Venables turns down Newcastle

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The Independent Football

Newcastle's search for an interim manager is continuing after Terry Venables rejected the chance to take up the post.

The Magpies' hierarchy had hoped to persuade the 65-year-old former England boss to bring his vast experience to bear at a club sinking rapidly into the mire following Kevin Keegan's resignation.

However, after two days of talks, Venables, who performed a similar role alongside Bryan Robson at neighbouring Middlesbrough during the 2000-01 season, and the club could not agree terms.

It is understood the Londoner rejected the offer of a game-to-game deal, but was prepared to discuss a longer-term involvement.

But when it emerged this evening that no agreement had been reached, Newcastle had little choice but to look elsewhere.

Venables is one of a series of candidates to have been linked with the role - Glenn Hoddle, David O'Leary, Kenny Dalglish and Alan Curbishley are among the others - and it is believed that there is at least one alternative.

Tonight's development should perhaps not come as too much of a surprise.

Venables took some persuading to join Robson at Boro and later twice turned down the chance to become manager in his own right at the Riverside Stadium, citing his business interests as one of the main reasons.

But it has left Newcastle owner Mike Ashley with a major headache as he attempts to find support for caretaker boss Chris Hughton with his efforts to sell the club after just 16 months ongoing.

Paul Ince - whose Blackburn side provide the opposition in the Barclays Premier League this Saturday - Gus Poyet and Didier Deschamps have been considered, but the continuing uncertainty over the club's ownership is proving a major obstacle.

Investment bankers Seymour Pierce are currently looking for buyers with Chris Nathaniel, spokesman for the Nigerian consortium which has trumpeted its interest in the club in recent days, insisting they are deadly serious.

They have hinted they will restore Keegan to his post and that has curried favour with large sections of the club's support.

However, Seymour Pierce, led by chairman Keith Harris, are understood to be assessing the credentials of several potential buyers - there have also been links with Chinese, American and local investors - as Ashley looks to make a quick exit.

That process, which will depend largely on the willingness of interested parties to meet an asking price thought to range from £480million down to less than half that figure, will take some time, and there is little prospect of a sale going through within days.

Indeed, the speed with which Ashley tied up his own swoop without conducting due diligence may serve as a salutary lesson for those looking to succeed him after he found himself facing a series of unexpected bills.

But the need to provide Hughton with experienced support is becoming more urgent by the day with the Magpies' tailspin threatening to accelerate.

A crowd of just 20,577 turned out to watch Newcastle slip out of the Carling Cup at home to holders Tottenham last night, when defensive errors and a crippling lack of confidence allowed Spurs to put their own woes behind them.