London, Nov 26 (IANS): Former England, FC Barcelona and Tottenham coach Terry Venables died on Sunday aged 80, following a long illness, his family confirmed.
"We are totally devastated by the loss of a wonderful husband and father who passed away peacefully yesterday after a long illness. We would ask that privacy be given at this incredibly sad time to allow us to mourn the loss of this lovely man who we were so lucky to have had in our lives," read the statement released by Venables' family.
Venables made over 500 appearances as a player for Chelsea, Tottenham, Queens Park Rangers, and Crystal Palace and played twice for England, but he was best known for his work as a coach, reports Xinhua.
He began his coaching career at Crystal Palace in 1976, leading it to promotion to the First Division and then to a 13th-place finish the following season.
After leaving Palace, he joined QPR, winning the Second Division title, reaching the 1982 FA final and finishing fifth in the First Division, which was enough to earn him a move to Spain to coach FC Barcelona.
He led Barcelona to La Liga and the Copa del Rey, but his time will be remembered for a painful defeat in a penalty shootout against Steaua Bucharest in the 1986 European Cup final.
After being sacked by Barca in 1987, he joined Tottenham, coaching an exciting attacking team that won the 1991 FA Cup.
In 1994, Venables became England coach, almost by popular acclaim, with the job of leading England in the 1996 European Championships.
He produced a thrilling side, based on players such as Alan Shearer, Paul Gascoigne, Teddy Sheringham and with current England coach Gareth Southgate in defense.
"He was a brilliant man who made people feel special," commented Southgate on Sunday.
"Tactically excellent, he had a wonderful manner, capable of handling everyone from the youngest player to the biggest star. He was open-minded, forward-thinking, enjoyed life to the full and created a brilliant environment with England that allowed his players to flourish and have one of the most memorable tournaments in England history," added Southgate, who missed a penalty in the semifinal shootout that denied England a place in the final.
In later years, he worked with Portsmouth and as the coach of the Australian national team, before returning to Crystal Palace and a spell with Middlesbrough.