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Sep, 24, 2008

Odds slashed on Venables to be next Toon boss

Terry Venables has emerged as the shock favourite to become the next Newcastle United manager after bookmakers slashed their odds on the former England manager.

The Magpies, who have been put up for sale by owner Mike Ashley, have been without a manager since Kevin Keegan was ousted from his position earlier this month.

Ashley is thought to be closing in on a deal to sell the club for between £350-400million to a consortium of Nigerian entrepreneurs and it has been reported that the consortium were hoping to lure Keegan straight back to St James Park, but a flurry of activity on the betting markets hints at a return to football for Venables.

On Wednesday, UK bookmaker SkyBet cut their odds on Venables being handed the vacant Newcastle position from 33/1 to just 2/1, while VC Bet have cut their price from 28/1 to 7/2.

''The money started coming in at around 10.30am on Wednesday. We saw a flurry of three-figure bets and quickly had to take evasive action as the liabilities piled up,'' a spokesperson for SkyBet told Football365.

Newcastle, who face Tottenham Hotspur in the Carling Cup on Wednesday night, are currently under the stewardship of caretaker boss Chris Hughton, who in the build-up to the game revealed that he has been given no indication how long his services will be required.

Other names in the frame to take over on Tyneside include Gerard Houllier, Alan Curbishley and talismanic former Toon striker Alan Shearer.

Venables' last role in football was his ill-fated involvement in the England set-up, where he acted as assistant to head coach Steve McClaren. Both men were sacked after England failed to reach the 2008 European Championships.

The 65-year-old enjoyed considerable success as a manger in the 1980s and '90s with Queens Park Rangers, Barcelona, Tottenham and as manager of England at Euro '96. But over the last decade Venables' managerial track record has been tarnished with less successful stints in charge of Australia, Crystal Palace and Leeds United.

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