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International

Terry Venables, the Former England, Tottenham and Barcelona Coach, Has Died at 80

November 26, 2023

LONDON — Terry Venables, a former England soccer player who led the national team to the European Championship semifinals as a charismatic coach and won trophies at club level with Barcelona and Tottenham, has died. He was 80.

The death of Venables was announced on Sunday in a statement by his family to British media, saying he died on Saturday after a long illness.

The English Football Association and Tottenham, one of the clubs he coached, were among those sending tributes to Venables. Former England captain Gary Lineker called him “the best, most innovative coach that I had the privilege and pleasure of playing for.”

Charming and popular, Venables, who was born just outside London, played for Chelsea, Tottenham, Queens Park Rangers and Crystal Palace — all clubs in the capital — in a 16-year senior career that included two caps for England.

Palace and QPR were the first teams he managed before he moved to Barcelona for a spell from 1984-87 where he led a team containing Lineker to the Spanish league title in 1985 — its first since 1974. He also led the Spanish team to the European Cup final in 1986, where it lost to Steaua Bucharest on penalties. During his time at Barca, Venables oversaw the sale of Diego Maradona to Napoli.

As Tottenham manager from 1987-91, he won the FA Cup in what proved to be his final season and then became chief executive before his relationship with then-chairman Alan Sugar gradually broke down and he was fired. Later in 1993, the BBC’s Panorama program alleged misdealings connected with Venables’ businesses, to which he responded by threatening libel action.

Venables then turned to international management and his proudest moment was coaching England from 1994-96, including at Euro 96 on home soil where a talented team that included the mercurial Paul Gascoigne and Alan Shearer lost to Germany in a penalty shootout in the semifinals.

He coached Australia but failed to qualify the team for the World Cup in 1998 after losing in a playoff to Iran.

His final coaching spells were back in club soccer with Palace, Middlesbrough and Leeds.

Gareth Southgate, the current coach of England’s men’s team, described Venables as “tactically excellent” and “capable of handling everyone from the youngest player to the biggest star.”

“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,” said Southgate, who missed a penalty for England in the 1996 shootout against Germany. “A brilliant man, who made people feel special, I’m very sad to hear of his passing.”

The Premier League said Tottenham will hold a minute’s applause ahead of its game against Aston Villa on Sunday and players will wear black armbands.

 

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