Venables poised to take the reins at Newcastle

Terry Venables is due to be confirmed as the manager of Newcastle United this week after successfully holding talks with the club's chairman, Freddy Shepherd, over the weekend.

"We had a meeting, a good chat and our conversations will be on-going," the former England coach confirmed yesterday. "I have an open mind about the situation now. Sir Bobby Robson would be a difficult act to follow - but to manage Newcastle is a great opportunity and I am very pleased to be considered."

His feelings are shared by Steve Bruce but his club, Birmingham City, have made it clear that they will not release him from his contract without £5m-plus in compensation.

Venables was always at the top of Newcastle's shortlist and although Alan Shearer has declared that he does not want to coach right now, the club hope to persuade him to be part of Venables' team in what is his final year as a player. The intention is for Venables to groom Shearer as his eventual successor.

One complication to Venables' appointment is the length of contract he is offered. He wants longer than Newcastle intend. However, Venables said: "I am very excited. Freddy is a down-to-earth, normal guy and we got on well."

Venables, who left Leeds United last year, added: "I don't think there is a club in this country bigger than Newcastle. It is a shame because the fans deserve the very best and I know how hard Bobby and other managers have worked trying to give it to them. That is why I need time to make this decision. It is not something I can rush into."

Robson, meanwhile, insisted yesterday that, aged 71, he wants to remain a manager. "I don't know if I will get offered another manager's job, but that's what I want," he said.

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