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Former England and Australia manager Terry Venables has agreed to become coach of Australian club Newcastle United in the country’s revamped premier league next year.

Venables’s last managerial post was an unsuccessful spell at English club Leeds United, which ended in March 2003, but he is remembered more favourably in Australia.

He coached the Socceroos in their 1998 World Cup qualifying campaign, when the Australians narrowly missed out on a finals berth after losing a two-match playoff against Iran on away goals.

Newcastle United general manager Jock Graham described the appointment of the 61-year-old Venables as the most significant signing in his club’s four-year history.

Soccer, notoriously faction-riddled in the past in Australia, is undergoing a major revamp under former Australian Rugby Union boss John O’Neill.

O’Neill has already announced that Australia’s 13-team National Soccer League will be reduced to eight clubs, including one from New Zealand, when it resumes next year.

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