Football: Tottenham supporters are united in anger at board's decision: Mike Rowbottom reports from Enfield on the unhappy mood among the Spurs supporters

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The Independent Online
THE strength of support for Terry Venables among Tottenham followers who attended a testimonial match at Enfield last night was overwhelming.

Fans making their way into the Southbury Road ground were presented with leaflets by the Tottenham Independent Supporters' Association calling upon them not to renew their season tickets until Venables was back in charge.

'The language Mr Sugar seems to understand is money,' Bernie Kingsley, an Association co-ordinator, said, 'and this is worth about pounds 4m to him. The fact that no one has said why this decision has been made is the most astonishing and disgusting thing about it. We think Mr Sugar has a duty to tell the shareholders of the company and the thousands of Spurs supporters.'

The Association also plans to hold a public meeting next week to which Venables and Alan Sugar will be invited. Another Association co- ordinator, Steve Davies, had spoken to players including Neil Ruddock, Justin Edinburgh and Jason Cundy, earlier in the day. 'They were totally shocked,' he said. 'They all have a fantastic loyalty to and respect for Venables.'

Spurs fans demonstrated before the match, and formed a small crowd in the centre-circle at half- time, bearing placards saying 'We want Terry Venables back' and 'Sugar Out, Venables In'.

They were sentiments that seemed to be borne out by almost every Spurs supporter present.

'I think what has happened to Terry Venables is disgusting,' Angela Jobson, a supporter for the last 30 years, said. 'We were eighth in the League and only a goal away from tomorrow's FA Cup final.'

'It has hit us like a bombshell,' Mark Walton said. 'It has been a good week for us, and next season was looking promising. Most of the squad was bought by Venables, so who knows, they could be going as well.'

David Cawdron, a supporter for the last 25 years, also felt the future for the club was looking healthy. 'It was the wrong decision at the wrong time. Everything was going sweet - don't say that though, because Sugar isn't sweet any more. I think there will be a hell of a reaction from Tottenham supporters. I don't see many season tickets being bought again until Terry is reinstated.'

Lee Moore, aged 20, made the decision not to renew his season ticket as soon as he heard the news yesterday morning. 'I went straight to the ground. There were about 400 other supporters there, and there was a feeling of disbelief. There were a few shouts for Venables and a few shouts for Sugar that were not nice.

'I won't be buying another season ticket as things stand. You can't support a club that is going to get rid of its best people. I mean, I still support them. They become part of your life. But whether I'll turn up to watch them I don't know.'