Football Australia is saddened to hear of the passing of former Socceroos’ Head Coach and football icon, Terry Venables.
Often referred to as 'El Tel,' the Englishman coached the Australian Men's Senior National Team between 1996 and 1998.
Venables had a distinguished career on the pitch, playing 202 appearances for Chelsea FC (1960–1966), 115 appearances for Tottenham Hotspur FC (1966-1969), 177 appearances for Queens Park Rangers FC (1969-1974) and 14 appearances for Crystal Palace FC (1974-1976) including two loan periods at Canterbury-Marrickville Olympic FC and St Patrick's Athletic FC (1974-1976).
The talented midfielder scored 50 goals throughout his illustrious playing career and was rewarded with two caps at international level for England in 1964.
But his greatest success came as a coach, leading some of the world's biggest clubs to domestic and international success.
Venables managed Crystal Palace FC (1976–1980), Queens Park Rangers FC (1980–1984), FC Barcelona (1984–1987) and Tottenham Hotspur FC (1987–1991). Venables then entered the international arena leading his home nation of England (1994–1996) and Australia (1996-1998), before returning to Crystal Palace FC (1998–1999), Middlesbrough FC (2000–2001) and Leeds United FC (2002–2003).
Venables was appointed Head Coach of Australia in November 1996 and swiftly got to work preparing for the 1997 Confederations Cup. The Englishman guided the Socceroos to victories over Mexico (3-1) and Uruguay (1-0) to reach the final, before suffering defeat at the hands of a strong Brazilian side.
In 1988, Australia swept through the Oceania FIFA World Cup qualifiers undefeated and qualified for the inter-confederation play-off against Iran. The team drew the first leg 1–1 in Tehran before arriving at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in front of 85,000 fans for the second leg. Australia led the second leg 2–0 early in the second half, however conceded two late goals to miss out on qualification for the 1998 FIFA World Cup on the away goals rule.
Venables' final managerial stint at Leeds United FC saw him once again manage Socceroos’ stars Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka, along with other Australians Paul Okon, Jacob Burns and Danny Milosevic.
Les Scheinflug, former Socceroo and Assistant Coach during Venables' tenure as Socceroos' Head Coach said: "Terry was not just a great person and character; he was a very special coach. We were incredibly lucky to have him at the helm of the Socceroos. He truly deserves all the accolades for his remarkable contribution to football. Terry commenced our journey towards realising our ambition of returning to the FIFA World Cup stage, a dream we achieved in 2006 under Guus Hiddink. His support for his players and staff was unwavering, and his knowledge of the game was nothing short of outstanding. My deepest condolences go out to his family and friends. His legacy in football, particularly with the Socceroos, will live on."
Football Australia Chair, Mr. Anter Isaac said: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Terry Venables, a true icon of football. His remarkable contributions to the game, especially during his tenure as the Head Coach of the Socceroos, have left an indelible mark on Australian football. Terry's leadership and expertise were instrumental in some of our most memorable moments on the international stage. He will be remembered not just for his tactical acumen but also for his passion for the game that inspired players and fans alike. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time."
Football Australia and the Socceroos family send their deepest condolences to those closest to Terry during this sad time.