Venables scores own goal

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The Independent Online

Even before its World Cup ratings war against the BBC had started in earnest, ITV scored a spectacular own goal when its main pundit, Terry Venables, told advertising executives that football fans hated adverts.

The executives had been brought together by ITV in an effort to boost advertising sales after a tough year for the industry. But when one member of the audience asked Mr Venables why fans tended to watch big games on the BBC, the former football manager replied: "Because they don't like the ad breaks."

As the audience looked at him in astonishment, he tried to recover, adding: "And I'm in just the right place to say that." But the damage had been done. All that remains to be seen is whether ITV, which pays him £300,000, will bring on a substitute.