Football: Wales court Venables for manager

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WALES will know by the end of the week if they have pulled off a considerable managerial coup and persuaded Terry Venables to become their new part-time manager, when he is also the favourite to take charge of England, writes Trevor Haylett.

The dilemma for Venables is particularly acute. From being an out- of-work football manager-cum-chief executive, he now finds himself courted by two rival international teams.

The England job is a position he has wanted and striven for since he ended his playing days. Jimmy Armfield, the man appointed by the Football Association to canvass leading candidates, has talked to him, and told Venables that he is his recommendation to succeed Graham Taylor, who resigned from the England managership last month.

However, the FA is concerned that the continuing cloud over Tottenham's financial affairs during Venables' time at the club could eventually lead to charges from the game's ruling body, which would seriously embarrass it and him if he is the man at the head of the national side.

It is understood that Venables discussed the offer with Alun Evans, the chief executive of the Football Association of Wales, on Monday and they agreed to talk again before Friday. That is when its international committee meets to consider the situation, and it is also the day when Terry Yorath's contract as the Welsh manager expires. This week Yorath has received a formal letter confirming that his term of office has ended, but offering him the opportunity to re-apply for the post if he wishes to. That can only be seen as another kick in the teeth for the man who took Wales to within one missed penalty of a place in the World Cup finals for the first time in 36 years.

The FAW has balked at Yorath's initial demand for a pounds 60,000 full- time contract, a pounds 15,000 increase, to stay on - yet it is prepared to meet Venables's request for pounds 70,000 to do the job part-time, because it believes that with such a charismatic personality at the helm it will gain a considerable boost in sponsorship income.

Venables has to decide whether to throw in his lot with Wales - where there is something of an emotional pull through his late mother, who was born in the Rhondda - or wait and hope to win the England nomination, knowing he could end up with nothing.

If he turns Wales down, they are likely to re-open negotiations with Yorath, who has indicated that he is prepared to soften his demands. However, with his employers actively pursuing an alternative choice, his attitude may change.

Yorath's assistant, Peter Shreeves, sacked as Tottenham's manager by Venables last year, has, as a consequence of Yorath's letter, also tendered his resignation with effect from 1 January.