It was a disastrous move. After 11 days he was back at home in Epsom. 'The president resigned, a new man came in, and I was out without even taking training, let alone a game,' he said. Surprisingly, his CV cut little ice in England and offers of work were few. 'Going abroad is a great experience, but you tend to get forgotten. And I think we tend to bury our heads in the sand when it comes to learning from other countries and it has set us back a long way.'
In time, after a period as a sports agent, he left the country again, initially for Kuwait, and then - eight months ago - Egypt, where he has taken the Cairo club, Al Ahly, to an African Cup-Winners' Cup triumph and the top of the domestic league.
'It is going very well so far, although I know they can be ruthless here too. When we had the local derby against Zamalek, for instance, we won 3-0, but it was a bit upsetting for me because Dave Mackay was their manager, and he ended up out of a job.'
His separation from Venables was entirely amicable and he has no regrets.
'Once you've been a No 1, you get a taste for it, and I'm happy going my own way. I sent a fax to congratulate Terry when I heard he had got the job. It was great news.'
In any case, life is not without compensations for Harris, 50, who is married and has a 28-year- old son who is an osteopath. Among the rewards that come with a lucrative contract is a suite at the five-star Ramses Hilton in Cairo.
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