Tottenham On This Day: Mario Kempes Played For Spurs


On this day, 4th August, 1984, Mario Kempes made an appearance for Tottenham in a pre-season friendly against Enfield. The Argentine World Cup winner was on trial at Spurs attempting to earn a contract.

Tottenham On This Day

4th August, 1984

Enfield 0 Tottenham Hotspur 7

Scorers: Crooks (4), Stevens, Hazard, Brooke

Team: Clemence (Parks); Stevens (Brooke), Hughton, Roberts, Miller, Perryman (Thomas), Ardiles (Bowen), Kempes, Galvin, Hazard, Crooks

On this day in 1984, the 1978 Argentine World Cup winning striker, Mario Kempes played for Tottenham. He was a friend of Ossie Ardiles who had arrived at White Hart Lane with Ricky Villa, immediately after their World Cup success. Ricky Villa had left Spurs the previous summer.

Ardiles and Mario Kempes had both been members of the Argentine World Cup winning team when Kempes finished as leading scorer with 6 goals including two in the Final against Holland.

Kempes had played in Spain with Valencia during the previous two seasons but was hoping to impress so that the newly appointed Tottenham manager, Peter Shreeves, would offer him a contract at White Hart Lane.

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Mario Kempes

Kempes had been given a trial and played in this pre-season friendly against Enfield. Tottenham won the match 7 – 0 but surprisingly, Kempes, then aged thirty, was not among the goal scorers. The player most under threat from the possible signing of Mario Kempes, Garth Crooks, responded by scoring four goals. Gary Stevens, Micky Hazard and Garry Brooke scored the other goals.

The match against Enfield was his only appearance for Tottenham in England.

Mark Falco, when asked about Mario Kempes not making it at Spurs, said, tongue in cheek,

"“I was surprised he didn’t make the grade but I don’t think he really got to grips with Enfield”"

More from Tottenham History

The Enfield players must have had the shock of their lives to see two World Cup winners in the Tottenham team and I’m sure the defenders are still ‘eating out’ on stories of how they stopped Mario Kempes from scoring that day – thirty years ago, today, on 5th August, 1984.

Ten days earlier Mario Kempes had played in the first game of Tottenham’s 3-match pre-season tour in Sweden and Norway. He scored a hat-trick against Stjordal Blink as Spurs won 9 – 0. He also played in the other tour games but failed to score. Two days days after the Enfield match Kempes turned out for Spurs against Nice in a 2 – 2 draw but again failed to score and was not offered a contract.

Mario Kempes returned to Spain and continued playing for another twelve years with clubs in Spain, Austria, Chile and Indonesia before retiring at the age of forty two.