The thorns in El Tel's side: A life under pressure for the national coach

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Alan Sugar

Sugar, the Tottenham Hotspur chairman, has already fought Venables in court - two summers ago when the two wrestled for control of Tottenham Hotspur FC. Sugar won. He is now suing for libel over extracts in Venables's autobiography, for which Tony Berry already brought a libel suit. The sum believed to have been paid out to Berry is pounds 50,000, but, said Sugar's solicitor: "Sugar's case is vast. Berry was one paragraph in a book, but Sugar is page after page." The case will be heard in October 1996.

Jeffrey Fugler

Fugler, a marketing executive, is suing Scribes West, Venables's West End club, for pounds 19,300, money his company claim is owed to them. Ten days ago, the day the squad for the Switzerland game was announced, Venables was in the Central London County Court to listen to evidence brought against Scribes West. The case will reconvene on 13 December, the day after the next England friendly fixture, against Portugal. Fugler's brother, lawyer Brian, will be in the High Court next month claiming pounds 312,000 in unpaid legal fees. Mark Stephens, another former Venables lawyer, also claims an unpaid pounds 8,000 debt, and Whitbread the brewers go to court next year claiming an unpaid pounds 20,000 bill.

Tony Berry

The former Spurs director brought a libel action against Venables for inaccuracies in his autobiography. A settlement was reached on 2 October, the day the England squad for the Norway international was announced. Venables, the publishers Michael Joseph and Associated Newspapers (who serialised the book) are thought to have paid some pounds 50,000 in damages and pounds 200,000 in legal costs.

Premiership inquiry

The verdict is awaited of a two-year-old inquiry into allegations that a pounds 50,000 bung was paid during the transfer of Teddy Sheringham to Tottenham from Nottingham Forest. Also being investigated are alleged false invoices connected to Venables

Kate Hoey MP

The Labour MP first became a thorn in Venables's side on 30 October 1994 by announcing: "The FA should ask Venables to stand down, even on a temporary basis, until such time as these allegations are proved or not proved." Her opposition was repeated three months later in a Commons debate when she said that evidence against him raised "very grave questions" over his judgement. She said that Venables may have "contravened the 1906 Corruption Act" over his links with the agent Eric Hall.

Litigation by Venables

Libel writs: issued against The Sun (News International), Daily Mirror (Mirror Group Newspapers) and Panorama (BBC).

Venables v Paul Kirby: Venables is suing Kirby, a businessman who is on the FA Council, for breach of a business contract. Case goes to court on 19 February 1996.

Venables v Tottenham Hotspur: Venables is suing his old club for wrongful dismissal. Case due to be heard in April.

Venables v Brian Fugler: Venables is suing Fugler (the brother of Jeremy Fugler), who acted as his counsel in the long-running legal feud between himself and Sugar, for negligence. Case goes to court on 8 July.

Media criticism

Patrick Collins, Mail on Sunday

"I have a theory that Terry Venables picks England teams the way the rest of the nation chooses lottery numbers: a few old favourites, a smattering of long shots, then one or two which come scampering hopefully across the mind at the last minute."

John Sadler, The Sun

"Did you see that latest, mind-numbing display against Norway on Wednesday night? ... If so, did you see any reasons, any tiny shred of evidence to substantiate a case for extending the coach's terms of employment?"

Nigel Clarke, Daily Mirror

"The sight of Tel packing his bags and heading off for a job at Inter Milan would be a bonus after this dismal show [the Norway game]."

Michael Parkinson, Daily Telegraph

"If I were Terry Venables, I'd consult my diary and if it looked like I would be spending more time in court than coaching England, I'd ask the FA for time off . . . If I were Sir Bert [Millichip], I might suggest Mr Venables take a rest from his present situation."

Neil Harman, Daily Mail

"How many cases can there be before the coach can concentrate without distraction on the task for which he was appointed?"

DTI and Official Receiver

400-page report concludes Department of Trade and Industry's 18- month investigation into the business dealings of Venables and his business associate Eddie Ashby, focusing on Venables's purchase of Tottenham shares in 1991 and dealings in his former companies, Edennote and Landhurst Leasings. Court proceedings and disbarment as company director could ensue. The Official Receiver is also set to investigate Edennote's share dealings with Spurs.

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