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Wednesday, 11 October, 2000, 07:46 GMT 08:46 UK
Venables fans' choice despite flaws
Terry Venables
Venables consoles Gareth Southgate after his miss
Terry Venables has experienced a series of damaging setbacks since the glory days of Euro 96, but he remains the people's choice to be England's next manager. BBC Sport Online's Simon Austin looks at the reasons why.

A plethora of pundits have backed Terry Venables to become England manager following Kevin Keegan's shock resignation.

And a staggering 40% of voters in BBC Sport Online's poll agreed with them.

Yet the results still seem somewhat surprising, given that the cheeky Cockney appears to have moved from disaster to disaster since he vacated the England hotseat at the end of Euro 96.

In January 1998 the High Court banned him from being a company director for seven years.

In their case against Venables, the Department of Trade and Industry outlined instances of bribery, lying, deception, manipulation of accounts and taking money that should have been given to creditors.

  Venables' fall from grace
1996: November - becomes Australian coach.
1997: February - takes 51% share in Portsmouth for 1. November - Australia draw 2-2 with Iran in Melbourne, meaning they don't qualify for World Cup.
1998: January - banned from being company director for seven years. Sells share in Portsmouth. April - quits as Australia coach and takes over at Crystal Palace.
1999: Leaves Palace one year into five-year contract.

There have also been disasters in the world of football, where Venables has normally been so sure-footed. In August 1996 he took control of Portsmouth for 1 and promised to rejuvenate the struggling south coast club.

But he left them heavily in debt and bottom of the First Division.

Australia saw him as the man to take them to the 1998 World Cup and made him their highly paid head coach.

Australian nightmare

They only had to beat international minnows Iran in Melbourne to realise this dream, but drew 2-2 and missed out, and Venables resigned soon after.

He then became manager at Crystal Palace, forming a seemingly dream partnership with new owner Mark Goldberg, but walked out just one year into a five-year contract. The club was left behind in disarray.

Terry Venables
Venables and Ned Zelic after Australia's setback
But it's the glorious memories of Euro 96 and not these mishaps that are still vividly clear in people's minds.

A wave of footballing euphoria unknown since the 1966 World Cup swept the country as England made their way to the semi-finals under Venables' guidance.

England beat Holland 4-1 along the way with a spectacular display of passing and attacking.

Venables had a tactical acumen which Keegan so patently lacked. He introduced the 'Christmas tree' formation, with five players in midfield and a withdrawn striker to expand passing options and stifle the opposition.

He was also hugely popular with his players, unlike the aloof and authoritarian Glenn Hoddle who succeeded him.

Hugely popular

When England crashed out of Euro 96 on penalties, Venables must have been devastated, but he immediately went to console Gareth Southgate, who missed the crucial kick.

And when several players trashed a plane during the notorious 'Cathay Pacific incident' prior to Euro 96, Venables refused to castigate them in public.

Bobby Robson is the only Englishman who can match Venables' international coaching pedigree.

  Venables' rise to fame
1943: Born Dagenham, January 6.
1958: Joins Chelsea as apprentice. Goes on to play for Spurs, QPR and Crystal Palace and represents England at every level.
1976: Appointed manager of Crystal Palace. Takes them up to to First Division.
1980: Takes over at QPR. Reaches FA Cup final and wins Second Division.
1984: Takes over at Barcelona.
1985: Wins Spanish league title.
1986: Reaches European Cup final.
1987: Takes over at Spurs.
1991: Wins FA Cup. Becomes club chief executive.
1993: Directors oust him as chief executive.
1994: Named England manager.
1996: January - announces he will resign after Euro 96. Leads England to semi-finals.

After impressive spells as manager at Crystal Palace and then QPR, Venables became head coach of Barcelona in 1984.

Under his leadership they emerged from the formidable shadow of Real Madrid, winning their first league title in 11 years and reaching the European Cup final in 1986.

Tottenham won the FA Cup under Venables and he signed exciting talents like Paul Gascoigne and Darren Anderton.

The public have warmed to Venables, the affable, funny Londoner who turned his hand to crime-writing, business, board game design and nightclub singing as well as football.

His flaws even make him more human and likeable. But it is unlikely that the FA are able to overlook his misdemeanours and his dreams of managing England could again be dashed.

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See also:

10 Oct 00 |  World Cup 2002
Little England's folly
09 Oct 00 |  World Cup 2002
The tabloids' choice
09 Oct 00 |  World Cup 2002
The worst job in Britain
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