False Messiah: The Life and Times of Terry Venables

ISBN: 0-2339-9281-2
Andre Deutsch Ltd (1997)

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Terry Venables is the great enigma of English football. A man surrounded by controversy, he appears to have the capacity to survive anything and everything. As a player he seemed destined for greatness, representing England at all levels, but never quite became the star he might have been. As a manager he proved that English coaching ideas and theories could work abroad, particularly in the wholly different atmosphere of Spain, where he was an exceptionally successful leader of Barcelona. He also became that very rare football animal, an ex-player and manager who also became an owner via his controversial acquisition, with Alan Sugar, of Spurs. He went on to become the coach for the English national side and has been seen by many as the saviour of our national game.

However, behind this public facade, deliberately created by himself, of the cheeky Cockney chappie always capable of reinventing himself, lurks a very different and infinitely more complex man whose business deals have left an apparently endless trail of writs and inquiries. Venables’ activities have prompted two television programmes, as well as a DTI investigation.

The author has gone behind the facade and the brilliantly self-projected image to present this riveting portrayal. Based on extensive research, particularly since Venables’ involvement with Spurs, Bose’s book paints a picture of a man far removed from the somewhat facile image so familiar on the back pages of newspapers and on radio and television. Bose’s remarkable research and spirited writing show a side of English football not previously revealed.


Daily Mail — December 18, 1996 Neil Harman:

‘… a masterpiece of investigative journalism by Mihir Bose. It needs someone with the author’s meticulous mind to even attempt to unravel the complex business dealings which have so cluttered Venables life.’

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