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A mercurial forward with blistering pace, multiple trophies won across Britain and Europe and one of football’s all-time great nicknames. Steve Archibald, or Archigoles to Catalonian punters, is a bona fide Scottish footballing icon.
Some Scottish football fans will remember his title-winning campaign under Sir Alex Ferguson at Aberdeen, his cult hero status affirming stint at Easter Road, or his management spells that included a trophy win with Airdrie.
Archibald is one of six great figures from the Scottish game to be featured in Icons of Football, a new BBC Scotland documentary telling the stories of their lives and careers both on and off the pitch.
To whet your appetite, here are some of the tales about him that didn’t make the final cut…We had our spats – but I quite enjoyed them’
Former Aberdeen manager Sir Alex Ferguson
In my spell at Aberdeen he was fantastic. He was the best striker I had there, there’s no question. He was a winner and I admired that. We had our little spats at times, but in a way, I quite enjoyed them.
I got him an agent to help Steve with the negotiations with Tottenham. They weren’t easy because Steve knew what he wanted – the same as the best players at Tottenham. Eventually, they gave him want he wanted, so well done Steve.
He brought an instant lift to Hibs. The conventional wisdom was that he’d done it all at previous clubs and he was on the slide when he arrived but I don’t think he was. He seemed as sharp and as classy as ever.
The great defining Steve Archibald goal for Hibs fans was against Hearts at Tynecastle where he outstripped Davie MacPherson and just smashed the ball into the net for the winning goal. That is one of the great, iconic Hibs goals.
‘We clicked, as people and as strikers’
Former Tottenham team-mate Garth Crooks
I’d played against Steve twice at under-21 international level and I found some shirts I’d saved recently and it turns out I had swapped shirts with him before and never realised.
When I arrived, the very first day at Tottenham, I was looking for Steve because I knew he was going to be the main striker and it was important I got to know him very quickly. I was expecting a little bit of tension but I never had any of that.
We clicked, as people and as strikers. He’d tell you where you were, did you have time for one touch or two, hold or turn. He gave you that little bit of information at critical moments. I trusted Steve and he trusted me.
He was so, so competitive. Did I say was? Is… Spanish football took one look at him and called him Archigoles’. He taught Spanish football what they’d been missing without him in La Liga.
Steve’s immortality in Barcelona is guaranteed. I’ve been out in the town with him and he still stops traffic. People often tap their ear when they see him because they remember the goal he scored with his ear to knock Juventus out of the European Cup en route to a final in 1986.
The fact that someone like Steve comes in in the summer that Diego Maradona has left, and takes the 10 jersey, is of monstrous impact. He scored crucial goals, really big goals. When Barcelona needed him, Archigoles was there.