The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Reid walks in as Venables walks out

Peter Reid was put in charge of Leeds United Friday until the end of the season in a deal that will link his salary to the team’s performance. The former Sunderland manager takes Leeds to Liverpool Sunday, inheriting from Terry Venables a side languishing just seven points above the relegation zone.

Venables’ sacking was announced to the Stock Exchange in a statement. Venables is expected to receive more than £ 1 million in compensation from the club.

Meanwhile, Peter Ridsdale, the Leeds chairman, has agreed a deal with Reid that will see him earn around £ 500,000 if he keeps Leeds in the Premiership this season.

Ridsdale said that he had met Venables Thursday and “sensed” that the time was right to bring an end to the former England coach’s rocky eight-month reign in charge of the club. “I sensed that probably it was the time and I got the impression Terry might have sensed it as well,” Ridsdale said. “From my perspective we could not risk the next eight games.

“The facts are that we are sat on 34 points with eight games left and in the last eight games we haven’t accumulated many points so we are taking the right steps to make sure we are not sucked into the relegation battle.”

The Daily Telegraph understands that Ridsdale was part of an informal discussion between the club’s directors at half-time in Leeds’ 2-3 defeat to Middlesbrough Saturday, when it was decided that Venables would have to be replaced.

The chairman, who had barely been on speaking terms with his manager since the £ 9 million sale of Jonathan Woodgate, did not re-emerge from the directors’ lounge for the second-half where it was decided that a caretaker manger would be appointed to take over from Venables.

Clearly delighted with his new manager, Ridsdale denied that Venables’ appointment had been a mistake but did admit that the man he appointed as David O’Leary’s successor in August had no way of knowing the difficult financial circumstances the club would find itself in and that debts would force the sale of six internationals.

Ridsdale said: “We are dealt the cards we are dealt, Terry came in to do a job and we all have an assumption of what might be available. But you tell me where we are likely going to finish in the Premiership, and how many televised matches we will have, and I will budget for it.

“We are 15th instead of fifth in the Premiership and that is another reduction. These are volatile financial issues that we have to take into our stride but if people ask ‘did Terry expect that the financial situation would be this serious'’ then the answer is no. But then neither did we.”

For Reid, his time in charge of Leeds began with a joke — that he had “just got in” when Ridsdale called him at 9am yesterday morning — and the promise that he had not even asked about money before deciding to make up his mind and take the job.

Reid said: “Anyone who knows anything about football will tell you that when the chairman of Leeds United asks you to do a job — even if it’s just eight games — then you don’t say no. The chairman has told me about the difficult times here but that’s history to me — I just want to enjoy these eight games.”

Acknowledging that it would be something of a public relations masterstroke, Reid said that he would pick the supporters’ favourite, David Batty, for Sunday’s squad despite the former England international having not played a game all season under Venables.

“If David Batty is fit he will be in the squad — what has gone on before is history,” Reid said.

A long list of possible permanent successors to Venables is headed by Celtic’s Martin O’Neill. While O’Neill may now be out of Ridsdale’s reach, the Leeds chairman will be able to take his pick of the best the first division has to offer, which would include Paul Hart at Nottingham Forest and Leicester City’s Micky Adams.

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