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by Mick the Ram
The former England manager Terry Venables has died at the age of 80 following a long illness. His
family released a statement in which they said he had passed away peacefully, adding that they were: “devastated by the loss of a wonderful husband and father”.
Venables enjoyed a hugely successful playing career representing four London clubs: Chelsea, Tottenham, QPR and Crystal Palace, making more than 500 appearances.
He holds the distinction of being the only footballer to represent England at schoolboy, youth, amateur, under 23 and full international levels.
He went on to manage Barcelona – where he earned his “El Tel” nickname – and then Tottenham, before landing the England job.
He very nearly guided his country to their first title in 30 years when they heartbreakingly lost on penalties to Germany, in the semi-final’s of Euro 1996.
His final managerial post was at Leeds United before retiring in 2003.
The brief statement issued on behalf of his family read: “We are totally devastated by the loss of a wonderful husband and father who passed away peacefully yesterday after a long illness. We would ask that privacy be given at this incredibly sad time to allow us to mourn the loss of this lovely man who we were so lucky to have had in our lives.”
As a player Venables was a stylish midfielder, coming through the Chelsea youth set-up, making his senior debut in 1960. With them he helped the club secure promotion back to the First Division and scored a penalty in the 1965 League Cup Final first leg, as the Londoners beat Leicester City 3-2 to take the trophy.
He then went on to sign for Tottenham Hotspur in 1966 and won the FA Cup with then a year later, ironically beating his previous employers in the final. He then spent five years at Queens Park Rangers from 1969, before ending his career at Crystal Palace.
He also played twice for his country and was very close to earning a spot in the 1966 World Cup squad.
Success as manager from the start
He took over as Palace manager in 1976, guiding them to two promotions, before taking over at QPR, who he took to the 1982 FA Cup final, which they lost to Tottenham after a replay.
He then was given the prestigious Barcelona post and lead them to the Spanish league title in 1985, their first since 1974, the 1986 Spanish League Cup and the Copa del Rey and European Cup finals in the same season.
He returned to take over at Tottenham in 1987 and was able to bring silverware in 1991, winning the FA Cup.
He was then given the England Manager’s role and saw them produce a real style to their play that struck a chord with the nation. A 4-1 victory over the Netherlands in Euro 96 was hailed as a near perfect display.
The defeat to Germany was hard to take and he left shortly afterwards, having lost just one of his 23 matches in charge.
He went on to manage the Australian national team (1996-98), had a second spell with Crystal Palace (1998-99) and stints at Middlesbrough (2000-01) and Leeds (2002-03), before calling it a day.
Terry Venables had reached legendary status in English football, and his death will bring a flood of tributes from former players, who had their careers shaped by the brilliant coach. Some early quotes were as follows:
Current England boss, Gareth Southgate who was a player in the ’96 Euro squad said: “Terry opened my eyes to things that no one else has. He has fantastic tactical awareness and every senior player in the group went away having learnt a lot from him, which is an achievement.”
Former striker Gary Lineker said he was devastated to hear of his passing, describing Venables as: “The best, most innovative coach that I had the privilege and pleasure of playing for. He was much more, though, than just a great manager, he was vibrant, he was charming, he was witty, he was a friend and he’ll be hugely missed. Sending love and condolences to Yvette and the family. RIP Terry.”
His centre forward at the ’96 Euros, Alan Shearer admitted that he owes “so much” to his former boss, calling him an “amazing” coach.
Tottenham Hotspur released a statement saying they were “deeply saddened” to learn of the passing and sent their “deepest condolences” to friends and family. A minutes applause will take place at their next home fixture.