Football coaching legend Terry Venables passes away at 80

Terry Venables

27th November 2023 – (London) Renowned football coach Terry Venables, famous for his tenure with England, FC Barcelona, and Tottenham, sadly passed away on Sunday at the age of 80 after battling a long illness. The news of his demise was confirmed by his family, who expressed their profound grief and requested privacy during this sombre period to mourn the loss of their beloved husband and father.

Venables, a highly respected figure in the world of football, enjoyed a distinguished career both as a player and a coach. In his playing days, he amassed over 500 appearances for esteemed clubs such as Chelsea, Tottenham, Queens Park Rangers, and Crystal Palace. While his contributions on the field were notable, it was his exceptional coaching abilities that truly set him apart.

Embarking on his coaching journey in 1976 at Crystal Palace, Venables led the team to a promotion to the First Division, followed by an impressive 13th-place finish in the subsequent season. He then moved on to QPR, where he achieved further success by clinching the Second Division title, reaching the 1982 FA Cup final, and securing a commendable fifth-place finish in the First Division. It was this triumphant spell that caught the attention of FC Barcelona, leading to his appointment as head coach in Spain.

Venables’ tenure at Barcelona was marked by significant achievements, including victories in La Liga and the Copa del Rey. However, his time at the helm will also be remembered for the heart-wrenching defeat suffered in the 1986 European Cup final against Steaua Bucharest, decided by a penalty shootout. Following his departure from Barcelona in 1987, Venables joined Tottenham, where he guided an exhilarating attacking team to victory in the 1991 FA Cup.

In 1994, Venables assumed the role of England coach, a position he earned through overwhelming support. Tasked with leading the national team in the 1996 European Championships, he assembled a captivating squad comprising exceptional talents such as Alan Shearer, Paul Gascoigne, Teddy Sheringham, and a young Gareth Southgate in defence.

Gareth Southgate, now the current England coach, paid tribute to Venables, describing him as a brilliant individual who possessed the ability to make people feel special. Southgate praised Venables’ tactical acumen, his affable nature, and his adeptness at managing players of all calibres. Under Venables’ guidance, the England team flourished, delivering an unforgettable tournament that remains etched in the annals of English football history. Unfortunately, Southgate’s missed penalty in the semifinal shootout denied England a place in the final, but the impact of Venables’ coaching prowess was undeniable.

In the later years of his career, Venables went on to work with Portsmouth and served as the coach of the Australian national team. He later returned to Crystal Palace before briefly joining Middlesbrough, leaving an indelible mark wherever he went.