FORMER Swindon Town manager Ossie Ardiles was recovering in a Falklands Islands hospital yesterday after he was involved in a car accident which left him needing at least 20 stitches to his head.
Ardiles’ former Tottenham Hotspur team-mate Ricky Villa was also involved in the incident, which happened while the pair were on the island to film a documentary.
Ardiles remains in the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital in Stanley, but his son Pablo said the 61-year-old was “fine.”
“My understanding is he (Ardiles) is fine,” Pablo Ardiles said.
“He has 20 odd stitches in his head and my understanding is he has been hospitalised overnight. But he’s fine.
“Ricky Villa and my brother were out there but they are okay.”
Pablo added said: “Thank you for all the messages of support from everywhere on Facebook and Twitter and people who have been messaging me and emailing me.
“Thank you very much to everyone supporting us. It’s excellent to see people’s reaction what’s happened.”
Ardiles arrived at the County Ground in July 1989, when he was appointed player/manager. He joined when the club was in the second division, after Lou Macari resigned to join West Ham United.
The Argentine, a World Cup winner in 1978, became a hit with fans.
Ten months after he had joined, Ardiles led Swindon to their highest ever league position at that time, finishing fourth in the second division.
After beating Blackburn Rovers in the first leg of the play-off semi-final, the fans paid tribute with a tickertape reception in the second leg.
Swindon went on to win promotion to the top flight for the first time in their history – beating Sunderland in the play-off final at Wembley – only to have the promotion taken from them 10 days later, when the Football League demoted them for irregular payments to players.
The following season, Ardiles was told to sell to keep the club alive and Wembley hero Alan McLoughlin was the first big-money departure.
With Swindon rocked by their pre-season troubles, their form deserted them. By the end of February Newcastle United offered Ardiles the chance to become their new boss; he accepted, becoming the club’s first foreign manager.
A spokeswoman from the Falkland Islands Government later confirmed the details of the incident, with no further updates yet available from the hospital on Ardiles.
“I can confirm that there was a road traffic accident involving seven passengers last night (Monday) in the Islands. Thankfully, due to the fast action of our rescue services and the British forces, they were successfully evacuated to hospital in Stanley, where their injuries were assessed,” she said.
“Three members of the party remained in hospital overnight for observations and further treatment, and the remaining four were released from hospital following treatment for minor injuries.”