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Terry Venables

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Terry Venables .

He was more than an acquaintance less than a friend.

As in lifetime, opinion is divided on his merits and achievements.

For some he was a progressive football man managing at the highest international and club level.

For others he did not achieve that many trophies and did not have a distinctive style.

Certainly his reputation was bolstered by a coterie of powerful London soccer writers.

Few would argue he was a businessman and when he came up against one who was –  Alan Sugar – there was only one winner.  The combative corporate man  beat the cheeky chappie.

He is often hailed for the 4-1 victory over Holland in the Euros but the Dutch were riven by racial strife with the black players not sitting with the whites.

A greater – though less celebrated achievement – was under Glenn Hoddle when England held Italy 0-0 in Rome to qualify for the World Cup in Russia.

Management requires many skills and certainly Terry Venables possessed several of them, notably his treatment of players.

Many of them like Gary Lineker – never backward in offering his view – and Gareth Southgate had only good to say.

The many tributes did not do justice to Terry Venables the player.

He represented England at every level and had impressive careers at Chelsea, Spurs and QPR.

I can still recall that youthful team at Chelsea managed by Tommy Docherty of which Venables was the skipper: Bonetti, Shellito, Hinton, Ron Harris, Venables, Boyle, Graham, Murray, Bridges, Tambling.

Venables took  time to settle at Bill Nicholson’s Tottenham.

Ironically neither Bill Nicholson nor Tommy Docherty was his guru but a manager under whom he never played: Malcolm Allison.

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About Tom Hollingworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a former deputy sports editor of the Daily Express. For many years he worked in a sports agency, representing mainly football players and motor racing drivers. Tom holds a private pilot’s licence and flying is his principal recreation. More Posts