With the FA Cup third round draw to be made this weekend, who better to talk to about what the FA Cup means to people than Tottenham legend, Ricky Villa. It is coming up to 30 years on since that Wembley goal – one of the most iconic FA Cup moments. The Argentine is in England promoting his new book ‘And Still Ricky Villa’ and Football FanCast was lucky enough to meet with Villa to discuss all things football, including that 1981 FA Cup run.
Ricky Villa has a love for the FA Cup – which is common with many foreign footballers playing in England. Look at the record of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. The FA Cup has a magic about it – where a minor club can host a major club. Maybe it has something to do other nations not having the same love for their cup competitions, but the FA Cup still holds great memories for Ricky Villa – even over playing and winning the World Cup in 1978.
‘The World Cup in 1978 was special, but the highlight of my career has to be 1981. Keith Burkinshaw had the confidence to give me another chance in the replay. It symbolises me as a footballer. When one game I am brilliant and the next week I am not.’
It is this passion for the FA Cup that has kept it alive, even in its most difficult years when Manchester United pulled out of the competition. Due to goals like Villa’s in the 1981 FA Cup semi -final and final, the competition has a spark. Even a player who has played at the World Cup remembers these moments as the highlight of his career.
‘It wasn’t the greatest goal I ever scored in my career, but it was the most important.’
This further goes to illustrate how much the FA Cup means to one the greatest players of an era. Just imagine what it means to a football who plays for a minor team – but because of the FA Cup, has a chance to showcase his skills at one of England’s top clubs. It is what dreams are made of. The FA Cup exists because of these iconic moments – and how many more will we have this season? Ricky Villa has given us two, and now it is up to the new generation, with the draw for the 3rd round this weekend, to give their fans a few more to cherish.
As well as the FA Cup ‘And Still Ricky Villa’ goes into great detail of Villa’s love for Tottenham as well as England in general. Villa describes his affection for a country, who on the whole treated him very well, and a club that have given him legendary status.
‘I couldn’t move to another English club as Tottenham is in my heart. The English people are great and they looked after me and treat me brilliant.’
Maybe we can all learn a lesson from Tottenham. If we treat players well and give them a chance to shine, the results can be as successful as Ricky Villa. Maybe its too much of a political point, in terms of football we do things we right. Generally we pay our players well and we look after the ones that have left their homelands. With austerity measures hitting The United Kingdom next year, maybe some magical FA Cup moments, like those from Ricky Villa will go some way to cheer us all up come Saturday evenings.
Ricky Villa’s new book ‘And Still Ricky Villa’ is on sale now.
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