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Wednesday, May 22, 2024  
14 Dhul-Qadah 1445  

Former England manager Terry Venables dies aged 80

Venables guided England to the Euro 96 semi-finals
A picture of former Tottenham manger Terry Venables is shown on the video screen at his old club after his death on Sunday - AFP
A picture of former Tottenham manger Terry Venables is shown on the video screen at his old club after his death on Sunday - AFP

Terry Venables, the former manager of England’s national football team, Tottenham Hotspur and Barcelona, has died aged 80 after an illness.

Venables guided England to the Euro 96 semi-finals, led Barcelona to the 1986 European Cup final and won the 1991 FA Cup with Tottenham during a managerial career that made him one of English football’s most admired coaches.

“We are totally devastated by the loss of a wonderful husband and father who passed away peacefully yesterday after a long illness,” Venables’ family said in a statement.

“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.”

Venables’ vibrant personality and love of attacking football established him as a firm favourite with players and fans alike.

Gary Lineker, signed by Venables for Barcelona in 1986 and then Tottenham in 1989, encapsulated the feelings of the football world as he paid a heartfelt tribute to his trail-blazing former manager.

“Devastated to hear that Terry Venables has died. The best, most innovative coach that I had the privilege and pleasure of playing for,” he wrote on social media.

“He was much more, though, than just a great manager, he was vibrant, he was charming, he was witty, he was a friend.

“He’ll be hugely missed. RIP Terry.”

Tottenham paid tribute to Venables’ by holding a minute’s applause ahead of their Premier League fixture with Aston Villa on Sunday.

Both teams wore black armbands, while an image of Venables was displayed on two big screens in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Venables masterminded England’s run to the last four of Euro 96 on home soil at Wembley, with the highlights including a stunning 4-1 rout of the Netherlands and a memorable 2-0 victory over Scotland.

They fell agonisingly short in the semi-finals, losing on penalties to eventual winners Germany, bringing an end to his reign after two years.

England’s current boss Gareth Southgate, who infamously missed a crucial penalty in that shoot-out against Germany, praised Venables’ empathy, as well as his tactical acumen.

‘A brilliant man’

“Tactically excellent, he had a wonderful manner, capable of handling everyone from the youngest player to the biggest star,” he said.

“He was open-minded, forward-thinking, enjoyed life to the full and created a brilliant environment with England that allowed his players to flourish and have one of the most memorable tournaments in England history.

“A brilliant man, who made people feel special, I’m very sad to hear of his passing and my thoughts are with Yvette and all of his family.”

Nicknamed ‘El Tel’, Venables led Barca to the La Liga title in 1985, their first since 1974, and the following season’s European Cup final, where they lost to Steaua Bucharest on penalties.

He was sacked by Barca in 1987 and moved to Tottenham, enjoying success with a side that included Paul Gascoigne and lifted the FA Cup in 1991.

Venables endured an acrimonious end to his spell as manager of the north Londoners after falling out with then owner Alan Sugar.

He won two England caps and made more than 500 club appearances between 1960 and 1975, largely for Chelsea, QPR and Tottenham, where he won the FA Cup in 1967.

Venables also had spells in charge of QPR – taking them to the 1982 FA Cup final – and Crystal Palace, who were labelled the ‘Team of the 80s’ after being promoted with a dashing young side, and the Australian national team.

Hailing Venables’ impact, Tottenham’s current manager Ange Postecoglou said: “If you are asking about a person who embodies everything this football club has always wanted to be, it is Terry.

“It wasn’t just about the way he managed or coached, it was the person he was.

“The biggest testament is that anyone who I have ever come across that has worked with him will say he is by far the best coach, manager and tactician they have come across.”

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