Saturday, March 24, 2007

1981: The year Mario Kempes spoilt Diego and Boca's party - Pipita

Since I saw Mario Kempes score twice in an Argentina-England friendly at Wembley in 1974, and four years later twice again against Holland in the 1978 World Cup final, I have considered him my number one football hero. The fact that Diego Maradona later appeared on the scene, never managed to alter my feelings. El Diego is Argentina's best ever footballer, but the fact is I support River Plate and he is a self-confessed River-hater and Boca Juniors fanatic. Enough said.

Maradona's alleged fanatism for Boca was not made public until 1981, the year Boca signed him from Argentinos Juniors. By that time Kempes was still very much hailed as the idol of many Argentine's for his superb displays in 78. Although not in top form for Valencia at the time, the River directors decided it was indispensable to purchase him, in order to mitigate the commotion generated by Diego's transfer to their arch rivals.

It was a dream-come-true for me when, after complicated and obscure negotiations, Kempes signed for River and scored twice in his debut against Colon in a 4-0 win during the early stages of the Metropolitan Championship. However, in the first Maradona-Kempes clash a few weeks later, Boca thrashed River 3-0 at la Bombonera with a memorable goal from Maradona after a dribble where he left Passarella, Tarantini and Fillol all stranded on the floor. Maradona's stunning form allowed Boca to obtain a significant advantage in the league by the half-way stage. By that time Kempes had already been sidelined due to a severe knee injury that ruled him out for three months. He was back however for the return game against Boca at River's Monumental stadium where he scored the equalizer in a 1-1 draw. Naturally, Maradona had put Boca in front.

In spite of suffering a shaky patch towards the end of the tournament, Boca eventually clinched the Metropolitan league title only one point ahead of runners-up Ferro Carril Oeste, the revelation team that year. River finished a meager fourth, but Mario managed to score nine goals in fifteen matches.

When the second tournament of the year began, the Nacional, River replaced legendary coach Angel Labruna by the equally legendary Alfredo Di Stefano, who had already coached Kempes at Valencia. An almost immediate improvement was evidenced in River's form when they visited la Bombonera, and convincingly defeated Boca 3-2 with Mario in great form scoring one of River's goals from a free kick. Diego scored Boca's second. The return game at the Monumental was an equally exciting 2-2 with Boca equalizing in the last minute, via a Maradona penalty, a consequence of a Kempes foul in his own penalty area.

Boca, however, were to be unexpectedly eliminated in the quarter finals of the Nacional by a Velez team containing veteran "French campaigners" Osvaldo Piazza and Carlos Bianchi. River reached the final against Ferro and won the first leg at home 1-0. For the second leg match, Kempes was back after a six match suspension. He scored the only goal of that game with a fantastic header that made River champions. It was to prove his last game for the club.

Truly delightful ending to a year destined for a Boca-Maradona double, ruined however by River and the great Mario Kempes.

67 comments:

MocneJim said...

And I thought all the Argentines were in North London in 1981!

An interesting read. Perhaps the next one can let us ignoramouses know about the current state of affairs in Argentine football. Are most decent players over in Europe? Are we about to see Argentina fulfilling their recent potential? Or are they destinned to disapoint as the Spanish in Europe always seem to do?

Thanks for the read

MJ

andrewm said...

Ah, I really really wish I'd been there. Sounds like an incredible season.

pipita said...

This article completes my hat-trick of GU rejections, which says a lot for the generosity of the space created by ebren here. I will not be taking a sabatical however, therefore I shall continue to bore you guys with these fiascos on football history.
Mocne
My pleasure, thanks. As for writing about current football issues in Argentina, I wouldnt dare compete with Marcela in this department. I sincerly suggest you check out her wonderful articles in the GU sports blog archive
Andy
Indeed it was quite a season. Kempes only played four full season in Argentina, having played for Instituto de cordoba(the team were Ardiles also originally came from) and Rosario Central. So having him, Di Stefano and Maradona, three giants of argentine football history, converge that year was memorable in itself

andrewm said...

Pipita, when it comes to sport there's nothing I would have liked more than to see Maradona live, at his best. I would give up an awful lot for that honour.

MotM said...

I was 15 when the 1978 World Cup came round and remember staying up late to see those glorious ticker-tape greetings to the teams as they walked on to the field.

At that age, one doesn't wholly appreciate the genius of total football, but one does get the glamour, the pace and the crowd reaction to Luque and, especially Kempes, whom I recall in my mind's eye as a Frank Zappa lookalike with pace, balance and Ardiles and Passarella behind him.

It's pretty awful being a 15 year old boy, but Kempes made things a lot better.

How did he get a six match ban?

Being rejected from Big Blogger is no bad thing.

bluedaddy said...

Nice one Pipita. I would also like to know about the ban - six matches is pretty hefty. Kempes was a real handful wasnt he? Strong, aggressive, deadly striker, and looked supercool in the ace Argentina kit.

Like AndrewM I would agree that it must be incredible to see the best ever player playing unburdened by the myths and expectations that would surround him later in his career.

pipita said...

Thanks for those comments lads. Kempes was given a six match suspension because he swore at a referee. The luque-kempes striking pair I think still ranks as the best Argentina has ever had. Reckon they looked a bit more like members of the Carlos Santana band than Zappa I think

MotM said...

Santana - Yes, that's better.

Swearing at the ref? Rooney would have racked up a 500 game ban by now.

That Argentina kit was ace... and tight.

miro said...

Pipita

Kempes 1978, Diego 1986...The two WC finals - the two One-Man shows. I remember the finals from 1954. Puskas was the star in Switzerland, Pele 1958, Garrincha 1962, Eusebio 1966, Brazil XI 1970, Cruyff 1974, Socrates&Rossi 1982, Scilachi 1990, Zidane 1998, Ronaldo 2002, No one 2006. But none of them marked the biggest show on Earth the way Mario and Diego did!

guitougoal said...

pipita.Thank you for a great reminder of Mario "el matador"Kempes.Loved the action too :"dribbling ,Passarella, Tarantini,Fillol, all stranded on the ground" Ole!.
After playing for river, Kempes went back to Spain with Valencia right? as far as Oswaldo Piazza , he was a big star in France during the 70's.
Mas de River: me gusto mucho que se volvio El Burrito .

pipita said...

mouth: Yeah, in those days swearing at the referee was a terrible offense

Miro: You really rate Mario78 that high??I do as well, but always think Im biased

Guito: We've had many chats with offside on Piazza, he even suggested I write a piece on him, but I dont no much about his StEttiene period, although Im aware he was a trendous success there. As much as I hate to see this here is that maradona goal
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMyhXHsUvlE

offside said...

With Marcela and pipita we're really spoilt here. Now all we need is a Brazilian correspondent for balanced perspective on South-American futbol.

You're stirring great memories again, pipita. Cheers.

guitougoal said...

offside, what about Miro who is dancing the samba on the gublog?

offside said...

guitou,

miro is a global expert. I'm sure he could teach us a thing or two about the Antarctic League. I'd love to hear a Brazilian voice here. And I'm sure the interaction with our two resident Argentines would be espectaculario.

hey pipita, since someone mentioned kits, I have a trivia question for you. In the 78 WC, France played their last group game against Hungary in a borrowed strip with vertical green and white stripes(someone had forgotten the kit bag at the hotel). Which local club did they borrow it from?

offside said...

mmmmmh, espectacular maybe. My spanish is soooooo rusty...

marcela said...

offside - it was talleres de mar del plata who had to lend the kit to france. funny you should mention this, because it was while working on the talleres de cordoba article last month that i was told the story in detail. had completely forgotten until then.

pipita - marito is without doubt a great among the greats. it is lovely that you could stir memories of an episode that involves the 3 maestros - di stefano, diego, and kempes! - but about your delight, even today, over boca's misfortunes i can only repeat one thing to you:
clack, clack, clack. :)

guitou - you're back!! how reassuring...

pipita said...

Marcela

Thanks, I know you have a soft spot for Mario as well even though he wore the red band for one year...Small correction about Offside's 78 query, it was actually a Kimberely de Mar del Plata kit France wore that day.

offside
I agree we need more brazil experts here, the GU also by the way. Im very keen on doing another piece about another 70's brazilian idol, Im thinking about Paulo Cesar who you may remember was a big star at Marseille. But other than 70's stuff Im not that keen. Im also anmxious to read a football piece written by yourself, same applies for mon ami Guitou

marcela said...

pipita, it is with caution that i utter these words but:
are you sure?
about kimberley, i mean. that guy at that thing seemed pretty sure about talleres de mar del plata, and they DO have green kits...

i know you probably know what you're talking about. but do you want to google some evidence?

i'll do the same, and post here, in say, about 20 mins.

pipita said...

Marcela

Absolutely positive about that. Kimberley were then the top Mar del Plata team and were pretty well known in those days, because thay had managed a few good performances in the Nacional tournaments of the early 70's.They always wore green and white. Besides, Im not sure Ive ever heard of a Talleres from that sea port city.

marcela said...

... that sea port city...

mmm. i would have loved to be able to return with some evidence, but my screen got stuck on the phone number of talleres automovilisticos de mar del plata...

dam.

the story they were spinning: france forgot the kit and they borrowed a local one which wasn't even a first division team. and the talleres connection was mentioned.

now, can you clarify this: was it the kitman who forgot france's kit? or was it that both France and Hungary turned up with the same colour strip and France didn't have an alternative?

offside said...

Marcela, pipita,

I'm glad you two are getting to work on this matter of the utmost importance. I mean, it's been nearly 30 years (gulp!) but I don't think I can get to sleep tonight if I don't have a cast-iron answer.

Seriously, all I remember is waiting in front of the TV for ages because the match was delayed, having to endure the French commentators desperately trying to fill the airtime, and then watching a meaningless game since France were already out after two narrow 2-1 defeats to the hosts and Italy (talk about a group of death). I do think it was the only time France played in anything other than blue or white. Surreal.

If I was to write a piece on football, as you so kindly request, it would have to be on French football. Do we have an audience for that? I will kindly spare you the match report on today's 1-0 thrashing of Lithuania. Anything more specific you're interested in?

offside said...

Marcela,

we posted simultaneously. If it helps, I disctinctly remember that the kit was borrowed from a lower division team. Maybe the stadium the match was played at would give us a hint? They must have borrowed from a local team.

guitougoal said...

marcela ,pipita,
of course I am back, how couldn't I? but it is beyond belief that you guys are debating about Kimberley and her kit. Are you turning this serious blog into a kinky place or what?
and what's about france forgeting the jerseys...going to argentina without a football shirt is like going to dijon without your mustard, no big deal.My two favorite argentinians are going weird........

offside said...

guitou,

it's all my fault.

guitougoal said...

offside, as far as Brazil, they are having a day of jugobonita aginst Chile, Ronaldinho and Robinho tocando la pelota.
Tallereres de Cordoba blue and red stripe...Kimberley de cordoba no se.

marcela said...

offside - you have to write about french football, of course.
how about lama and cannabis?
or the sexy bats, real hero of 1986?
or what do the french make of arsene?

you could write about zidane. again.

or about why france can beat brazil.

guitou - don't worry about kimberley getting her kit off and just tell us about your adventures. did you win enough to fund our movie? or our trip to tahiti?

offside said...

Lama AND Barthez both got caught for smoking la moquette. At one stage both of France's goalkeepers were stoners.

Maybe they were just getting bored playing behind the likes of Blanc, Desailly, Lizarazu and Thuram. Not enough saves to make...

Am I hijacking this into a France thread? Oh dear, sorry pipita.

guitougoal said...

shooting movie, trip to tahiti, what about a trip to tahiti to shoot the movie, using offside's script? it's a hat-trick...we change his title to: -St Hat-trick's day-

guitougoal said...

being off topic on ebren it's like going through a red light in french polynesia as long as you know the cops.

offside said...

what red light?

guitougoal said...

well I remember one red light in front of this house.

marcela said...

sure; let's shoot the movie about all the stoner goalies in papetee. green strips seems apt. but guitou - did you raise enough funds in this one trip or do we have to send you driving across the desert towards the roulette table on a regular basis?

this thread isn't hijacked. mario and diego can come too.

offside said...

Oh yeah, true, they have a few red lights on Tahiti. Nothing like that on Moorea though.

It's getting worse, we're turning this into a Polynesian trafic thread.

marcela said...

i don't mind bringing a red bulb if you can take care of the moquette.

guitougoal said...

I think pipita is still looking for the green and white jerseys, were they vertical stripes?
Marcele the flight to tahiti stop by L.A , I am on my way, I'll meet you at the airport...good night everybody , salud , suerte. y pesetas para el Film....

orsay said...

Marcela,

claro que podremos caminar. No faltara nada.

marcela said...

:)

pipita said...

Guitou, marcela, offside

Cant leave you guys alone for a few minutes, and I'll have none of you smoking strange stuff on this blog. Your turning this into a classic GG thread. Ive no reason to waste time searching info on em Kimberley shirts either cause Im positively right about this one. The stadium by the way was municipal, no single team owned it. Please Offside, a piece on french footy, si'l vous plai

orsay said...

pipita,

?Por lo menos, podemos fumar un chorizo? ?Por favor? Un pequeno...

pipita said...

Orsay
Fumar un chorizo, uno pequeño?????? NO,NO,NO mejor comete un chori-pan, mas saludable
Marcela
Convinced about the kit yet?? Im not surprised the only talleres you found on the mar del plata address directory would be car ones

offside said...

Vale, I'll eat the chorizo and we'll smoke something else.

So, how come no one has set up a football cooperation/exchange program yet between France and the Kimberley club in memory of this momentous shirt swapping episode?

postern said...

playing football as kids, we'd all baggsy a name ('baggsy being Boniek', 'baggsy being Zico', 'baggsy Sepp Maier') without knowing too much about the person. Kempes was always on the list.
pipita, thanks for fleshing out a player i recall only by his cool name (and did Adidas do a Kempes boot?)and big hair.
can anyone do me the back history on Ziggy Boniek?

BlueinBetis said...

Muy bien Pipita,

Soy demasiado joven para recordar Kempes en el mundial...

What I have seen of him I've liked, and as I found out after a discussion with you online regarding him, he is pretty popular still here in Spain, especially in Valencia, obviously, no mean feat.

The imagery is great in this, two heavyweights of Argentine football slugging it out for the two biggest clubs in Argentina, does it get any better?

Tahiti, write about French football. I'd love to read anything about that league, considering the talent France has thrust upon the European stage in the last twenty years. We have lots to learn. I'd also like to know how good Abedi Pele was.

offside said...

Abedi Pele was class.

BlueinBetis said...

That's what everybody in Ghana says. How good? Tell me more. What kind of player, where did he play position wise, was he fantastic all the time or just odd games.

BlueinBetis said...

By the way Offside, I was treated to watching Les Bleus here yesterday, marginally better than Les Rosbifs, but only marginally...

offside said...

He was that good, like... the new Pele or something.


Yes, but we destroyed Lithuania one - nil. Crushed them.

*cough cough cough*

BlueinBetis said...

And why do the best Ghanaian players go to places other than England to develop into world beaters? Why choose France, when, if they came to the home of their former colonial masters they wouldn't even have to learn the language. This puzzles me.

BlueinBetis said...

[nodding head]

ahh yes, ripped them to shreds. But the pitch looked a bit poor, and va-va-voom wasn't playing, and "there are no easy matches in Europe anymore" and les rosbifs weren't even playing in Europe. At least Les Bleus have the excuse that the bald fella is missed. What is our excuse? Well we're shit.

offside said...

bleudubetis,

check the thread again tonight or tomorrow, I'll leave a few words on Abedi Pele.

Right now, I'm hearing the song of the siren and I'm not tied to anything.

BlueinBetis said...

Je comprends. A bientot!

andrewm said...

You kids - I can't leave you alone for a second, can I?

pipita said...

Postern, Bluedaddy

Cheers for the kind remarks, its a shame you guys arrived to the thread by the time the "debate" was totally off the rails. Boniek was absolute class, I remember his tremendous displays at both juve and roma, and especially in a friendly Poland-Argentina, in the early 80's where he almost single handed helped the poles to a 2-1 win. Kempes, as far as I know, is still the all-time Valencia top scorer, so I wouldnt be surprised if he still is some hero over there

guitougoal said...

Bravo pipita about Boniek.
He was part of the very good polish team, w.c 1978 and 1982 in Spain where Zibi was one of the greatest stars, he scored a hat-trick against belgium, one of the best in the world cup history.And with Platini's juventus, Paolo Rossi they formed a deadly attack 82/83/84/84.
Today Zibi Boniek works as a commentator fo a TV channel in Poland.

pipita said...

Guitou

Yeah, fantastic that Boniek hat trick you mention. Was he better than Deyna and Lato you reckon??Probably is the best to have come out of that country. By the way, when are you going to delight us with a written piece?? Porque no sobre Guillermo Vilas, ja,ja

guitougoal said...

que malo pipita... i am not a writer i am a doer.but i may try if something relevant cross my mind.

offside said...

Good morning (sort of)

Now that this thread has been totally derailed, hijacked, and mangled, should I finish the job and add something about Abedi Pele? That's if blueinbetis is still around of course...

fred said...

I'm sorry, but I can't see the point of hijacking a thread if you can't get banned for your trouble.

Greengrass

BlueinBetis said...

Man for whom the flag is raised in the South Pacific.

Abedi Pele?

offside said...

in a minute, or two...

pipita said...

Guitou

Yes,yes I hope something crosses your mind and you start writing. Por desgracia River perdio en casa con gimnasia j 1-0. Desastre

GG

Offside's been continually misbehaving on this thread, but we know he's a slippery wizard in terms of not getting himself banned at GU during the late shift. Always found this suspicious, Im sure he forged a deal with Sean...

offside said...

bleudesbétises,

sorry, looks like I'll have to keep you waiting a while longer. I had visitors for coffee and now there's an early afternoon game at the nearby Theater of Mango Trees. Pihaena play Maharepa in a league of Moorea top-of-the-table clash. Can't miss that. I'll see if I can get in for free when I tell them I write for Pseuds' Corner. Of course, if I do I'll then have to inflict that match report on yous.


pipita,

slippery, moi?

marcela said...

fumando espero... offside's first accredited reportage as pseud's corner pacific correspondent. mmm...

pipita - apologies for my part in derailing. i knew you would be right about kimberley. don't know what made me even suggest otherwise.

Kempes in Valencia: adored by the fans. no doubt about that.

Anonymous said...

Good read, pipita. Have always loved Argentinian football and regularly enjoy Kempes´ comments for ESPN nowadays. You obviously know a lot about him, so maybe you can clear something up for me. I remember reading once - ok, this was ages ago, maybe 10 years - that Kempes was still playing at the age of 42 in... Indonesia??? Of all places??? Surely that can't be true?

pipita said...

Anonimo

Thanks. Kempes was a bit of a globe-trotter towards the end of his career. Only vaguely remember his Indonesian adeventure, Im sure Marcela has more info on that. However, I think shortly after that, he had an even more bizarre adventure in Albania when a team from that country got hold of him as coach. Few weeks after he arrived there he had to flee as fast as he could cause he was caught right in the middle of that nation's worse economic crisis in decades

marcela said...

he went to indonesia aged about 41. that's where he was player/manager and his reference to "i play when i want and sumbsitute myself when i've had enough came from".

i'm not sure about the details, but i'm pretty sure ardiles helped him get there. i think ardiles was in japan at the time. there's a whole network on the other side of the world employing the men of football...

i got the albania story in the GU blog but obvisouly forgot to mention Indonesia. That's where we flew him from for the Phoenix, if memory serves.

which it may well not.

talleres de mar del plata, funded 1927. pipita, i swear. can't believe we forgot to ask rovers.

Anonymous said...

Nice read, Pipita.

I can still remember pictures of Kempes in 'El Grafico'.... droopy socks (pre-mandatory shinnies), untucked river strip sans sponsorship, hair like Morrison. He was on the wane in 1981, but what a player! Maradona is Maradona, but Marito came first and to someone who came of footballing age in '78 will always be in my heart.

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