Football: Sugar delayed announcement over Venables: The new England manager was to be appointed today. Joe Lovejoy explains why he will not be

TERRY VENABLES' appointment as the new manager of England, originally scheduled for today, was postponed under the threat of legal action from Alan Sugar. The Football Association's intention was to confirm that Venables had the job yesterday, prior to an inaugural press conference at Wembley this afternoon, but their plans were scrapped late on Tuesday, after Sugar had thrown a spanner in the works.

On arrival at a Premier League commission of inquiry into his club's affairs, the Tottenham chairman had praised Venables as a potential World Cup winner. The man he sacked last summer was the best candidate for the job, he said. Once inside, however, it seems he took a different tack. By all means England should have his erstwhile partner as manager, but if Venables was to be given a clean bill of health over his spell as Spurs' chief executive, the club would have to have one, too.

Sugar's warning was taken sufficiently seriously for the FA to abandon plans to install Venables in time for the European Championship draw in Manchester on Saturday.

Sugar, according to his spokesman, Nick Hewer, saw it all as a matter of 'natural justice'. Hewer said: 'Alan's view is that if Venables is appointed manager of England he is cleared of any breach of FA rules, and then it is only fair that the club is cleared, too.'

Alan Watts of Herbert Smith, Sugar's solicitors, said: 'Should Venables be cleared and Tottenham not, then Tottenham would ask for our advice on what legal redress they would have against the FA, and legal action could not be ruled out.'

Graham Kelly, the FA's chief executive, last night accused Sugar of trying to cloud the two issues, and said he would not succeed. The five- man sub-committee responsible for hiring England's new manager was still unanimously behind Venables as 'the best man for the job'.

They prefer to regard Tuesday's setback as no more than a temporary hindrance, and there was a suggestion last night that the obstruction could be overcome by hiring Venables for the rest of the current season, with his position to be reviewed as soon as the Premier League's verdict is to hand.

In Kelly's estimation, that will be a matter of weeks rather than days. He could not 'recall precisely' what Sugar had said to him on the day the FA drew back from an early appointment, but did remember the computer magnate mentioning his solicitors, Herbert Smith.

After a lengthy pause to gather his thoughts, Kelly said: 'He mentioned putting me on notice that Herbert Smith would be on my track, and I told him to bugger off, or words to that effect.

'That conversation was not directly on the question of whether Spurs would be cleared or not. It was on the question of information I was releasing to the press. I wrote a letter to Sugar, because he had written to me the previous day, and I released a copy of my letter to the Press Association.

'He came on the phone, hopping mad, and asked me why I had released the letter to the press. I said because I don't want to receive any more letters from you, trying to cloud the issue on Terry Venables. He said, if you release the contents of my letter to you outside Lancaster Gate, Herbert Smith will be on to you. I said bugger off.

'We will do what's right, irrespective of all that. I'm not frightened of the High Court, believe me. I have no qualms whatever about it. We've won in the High Court against Herbert Smith on many occasions - the FA and the Football League.'

So had Sugar told Kelly that if the FA cleared Venables they would have to clear Tottenham if he was not to take them to court? 'He didn't say it to me, but he said it to the newspapers, and I suspect he may have said it to the Premier League inquiry, but I think he's calmed down quite a bit today, and I wouldn't want to get him back up on the roof again if the things he said yesterday are water under the bridge.'

Kelly saw no reason for the FA and Tottenham to be in contact again until the commission's report is available. In the meantime, the recruiting sub-committee, of which Kelly is a member, had met again, and were still as one over Venables. 'It is the view of the committee that if we can clear away all the surrounding issues, he would be the best man for the job, football-wise. That is accepted unanimously.'

The great imponderable was when. There was a need for 'due diligence'. Kelly explained: 'If we appoint him as manager and then we get a report that he's a rogue and a villain, and that he's broken every rule in the FA handbook, we'll be in a sticky situation.

'The sub-committee met on Monday, and on that day the Financial Times carried a long article. I had an argument yesterday with a reporter who accused us of prevaricating, which was most unfair. If you get a critical article in the FT - and we're not talking about the Sun or the Mirror here - which says, in effect, that your prospective employee is a million-pound fraudster, you've got to take steps to address that.

'What we have done is to make enquiries and move to resolve that issue. It seems that the situation is not as black as it has been painted by Panorama.' It would be 'very, very difficult indeed', Kelly said, to give Venables the job before the Premier League investigation was complete.

The delay in hearing the case had been down to Sugar's absence in Florida for a month. 'He wasn't available until yesterday (Tuesday). He has been seen now, but there are other people the commission want to see. After that, they've got to reach their conclusions, write a report and, presumably, if there's been a breach of football rules, hand it over to the FA.

'We're talking a matter of weeks rather than days, and the appointment of Venables in the meantime would be very difficult indeed. That accounts for the delay.'

Difficult, but not impossible. 'We might cut through the morass somehow, and get him appointed before the Premier League report is to hand. I hope we can. Personally, I hope it will happen, but it won't be this week.'

The talk last night was of a temporary appointment next Wednesday, with Venables in charge for England's next match, the friendly at home to Denmark on 9 March.

England friendly cancelled, page 12

(Photograph omitted)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander in the leaked trailer for Zoolander 2
film
Sport
footballArsenal take the Community Shield thanks to a sensational strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Arts and Entertainment
Gemma Chan as synth Anita in Humans
film
News
Keeping it friendly: Tom Cruise on ‘The Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ensemble cast: Jamie McCartney with ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’
artBritish artist Jamie McCartney explains a work that is designed to put women's minds at rest
News
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an I...

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen