The football community is in mourning today following the passing of Terry Venables, one of the sport’s most beloved and iconic figures.
Venables left his mark on football as both a player and manager. As a coach, he influenced many players who, in turn, have gone on to build their own coaching careers.
His family shared the news of his passing, disclosing that, after battling a long illness, the football icon bid farewell at the age of 80 on Saturday, November 25.
“We are totally devastated by the loss of a wonderful husband and father who passed away peacefully yesterday after a long illness,” the statement read.
“We would ask that privacy be given at this incredibly sad time to allow us to mourn the loss of this lovely man who we were so lucky to have had in our lives.”
Born on January 6, 1943, in the heart of Dagenham, East London, Terry Venables graced the pitch for renowned clubs such as Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Queens Park Rangers, and Crystal Palace throughout the 1960s and early 1970s.
Positioned as a midfielder, Venables’ remarkable on-field performances garnered widespread acclaim and earned him coveted international caps for the England national team, with four caps for the U23s and two senior caps.
Yet, it was in the realm of coaching and management where Venables truly flourished, effortlessly transitioning from player to mentor. His managerial journey commenced at Crystal Palace in 1976, marking four transformative years that saw the Eagles soar from the Third Division to clinching the Second Division title in 1979.
A subsequent chapter unfolded at Queens Park Rangers in 1980, where Venables masterminded another triumphant phase. The pinnacle was reached in 1983, as he steered the team to top-flight promotion, a year after guiding them to the FA Cup Final in 1982 while they were still a second-division outfit.
Venturing abroad in 1984, Venables took the reins at Barcelona, earning the moniker ‘El Tel.’ His tenure witnessed the Catalan giants securing the Spanish league title in 1985, ending an eleven-year drought, and triumphing in the Copa del Rey in 1986.
Returning to his roots in 1987, Venables assumed the helm at Tottenham Hotspur, guiding them to FA Cup victory in 1991. Transitioning to an executive role for the subsequent two years at White Hart Lane, he eventually departed in 1993, paving the way for his appointment as England manager after Graham Taylor’s departure.
In his role as Three Lions boss, Venables orchestrated a memorable journey to EURO 96. After meticulously refining his team and tactics through a series of international games, England captivated the nation with victories over Scotland and the Netherlands. A quarter-final clash with Spain at Wembley, culminating in a dramatic penalty shootout win, propelled them to the last four.
The semifinal against Germany saw England come agonizingly close to securing victory in extra time, with Paul Gascoigne narrowly missing a ‘Golden Goal’ opportunity. Despite a valiant effort, the match was settled on penalties, favoring Germany, who went on to claim the title at Wembley.
Post-England, Venables took the reins of the Socceroos, guiding them to the cusp of the World Cup before their hopes were dashed in a second-leg 2-2 draw with Iran at the MCG.
Beyond his feats as a player and coach, Venables became a revered media pundit. In his later years, he embraced a change of scenery, residing in Spain and indulging in hotelier pursuits before bidding farewell to his illustrious career in 2019.
The news of Venables’ passing prompted an outpouring of tributes from fans and the football community with many taking to social media to express their condolences and share cherished memories of the sporting maestro.
“A brilliant man, who made people feel special.”
Gareth Southgate has paid his own tribute to former #ThreeLions player and manager Terry Venables.
— England (@England) November 26, 2023
A tribute to Terry Venables ? pic.twitter.com/PW6JnqwouH
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 26, 2023
Euro ’96 ❤️ the memories.
Terry Venables says Euro ’96 was one of the best times of his life.
He will be missed. pic.twitter.com/bE9i7iEyIm
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) November 26, 2023
Just heard the sad news about Terry Venables
— 80s&90sFootball ⚽ ??????? ?? (@80s90sfootball) November 26, 2023
A class tribute from Ange Postecoglou after the passing of Terry Venables ❤️
‘He influenced Australia as well and almost got us to a World Cup.’ ??
— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) November 26, 2023
Will never forget Euro 96. The first tournament I properly remember.
I saw the red arrows go over our house, I’d run in the garden pretending to be Alan Shearer.
Terry Venables led us through a special time.
And he could sing…!
RIP Terry Venables pic.twitter.com/riquGqduU3
— Chris Stark (@Chris_Stark) November 26, 2023
Incredibly sad to hear about Terry Venables. A great man who always made time for my family. He could give me a rollocking at half time, but still make me feel on top of the world.
He was the best Manager I played for.
— Neil Ruddock (@RealRazor) November 26, 2023
Venables is survived his two daughters, Nancy and Tracey, and by his second wife, Yvette Bazire.