Terry Venables dead: England's legendary Euro 96 football coach 'El Tel' dies aged 80 after colourful 50-year career | The Sun

FOOTBALLING legend Terry Venables has died at the age of 80.

"El Tel" had a distinguished career on the pitch playing for Chelsea, Spurs and QPR in the 1960s and 70s, and winning two Three Lions caps at international level in 1964.

But his greatest success came as a manager, and he famously led England to the semi-finals in the 1996 European Championships.

Venables' passing has been confirmed by the League Managers Association, but his cause of death is not yet known.

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

"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."

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Three Lions legends including Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer, Gary Neville and Stan Collymore paid tribute to Venables on social media.

Lineker said: "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.

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

Shearer said: "Extremely sad news the great Terry Venables has passed away.

"RIP Boss. I owe you so much. You were amazing."

Neville said: "So sorry to hear the news of my very first England coach, Terry Venables.

"A man who gave me a chance to play for my country and became without a shadow of doubt my number one England coach in my whole career."

England's official Twitter account posted a tribute to the Three Lions legend.

It read: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Terry Venables at the age of 80.

"Having won two senior caps as a player, Terry went onto manage the Three Lions 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."

Venables' former team Tottenham Hotspur will wear black armbands during their clash with Aston Villa this afternoon.

Chelsea, Spurs and QPR paid tribute to Venables along with broadcasting stars Piers Morgan, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Kamara.

Venables started his managerial career with Crystal Palace who won the Second Division championship in 1979.

He also steered QPR to the 1982 FA Cup Final  and won the Second Division in 1983.

He then took over the helm at Barcelona in 1984 – where he earned the nickname El Tel.

Under his leadership, Barca went on to win La Liga in 1985 and reached the European Cup final in 1986.

Venables then returned to the UK in 1987 to take over at White Hart Lane and guided Spurs to victory in the FA Cup in 1991.

He was a hugely popular choice to take over as England head coach in 1994.

In the group stage of the 1996 European Championships, England beat Netherlands 4-1, a game he would describe as "perfection – my most thrilling experience in football” after his retirement.

Having beaten Spain in the next round they were eventually knocked out by Germany on penalties following an agnosing 1-1 draw.

Alan Shearer, who was part of the Euro ’96 squad, said later: "Terry's knowledge and tactical know-how were spot-on and he knew how to get the best out of us too.

“We responded to him, believed in him and played some outstanding football in that tournament.”

Gareth Southgate, who was also part of the squad, said:  "Terry opened my eyes to things that no one else has.

“He has fantastic tactical awareness. Every senior player in the group went away having learnt a lot from him, which is an achievement."

Terry Frederick Venables was born in Dagenham, east London on January 6 1943.

He was the only child of Royal Navy petty officer Fred Venables and his Welsh wife Myrtle.

Venables grew up with his grandparents Ossie and Milly after his parents moved to run a pub in Romford, Essex.

He credited Ossie with fostering his lifelong love of the beautiful game.

Venables started out at the age of 15 as an apprentice at Chelsea, with his dad joining the Blues as a part-time scout.

He only turned professional when he was left out of the Great Britain squad for the 1960 Olympics.

During his playing and managerial career, Venables was known as a "players' man".

He gave his players freedom off the pitch and usually kept his half-time team talks brief and light to maintain good spirits.

After managing England, Venables went on to coach Australia, and then Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Leeds.

His last job in football was a brief stint back with the England teamin 2007, as assistant to new manager Steve McClaren, before they were both sacked for failing to qualify for Euro 2008.

Venables had two daughters with his first wife Christine McCann, who he married in 1966.

He met his second wife Yvette Bazire in his father's pub in Chingford in 1984 and she went with him to Barcelona. They married in 1991.

Venables tried his hand at a number of different business ventures besides his football career.

He opened a West End tailors with his Chelsea teammates George Graham and Ron "Chopper" Harris.

Together with Yvette he later ran a Kensington dining club and a boutique hotel and restaurant in Alicante, Spain.

Venables also wrote five novels and occasionally moonlit as a singer – after Chelsea blocked him from performing as a crooner at Butlins when he was 17.

In 2010 Venables reached no. 23 in the charts with a cover of Elvis Presley's song "If I Can Dream", which he recorded in association with The Sun.

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