'True football icon': Gary Lineker and Paul Gascoigne lead tributes to Terry Venables after football legend dies

26 November 2023, 16:07 | Updated: 26 November 2023, 18:25

Terry Venables has died aged 80
Terry Venables has died aged 80. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Tributes have been pouring in for "a true football icon", Terry Venables, who has died aged 80 after a "long illness".

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A family statement said: "We are totally devastated by the loss of a wonderful husband and father who passed away peacefully yesterday after a long illness," said a family statement.

"We would ask that privacy be given at this incredibly sad time to allow us to mourn the loss of this lovely man who we were so lucky to have had in our lives."

As a player, Venables made over 500 appearances for Chelsea, Tottenham, QPR and Crystal Palace.

He made his real mark as a coach, also managing Crystal Palace and QPR.

Read more: Former England manager Terry Venables dies aged 80 after 'long illness'

England said in a statement: "Having won two senior caps as a player, Terry went onto manage the #ThreeLions between 1994 and 1996 - proudly leading us to the semi-finals of Euro 96.

"Our thoughts and condolences are with Terry’s family, friends and former clubs."

Paul Gascoigne and Gary Lineker with Terry Venables
Paul Gascoigne and Gary Lineker with Terry Venables. Picture: Getty

Gary Lineker, who Venables signed for Barcelona from Everton in 1986 and then brought to Tottenham in 1989 after he took the job at White Hart Lane, paid tribute to the legend, saying: "Devastated to hear that Terry Venables has died. The best, most innovative coach that I had the privilege and pleasure of playing for.

"He was much more, though, than just a great manager, he was vibrant, he was charming, he was witty, he was a friend.

"He'll be hugely missed. Sending love and condolences to Yvette and the family. RIP Terry."

Former England striker Alan Shearer, who was the spearhead of Venables' Euro 96 side, posted on X: "Extremely sad news the great Terry Venables has passed away. RIP Boss. I owe you so much. You were amazing."

Meanwhile, Paul Gascoigne added: "Such a sad day, cheers boss xxxx".

Gary Neville, who was given his international debut by Venables, paid tribute to his character and approach to management - particularly in relation to the infamous dentist's chair incident in the build-up to Euro 96.

"He was an unbelievable personality and character, larger than life," Neville wrote.

"He was someone who was a players' man, looked after his players, stood up for his players in big situations like the pre-96 trip to Hong Kong and the dentist chair incident.

"He was someone who the players trusted and had great faith in and he always spoke openly and he was a personality that was far too big for the then rigid and stiff FA and that's why they got rid of him after Euro 96 and why the relationship ended.

"I sit here today thinking back to my special times with Terry and can say he is without doubt the most technically gifted British coach we've ever produced."

Current England boss Gareth Southgate, who famously missed the crucial penalty in the semi-final shoot-out against Germany, said in a statement: "Any player will have great affinity with the manager that gave them their opportunity, but it was quickly evident playing for Terry Venables that he was an outstanding coach and manager.

"Tactically excellent, he had a wonderful manner, capable of handling everyone from the youngest player to the biggest star.

"He was open-minded, forward-thinking, enjoyed life to the full and created a brilliant environment with England that allowed his players to flourish and have one of the most memorable tournaments in England history.

"A brilliant man, who made people feel special, I'm very sad to hear of his passing and my thoughts are with Yvette and all of his family."

Chris Kamara said: "Gutted to hear Terry Venables has passed away. Top player & a fantastic manager. I got to know the person & he was a great bloke.

"Great memories of being with him in his club Scribes in Kensington back in the late 90s. RIP Terry."

Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou highlighted the impact Venables made in Australia during his time in charge of the Socceroos between 1996 and 1998.

"If you are asking about a person who embodies everything this football club has always wanted to be, it is Terry," Postecoglou said.

"It wasn't just about the way he managed or coached, it was the person he was.

"He influenced Australia as well. He was the manager for the national team and almost got us to the World Cup, but the biggest testament is that anyone who I have ever come across that has worked with him will say he is by far the best coach, manager and tactician they have come across."

In a statement the Football Association said Venables was "a true football icon".

"As one of the sport's most charismatic figures, he leaves behind a legacy that captured the imagination of many and enhanced the global reputation of the English game," it said.

"Today our modern game mourns the loss of not only a great character but an innovative, forward-thinking manager who was an inspiration to a generation of English players and coaches."