Last week I revealed my ignorance of all things Tottenham by forgetting that Argentine World Cup winner Mario Kempes once had a trial at the club. In 1984, when the striker was turning 30 and just about to leave Valencia, he played at least two pre-season games for Spurs, including one at Enfield – as confirmed by this website a few years ago.
Last week’s story led to a wasted evening on Google and YouTube to find out more and the latter site revealed this video which contains some fascinating stills shots from Tottenham’s away fixture at the mighty St Jordals Blink FB
(Be warned, you might want to put this on mute)
According to the notes that accompany this clip, Kempes scored a hat trick in a 9-0 win but stories claim that Spurs declined to sign the Argentinean when they were given the option. The forward had been maintaining a goal every other game ratio at Valencia but it seems as if they got this one right as Mario returned to Spain to underwhelm Hercules before seeing out the rest of his career in the footballing backwaters of Austria.
Still, for anyone who grew up watching the 1978 Argentine side before welcoming Ossie and Ricky to the Lane, this would have been an exciting prospect. In the subsequent 1984-85 season, Spurs were neck-and-neck with Everton for much of the campaign before falling away at the end and finishing third. Would Mario Kempes have made a difference? We’ll never know…