Tell-all biography signals fresh chapter for Sven

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The Independent Online

* Since the England football team's poor showing in the recent World Cup, controversies over Sven Goran Eriksson's weaknesses for dodgy Arab businessmen and indiscreet secretaries now seem but a distant memory.

But we may not have heard the last of the usually mild-mannered Swede, right - I hear plans for a tell-all biography are on the cards.

Last summer, reports claimed that a proposed collaboration with sultry Italian journalist Monica Casti was shelved after Eriksson decided to pull the plug on their original agreement.

But recently, sources close to Casti have claimed that the book is definitely back on.

Just last week, one of Pandora's moles spotted Casti arriving for a two-hour meeting with Eriksson at the offices of his London-based agent, Atole Still.

"The Sven book was certainly discussed and Monica's friends says she's confident the book is almost certainly back up and running again," I'm told.

If it does go ahead, it's not clear what will feature in the book, though any discussion Eriksson's time in the England job is unlikely to go down well with his former employers within the FA.

Despite still being paid a reported £13,000 a day by them since his departure, Sven recently refused to turn up on their behalf to a post-World Cup conference after a friend claimed he had been hurt by people "saying what a shit he was".

On the matter, a spokesman from Atole Still's office would only say: "No comment, he and [Casti] are very old friends."

* While Michael Jordan spent most of last weekend chomping nervously on cigars in an (unsuccessful) attempt to inspire the US in the Ryder Cup, his golf-mad compatriot Michael Douglas decided to stay away from events at Ireland's K-Club.

"Lend my support are you kidding? What the hell could I have done?" he told me at the launch of Fortune Forum on Tuesday. Probably not a lot considering we were getting our asses kicked."

Douglas's wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, on the other hand, was apparently delighted fellow Welsh idol Ian Woosnam got to lead the winning side.

"She never sent any message to Ian, as far as I know," Douglas added "But I'm sure he would've been way too busy partying anyway."

He's probably right. Woosnam was spotted in the early hours of Monday morning still polishing off a Guinness-guzzling contest with Darren Clarke.

* Film critics aren't the only ones displeased with Woody Allen's latest London-set movie Scoop.

British comedian Meera Syal recently discovered the scenes she shot for the film got left on the cutting-room floor.

Syal had been asked to appear in the film, a murder mystery featuring Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johannson, alongside her husband and comedy partner Sanjeev Bhaskar.

"Meera now only figures in a crowd shot," Bhaskar told me at CTBF Comedy lunch sponsored by TCM.

"She was particularly annoyed as she was pregnant at the time so it wasn't a comfortable shoot. Luckily, I had the sense to make sure all my scenes were with Hugh Jackman so I knew they wouldn't dare cut mine."

* Alastair Campbell's careful prepping of Tony Blair's conference speech guaranteed the Prime Minister a few months of breathing space, lpromting his performance to be dubbed "The Long Goodbye".

Campbell's task for today is more likely to be branded "Mission Impossible".

Campbell - happily taking credit for Blair's "bloke next door" joke at Gordon Brown's expense - was drafted in yesterday to provide some suitably witty gags for John Prescott's farewell speech to delegates.

"You never know, with Campbell's help we for once we might actually be laughing with Prezza," chunters a colleague.

* The sychophantic leeches which still cling to Tony Blair for dear life aren't the only parasites causing irritation up in Manchester. Earlier this week, the Labour MP Mary Creagh was horrified to find that a cockroach had taken up residence in her room at one of the city's leading hotels.

Despite informing her hosts of the unwanted guest - which she swiftly detained in a coffee cup - Creagh was incensed to discover that the creature had not been removed on her return some 12 hours later.

"I rang the hotel management and told them that I wanted to be moved to another room," she tells me.

"To be fair them, they agreed right away and were very apologetic."

pandora@independent.co.uk

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