Ossie Ardiles’ Thoughts On Being Sacked As Tottenham Manager


Last weekend’s game reminded me of October, 1994 when Tottenham’s 3 – 1 win over West Ham proved to be Ossie Ardiles’ last match as Spurs’ manager. The following day, Spurs’ Chairman, Alan Sugar sacked Ardiles, a Tottenham legend, and appointed  Gerry Francis in his place. What are Ardiles’ thoughts on his dismissal?

Ossie Ardiles as Tottenham manager [Photo: Logan Holmes]Ardiles’ sacking came as no surprise as the exciting performances of the early season had been replaced by numerous defeats with little attention to defensive play and a Cup shock at Notts County where Spurs lost 3 – 0 to a side with only one win all season and rooted to the bottom of Division 1. In the words of Alan Sugar, from his autobiography, ‘What You See Is Yhat You Get’, that night Notts County,

"….slaughtered us 3 – 0 and made us look stupid."

Alan Sugar

It was that evening in the directors’ lounge at Notts County that Sugar and the other directors present decided that Ossie Ardiles would have to go.

On the Sunday after the win over West Ham Ardiles was summoned to Sugar’s house where he was told that, sadly, he would have to leave Tottenham.

Ossie’s Thoughts on Tottenham

In his autobiography, ‘Ossie’s Dream’, Ardiles describes his thoughts on Tottenham.

‘The hardest thing that’s happened to me in my life was leaving Tottenham. The blackest time, after the Malvinas aftermath, was my departure from Tottenham.

My life changed completely after that.

Tottenham is my home, my family, my everything. I sincerely believe, have always believed, that I was destined to manage Tottenham. There is a way of being that we share, a footballing identity that both I and the club have. I’ve always known that if I was asked to manage  Barcelona, Real Madrid, any legendary club or Tottenham, I would choose Tottenham every time. Without hesitation. I was born to play for Tottenham and to manage Tottenham.

So when I did get to manage Tottenham it was quite literally a dream come true.’

That Black Night

Ossie Ardiles – Tottenham was Ossie’s Dream job!

Being sacked as Spurs’ manager hit Ardiles hard but at the time he knew it was coming. He says,

‘The season had started well with those wins against Wednesday and Everton, but as it progressed there were a few results that weren’t exactly good for us and the whole five forwards issue was aired again. Perhaps I was too stubborn……..

The key match, the one I got sacked after, was against Notts County in the Coca-Cola Cup. The night of 26 October 1994 was wet, dark and cold – horrible. When we arrived at Meadow Lane with Tottenham and all its stars I remember feeling that it was a recipe for disaster,

We had already conceded two goals in the first half when Dumitrescu got sent off………We were down to ten men. We lost the tie 3 – 0.

I think of it as my black night. I knew my time was up.’

“You’re Fired!”

Tottenham beat West Ham the following Saturday so at least Ardiles left on a win. He was called to the Chairman’s house the next day.

‘….Alan Sugar fired me (although he never actually said “You’re fired”). I genuinely think he was sorry. He had to do it , in a sense. He felt a change was necessary. The fires had been quashed, the squad was superlative, and he thought another manager could pick the baton up and run with it.’

Looking Back

Ossie thinks that in hindsight he should not have gone to Spurs when he did. It was a very difficult time at the club and he feels he would have been better to have waited for the opportunity to manage the club later in life.

He admits that being sacked from Spurs was very hard for him and it has taken him a very long time to get over it.

‘I’ve never quite got over the hurt of how things turned out. I spent years not going back to the club at all. Not once, for many years. Now I do go to games and feel closer to the place again, but until very recently if you asked me when did I finally get over all the disappointment I would honestly have to say, ‘Oh, any day now….’ I am over it now, and really feel part of the Tottenham family again.’

Ossie Ardiles is a Tottenham legend and along with Ricky Villa is given a warm welcome by supporters at White Hart Lane. No-one forgets the day they signed for Spurs or the pleasure they gave during their playing days. While Ossie’s dream job as manager of Tottenham had a “tough reality” as he puts it, and ended in disappointment on all sides, Ossie Ardiles will always be loved by Tottenham fans.

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