I must admit, 5 FwBs in, and I’ve set the bar high. looking through the thumbnails on the sidebar, I can, regrettably, see a slow decline in beard thickness. it certainly isn’t an easy job finding worthy candidates (PLUS I’m holding off from at least two others who are torch-bearers of the FwB). nevertheless, I’ve consulted my original notebook of inspiration, and this guy’s name popped up.
Yeah, it’s Ricky Villa alright.
As great as it would’ve been for newspaper editors the world over had he actually played for Villa, he never did. instead, alongside Hoddle and Ardiles (a cult trio), Villa played for Tottenham Hotspurs from 78-83, and as the video clip shows, he scored that goal in the 81 FA Cup Final (replay) against Man City. it won it for Spurs, 3-2, and my god was it a good goal.
And so, he had a beard. of course he did. he wouldn’t be adorning these very pages if he’d have had so much as a clean-shaven jawline (incidently, you can find pictures of him sporting a rather questionable handlebar number). but the thing is, according to his personal website, his nickname (whilst at Club Atlético Tucumán in Argentina) was GOD. not least for his long hair and beard, but presumably for his ability to create something out of nothing.
Alas, Spurs fans have him in their Hall of Fame. a pretty prestigious honour, considering Lineker, Jennings and Sheringham all are present too. but what sets Villa apart from these three guys? well, he used to have a pretty sensational beard, flowing running style, and the knack of scoring goals that brought the Magic to the FA Cup. that’s all.
But, what of Ricardo Julio Villa now I hear you cry? well, at least he avoided the management-merry-go-round (unlike his mate Ossie who last found himself managing Cerro Porteño in the Paraguayan league, his 14th club in 20 years), and but for brief forays into politics through the 90s, he’s remained rather elusive, at least on English football’s radar.
But, I guess all you need to know is that he’s still got his beard. and the least a FwB can do is keep to his name.