CHEERS &Amp; TEARS; 12 DAYS TO GO: ENGLAND OFF TO KOREA; Emotional Farewell after Pounds 37,000 Bar bill.(News)

Sunday Mirror (London, England), May 19, 2002 | Go to article overview

CHEERS &Amp; TEARS; 12 DAYS TO GO: ENGLAND OFF TO KOREA; Emotional Farewell after Pounds 37,000 Bar bill.(News)


Byline: JAMES WEATHERUP and ANDY GARDNER

THERE were emotional scenes in the departure lounge of Dubai airport yesterday as the England team left their wives and loved ones and headed off to the World Cup.

While David Beckham and wife Victoria fought back the tears, others were being shed...by the bar staff at the luxury hideaway where the squad, their families and team staff had run up a pounds 36,684 bar bill.

With temperatures nudging 100F it was no surprise that the party was thirsty. But the tab for just three days was so huge - it works out at more than pounds 100 per person per day for the 121-strong party - that shocked FA officials queried the bill.

At one point it was climbing at such a frightening rate that worried staff at the five-star Jumeirah Beach Club spoke to F.A. officials.

Eventually, after a discussion with the management, the FA handed over its corporate plastic.

A hotel source said: "The bill for the accommodation and food was over pounds 100,000 but that was expected. Part of that had already been paid up front. But it was a big shock when the bill for the drinks was checked. The FA thought it was way over the top.

"Originally the plan was to pay the bill for the drinks at the end of their stay, but that went out the window when the size of it was discovered on Thursday."

Prices at the hotel are no higher than those of any top London hotel. A pint of Fosters lager sold for pounds 4.37 while a tequila sunrise cocktail cost a modest pounds 5.57.

For teetotallers in the party, a 500ml bottle of Evian water cost pounds 1.99, a Highland Spring sparkling water cost pounds 3.58 and the energy drink Isostar could be bought for pounds 2.39.

Last night FA spokesman Paul Newman said: "It cost what it cost and the FA will pay for it."

The FA booked all 50 suites at the hotel. Skipper David Beckham and wife Victoria were given one of the two best suites in the hotel costing pounds 900 a night - which had an adjoining room for three-year-old son Brooklyn.

Coach Sven Goran Eriksson and his girlfriend Nancy Dell'Olio reserved the other.

The squad's other stars including Liverpool's Michael Owen, 22, and his 23 year-old girlfriend Louise Bonsall were given pounds 250-a-night junior suites.

But despite the luxurious trappings, some of the players still went clubbing into the early hours on their first night.

Southampton defender Wayne Bridge and Arsenal's Ashley Cole were spotted lapping it up at Cleopatra's bar in the Pyramids complex at 2am. They were joined by Emile Heskey, Rio Ferdinand, Sol Campbell and Nicky Butt who made their way round the various bars and pools, followed by a coterie of female fans. …

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