Barry Venison was born in County Durham, England. He is an English former professional soccer player and sports television pundit, who as a player was a defender from 1981 through until 1997. He had a successful career playing for Liverpool football club, Sunderland football club, and Newcastle United football club, having also appeared in the latter years of his career for Italian club Galatasaray and also Southhampton FC. Venison was also one of the British footballers who sported the ‘Mullet’ hairstyle in the 80’s and into the 90’s. His longest spell at a club was LFC making 158 appearances, winning the league twice and FA cup once. He was also capped twice by England‘s national team. After his playing career, Venison made the smooth transition into full time sports broadcasting for ITV Sport, co-hosting ‘On the ball’ with Gabby Logan. Venison now resides in Southern California with his family, where he works as Technical Director for the OC Blues FC, who play in the United Soccer League. Red Touch Media’s Kelly Forshaw spoke with Barry about his career, Steve Gerrard now playing in the MLS and what he misses about the UK.
Kelly: Hi I’m Kelly Forshaw with Red Touch Media and I am joined with Barry Venison, how long have you been living in LA now?
Kelly: You like it then?
Barry: We like the sunshine yeah. The chat, the humor is not good. But the sunshine is fantastic.
Kelly: Is that one of the main things you miss about the UK, the humor?
Barry: I can’t say I miss Fish & Chips.
Barry: No… Actually I do yeah. A little bit. The humor is slightly different, but it’s a fantastic place to live. It’s a great place to bring a family and enjoy the lifestyle, so I can understand why Steven Gerrard’s here.
Kelly: Do you think it’s great that players like Gerrard are coming over to the MLS? They’re big names and it’s helping to grow the sport.
Barry: Absolutely, Steven Gerrard is a top class professional a world-class player. He’s won so much silverware, he’s a captain, he’s a leader, he’s still got a hell of a lot to offer football and to come here and for him to be seen here by the American public I think it’s fantastic for the MLS it’s great for him as a dad as a husband, to bring his family here. More importantly it’s a new challenge. It’s not an easy challenge to come here to the MLS; the MLS is a whole different kettle of fish to the premiership. People can judge whether it’s better or worse but it’s a different challenge. He’s going to have a difficult time integrating over the next three or four months. He’s got Robbie Keane to help him which is great, but it’s not all going to go his way and he’s going to have tough times, but he’s a fantastic player he’ll do well, he’ll do really well.
Kelly: Tell us what you’ve been up to over here?
Barry: I’ve been quiet, keeping my head down, keeping out of trouble. I’m now involved with a, for the first time in twenty years since I left football in England, I’m involved over here with the OC blues. I’m the technical director, so fancy that? I’ve not got a clue what I’m talking about but at least they listen. I’m back in football I love it. Ask Steven Gerrard, football is a drug and it never leaves you if you’ve had it all your life it’s really difficult to stay away from it. So I’m back, loving it and helping players develop, helping the team develop and the club develop and that’s really why Steven’s here too. He can help players around him he’s going to help the players, the team, the club and the MLS move on.
Kelly: You played for a few different clubs, if you had to choose one, who would you say was your club that you support in the premier league?
Barry: I always check the Liverpool scores first. I had a great time at Newcastle under Kevin Keegan, I really enjoyed my times with Graeme Souness. But when I think about it, my hearts never far away from Liverpool.
Kelly: I heard a rumor, today actually.
Barry: Oh no. Don’t say it!
Kelly: Okay I won’t say it.
Barry: What’s the rumor?
Kelly: What do you think I was going to say?
Barry : I don’t know, but I deny it!
Kelly: I heard a rumor that you were going to sign for a rival club of Liverpool?
Barry: Really? A rival club of Liverpool? Real Madrid?
Kelly: No! A neighbor of Liverpool.
Barry: Actually yeah, as I was leaving Liverpool I did have talks with Everton. But I ended up going to Newcastle.
Kelly: Oh well, that turned out well for you anyway.
Barry: Yeah, really well. Hopefully for Newcastle too, but really well for me.
Kelly: Thank you so much for speaking to us!
Barry: No problem, you’re welcome, my pleasure.