Steve Archibald lifts the lid on the great play of the Spurs’ Barcelona and their current fight for power
For the past 12 months, Steve Archibald has fought tooth and nail to prevent a Spanish energy giant from taking his shirt off his back. For the only Scotsman who has signed to replace Diego Armando Maradona, the power struggles in Barcelona are nothing new.
Sweetly convinced to leave the Spurs for Terry Venables’ sales pitch in 1984, the promise of his favorite No. 8 jersey sealed the deal.
The problems began when German midfielder Bernd Schuster made it clear that he would not trade his favorite jersey for the number 10 jersey vacated by Maradona any time soon.
Steve Archibald was pulled out of English football by Barcelona and immediately given the unenviable task of facing Diego Maradona’s iconic number 10 jersey.
“He had always been a number 8,” Archibald reflects now. And, before I left, I told Terry that I wanted number 8 again.
“But when I realized it was already Schuster’s jersey, I thought, ‘I wouldn’t like it if it was him.’
‘He was my main provider. If I take his number, I might not get too many passes if I pinch him.
‘So I took number 10 instead. And that brought all sorts of nonsense into my head … ‘
In the summer of 1984, Barcelona players were no strangers to wearing protective helmets. The Copa del Rey final had sealed Maradona’s fate when he sparked a massive brawl before the viewer Rey Juan Carlos by ignoring an agricultural assault by the infamous ‘Bilbao Butcher’ Andoni Goikoetxea.
Barcelona’s rchibald (right) faces Juventus’ Gatetano Scirea in European action
As the players exchanged punches and kicks in front of the millions of viewers on television, the crowd of 100,000 people bombarded the field with missiles. When the casualty list reached 60, Maradona had to leave, joining Napoli for a world record fee of £ 6.9 million.
In his first power struggle with Barcelona president Josep Lluis Núñez, Venables threw some of the cash from the transfer to new Tottenham president Irving Scholar, despite Archibald’s complete and utter indifference to the idea.
Like the singer who takes the mic after Sinatra, he was pushed onto the stage, a reluctant recruit.
‘I had never considered going to Spain,’ he says Sportsmail now. Not even on vacation. It was a place that I never liked.
‘He didn’t want to leave the Spurs. Why would there be?
“I was there for four years, I won the FA and the UEFA Cups, I scored a lot of goals and I had an incredible relationship with the Spurs fans.
“I was comfortable, Ossie Ardiles was a very good friend of mine, everything worked and it was a good place to be.
But Terry was the new Barcelona coach and he wanted me above Hugo Sánchez, whom the president of Barcelona wanted to sign.
“Terry was desperate to close the deal and he really had no choice because the Spurs had accepted the offer.
Archibald was happy and thriving at Spurs and admits he didn’t even consider leaving.
“I immediately arrive and people ask me: Are you the replacement for Maradona? And I think: “No one can replace Maradona, for crying out loud.”
Archibald, a man who started out by combining part-time soccer with old cars, wasn’t afraid of challenges. However, while doing Maradona’s old jersey justice was far from the first hurdle he’d overcome, it was clearly the biggest.
“It helped that my first goal came in a 3-0 win over Real Madrid in El Clásico at the Bernabéu,” he says with a casual understatement.
“The newspapers really prepared it as a game that was arranged for Madrid to fly away.
You can’t imagine what was happening. On the way to the stadium the bus was stoned with stones and bottles and broken glass and you are thinking: “Welcome to Madrid”.
“ I had some bus bumps like a rope when Aberdeen went to Celtic or Rangers, but nothing quite as violent as that.
“The club hadn’t won the league in 11 years and when you look at Barcelona now you realize how unthinkable it was at the time.
But, you know, I won over the fans in that first season and it’s still there today. Scoring my first goal against Real Madrid made my life much easier … ‘
A long love affair with Barcelona finally led him to live in the Catalan capital. A footballer whose brain was always unusually close to his head, the former Aberdeen title winner helped establish a soccer-themed renewable energy company, FC Energia.
Archibald proved successful with Spurs, seen here with the old UEFA Cup in 1984
“I didn’t know anything about energy,” he admits bluntly. ‘He knew how to turn on the light and that was it.’
A business partner offered industry knowledge and a joint venture with Nexus Energy.
Unfortunately, he was not as expert as he claimed. He was also wasting all of our money and I said, “You have to stop this.”
“He said:” But we can go to Portugal instead. “
And I said, “No, the definition of insanity is doing something that doesn’t work here and going somewhere else hoping it works there.”
So I removed it from the company and from Nexus and became 50/50 partners.
“I took on the day-to-day as CEO and President and it went fantastically well, even during the Covid period.”
Archibald’s desire to provide a more tangible thank you to frontline workers than nightly applause on the streets led to offering cheap energy to Covid caregivers at cost price during the pandemic.
The move established FC Energia as one of the few corporate winners during the shutdown. So much so that Nexus Energy has made a hostile offer to raise new capital and issue new shares.
“Basically what they wanted to say is, ‘We’re going to get you out,” Archibald says indignantly.
It’s something you could do without at a stage in life where you could simply buy a place on the Costa Brava and intersperse walks along the beach with polishing the medals you won with Aberdeen, Spurs and Barcelona.
A regular match in the ranks of Scotland Archibald (second from left) played from 1980 to 1986
But the former Scotland striker has always been a somewhat clumsy Glasgow with the mentality of a loser. Giving blood to the biggest and richest opponents has become a way of life.
The lawsuit will unfold over the next six months and he admits: “It is financially, emotionally and physically exhausting.”
‘It’s a horrible thing, but it’s important to show strength of mind. I have to move on.
‘It’s not just myself that I’m fighting for. What you have here are big guys who come and try to slap a little guy because they want to. I did all the work, I built it all, and now they want to say, “Now we will take over because we are bigger than you.”
‘This is like Clyde playing Rangers on Ibrox. I have to go out there and do my best and refuse to accept defeat and just try to win. ”
A streak of entrepreneurial ambition first flared when he was 22 at Clyde, the obvious place for a Rutherglen kid to learn his trade. Or two, as it turned out.
“I did a mechanic apprenticeship when I was 16 years old for a sales and service dealership for Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Jaguar in Crossmyloof.
‘At 20, when my apprenticeship finished, I was looking at the people who were bringing their Rollers and Jaguars and I thought,’ Hmmm, I would very much like to be him. Going into business with their friend Gerry Nicol, the couple opened a gas station and garage on Glasgow’s Castlemilk Road.
‘I would play for Clyde, work in the garage at 8am and then train before hitting home runs in the dark.
“We were fixing cars, buying old cars on the market, fixing them, selling them. We were doing it for six months. And then came the offer to join Aberdeen.
When Billy McNeill’s call came in, it took him ten seconds to accept. McNeill’s untimely return to Celtic then blew an aggressive gust of wind through Pittodrie’s halls.
‘Alex Ferguson came in and there was a different push and demand. I started to get stronger, physically and mentally, ”says Archibald.
Despite winning the Scottish Premier League in 1980, he never hid his desire to move to England. Venables first tried to sign him for Crystal Palace before his Aberdeen teammate Ian Scanlon hit the drum hard for the Spurs during daily trips to practice. A fee of £ 1 million paid for a portion of the South Stand in Aberdeen.
“I’d say, ‘Palace looks good with Terry Venables in charge.’ And Scan would always say, “No, you’re going to the Spurs, trust me.”
After Barcelona returned to Scotland with Hibs, where he scored 19 goals in his first season, scoring the winning goal in Tynecastle’s first win over Hearts in ten years.
Invited back to Easter Road as a guest for the home game against Dundee on December 14, he will conduct a question and answer session for fans in Edinburgh the following night. A similar event is planned for Aberdeen.
Terry Venables, former Barcelone boss, photographed with a young Archibald in January 1985
Some of his stories have already become part of a planned autobiography. A 22-year playing career, 12 clubs (East Stirling, Clyde, Aberdeen, Tottenham, Barcelona, Hibernian, Espanyol, St Mirren, Clyde (again), Reading, Ayr United, Fulham and East Fife) achieved a loot of more than 150 goals. .
He then went on to manage East Fife and Airdrie, including attempting to buy the latter, recommended a young Robert Lewandowski to some unconvinced clubs in the UK and made the deal to bring Mikel Arteta to the Rangers. At 65, stories come out of his ears.
“It’s quite curious, I started writing again the other day,” he reflects. “Being a professional footballer seems like a dream lifestyle and it is. But there are many obstacles that you must overcome. And I’m still trying to get over them now. ‘
For tickets to see Steve Archibald Live on Easter Road on December 15 and An Audience with Steve Archibald in Aberdeen at the Tivoli Theater on March 16, visit www. headlineevents.online/events.