The Monday Profile: Mauricio Taricco
The sight of Mauricio Taricco striding down the right flank at the Withdean on Saturday made me conduct something of a double take and not just due to the running track that makes for cameras distant from the action. Who else from the past will be next to emerge phoenix like from the dusts of 1990s memory? Claus Lundekvam? David Friio?
Gus Poyet’s exotic side could not have timed their re-emergence from the doldrums better. Their new stadium primed for business; at the moment there is every chance that this will be in the Championship. The Seagulls have benefitted from being something of a surprise element – most would have selected their south coast neighbours Southampton to be top dogs this season. Poyet, however, after a high profile spell alongside Dennis Wise at Leeds, and notwithstanding a slipshod November, has fashioned an attractive eleven that is currently four points clear. That both FC United and Woking have troubled them in their own building only serves to highlight the inadequacy of the Football League’s least impressive ground complex.
Taricco only came into the side in the first round replay in Surrey and was promptly sent off in extra time. Sheffield United fans with long memories will have enjoyed wry grins. By his own admittance, the Argentinian can’t remember why he’s disliked at Bramall Lane, but an alleged dive in 1995 (which saw Dane Whitehouse sent off) and an incident that may or may not have involved an exchange of phlegm are at the centre of the Yorkshire fans’ beef.
Taricco was starring for Ipswich Town back then and his spell in Suffolk was a terrific – a rampaging full back, his decision to leave his homleand at a tender age possibly the only thing that denied him international recognition (at least according to him). Having garnered the club player of the year award in 1997, he was later to move to “Tottingham”. Despite playing a century and a half of matches for the North Londoners, his form coincided with seasons of frustration at the Lane and Taricco never really clicked in the lilywhite.
His career in English football remains notable however, even if the postscript currently being played out has been a little madcap. After Spurs, he made the short move across Victoria Park to West Ham, sadly tearing his hamstring just half an hour into his debut. Brighton will be relieved that Taricco’s honesty led him to cancel his contract with West Ham: otherwise, Gary Waddock style legal shenanigans may have resulted this chilly November.