His dad's bet

"My dad has always had great faith. He always thought I would be something special."

The father of Liverpool goalie Chris Kirkland and friends and family, who bet collectively £90 in 1997, stand to collect £9,000 if Kirkland lines up for the England team sometime in the future.

Eddie put £10 at 100/1 on his son winning an international cap when he had just joined Coventry City's Centre of Excellence in 1997. Six other relatives also put a £10 bet on Kirkland, while an eighth who bet £20, stands to win £2,000.

Graham Sharpe of William Hill, the bookmakers who took the bet, said: "We have literally thousands of bets from proud parents backing their children to grow up to win Wimbledon, play football for England, make the Ryder Cup team, have number one singles or even, in one case, to become a super-model.

"We're delighted that the Kirkland family will be able to have a big party to celebrate Chris's success, courtesy of the bets they placed with us when he was just another promising teenager."

Kirkland was chosen in the England squad but didn't play against Croatia in January 2003, but England's surpremo was confident in Kirkland's chances. "That was a good bet," Eriksson told a news conference in Maldon, England. "Sooner or later he will win that money, I am sure."

Story from January 2003

UPDATE on the story from 16.08.2006

England goalie nets family's bet

The family of goalkeeper Chris Kirkland have won close to £10,000 on a bet after he took the field for England in the friendly match against Greece.

Eddie Kirkland put on a bet 12 years ago that his son would win an England cap before turning 30. The syndicate can collect their winnings after Leicester-born Kirkland, who is on loan from Liverpool to Wigan, came on in the second half.

Mr Kirkland told BBC News: "I am so pleased for him. 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 £100 at 100 to one and it has come good tonight. Absolutely fantastic.

'Worth waiting for'

"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."

Bookmakers William Hill said Eddie Kirkland had staked £98.10 with the firm at 100/1, and would receive a cheque for £9,908.10.

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