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THEY DO MAKE A LOVELY COUPLE; Mum blows the secrecy on Sven and Ulrika.

Byline: MERCURY REPORTER

ENGLAND coach Sven Goran Eriksson and TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson make a lovely couple, the mother of the blonde beauty said last night.

'They are very happy together,' revealed Ulrika's mum, Gun Brodie. 'I think they have a future together. I would be happy if they made it work.'

The blessing of the TV star's 55-year-old mum was seen as fresh confirmation that Britain's best-known Swedes have struck up a love match.

Her comments were the latest bombshell in the real-life soap opera gripping the nation - as Sven and Ulrika were both spotted at a top match yesterday.

Sven, 53, and Ulrika, 34, both went to the Premiership match between Chelsea and Manchester United, but sat apart in the Stamford Bridge stadium.

Meanwhile, Ulrika's proud mum was over the moon about the new man in her daughter's life.

'I think they have a future together,' she said. 'I know that they have met. Ulrika has talked about Sven Goran, but I haven't met him myself yet.

'They have been very happy together. They have enjoyed each other's company very much. But I haven't spoken to Ulrika today, so I can't say more about this.

'I would be happy if they made it work.'

Sven's mother, Ulla Eriksson, was more enigmatic about the relationship. 'The boy is over 50 years,' she said. 'You can teach children to walk but you can't tell them what road to take.'

The comments of both mums will come as a blow to Sven's Italian lawyer girlfriend Nancy Dell'Olio, who yesterday continued to deny that her man was seeing Ulrika.

She told reporters through the intercom at the luxury home she shares with Eriksson in Regent's Park, central London: 'We're still together and we're talking together.

'What the papers are saying is rubbish. It's the facts we're talking about. I'm not talking to any journalists and Sven is saying the same.'

Later, after Sven returned from the match where Ulrika had been spotted, Nancy spoke again through the intercom, saying: 'I'm feeling very well.' Asked about Ulrika's appearance at the match, she said: 'I don't know, and I don't care. I'm with my man. Leave us alone, we're having lunch.'

Earlier in the day, Ulrika had left her luxury home in Cookham Dean, Berkshire, accompanied by an unknown man and clutching a mobile phone.

'I'm going out for the day,' she said. 'I would appreciate it if you would leave my family alone.'

At the match, which Manchester United won 3-0 to sustain their hopes of winning the title, Ulrika sat next to TV personality Angus Deayton.

Speculation that Sven and Ulrika have begun a relationship has been at fever pitch after Jonsson's agent, Melanie Cantor, refused to deny a newspaper story linking them.

Nor was it damped down when Paul Newman, head of communications for the Football Association, said only: 'This is entirely a private matter.'

Sven has been in a relationship with 37-year-old Nancy for three years and she watched from the stands as England defeated Paraguay 4-0 at Anfield last week.

Prime Minister Tony Blair's right-hand man, Alastair Campbell, has admitted he might have introduced the pair.

They apparently met at a party for Express owner Richard Desmond in London's Roundhouse where Mr Campbell was present.

'I was in a group of people including Ulrika Jonsson when Sven-Goran Eriksson walked by,' he said.

'I said to her: 'Here's another Swede for you to talk to'. I thought as they were both Swedish and living in the UK they might have something in common. I was only being polite.'

Ulrika has been single since splitting from public relations boss Simon Astaire last year.

Sven is not the first soccer romance for Ulrika. She previously dated Midland football bad boy Stan Collymore.

But that relationship didn't last long after he beat her up in a Paris bar during the World Cup Finals in 1998.

She has said she can never forgive him for the attack. Last night Collymore was not available for comment.

CAPTION(S):

GAME ON... Ulrika and Sven at the Man United and Chelsea match
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Apr 21, 2002
Words:685
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