Venables to sue over pounds 20m 'loss' on shares

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The Independent Online
Terry Venables believes he has missed out on a pounds 20m fortune as a result of his bitter split with Tottenham Hotspur three years ago he and plans to go to court claiming all or part of it. The former England coach says he has no interest in job offers until this and his other legal battles are cleared up.

The "lost" sum of pounds 20m reflects the dramatic rise in the value of the club's shares since he left in a dispute with Alan Sugar, the Spurs chairman and founder of Amstrad, the electronics company.

Spurs shares closed at a record 508p last Friday, valuing the club at pounds 98m. That would have made Mr Venables's former 23 per cent stake worth almost pounds 23m, compared with the pounds 3m he received when he sold up on leaving.

Mr Venables, said to be wanted as coach by several leading European clubs, said last week he was putting his court battles before any thought of a new job.

"It's obviously a blow, a big loss to me, knowing what I was going to do with Tottenham," he said on Friday from Scribes West, the London club he owns. "There was talk this morning of Paris or Napoli. What I do best is football, but I'm not going to do anything. I'm first going to deal with this business in hand."

While Mr Venables contemplates the money that passed him by, Mr Sugar is in line for a bonanza. On Tuesday, as the England team was preparing for its biggest home match since the 1966 World Cup, Mr Sugar was preparing to sell Amstrad to computer maker Psion, a deal that could bring him pounds 80m. He intends to devote himself instead to football, where his Spurs stake is now worth over pounds 40m.

Mr Venables is already suing Spurs for pounds 1.3m for wrongful dismissal and ending of a management contract, a case that may take 18 months to get to court. He is also suing the BBC's Panorama and others for libel, and in a fortnight he is due to answer a Department of Trade and Industry summons over proceedings to disqualify him as a company director on charges of false accounting, paying "bungs" and breaking company law.

He puts the blame for this on Mr Sugar. "It's frivolous and almost nonsensical," said an associate. "The key witnesses are Sugar and his other Spurs people. It's all Tottenham."

Venables legacy, page 22