World Cup families...And Now For The Mads (The Mums and Dads)

When England travelled to Germany, it wasn't only the WAGs (wives and girlfriends) who went along. Ian Herbert plays keepy-uppy with the footballers' parents

Thursday 20 October 2011 13:40

Ron Callender, father of Ashley Cole

Ashley Cole lists his mother, Sue, and the Arsenal coaching staff as the biggest influences on his career. Cole sees a lot less of his father, Ron Callender, who left seven years after his parents married and now lives in Melbourne. Mrs Cole, who brought up both the England defender and his brother, Matthew, is known to dispense some of the wisdom that any jet-setting footballer needs. "She taught me that living in the world is not easy and you've just got to keep going and live your dream," he said recently.

She also provided a ticket for her former husband to see his son play in the 2002 World Cup, in Japan. Cole's fiancée, Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Tweedy, is single-handedly keeping his entourage in the upper reaches of the social stakes in Germany.

Janice Lavender, mother of Rio Ferdinand

The Ferdinands are among the World Cup's A-list, who travel to games by private jet. It's a far cry from life on Peckham's Friary Estate, where Ferdinand's mother brought him up. There's no sign of Ferdinand's father Julian, a tailor, who left home when the player was young. Ferdinand's long-term partner Rebecca Ellison is in Germany for the World Cup but, since she is pregnant, has lacked some of the high spirits of Coleen and her gang.

Bruce Crouch, father of Peter Crouch

There's no greater affection between father and son in the England team than that enjoyed by the gangly striker and his equally gangly father, Bruce, a senior advertising executive. He has been accompanied by his wife, Jane, and their daughter, Sarah, on the tour. A protective parent, Bruce turned around and gave the fans a piece of his mind when he heard them criticising his son in the crowd at the Trinidad & Tobago match. In return, Peter heaps praise on his dad at every available opportunity.

Wayne Rooney, father of Wayne Rooney

With in-laws like the McLoughlins, the poor Rooneys are finding it very hard to keep up on this World Cup tour. Coleen McLoughlin has long since overtaken Wayne in the celebrity stakes and her mum, Colette, has also eclipsed Wayne's mum Jeanette throughout the group stages of the tournament. While Colette can even give Neville Neville a run for his money, Mrs Rooney (a dinner lady) is less conspicuous.

Like her prospective daughter-in-law, Mrs Rooney has brushed up her image by losing weight and overhauling her wardrobe but her son has admitted she is inclined to cry when he performs well, which might explain why he wants her to keep a low profile.

Curiously, it seems that Wayne's dad, former boxer Wayne Snr, might have given the World Cup a miss. There has been no sign of him so far.

Neville Neville, father of Gary Neville

When your name is Neville Neville and you're partying for England in Baden Baden, you can be forgiven for thinking you're seeing double. True to form, Gary Neville's father was dancing on chairs in Garibaldi's bar with the girlfriends of Michael Carrick and Stewart Downing on Thursday night while raising an inflatable World Cup aloft and singing a song about Wayne Rooney.

All that won't come of much surprise to folk back in the family's home town of Bury, where Neville Snr, also father of ex-England player Phil and England national netball captain Tracey, is a legend - and was once commercial director of Bury FC. Fans at Manchester United even have a chant about him and his sons, which goes (to the tune of David Bowie's "Rebel, Rebel"):

Neville Neville, Their future's immense

Neville Neville, They play in defence

Neville Neville, Like Jacko they're bad

Neville Neville, Is the name of their dad."

Don Walcott, father of Theo Walcott

Don Walcott still can't quite believe he's in Germany so he can be forgiven for a degree of modesty in his alcohol intake - even though his son, Theo, hasn't had a run-out yet.

Walcott Snr, 45, an RAF civilian administrator from Newbury, Berkshire, has had a close hand in his son's rapid progress from the Southampton youth team to Arsenal. After the transfer, five months ago, he moved into a three-bedroom London flat with his son and drives him to training.

The proud father recently said of his son: "To me he'll always be my little baby."Hardly surprising, therefore, that Theo wants him in the background right now. Mum Lynn, 43, a midwife, is also believed to be in Germany.

Sandra Beckham, mother of David Beckham

The captain's parents Ted and Sandra, now separated, are a few steps removed from full revelry. This might be because the tournament build-up was not good for gas fitter Ted, 54. He is widely believed to have upset his son by writing his own pictorial book David Beckham: My Son without telling him. It meant that he was not present at the Beckhams' plush pre-tournament bash at their £10m mansion in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, while Sandra was. But a reconciliation was helped by David handing him tickets to England's games. There's not been too much babysitting of the grandchildren needed in Germany, either. Victoria Beckham has taken Brooklyn and Romeo out of the country between games - reportedly to Canada.

The Carragher clan, family of Jamie Carragher

When it comes to partying for England, no one can touch the Liverpudlian Carragher clan. There are about 20 of them in Germany, with a strike force led by Jamie's dad Philly - or "Carra" as his own entourage affectionately knows him. There's brother John in midfield and mates Stevie and Gary at the rear. Their clubbability has brought problems in the recent past, when one family member was fined £350 and banned from a ground for being drunk and disorderly during a Liverpool friendly match. The Carraghers are flying the flag with pride, even though their relative lack of affluence means they must slum it on a well-stocked coach to England games, while other parents cruise in by private jet.

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