11:37am Monday 22nd November 2010
By Tristan Kirk
TOTTENHAM legend Ricky Villa has backed fans' calls for the club to abandon plans for a move to Stratford.
The former ace midfielder is the latest high-profile name to comment on Spurs' potential move to the Olympic Stadium, saying he was “disappointed” when he heard the news.
Speaking at a book signing on Friday evening, he said: “I would prefer for the club to stay here in Tottenham and I think a lot of the fans would like a new stadium here.
“I was disappointed [when I heard], but everything is changing and people around the club are thinking about a new stadium and about moving.”
Spurs was named two weeks ago as one of the two preferred bidders for the Stratford stadium, competing with West Ham United FC to take it over after the 2012 Olympic Games.
Almost 2,000 people have signed an online petition set up by dismayed fans, calling for the club to “say no to Stratford Hotspur” and commit its future to Tottenham.
Mr Villa, who has returned to Tottenham some 27 years after his playing days, was at the Big Green Bookstore in Wood Green to sign copies of his autobiography And Still Ricky Villa and talk to fans.
He recalled fondly the welcome at White Hart Lane from supporters after his transfer to the club in 1978 along with fellow Argentinian Ossie Ardiles.
He said: “Every time I came on to the pitch, the reaction from the fans was superb. The supporters are great and even now they remember me and Ossie.
“When I have come back, I say thank you all the time but there are too many fans for me to meet them all.”
Villa is probably best remembered for scoring the winning goal in the 1981 FA Cup replay, jinking between Manchester City defenders before memorably slotting the ball home under the goalkeeper.
He added: “I enjoyed my time at Tottenham very much and the spirit at the club was very good.”
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