THE former England and Barcelona coach Terry Venables died at the age of 80 on Sunday after a long illness.
Best known and loved in England for leading a swashbuckling England side to almost-glory at Euro 96, Venables actually forged his reputation in the fires of Barcelona for three seasons in the eighties.
He took on the role of manager at Barcelona in 1984 after a recommendation by Bobby Robson, a close friend of the Barcelona Vice-president.
He led the team to a La Liga title in his first season playing scintillating football, and ending Barcelona’s 11-year trophy drought in the process.
His tenure arguably laid the foundations for Barcelona to become the all-conquering juggernaut they are known as today.
His success continued with a league cup win the following year, earning the Londoner the nickname ‘El Tel’.
The pinnacle of his time in Spain was reaching the 1986 European Cup final, where Barcelona narrowly missed the title in a penalty shootout against Steaua Bucharest.
His impact on Barcelona and Spanish soccer was described as ‘incredible’ by Pep Guardiola, who was at Barcelona’s La Masia academy at the time.
Returning to England, Venables lifted the FA Cup with Tottenham in 1991, where he coached Gary Lineker and Paul Gascoigne.
As a player, he represented Chelsea, Spurs, and QPR, making over 500 appearances and earning two caps for England.
Spanish football dailies Mundo Deportivo and Sport both paid tribute to the English manager on their back pages today.
Over large pictures of Venables during his time at Barcelona they both wrote: “Adios, mister.”
“I met Terry in Barcelona and while training at Tottenham at the age of 9,” said David Beckham in tribute to a manager he just missed out on working with.
“He was one of our greatest England managers and loved by players and fans.”
Gary Lineker said he was ‘devastated’.
“The best, most innovative coach I had the privilege and pleasure of playing for. He was vibrant, charming, witty and a friend,” wrote the BBC presenter.
“Such a sad day, cheers boss xxxx,” wrote Paul Gascoigne, who scored an incredible goal for Venables against Scotland in Euro 96.
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