Former QPR stars Simon Stainrod and Peter Hucker have paid tribute to former Rangers boss Terry Venables, who died on Sunday.
Venables, who made over 200 appearances for Rangers as a player between 1969 and 1974, took over as manager in 1980 where he guided the club to the only FA Cup final in its history, the Second Division title, and European qualification before leaving for Barcelona in 1984.
In his time in charge, Venables won 89 of his 179 games – the best competitive win rate in the club’s history.
Stainrod, who was one of Venables’ first signings when he signed from Oldham in 1980, said the east Londoner was the biggest influence on his career and his death at 80 from a dementia-related illness in Spain, has left him devastated.
“You hear football managers these days talking about the game but none of them understand the game like he did,” Stainrod told West London Sport.
“I don’t care what you say about Pep Guardiola, ‘TV’ was just streets in front and he did it with everybody, defenders, midfielders, strikers, goalies, coaches, he was just the best ever.”
Venables went on to manage Tottenham and England and Stainrod said his three-year stint in charge, which culminated in him taking the national team to the semi-finals of Euro ’96 before being dumped by the Football Association, was far too short.
“They should have kept him as England manager,” he said.
“People talk about Bobby Robson and I am sure he was a great manager, but tactically, knowing how to deal with players, being able to control everybody and understanding everybody, TV was the best.
“I was a nightmare when I was younger, a bit wild.
“I thought I knew everything but he just made me think a different way and opened my brain up. I can never thank him enough.
“I have been sat here today just sobbing, it’s like my dad dying, it’s as bad as that.
“He was flash as well and I liked a bit of flash. I worked under about 30 managers and he was the only one that I felt I could talk to about anything.
“TV was how a manager should be.”
Hucker, who came through the Rangers’ youth system and was named man-of-the-match in the first match at Wembley which ended in a 1-1 draw with Spurs, said no manager came close to impressing him like Venables did.
“Terry was just so far in front of everyone else,” Hucker said.
“He was forgetting things he taught us last week because he wanted to do something new next week.
“It got comical on how many variations of free-kicks we had.
“We just remember playing under him being so much fun. You wanted to go in to train, couldn’t wait to play and we never went in to any game thinking we were going to draw.
“He used to say ‘let them worry about us, we’ll be giving them so many problems.
“I never came across that sort of approach from any other manager again. Everywhere else I went managers set up teams not to lose instead of trying to win.”
Hucker said in addition to his tactical awareness, Venables’ man-management skills were the best he ever experienced.
“Lots of managers would come in at half-time and say, ‘why didn’t you do that, or mark him?’
“Terry would come in and say, ‘this half we are going to do this. He never dwelt on mistakes, he would say it is pointless and that nothing can be done to change it.
“He should have got the England job a lot sooner than he did. It’s typical England, they won’t pick the mavericks or the people that are a little bit outspoken and never want anyone with a personality.
“He was a character who liked a joke and that is why he got the best out of players.”