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Sep 25, 2008

Venables turns down Newcastle job offer

Terry Venables has rejected the chance to manage Newcastle United after a second day of talks in London.

It is understood that the former England manager was unhappy with owner Mike Ashley's offer of the manager's role on a match-by-match basis, preferring a longer-term contract.

The news is expected to be broadly welcomed on Tyneside with scpetical fans viewing 65-year-old Venables as another addition to the 'cockney mafia' running the club.

The popularity of London-based vice-president Tony Jimenez, managing director Derek Llambias and executive director Dennis Wise reached an all-time low with Magpies fans after Kevin Keegan was ousted from the manager's seat earlier this month.

With Ashley courting suitors for a potential £350 million takeover Newcastle are only looking to secure an interim manager, not a long-term appointment.

Just 20,577 fans were at St James Park on Wednesday night to watch Newcastle slip out of the Carling Cup to holders Tottenham, when defensive errors and a clear lack of confidence amongst the players allowed Spurs to put their own woes behind them.

The Magpies face Blackburn in the Premier League on Saturday when the rebellion against Ashley is likely to increase in volume if they do not end a run of four successive defeats in all competitions.

Investment bankers Seymour Pierce are currently looking for buyers for the club with a Nigerian consortium emerging as a frontrunner. The Nigerian group have curried favour with large sections of the club's support by hinting that they will restore Keegan to his post.

However, Seymour Pierce are understood to be assessing the credentials of several potential buyers - there have also been links with Chinese, American and local investors.

That process, which will depend largely on the willingness of interested parties to meet the asking price will take time, and there is little prospect of a sale going through within days.

Indeed, the speed with which Ashley tied up his own swoop without conducting due diligence may serve as a salutary lesson for those looking to succeed him after he found himself facing a series of unexpected bills.

But the need to provide Hughton with experienced support is becoming more urgent by the day with the Magpies' tailspin threatening to accelerate.

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