FA stand behind Venables

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The Independent Online
THE Football Association yesterday leapt to the defence of Terry Venables at the end of a week which saw his name again dragged up in court proceedings and an anonymous member of the FA's 15-man international committee speaking of his "disquiet" at continuing allegations against the England coach.

The FA, re-affirming their support for Venables, said he had told them last week of a "concerted and organised" campaign against him, which was being investigated by the Metropolitan Police after a complaint by Venables last year.

On Thursday, an advertising executive seeking money he says he is owed by Venables, claimed at Central London County Court that the then Tottenham chief executive was behind false invoices totalling pounds 50,000 relating to the transfer of Teddy Sheringham from Nottingham Forest to Spurs three years ago, a deal being investigated by a Premier League inquiry into irregular payments.

It prompted the international committee member, quoted in the Daily Mail, to say: "There always seems to be something else coming up. It does worry us; there's no getting away from it. Unofficially the situation gets discussed between the committee but it hasn't been talked about officially yet."

The FA countered: "Terry Venables does not need votes of confidence from us. We all know how they are interpreted in football. The reality and the facts are that in January 1994 Terry was seen as unquestionably the best person to coach England to success next summer. Despite all attempts to undermine him by unproven, sometimes wild, sometimes anonymous allegations, that remains the FA view 22 months later."

Venables himself admitted that the events of the week had been "unhelpful" but that he was attempting simply to concentrate on preparing the England squad for next Wednesday's match against Switzerland at Wembley.

On Friday he said that he was unable to comment on the present court proceedings - he has also had an action brought against him for alleged unpaid legal fees as well being sued for libel by the Tottenham chairman, Alan Sugar, against whom he claims wrongful dismissal - but insisted that "my time will come".

Of the comments by the international committee member, he said yesterday: "The FA must do what they must do. I just do my job and I am sure the FA will do theirs." He added that no one from the FA had expressed disquiet to him personally.

Meanwhile, Les Ferdinand's groin strain had healed sufficiently for him to take a full part in training at Bisham Abbey yesterday and Venables will have a fully fit squad of 22 from which to select. The Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Ian Walker was also called up to cover for an injury to the now-fit David Seaman.

It may be that the captain, David Platt, recently recovered from a knee operation, is omitted on Wednesday. Asked if Platt's goal record makes him an automatic choice, Venables said: "He has scored important goals but it's not the past we are interested in, it's tomorrow."

ENGLAND (possible): Seaman; Neville, Adams, Howey, Le Saux; Stone, Gascoigne, Redknapp, McManaman; Shearer, Beardsley.

Striking dilemma, page 23