, Robbie Elliott, Lee Clark and Steve Howey, though their early first team chances came more through necessity and while they all showed brightly at times, with few decent experienced players we were heading down before KK arrived.
As a teenager it was via Ardiles that I first became aware of politics interfering with football/sport.
There had been the boycott of the Moscow Olympics by countries such as the USA in 1980 and the impact of apartheid on cricket via South Africa, but with football it was the Falklands war of 1982.
Ardiles went on loan to PSG from Spurs during the Falklands war episode and so it was ironic today reading that Ossie, Villa and the other occupants of the car were, ‘…successfully evacuated to hospital in Stanley, due to the fast action of rescue services and the British forces.’
As I remember it at the time, there was understandably a lot of hostility to Argentina in general but that Ardiles went to France on loan as more of a precaution, rather than any personal threats or abuse towards him.
I must admit that I don’t really automatically think of the likes of Barnes, Rush and Pearce as Newcastle players, because they weren’t anything like at their peak when at St.James’ Park.
A bit the same with Ossie, he was a brilliant footballer and a World Cup winner of course, but for Newcastle he was a short-lived manager who is remembered fondly more because he seemed a canny bloke with a very difficult to understand accent, than any managerial talents he possessed.