Football: The Sweeper - Six Mile Bottom in Beckham offer

Click to follow
SIX MILE Bottom, The Sweeper can report, is ready and willing to give its name to the next offspring of David Beckham and fiancee Victoria. Following the arrival of Brooklyn Beckham and suggestions in this column last week where Posh Spice might like to carry out her next pregnancy test in order to have a ready-made name for baby No 2, comes a generous offer from that very Suffolk village.

Actually, it comes from Gerry Crean, the proprietor of the Green Man Inn, whose hostelry near Newmarket racecourse has offered accommodation to the rich and famous for the past 500 years. He was both amused and delighted that Six Mile Bottom should be included in our list of, as he put it so tactfully, "possible Beckham baby conception centres".

He writes: "Indeed many a `celebrity' child has been conceived at this inn, including quite a few royal bastards, since the 15th century. No, I don't mean referees! Among the many royal mistresses who were entertained here was Camilla Parker Bowles' great-grandmother, Alice Keppel, who used to visit the inn with the then Prince of Wales!

"We still enjoy the custom of many famous celebrities, including well- known soccer players, particularly during the horse-racing season, but not David Beckham and his mistress, Victoria "Posh Spice". Not yet, at least. Perhaps after reading your column, they may fancy the idea of having a baby called Six Mile Bottom Beckham. I'll have the Royal Conception Room prepared, but being a Chelsea fan, I'm afraid its decorated in blue. I hope they won't mind!"

We hope that after last Wednesday night, nor will you, Gerry.

WITH IBRAHIMA Bakayoko at last finding his scoring touch with a match- winning brace for Everton at Blackburn in midweek, it looks as if David Unsworth will have to put on hold his hopes of a new career as a striker. Ever since Walter Smith switched Don Hutchison from midfield to attack, the central defender has been badgering the manager to give him a run- out up front, too, and anyone who saw his stunning equaliser for the Merseysiders at St James' Park last Sunday can understand why.

In fact the switch may not be as risky as it sounds. Unsworth, who has a high ratio of success from the penalty spot, started out as a striker and played his schools football in that position. "I really hated playing at the back," he said. "You were never involved in the game enough, and I think I was a bit of a glory hunter."

Down the years numerous players have successfully made the switch, Chris Sutton and Dion Dublin being two notable recent examples, while back in the Fifties, Blackburn's Fred Pickering was converted from a left-back into a highly successful striker and sold on to Unsworth's club for a then exorbitant fee of pounds 85,000. But perhaps the most striking comparison, as Unsworth was once told by the former Everton manager Joe Royle, is Malcolm Macdonald. He, too, started off as a fairly anonymous left-back only to finish up in folklore as a centre-forward.

"I think he thought I had a similar frame - plus I'm reasonably quick and left-footed, too," said Unsworth. "I never ever got around to it, but if I'm involved in a testimonial match or something at the end of the season I'd love to have a go."

IF ENGLAND'S hard-to-please fans show Kevin Keegan half the same degree of loyalty and respect that Newcastle fans still show their former manager, even two years after leaving the club, then he may end up lasting longer in the job than either of his two predecessors, Glenn Hoddle and Terry Venables, and certainly longer than the next four matches. Anyone dropping in at York City's recent home match at Bootham Crescent, for instance, could be forgiven for thinking they were at St James' Park, so much in evidence were the black and white stripes. And it was all because the Geordie fans, with a Saturday to kill before their match against Arsenal, wanted to lend their support to Keegan's visiting Fulham side.

Ruud Gullit, on the other hand, will never be taken to the Geordies' bosom in the same way as long he remains oblivious to the club's history. He made a great fuss recently about bestowing the No10 shirt (as vacated by John Barnes) on his new Croatian signing, Silvio Maric, without realising that the only number which matters a jot on Tyneside is the No 9 made famous by, among others, the above mentioned "Supermac", Malcolm Macdonald.

DERBY COUNTY will no doubt be expecting another large crowd at Pride Park today for the visit of Liverpool. But whatever the reasons are for why they keep coming back - and the opportunity to qualify for Europe is not the least of them - the chance of witnessing a glut of goals isn't one of them. Not once in 28 League games this season, plus five at the end of last season, have more than two goals been scored, either by Derby or the visiting team. And if Michael Owen cannot put that right then no one can.

THAT STRIKER with the Italian-sounding name who was both loved and hated in the Steel City is back playing for Sheffield. No, not Paolo Di Canio but Imre Varadi. Now in his 40th year, Varadi is turning out, appropriately, for Sheffield FC, allegedly the oldest football club in the world. The much-travelled Varadi, who, in fact, was born in Paddington, incurred the wrath of both Wednesday and United fans in the late early1980s by playing for both clubs, though not, of course, at the same time.

Comments