FORMER England manager Terry Venables has traded in his football boots for a pair of walking shoes to kick-start a dramatic lifestyle change at his new Spanish retreat.
More used to managing footballing legends like Alan Shearer, 71-year-old Venables is now turning his hand to running a luxury hotel in Alicante.
The doors to ‘La Escondida’ (meaning Spanish hideaway) opened to guests in October after a massive restoration project.
“I’ll never forget the first moment we stood at the house and looked around. No matter which direction you looked in, there was something different to see – a tiny village in the distance, a church tower, or the mountains,” Venables said.
“After Euro 96 I had a profound sense of ‘how on earth do I top that?’ That’s when my wife Yvette and I decided we needed to do something other than football.”
Fluent in Spanish from his three-year stint at the helm of Barcelona, Venables had already fallen in love with the Spanish way of life.
And when friends showed him the 500 acre plot of land with accompanying olive groves and hunting lodge, ‘El Tel’ found that ‘something’ he’d been looking for since the dizzying heights of a Euro ‘96 semi-final.
With 10 bedrooms, the 19th century hideaway is off the beaten track on the edge of Alicante’s Font Roja National Park.
As well as offering a unique hotel stay, Venables’ pad offers up some tasty treats from top chef Darren Bunn.