Terry Venables

According to the press, the public, Sir Alex Ferguson and Terry Venables, there is only one man for the job of England football team manager. That man is Terry Venables.

Having said that, the press and the public are hardly renowned for their good sense and Ferguson is Scottish, but surely ex-England boss Venables is well qualified to advise on a successor to Kevin Keegan. And false modesty is not going to stop him from naming the best man for the job.

He was, after all, the engineer of England’s finest performance in recent memory. The 4-1 destruction of Holland during Euro 96 was a sublime example of the extraction of the very highest standards from a collection of footballers. The night before the game Venables held a two-hour team meeting. He analysed the strengths and weaknesses of each Dutch player and briefed the England men thoroughly on what they had to do, and how they should do it. By kick-off time, the team was so confident the result was almost a foregone conclusion. England destroyed Holland, a major power in world football, with the ease of a giant swatting a moth.

England left to crumble
Unfortunately, Venables’ reign as England manager was cut short by mutual agreement. Part of his labyrinthine business life had reached the courts and the FA had become a little shy of employing someone whose financial probity was exciting so much interest by the press. Venables left to fight his corner and English football was left to crumble under the leadership of Glenn Hoddle and Kevin Keegan.

However, the FA now has the chance to turn the clock back. Hoddle and Keegan have gone – victims of their own ineptitude – and Venables is one of the few men that has admitted he is interested in the job.

You know it makes sense
So what should he do? Probably exactly what he is doing. Having made it known he is interested in the job, he should keep quiet, behave himself, and let the press campaign on his behalf. Venables is no longer embroiled in the courts; the FA has restructured, and new people are installed in positions of power. A re-appointment could be made with no loss of face on either side, and Venables seems to be the only man qualified for the job who wants it. It may take a few months but, sooner or later, the FA will surely take Terry’s advice.

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