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Monday, January 05, 2009

Two of QPR's Greatest Managers: Terry Venables and Gordon Jago

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Terry Venables Turns Sixty-six today...On this day, thirty-eight years ago, Gordon Jago stepped up to temporarily take over QPR...

Terry Venables Turns Sixty-Six - Born January 6, 1943
Much has been written about Venables at Spurs and with England and his short periods at Australia, Crystal Palace (the second time), Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Leeds.
But when QPR signed him in June 1969 for a QPR record 70,000 pounds, it marked a massive turning point for QPR: Remembering him as a 27 year old; immediately appointed QPR captain...Taking all the throw ins (it seemed); and the corners...and the free kicks....Providing class and savvy and experience to a QPR team that had just gone down with a humiliating 18 points...
And under Gordaon Jago and Campbell, Venables although "just" a player was clearly a massive influence on tactics and free kicks and an on-the-field guide to theplayers.
And then when he returned to QPR as a manager replacing Tommy Docherty: The sense of KNOWING that QPR would be promoted. (Not to mention taking us to our only FA Cup Final) Brilliant coach. Good manager.. The feeling of total despair when he left QPR unmatched probably by any other managerial (or playing departure)

- In our latest instalment of exclusive past player interviews on www.qpr.co.uk, R's legend Terry Venables comes under the spotlight.
- Terry Venables had a dynamic impact on the history of Queens Park Rangers Football Club in two separate spells with the Club.
- He was captain of the Rangers side that won promotion to the First Division in 1973. Then as Manager, he led the R's to the FA Cup Final nine years later.
- A bright, inventive midfield player, Venables signed from Spurs in June 1969 for £70,000 and he became an integral part of the Hoops team that went on to entertain fans at the highest level.
Venables said: "I had always played in the First Division for Chelsea and Spurs before that. But I took a chance by going down to the Second Division with QPR because I thought there was so much talent at the Club - and it paid off because we won promotion to the top-flight.
"They were fantastic days at Rangers, as so many fine players shone through and developed. Rodney March, Gerry Francis, Stan Bowles, Phil Parkes, Dave Thomas, Dave Clement and Ian Gillard all went on to play for England in their time at Loftus Road and we became a really good side in the First Division."
Venables was a crafty innovator in a hooped shirt. For example, he devised cunning free-kicks where he would flick the ball over the wall for others to run on to and score.
"These things can blossom if you have people around you who are interested," said Venables.
"And we certainly had players at Rangers who really liked talking about the game. So we grew together as everyone wanted to improve their knowledge. We tried to expand on different things we had seen in football and put them into practise. It was a QPR squad who were determined to keep improving.
- "Personally, I was always keen on tactics and formations when I was playing. In fact, I helped out quite a bit with the coaching at Rangers when Gordon Jago was in charge and that was what started me off in the managerial business in later years."
- After making more than 200 First Team appearances for the R's, Venables moved to Crystal Palace in September 1974. He took over the managerial reigns at Selhurst Park two years later at the age of 33. Then in November 1980, he returned to Rangers as boss - inheriting a side that were struggling in the Second Division.
- "Chairman Jim Gregory paid Crystal Palace £100,000 compensation for me to go back to QPR as Manager. That was a lot of money then, but Jim had confidence in me and he put the cash up to strengthen the squad and that's what we did.
- "We were near the bottom of the table when I first returned. I just thought we needed to get some new players in and we built an exciting team. Again, we created an atmosphere where everybody wanted to learn each day in training.
- "I got on very well with Chairman Jim. I had a special working relationship with him. Sometimes good, sometimes bad! But we always thought a lot of each other.
- "Many people said he was a tough guy, but I thought his football knowledge was excellent. He did an incredible job and he really was 'Mr QPR.' It was his whole life and he built the Club up on and off the field. Without Jim, Loftus Road would still be the ramshackled ground that it was in the 1960's."
Venables was incredibly forward-thinking as Rangers Manager - and he oversaw the introduction of the controversial Omniturf playing surface in the summer of 1981.
"Jim was always worried about the terrible problems we had with the pitch. We couldn't get the drainage right. Even on a fairly nice day, it would always be like a quagmire.
- "Jim just didn't know what to do. Whatever he spent, he couldn't seem to solve the problem. So he said to me 'What about a plastic pitch?' We chatted for a while and it was a big step forward. And he said 'There are no rules to say we can't!'
- So I said 'Come on then - we'll do it!' And so we went for it!"
The 1981/82 season saw Rangers reach the FA Cup Final for the first and only time in the Club's history. And Venables reflects on the run with relish.
"We just kept going and going and going in the Cup that year. The Semi-Final against West Brom was a special day. They were doing well in the First Division and Cyrille Regis was on fire for them in attack.
"But we had big Bob Hazell at the back who was just as strong as Cyrille and he did a great marking job. And we won the tactical battle up front by playing with no centre-forwards. We pushed our strikers Clive Allen and Mike Flanagan out on to the wings so that the West Brom centre-halves didn't know who they were supposed to be marking.
"Then we had two games at Wembley for the Final. As a Second Division team, we took Tottenham to a replay. And it wasn't just a normal Spurs team - it was a very strong line-up with all the top players like Archibald, Crooks, Perryman, Clemence and Hoddle.
"In the first game, I thought Spurs were the better side but we drew in extra-time because we had a great fighting spirit. Then in the replay, I felt we were far better than them and even the Tottenham boys I have spoken to since then have agreed.
"Glenn Hoddle's penalty won it for Spurs, but I can never understand why Gary Micklewhite's goal for us was disallowed. He shot home from just inside the 18 yard box but there was no foul and it wasn't offside. And it was never, ever explained why it was ruled out! So that was a big disappointment that we didn't win the Cup as I thought we should have done it."
Rangers clinched the Second Division title the next year. We followed that by finishing fifth in the top-flight and therefore qualified for Europe. Then suddenly, Venables got a call to take over as coach at Barcelona and his time at Loftus Road was over. He has been involved with England as Manager and assistant manager since then of course.
Looking back, 'El Tel' is grateful to Rangers for launching him on the international stage and he has a true fondness for our Club.
"I reflect on my two spells at Loftus Road with great affection as we were very successful. I was there nearly 10 years as a player and Manager and they were marvellous times.
"Managing QPR was a wonderful period for me. We played two FA Cup Finals against Spurs, won promotion and then qualified for Europe in our first season up in the First Division. So we achieved something every year.
"Naturally I still follow the Club's fortunes. A couple of my friends go every week and we talk about Rangers all the time. I'm just thrilled to have been part of QPR and I really enjoyed my work there." QPR

See Also:
- Daves Queens Park Rangers FC Website Venables Profile - Venables Profiled
- Venables Career at QPR Venables Career
- Terry Venables/WIkipedia

Thirty-eight Years Ago Gordon Jago Replaced Les Allen as Manager

January 6, 1971, QPR coach, Gordon Jago took over from Les Allen as QPR Manager, initially as caretaker manger after a series of poor results culminated in an FA Cup 3rd Round defeat! (at home to Swindon on a icy day which had QPR players slipping). Jago's performance soon led to the appointment being made "permanent." Jago had for the prior few months been coach under Allen. Had previously coached in the United State: At the time, this "foreign" connection which was then extremely rare, gave QPR a certain panache.
QPR's Manager for about 3 1/2 years. Jago led the team to safety that season; finish 5th the following season which saw Rodney Marsh sold. Led them to promotion the following season (which saw Bowles, Givens and Thomas signed). And the following season, saw them establish themselves in the First Division as Top London Club. Jago left the club after a not-so-great start the following season. (Being replaced by Dave Sexton). Basically the team that "won" the First Division Championship - with a couple of exceptions (Masson & Hollins) was the team that Jago built.
Not only did Jago do a great job. He also had the team playing great football. (with the help of his coach Bobby Campbell - subsequently "stolen" by Arsenal - and Terry Venables as player and a defacto coach.)
- Jago took over at Millwall and then Tampa Bay Rowdies (teaming up again with Rodney Marsh)
- A decade later, in the summer of 1984 Jim Gregory appointed Jago as General Manager to replace Terry Venables when he went to Barcelona. The idea was that there would be a team manager - maybe David Pleat under Jago. When Gregory couldn't get someone to serve under Jago, Jago was fired just over a week later.

In our latest instalment of exclusive interviews on www.qpr.co.uk, former R's boss Gordon Jago comes under the spotlight.
Gordon Jago - 1971-1974
Gordon Jago laid the early foundations for the greatest team in the history of Queens Park Rangers Football Club.
Jago was Manager at Loftus Road from 1971 to 1974. In that time, he built a side that eventually went on to compete with the best in the land.
He said: "It was the happiest period of my career. I took great pleasure from working with the QPR players and I always enjoyed the quality of their play.
"The key to our advancement was the sale of Rodney Marsh in March 1972. We didn't want him to leave, but it was Rodney's choice and he wished to join Manchester City. Fortunately, my Chairman Jim Gregory negotiated a marvellous transfer deal and we got £200,000 clear, which was a large sum of money to rebuild with in those days.
"There was a certain kind of player that was attractive to me. I always went for skilful technique. I didn't favour the old fashioned, big centre-forward down the middle and crashing the ball up to him. I liked to play good football.
"We faced Carlisle United just after Rodney left and Stan Bowles played magnificently against us at Loftus Road. I thought he would be ideal for me. A very similar type of striker to Marsh - very talented, able to beat people, a cute passer of the ball. Stan had a different type of personality, but it was still similar to Rodney's. They were both very flamboyant and I loved that.
"I had also watched Don Givens at Luton Town and Burnley's Dave Thomas. So the money we got for Rodney was used to buy Bowles, Givens and Thomas, who were three top class forwards. We didn't need a lot of new faces as we had some really promising youngsters coming through in Gerry Francis, Dave Clement and Ian Gillard.
"And when I got my final X1 together, from Clement at right-back all the way over to Thomas at outside-left, they could each play passing football. They were happy with the ball and had good touch. There were some great characters and we won promotion to the top flight in 1972/73."
Jago eventually left the R's in October 1974 after a disagreement behind the scenes. But he took immense pride as the Rangers success story continued with Dave Sexton in charge.
"You didn't have to be too clever to know that we had assembled a good squad," said Jago.
"In my first year up in the First Division, we finished eighth. We matched everybody and beat Arsenal and Chelsea for the first time in our history.
"We had a nice blend of experience - like McLintock and Venables - along with the younger element. So it was a perfect position for me as a manager. I felt that the next stage would be the upper echelons of the table and perhaps European football.
"Then unfortunately I fell out with Jim Gregory. It was the most disappointing day of my life when I resigned. It was a hellish decision for me to make.
"So when I walked away, I realised that I wasn't going to have the opportunity to fulfil my dream at Loftus Road. We'd started something, we'd built an excellent team and we'd gone a long way towards where we were aiming.
"I always knew that Rangers were going to be a top side. Of course the season after I departed, they finished runners-up in the League by a point to Liverpool and then went on a superb UEFA Cup run.
"Years afterwards as QPR sustained their status at the highest level, I was able to quietly say to myself 'I had a little bit to do with that.' It was nice to see Rangers become firmly established as a strong club."
Jago has since had a long coaching career in America. Despite being old enough to draw his pension, he still reports for work every day.
"I came out in 1978 so I've been here 30 years. I had six seasons as coach of Tampa Bay Rowdies before joining the Dallas Sidekicks, where I stayed in charge for 18 years. After that, I became Commissioner of the World Indoor Soccer League for three years.
"Nowadays, I am Executive Director of the Dallas Cup, which is the most prestigious youth soccer tournament in the world. I bring in 184 teams from all over the globe. We've had Manchester United, Real Madrid and Chelsea here in recent times.
"I'm 75 years old now and my current role has enabled me to renew a great deal of my old football friendships. Often when I put the phone down after speaking to people over in England, I'm almost certain they say 'I didn't know he was still alive!'
"I'm still having great fun in soccer. I've been very lucky and I've had great health. My wife June has recovered from cancer so we are very blessed.
"And my blood has always been blue and white for QPR. It has been disappointing to see that the club has not enjoyed good fortune in recent years. But let's hope that the new owners can turn it around and put the Hoops where they should be back up in the Premier League." QPR

See Gordon Jago/Wikipedia

Jago remains in the United States involved with football - for the past twenty years with indoor soccer in Dallas.
See: Kick Fans
See Interview with Jago

FORTY-One YEARS AGO TODAY: January 6, 1968
QPR crushed Tommy Docherty's Rotherham 6-0 - Ian Morgan 2, Roger Morgan 1, Mick Leach 2, Rodney Marsh 1.
Springett -
Clement Keetch Hazell Harris
Morgan Keen Sanderson Morgan
Leach Marsh

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