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Barry Venison (born 16 August 1964) is a retired Englishmarker footballer who enjoyed a successful playing career from 1981 to 1995, when he joined Southampton. He later worked as an television pundit.

Playing career


Venison was born in Consettmarker, County Durham. He played for England at youth and under-21 level in his early days. He started his club career in his native North East with Sunderland and set a record when he became the youngest captain at a Wembleymarker cup final when, aged 20 years and 220 days, he skippered Sunderland against Norwich City in the 1985 League Cup final. Unfortunately for both Venison and Sunderland they lost 1–0.

Venison had originally made his debut for the Black Cats, aged just 17, on 10 October 1981 in the 2–0 league defeat to Notts County at Meadow Lanemarker. He went on to play in 20 league games that season scoring one goal in the process. The steady and reliable right full-back settled into first team football well at Roker Parkmarker and became a firm favourite.

At the end of the 1984–85 season, the same season in which they had reached the League Cup final, Sunderland were relegated to the Second Division After Sunderland's failure to win promotion in 1985-86, Venison asked for a transfer as his Sunderland contract neared expiry in 1986, so he wrote to every club in English football's top division to ask if they were interested in him.

By the end of the 1985–86 season he had made a total of 205 appearances for the Wearsidersmarker; 173 of them in the Football League.


It was Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish who acted quickest and duly offered him a deal. The recent Double winners paid Sunderland £200,000 for Venison's services on 31 July 1986.

Venison made his Liverpool debut on 16 August 1986 in the traditional curtain raiser at Wembley, the Charity Shield, Liverpool faced derby rivals Everton, who had lost out to the Reds in both the previous season's League and FA Cup campaigns. The usual high tempo game ended in a 1–1 draw with both clubs sharing the shield.

Venison was a League Cup final loser again in his first season at Anfieldmarker, when Liverpool were defeated by Arsenal in the 1987 final. However, he was a solid, if irregular, member of the first team which coasted in style to the League championship in 1988, he ultimately lost his place when an on-song Gary Ablett forced Dalglish into reshaping his defence. Venison was also hampered by injury and was unavailable for that season's FA Cup final, which Liverpool unexpectedly lost to Wimbledon.

The next season would see Venison's first goal for the club, it came on 29 August 1988 in the 4–1 thrashing of Nottingham Forest in the quarter finals of the Centenary trophy. Barry featured in more games but with fewer starts, often named as one of the two permitted substitutes.

Venison, along with his team-mates, rallied round the bereaved families of the Hillsborough disaster attending a number of the funerals, he then played his role as Liverpool reached the final of the FA Cup again. Dalglish brought him on as an extra-time substitute as Liverpool defeated Merseyside rivals Everton 3–2. They later lost the League title in a decider against Arsenal at Anfield after Michael Thomas scored the winner with virtually the last kick of the whole season. Venison was on the bench again.

1990 saw Venison again hampered by injuries but he did enough to earn another League championship medal. The following campaign was a non-event for Venison as he only managed a total of 14 appearances in all competitions, however, this did include another Wembley appearance as the Reds faced bitter rivals Manchester United in the Charity Shield, again, the Reds had to share the trophy as they drew 1–1 with their North West rivals.

Newcastle United

After 158 appearances he left Liverpool for £250,000 on 31 July 1992 returning to the North East to play for Sunderland's rivals Newcastle United, who were embarking on their return to the top level of English football under the guidance of both Kevin Keegan and Terry McDermott.

Venison made his debut of the Magpies on 15 August 1992 in the 3–2 league win over Southend United at St James' Parkmarker, Venison enjoyed a tremendous beginning to his Newcastle career as they won their first eleven league games in a row. The run came to an end when they lost to a last minute goal at home against Grimsby Town; they fell just 2 games short of the record 13 straight victories. Keegan got his team to play in an exciting, attacking way with them becoming a talking point within the game for their exuberant style of play along with their mean defence which included a revitalized Venison. Newcastle went on to become Division One champions, winning the title with a 2-0 away win, coincidentally at Grimsby, thus gaining promotion to the newly formed Premier League.

Barry only scored one goal for the Magpies but he regards it as being the best goal he's ever scored; it was, in his words, "a 20-yard screamer" against Aston Villa at a packed St James' Park.[98473]

Venison was a crucial part of the Newcastle defence which progressed towards challenging for the League under Keegan in their first season in the Premiership. Keegan also successfully converted Venison into a midfield player, though he lost the club captaincy when he was spotted in a wine bar outside of the club's curfew.

In 1994, aged 30, Venison was picked to represent his country by new coach Terry Venables. The call-up came as a surprise, not least to Venison, but he played well in both of his full international appearances. His debut came on 7 September 1994 in the 2–0 friendly victory over the USA; his only other appearance for his country came on 29 March 1995 in a 0–0 friendly draw with Uruguay. Both games were played at Wembleymarker. Venison says that the wearing of the Three Lions is his proudest moment in football.


At the end of the 1994–95 season, after 130 appearances for the Toon, Venison was on the move. As his career reached its twilight years, Venison decided to try his luck abroad signing for Galatasaray in Turkeymarker on 31 May 1995 for £750,000. He was one of many British footballers recruited by coach Graeme Souness (who was, ironically, the manager who let Venison leave Liverpool).


Venison spent just under 5 months with the Turkish side, playing eight games, before he was on the move once more. He followed Graeme Souness and joined Southampton for £850,000 on 25 October 1995. After 29 appearances for the Saints, a bad back injury forced him to end his playing career, and he announced his retirement on 20 October 1996, aged 32.

After football

In retirement, Venison took up punditry for Sky Sports before moving to ITV and though he expressed articulate and knowledgeable views on the game, his on-screen performances were overshadowed by his rather flamboyant and garish clothing, combined with a streaked-blonde "mullet" hairstyle which he had sported throughout his playing days. He also popularised the phrase "It's just one man's opinion", before he eventually dressed more soberly for television and had a haircut. He later revealed he had rejected a TV role as lead reporter for a new show entitled Mullet Hunter.

Venison now resides in Southern California with his family, wife Julie, son Max (21) & daughter Jade (19). Max is a singer/songwriter




Newcastle United

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