Monday 27 November 2023

RIP El Tel

The former England football manager Terry Venables, who died this weekend aged 80, belonged to the same generation as the players who won the World Cup at Wembley in 1966, although unlike them he only picked up two caps for the national side he would go on to lead, from the also Dagenham-born Alf Ramsey, whose achievement against Germany he came close to emulating on the same ground thirty years later at Euro '96.

Despite something of a Flash Harry image, including owning a West End nightclub where he entertained fellow footballers and showbiz friends, and occasionally sang himself, but was ultimately forced to sell because of financial problems, players he managed for club and country have spoken highly of his tactical nous and how much they learnt from him, both through his insights into the game and man management skills, and the business issues that led him into trouble with the FA, Spurs chairman Alan Sugar and Companies House seem like small beer compared to the nefarious state actors and other dodgy characters who have since become involved with top flight football.

It's hard to imagine an English manager now being appointed by a top European club as Venables was by Barcelona in the mid eighties (Bobby Robson and Howard Kendall also managed Spanish sides in that and the following decade), or indeed one of the big six Premier League clubs doing so, rather than looking to one of the younger continental or South American coaches directly or indirectly influenced by that trio. His tenure as England manager in the mid nineties also came towards the end of the long spell when that job automatically went to an Englishman, and was followed by his coaching Australia, an indication of how international the sport he had earned a living from since signing with Chelsea as a fifteen year old apprentice straight from school had become.

1 comment:

  1. Terry was a big character, and a top coach, and I can overlook the business shenanigans.

    I do think his achievements in Euro '96 are rather overplayed though, partly due to the "It's Coming Home" euphoria. A draw with the Swiss, lucky win against the Scots and Spanish, with Holland a game where both teams were practically through. And then a big chance missed against the Germans. And all at home with "generational talents" like Shearer, Gascoigne and Ince.

    And if that sounds a bit harsh, compare the view of Terry with the vitriol against Southgate who's reached a final, semi and quarter with arguably inferior players.

    Nice pic of Joe Hart's masterclass against Barca, by the by.