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FOOTBALL: Beckham: a transfer of two halves . . .

Byline: dean valler and MARTIN SMITH

. . . THE ECSTASY

SOCCER crazy pub landlord Paco Garcia is planning to travel to his native Spain to watch David Beckhams home debut for Real Madrid.

Paco runs the Bell Inn at Monks Kirby, between Coventry and Rugby, but hes prepared to abandon the bar for the famous Bernabeu stadium to see Becks.

The 47-year-old is thrilled the England captain will be wearing the famous white shirt of Real next season.

He believes the pounds 25m capture from Manchester United will establish this Real side as one of the greatest teams of all time.

He said: It is a great move. Real Madrid have the best goalscorers in the world with Ronaldo and Raul.

Can you imagine Beckham playing in the same team passing to them every match? They will be unstoppable.

I have got to get tickets. I think the skills he has are unique. To put the ball on a strikers foot is a great talent.

I have to go to the first home game of the season. It starts in late September and I want to be there.

Paco, who visits the Bernabeu every time he returns home, firmly believes that Beckham, his wife Victoria and young children Brooklyn and Romeo will love the life in Madrid.

He added: Madrid is heaven and Beckham will be a god. It is a beautiful city and it has got everything.

The Bernabeu is like my second home. When I watch the goals every Saturday night, you can see what the atmosphere is like.

The people of Madrid will love him and everybody will want his shirt. We have the best club in the world.

. . . THE AGONY

COVENTRYS number one Beckham fan Sian Noone said she burst into tears on hearing her hero was on his way to Real Madrid.

The 17-year-old Henley College student, has turned her bedroom into a shrine to the England midfield maestro and has met him an amazing seven times.

Sian, a striker with city womens football team, Marconi Ladies, once even held a 45-minute conversation with Becks following a game at West Ham United.

And the footballing icon also signed a shirt for Sians 16th birthday and she has a framed picture of herself meeting him.

The avid supporter has barely missed a Manchester United home game since she was three going along with dad Eddie, aged 48 and tries to get along to as many away matches as possible.

She was also at Barcelonas Nou Camp stadium for arguably Beckhams finest hour when his two late corners led to the goals that crowned Manchester United European champions in 1999.

Sian, of Sibton Close, Bell Green, added: When I heard he was going I cried, I just couldnt believe it, we will really miss him and struggle to win silverware because nobody can whip in a ball like he can.

But the football-mad teenager, who has a current United shirt bearing Beckhams name on the back, said she wouldnt be swapping it for a Real Madrid shirt.

I cannot follow any other team, but Im devastated Beckham has gone, and I know hell be a success with Real Madrid, she added.

Shops to roll up sleeves for the shirt rush

BECKHAM-MANIA may be at fever pitch, but dont expect to see people in Coventry and Warwickshire wearing the famous Real Madrid shirt with the England captains name on just yet.

Virtually all of Coventrys sports shops are no longer stocking Real Madrids outgoing 2002-03 shirt.

But when the clubs new strip is launched in July once the Spanish football season is over city sports shops plan to bring in large numbers of the famous white shirts to cope with anticipated demand.

And with Spanish legend Raul currently in possession of the sides prized No 7 shirt, supporters will also have to wait to find out which number Beckham will be handed for the start of next season.

CAPTION(S):

GREAT MOVE: Paco Garcia, landlord of the Bell Inn pub at Monks Kirby, has put up a banner in Spanish saying Bend it like Beckham. He plans to travel to Spain for the stars debut; CRYING SHAME: Avid Beckham fan Sian Noone, 17, is devastated that her hero is moving to Spain to play for Real Madrid. Pictures: JAMES BALFOURMEGASTAR: David Beckham
COPYRIGHT 2003 Coventry Newpapers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jun 19, 2003
Words:722
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