Aston Villa open their Premier League account against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday – so we’ve decided to take a look back at a famous clash between the clubs back in 1978.

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As Aston Villa prepare for their opening day clash against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, this will likely evoke fond memories of a historic and exciting early season clash between the two famous clubs way back in 1978.

Argentina had won the World Cup on home soil that summer, defeating the Netherlands 3-1 to lift the trophy for the first time in their history amid amazing scenes at the Estadio Monumental, home of River Plate.

Just weeks after Argentina’s famous victory, Tottenham Hotspur, then managed by Keith Burkinshaw, stunned the footballing world by signing not one – but two – of Argentina’s World Cup winning stars. In doing so, they introduced the first two Argentine players to English football.

Ossie Ardiles had played a major role in his national team’s triumph that summer. A brilliantly balanced midfield general, he had been instrumental in all that was good about Argentina’s World Cup campaign. Signing Ardiles was a major coup for Spurs, and to add to their fan’s excitement, his team-mate and goal-scoring forward Ricky Villa came to keep him company in London.

It is worth noting that both players went on to become legends at Tottenham Hotspur, with Ardiles still loved as much to this day.

In 1978, Tottenham had opened their campaign – their first back in the top flight after one season away – with a 1-1 draw at Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest. Ricky Villa had opened his account by scoring the equaliser to earn Spurs a valuable and credible point.

With over 47,000 fans packed into White Hart Lane, the excitement and anticipation was palpable for the home debut of these two World Cup winning stars. And Aston Villa? Well, we were there to make up the numbers!

The players took to the pitch to a Buenos Aires style ticker-tape (pictured above) welcome from the fans, replicating the scenes experienced by these players during the World Cup that summer. The problem for Spurs, however, was that Aston Villa had not read the script.

Aston Villa were the better team, and deflated the party mood inside White Hart Lane with a goal from Allan Evans in the first half.

Any chances of a second-half comeback were hastily extinguished as Aston Villa controlled the game. We went on to score a further three goals from John Gregory, Brian Little and Gary Shelton. Tottenham’s lone response came in the form of a Glen Hoddle penalty after Ardiles was brought down in the box.

Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa were taught a valuable and hard lesson about life in English football.

Aston Villa fans would love to see a repeat score-line this Saturday at the shiny new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – but what do you think the score will be?

One thought on “1978: An Early Season Goal-fest Between Spurs and Aston Villa”

  1. My favourite memory of that night was a 7-stone wringing wet Gordon Cowans shoulder charging Ricky Villa then carrying on down the wing in Villa’s armpit whilst trying to kick lumps out of him. Not so good memory was having to fight our way out of the ground and then running battles all the way back to the coaches. Ours got it’s windows put through. Bit chilly that night heading home.

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