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Ex-City star's dad scoops pounds 10,000 on bet; LUCKY: Goalkeeper's family celebrate after winning 100/1 bet placed a decade ago.

Byline: By Dean Valler

THE family of former Coventry City goalkeeper Chris Kirkland was today celebrating winning pounds 10,000 after he took the field for England last night.

The 25-year-old's father Eddie, who lives in Barwell, near Hinckley, placed a bet of almost pounds 100 about a decade ago that Chris would win a senior England cap before turning 30.

When the goalkeeper came on at the start of the second half in the friendly match against Greece at Old Trafford, it meant a six-man syndicate would scoop the jackpot.

And it also netted the Sky Blues about pounds 250,000 because of a deal struck when he was sold to Liverpool five years ago.

Eddie said he was delighted with his son's first cap for his country.

He said: "A few years ago I was confident that my son would play for England and he has done it tonight - fantastic.

"He was 14 or 15 at the time and my family, friends and work colleagues put a bet of pounds 100 at 100 to one and it has come good tonight. Absolutely fantastic.

"He has got the right attitude and ability and the talent. I am so pleased for him. He has deserved it.

"It has been a long time waiting and we hope for many more of them. It has been nine or 10 years now but it has been worth waiting for."

The goalkeeper, who is on loan from Liverpool to Wigan, said the bet had become the bane of his life.

He said a few days ago: "My dad never mentions it, but it's brought up all the time by other people and that's annoying.

"Hopefully I can get it over and done with as soon as possible and then people can stop talking about it."

Chris has been dogged by a series of injury setbacks, most notably a back problem.

He played regularly for Coventry City in 2000-01 season but was sold for pounds 6 million when the club were relegated.

The Leicestershire-born goalkeeper has also played for West Bromwich Albion, and is now on loan at Wigan Athletic, from Liverpool.

Bookmakers William Hill said Eddie Kirkland had staked pounds 98.10 with them at 100/1, and would receive a cheque for pounds 9908.10.

Spokesman Graham Sharpe said: "Mr Kirkland has been poised to win this bet for a couple of years now but injuries to Chris have prevented him getting that first cap until now. We are delighted that his foresight has paid off for him."

Match report PAGE 67

CAPTION(S):

TALENTED... Former Sky Blues goalkeeper Chris Kirkland (above) finally made his debut for England against Greece last night. Top, Eddie Kirkland, from Barwell with his son's shirt
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 17, 2006
Words:458
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