Steve Archibald is undoubtedly one of the best foreign imports to ever come out of Scotland and ply his trade in the big European leagues. The man from Glasgow moved across the border to excel for Spurs for four years before going on to become a fan’s favourite at the mighty Barcelona, before hopping from club to club for the end of his career. What has happened to Archibald since he left Tottenham? Let’s look back at the career of a fine striker.
Archibald first came to prominence when he was playing for Scottish side Clyde, who used him as a midfielder. Aberdeen signed the 21-year-old in 1977 and turned him into a striker and it proved to be a great move as Archibald quickly formed an impressive partnership with fellow striker Joe Harper which helped Aberdeen to a Scottish title win in 1980.
Archibald’s efforts in that title win hadn’t gone unnoticed and the striker, then 24, joined Tottenham Hotspur with the intention of showing what he was capable of doing in England. Archibald quickly established himself as a favourite as Spurs as his ability to find the net gained him a lot of support. His arrival at Spurs coincided with a golden era of trophies for the club as the North London side won two FA Cups and a UEFA Cup during Archibald’s four year spell at the club whilst they also reached a League Cup final – Archibald himself scored in the League Cup final and scored a penalty in a shootout in the UEFA Cup final against Anderlecht. During his time at the club Archibald had again struck up fine partnerships with his fellow strikers with both Garth Crooks and Mark Falco enjoying fine partnerships with the Scot. He left Spurs for a move he couldn’t turn down to Barcelona in 1984 shortly after the UEFA Cup win, having scored 77 goals in 189 appearances for the club.
Archibald started life in Spain in fine form and was loved by Barca fans for his goalscoring ability. He spent three years with the Spanish giants, scoring 24 goals in 55 league games before he fell out of favour due to unfortunate circumstances – restrictions on playing foreigners meant that Archibald fell beneath Gary Lineker and Mark Hughes in the pecking order and it was time for the Scottish international to move on.
Now 31 years old, Archibald moved on loan to Blackburn back in England where he had a decent, if unspectacular, season. A surprise transfer then took place in 1988 as Archibald moved back to Scotland to join Hibernian where he spent two years, doing a pretty good job for Hibs in the process. Archibald then returned to his favourite home, the city of Barcelona, for a spell with Barca’s city rivals Espanyol but the spell proved short and unsuccessful and Archibald returned to Scotland to play for St. Mirren. After a year with St. Mirren Archibald returned to former club Clyde but struggled to get into the team due to his tiring state. Archibald returned to England to join Fulham but again failed to make much impact and returned to Scotland, this time to play for East Fife. Finally, Archibald retired in 1996, aged 40.
Archibald had not just been playing football during this time, he’d learnt the coaching trade and taken management responsibilities at East Fife whilst he played for them, helping them to promotion to the First Division during his two year spell with the club. Archibald was sacked in 1996 following some poor form.
After being fired from East Fife Archibald retreated to his home in Barcelona to plan his future. From there he worked on a number of business interests, becoming a football agent for one. But it looked like Archibald was staying mainly out of the scene.
But Archibald emerged in 2000, bidding to buy financially troubled Scottish side Airdrieonians. The administrators at the club showed favour for Archibald and he was allowed to take control of the club as acting manager where he impressed supporters with his tactics and foreign imports who he brought in, mainly a contingent of Spaniards. However, in March 2001 it was declared that Archibald had failed to conclude his buying of the club and he and his foreign signings all departed. Airdrieonions went out of business as Archibald returned home to Spain once again.
More recently, Archibald was inducted into Scottish Football’s Hall of Fame and he is called upon to offer opinions on former clubs such as Aberdeen and Spurs. Archibald remains a much respected figure in the footballing world who is viewed very positively by supporters of his former clubs.