Football: Venables decides to reject Rovers

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A pounds 500,000 a year salary and a pounds 20m budget to spend on players has failed to persuade Terry Venables take over as the manager of Blackburn Rovers.

The former England coach has decided to stay as the director of football at Portsmouth because of a difference in opinion on his role at Jack Walker's wealthy Rovers. The main stumbling blocks are understood to have been the control of transfer spending and the naming of a backroom team. Both Venables and Walker wanted the major say.

The Rovers owner is keen to have Venables' coaching know- how at the club, but the former Spurs manager would rather be in complete charge.

As the two previous managers, Kenny Dalglish and Ray Harford, found out, the final word on transfers rests with the millionaire Walker and he plans to keep it that way.

Blackburn were prepared to offer Venables a lavish wage and even the chance of a signing-on fee if he would uproot and move north for the first time in his career.

The way is now open for Bruce Rioch to emerge as a leading contender for the Rovers vacancy. The former Arsenal manager, who has support in the Ewood Park dressing-room, is working without a contract as No 2 to Stewart Houston at Queen's Park Rangers.

Grimsby Town, third from bottom of the First Division, have parted company with their manager, Brian Laws. The youth coach, John Cockerill, will be in charge for tomorrow's home game against Sheffield United. Laws was appointed in November 1994 and was allowed to keep his job in the wake of the dressing-room incident which left the Italian striker Ivano Bonetti, now with Tranmere Rovers, with a fractured cheekbone.

Aston Villa have withdrawn Steve Staunton from the Republic of Ireland squad for the World Cup qualifier with Iceland in Dublin on 10 November. The defender has failed to to overcome a hamstring injury which has sidelined him for the last two weeks.

n Lennart Johansson, the Uefa president, has given his backing to the use of video replays during matches to help decide disputed goals. "When it comes to goals, we could use cameras to avoid making mistakes," he said. "But to stop a match to see if a ball was offside - no."