In an official club statement, Orange County Blues have named Barry Venison as their Head Coach.

The former Newcastle player already held the title of Technical Director at the USL club but says he was already also carrying out the role of Head Coach anyway.

With new owners taking over the club, Barry Venison says that he is open to anything in the future, whether staying at Orange County Blues, or moving on.

Venison’s club play in the United Soccer League (Western Conference) which is the third tier of football in America.

Last Sunday saw Orange County Blues visit Portland Timbers 2 and they were beaten 2-1, a certain Steven Taylor opening the scoring…at the right end of the pitch, having scored an own goal on his debut.

Barry Venison was arguably Kevin Keegan’s best pound for pound player that he brought to St James Park.

Dropping from Liverpool into the second tier for £250,000 in 1992 he excelled at both full-back and centre-half, before Keegan converted him into an impressive defensive midfielder.

In Venison’s time at Newcastle the club won promotion as champions, then finished third and sixth in the Premier League, before Graeme Souness took him to Galatasaray, Keegan even making a profit on the player!

Such was Barry Venison’s form for Newcastle, that at the advanced age of 30 he won a couple of England caps under Terry Venables.

A great servant to Newcastle and good luck to him in whatever he decides to do next.

Barry Venison speaking to The Telegraph:

“I’ve been the head coach here in all but name any way. Nothing has changed at all – it is just a title change.

“Everyone who has been associated with OC Blues know that has been the set-up here but it has now been made public.

“My day-to-day is exactly the same as it has been for the past 18 months.

“Even at the ripe old age of 52 I’m still learning and whether that’s in Orange County or in a different state or a different county that will continue.

“I’m being realistic. We’ve got new owners in – I don’t know what their plans are. It may include me, it may not. Right now I’m keeping my options very open.

“In the past two seasons I’ve had different opportunities to move to different clubs – in higher leagues than USL. Because I’ve been fully focused on my job here – and out of loyalty to Oliver (Wyss, the former head coach) – I haven’t taken them.

“But now when it comes to the end of the season I’ve got the chance to look at those invitations and put all those options on the table and seeing what are the most appealing to me.

“And if it includes OC Blues that’s fine and if it doesn’t include OC Blues that’s fine, too.

“We’ve got six games left of the rest of the regular season and we play four of the top teams, so it’s an exciting time. If we make the play-offs, any team can beat any team.

“I retain the same passion for the game now as I have had all my playing career. That driving desire and obsession with being successful and winning never wanes.”

Orange County Blues Official Statement

The United Soccer League’s Orange County Blues FC have promoted Oliver Wyss to Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations and Barry Venison to Head Coach, the team announced today.

Wyss will retain the title of General Manager and his expanded duties will include leadership of a new OC Blues Youth Academy and oversight of a significant expansion of the team’s front office staff and marketing activities. Wyss has been deeply involved in the Orange County soccer community since 1997. As the Director of the West Coast FC Boys Program, he has led the club to three US Youth Soccer National Championships. A significant number of the club’s former players are currently competing at the collegiate level and professionally in the USL.

Venison will step into the role of Head Coach while retaining the position of Technical Director.  Barry’s sixteen year playing career in England began with Sunderland at the age of 17.  During a six-year term with Liverpool, the team won the league in 1987-1988 and 1989-1990 and the FA Cup in 1989. At 33, he retired and became an expert analyst for the English television network ITV for 6 years before moving to the United States.

“Barry has been a mentor to the entire coaching staff and his experience and knowledge have been vital to the success of the team over the past 18 months,” said Wyss. ” I am looking forward to supporting him and the coaching staff as we lead the Blues forward into this exciting new chapter for the team.”