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Venables mulling over approach from Toon

Former England boss Terry Venables is trying to decide whether to become interim manager of troubled Newcastle.

Venables is the latest in the frame to take over since the departure of Kevin Keegan and the decision of owner Mike Ashley to put the club up for sale after a fans' revolt over Keegan's departure.

Venables revealed talks with the St James' Park club began on Wednesday and that he hoped to give them a decision by the end of Thursday.

"I can confirm I met Newcastle representatives today," Venables told The Sun.

"Those talks will continue in the morning when, hopefully, I can give them a final decision."

For fans who have spoken out against the 'cockney mafia' running the club - in reference to Ashley's close relationship with London-based vice-president Tony Jimenez, managing director Derek Llambias and executive director Dennis Wise as opposed to Geordie godhead Keegan, Venables may not be a popular choice.

Venables was in London on Wednesday with Wise, Jiminez and Llambias as they tried persuade the 65-year-old to take over control of first team affairs from Chris Hughton.

Venables previously held talks with Newcastle in September 2004 when he was in discussion with then chairman Freddy Shepherd to succeed the sacked Sir Bobby Robson but the job eventually went to Graeme Souness.

Newcastle's 2-1 home defeat to Tottenham in the Carling Cup third round last night was a fourth successive loss for a team also struggling in the lower reaches of the Premier League.

The Magpies' angry supporters voted with their feet as a crowd of just 20,577 - the lowest for a competitive match at St James' Park since the capacity was increased to in excess of 52,000 - turned up to see them lose to Spurs.

That came amid continued speculation about the future ownership of the club with a consortium from Nigeria believed to be the favourites to take over.

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