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About this book

AuthorsCategory
2012
ACM Retro
978-1908431165 [ISBN]

Viva Sabella!: From Buenos Aires to Bramall Lane and Back

Sheffield FC's 1857 formation secured the Steel City's place in football history as the birthplace of the beautiful game. But a new book unearths the story behind another footballing legacy the city can lay claim to - one that has totally changed the face of the modern game right around the globe. The 1978 World Cup was one of the most controversial of modern times. Host nation Argentina had had a military coup just two years before and there was widespread opposition to the tournament being held there. But Sheffield United manager of the time Harry Haslam didn't let the combustible nature of international politics get in his way as he introduced English football to the possibilities of signing foreign players. Matthew Bell's 'Viva Sabella!' tells the story of the soccer innovator's near legendary trip to Argentina in 1978 that negotiated first refusal on World Cup winners Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricardo Villa. Unable to afford them, he ended up brokering the deal that saw the pair move to Tottenham Hotspur and, in the process, created some of the biggest football headlines of the late 1970s. But Harry Haslam didn't leave empty handed. He broke Bramall Lane transfer records and brought Alex Sabella from River Plate to the windswept streets of Sheffield. Matthew Bell's book also attempts to draw a line under the truth and myths surrounding the then seventeen-year-old wonder boy Diego Maradona. He said: "Posterity records that Sheffield United were on the brink of signing Diego Maradona but opted for Alex Sabella instead. It has long been viewed as one of the biggest missed opportunities in footballing history. "Though Sabella didn't quite deliver the expected glory, he was held in high regard by Sheffield United fans during his two years at the club. Anyone attending matches at Bramall Lane at that time will remember the excitement of having an Argentinian international player in the team." -  From Amazon.


Sabella made 23 appearances for Leeds United betwween 1980-81, and is the current manager of the Argentine national side.

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