Former England manager Terry Venables aka “El Tel” aka “The Godfather of Football” aka “The Man Who Almost Led Crystal Palace Into Bankruptcy” takes a dim view of recent events at one of his old clubs, Tottenham Hotspur. The Guardian’s Scott Murray and Barry Glendenning have absorbed Venables’ most recent guest editorial for The Sun and surmise the gaffer-turned-pundit is “careering past satire and ending up quite some distance beyond it.”
When Terry Venables speaks, the world of football listens! And that’s no wonder, when you take his achievements into consideration. At Barcelona he spurned opportunities to sign Hugo Sanchez, Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten, instead building a team which lost home and away to Dundee United. At Spurs he scooped the 1991 FA Cup, pitting his managerial wits in the final against a man who had to be wheeled on to the Wembley turf in a large pickling jar. And he led the Sheilaroos to the prestigious 1st Oceania v 4th Asia play-off in the 1998 World Cup qualifiers, losing bravely to Iran on away goals. Equally effective was his financial nous, displayed in the boardrooms of Crystal Palace, Portsmouth and Tottenham, as he [REST OF PARAGRAPH DELETED BY FIVER LAWYERS, WHO THEN GIVE BENEFICIAL LEGAL ADVICE TO FIVER WITH THE AID OF A 12×2 PLANK OF WOOD WITH A BENT NAIL STICKING OUT OF ONE END]
So yes, when Venables speaks, the world of football listens! And today it hears that Spurs are presently in crisis because of “greed, mismanagement, egos and selfishness”, according to an opinion piece in The Sun by the man who missed the first game of his time in charge at Crystal Palace in 1998 because he was a bit tired after doing telly work at that summer’s World Cup, and missed his first game in charge of Leeds in 2002 because he was away filming a holiday programme.
“Bulgarian strike ace Berbatov,” he began – he always talks this formally, perhaps it’s a legacy of all that time spent in courtrooms – “kept telling us he had a dream. Well good for you Dimi! You had a dream with a few extra noughts added to your bank balance. But don’t you think Spurs had a dream too? Don’t you think that when they bought you and helped you blossom into one of the best strikers in the world, you had a duty to blah blether drone drone self-righteous drone.” It suddenly makes you feel glad you don’t subscribe to Setanta, doesn’t it.