new frontiers (issue 8)

Terry Venables: Back To Basics

The local press have been asked to keep quiet about Terry Venables and his plans for the England squad at Easter. New Frontiers can reveal the full details.

Not so many years ago, when I was a lad, Easter saw every club play 3 games. Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Monday. Promotion and relegation issues were much clearer by Easter Tuesday.

Terry Venables, in one of his first interviews as England manager, stressed the need to "get back to basics". Some thought he had taken a leaf out of John Major's book. What he really meant was that he wants to go back to the good old days when every team played 3 games over Easter.

Unfortunately, with this season's fixtures already set in stone (BSkyB and others permitting), it is too late to organise 3 games for every club.

However, Terry Venables has arranged a game for his England squad on Good Friday. One of his first missions as England boss was to talk to every Premiership manager to get them to release their players for a game, despite most clubs having 2 games over the Easter period. Apparently, he received an enthusiastic response. Typical was Alex Ferguson who said, "Even though I'm Scottish, I will gladly help the new England manager in his bid to restore the fortunes of the national team. I am prepared to release every player he wants, unfortunately, with my squad being largely non English, I'm not sure how useful my offer will be".

Venables is aiming to use Good Friday as another chance to get to know his new squad. He feels that a game for England and 2 club games in 4 days will be good preparation for the 1996 European Championships when England will play 3 games in 6 days.

Even the Italians have agreed to release David Platt and Paul Gascoigne for the game. Venables had thought about a game against Slough, its close proximity to Heathrow and the Mars factory in Slough would be ideal for the Italian based players (especially Gascoigne), however, Slough have a Conference game on Good Friday. As most of the England squad are northern based, or playing in Yorkshire the following day, Venables has settled on a game in Yorkshire.

The game will be at Bootham Crescent against York City. Manager Alan Little commented, "I'm over the moon about the game, it will give my lads the chance to play at the highest level. I told Jon McCarthy recently that I was ambitious for the club and wanted to play against the highest level. You can't get any higher than playing against England". McCarthy said, "I thought it would take 2 years, not 2 months before City were playing against Premiership players".

Watch out for further details of the game in the press.


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