Football: Venables `on brink of leaving Portsmouth'

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The Independent Online
There was confusion over the future of Terry Venables' role at Portsmouth last night after he denied rumours that he had resigned as the chairman of the First Division club. He confirmed, however, that he would be considering his future at Pompey over the weekend.

Venables, who in his capacity as the coach to the Australian national side saw them fail to qualify for the World Cup last week, failed to arrive for training at Portsmouth's Stoneham training ground yesterday and staff were told he had resigned.

It appeared last night, however, that Venables is involved in a dispute over his stake in the club with his fellow shareholder, Martin Gregory.

Venables blamed a "lack of communication" for the series of events which has seen Gregory decide not to transfer a 51 per cent shareholding in the club to the former England and Tottenham manager.

Venables was said to have withdrawn his offer to come to the financial rescue of the club, which would have meant paying staff wages from his own pockets.

Speaking on Meridian Television last night, Venables said: "As of now I'm still the chairman of the club until such time as I choose different. I expect to make a decision on my future at the club by the end of the weekend.

"The club's financial crisis was solved yesterday, you can speak to the bank and I'm sure they'll tell you that everything was solved until last night."

Talking about Gregory, Venables added: "If he is saying I'm spending too much time with Australia, he may or may not be right. But it was stressed from day one that I had a contract with Australia and I had to fulfill it."

Venables said if he does decided to resign the shares will still be his. He added: "Of course I will still have direct control of the club."

According to the Gregory family, the shares have never been registered in Venables' name, and they have now withdrawn the offer of those shares.