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Last Updated: Monday, 5 June 2006, 03:44 GMT 04:44 UK
England: The team v the fans
The lap of luxury beckons for England's squad during their World Cup campaign. They will enjoy the best hotels, the finest facilities and travel in style.

Thousands of dedicated fans are making their way to Germany under more modest means. Among them are two men from Wigan in a 19-year-old campervan.

Claire Heald looks at how the two teams compare.

THE SQUAD

England
Frank Lampard celebrates his goal, with Peter Crouch and David Beckham
The fans
Ted, (left) Mark and their plastic players

England take experience with captain David Beckham on 89 caps, Gary Neville on 79, and Michael Owen with 36 goals in 77 caps. They have their most valuable stars - Rio Ferdinand (48m in transfer fees), Beckham (25m) and, fingers-crossed, Wayne Rooney (27m). Lampard, Terry, Gerrard and Beckham delivered for their clubs all season; future hopes rest on young Theo Walcott and Aaron Lennon. It's a tournament debut for Wigan men Mark Perry, 40, and John ' aka Ted' Burke, 46. Joining them are filmmakers Alan Miles and Greg MacDonald. Also on the van are six life-size footballer cut-outs, recycled from plastic conservatory roofing: Three mini Michael Owens, one Emile Heskey, one Gerrard and a German, Carsten Jancker - to commemorate England's 2001 5-1 victory over Germany.

THE ROAD TO GERMANY

England
The England bus
The fans
Mark, Ted, and Vanessa

England fly to Germany on a private BA flight with fans' good luck messages onboard and an afternoon tea of scones and jam. In the warm-ups they've enjoyed a luxury 400,000 bus with 40 leather seats, four DVD screens and Playstations for all. Outside it is painted in the St George's Cross. Inside, there's a loo, microwave-equipped kitchen and red carpet up the aisle. Tinted double-glazed windows afford privacy. In Germany, they forsake their Hummers, Astons and Ferraris for the standard-issue official Fifa buses. Vanessa, a 19-year-old Fiat Ducato campervan with 90,000 miles on the clock, is Mark and Ted's World Cup home. "Flagship of the range, 20 years ago" says Mark. It cost 2-3,000 including repairs. With new brakes, gears, toilet, furnishings, floor and door, "there's not much left of the original van". No Playstations, just chess. Outside, England stickers and a flag on a six-metre pole are "eye-catching". They'll take the overnight Hull-Rotterdam ferry and are "optimistic" the amble down to Frankfurt for England's first game will be hitch-free. If not, there's breakdown cover and "a generator so we could put the telly on and watch the match".

THE ACCOMMODATION

England
Schlosshotel Buhlerhohe
The fans
Sofa cushions, by Carol

Luxury of luxuries, England's base will be the Schlosshotel Buhlerhohe in the Black Forest mountains. Away from the hype, it is an isolated hilltop retreat. Mandela and Clinton were once guests. Becker married here. Peter Crouch will be happy snuggling down in the king-size two metre-long beds. The presidential suite is 1,500 a night, a bottle of Petrus '90 at the bar will set you back 3,250. There's a posh spa, mixed sauna, Michelin-starred chef, art on the walls and tight security. It's a 20-minute drive to the training camp and near a top medical centre. The open German road and its welcoming camp sites will be home to Mark and Ted. Not to be outdone, the van boasts mod cons - fridge, cooker, shower, outside shower, radio-CD player. They have nodding dog mascot George on the dashboard. England flag driving seats and sofa cushions have been sewn up by Carol, who looks after Mark's children. "Ooh, it makes it look 100 times better," he says. "Takes your eye off everything else that's not good." Outside, there'll be room under the awning for the others to sleep, should it feel a little cramped in the van.

TRAINING AND FITNESS

England
David Beckham and the team training
The fans
Chess pieces

The build-up has been long and dogged with injury worries for Rooney, Owen and Ashley Cole. At the Mittelbergstadion training camp, near Baden Baden, the turf was ripped up to make way for an international standard pitch. Warm-weather fitness and recuperation took place in luxury surroundings at the Vale de Lobo, "Europe's finest golf beach and spa resort". The wives went too, to enjoy the saunas, Turkish steam bath, wet room, and mud and sea-salt baths. More training in London and two friendly fixtures followed. "The work I've done on the van has kept me fit. I've kept Ted working hard," says Mark. "We haven't been doing much jogging. But we've played a game of chess on a Sunday, just to keep our hand in."

THE MANAGER

England
Sven-Goran Eriksson salutes the England crowd
The fans
Mark, (left), Ted (right) and mascot George the nodding dog

Sven-Goran Eriksson promises "the best is still to come" in his schwanengesang (swan-song) at Germany 2006. Before giving up a 3.95m-a-year salary he hopes England can go all the way to the final in Berlin on 9 July. "I hope I will be remembered for the World Cup 2006. That would be very nice," he says. "It's the best squad in five-and-a-half years and the team spirit is better than ever." If not, could it be the personal and professional discretions that define his era? Ted is the entertainments manager, he's in charge of chess. Mark is media manager, keeping the press pack at bay. They anticipate non-drivers Alan and Greg will play the gophers, brewing up the teas in the back of the van, while they take Vanessa's wheel up front.

ON THE MENU

England
England chef Roger Narbett
The fans
A traditional meat pie

The chef to the England squad for the past 17 years has been Roger Narbett. He runs two award-winning Worcestershire pubs. For England, he keeps it simple and healthy, three times a day, with salads, fresh fruit, and the athlete's favourite balanced meal, chicken and pasta. The scope of an England shopping trolley is vast - 1620 energy-boosting jaffa cakes, 200 muffins, chocolate, cherry and blueberry, thousands of tea-bags. The team may follow a disciplined diet, plus occasional comfort food, but the question remains - who will be sitting down to the 24 boxes of coco-pops? At an English and German fans' get together in Frankfurt traditional food and drink will be swapped. Maud, who has run Mark's local pie shop for 50 years, provided some tasty pastries baked to the family recipe. Cains and Moorhouse's breweries have supplied beers, including 'Fifa Pitch' - a first stab at German wheat beer. Black puddings and firecracker sausages, with a chilli-bite to them, are ready. Mark "cooking for 25 years, never had a meal returned" is the chef. Thai chicken curry is his signature dish. With three hobs on the van's cooker, spag bol and chilli are also forecast.

KITTED OUT

England
Gerrard, Cole, Terry, Beckham, Neville, in their Germany 2006 Armani suits
The fans
Mark's cartoon Rooney t-shirt

Expect footballer bling on the pitch as flashes of gold feature in Umbro's England strip. It's around the crest, on the players' number and right down to their socks. Kit is breathable, figure hugging, but with baggier arms. Off the pitch Giorgio Armani designed the formal and casual attire. Dark navy wool crepe suit, fitted white shirt with baby blue tie. Or polo shirt for the casual look. Players also get socks, cufflinks, watches and right-on Red campaign sunglasses, plus luggage and a wash bag. T-shirts and jeans are the uniform for Mark and Ted. Strictly unofficial England fan T-shirts, that is. One features a comic-strip Rooney, with his bandaged foot. Others have friendly messages for German fans: Bis bald in Berlin - an optimistic see you in Berlin, and the easily-translated 'Der ball ist rund'.

WIVES AND PARTNERS

England
Victoria Beckham
The fans
Mark, Janet, Jake and Ben

England's glamorous group of wives and partners, headed by Nancy Dell'Olio and Victoria Beckham, will be lodged in the plush Brenner's Park Hotel, Baden Baden. Not to be outdone, this one is the 'Spa of Spas' where a manicure costs 50 euros and a "black and white four-handed massage" 280 euros. Sven's policy of creating a relaxed team environment means they will see their other halves the night following England's matches. Mark's wife Janet and his two lads Jake, 11 and Ben, 5 are staying at home. For the first time, Mark is downbeat: "In 15, 16 years, it's the longest we've been apart. I'm going to miss my family incredibly, can't put into words what it's going to be like. There'll be a phone call every day, maybe twice if she's lucky. And I might jump on a plane for a surprise visit." Ted's girlfriend Linda and her son Dominic, 10, might fly out for a weekend.

STRESSES AND STRAINS

England
David Beckham is sent off in World Cup qualifier against Austria at Old Trafford
The fans
England fan in an England shirt

It's a well-documented 40 years since England's players lifted the World Cup. More than for a long time, it's the moment to banish the banter that they're overpaid show ponies. The scrutiny will be intense as Sven's chosen formation is examined. Can Liverpool's Gerrard do for his country what he turned in for his club? Will Rooney play? Can Beckham keep his sporting passions within the rules? Like an old married couple, Mark and Ted "bicker but never fall out". Both admit to untidiness. Between the beers, sausages, pies, T-shirts, two companions and six plastic people, they will have much to squeeze in the van. Mark's feet smell, but he says Ted accepts it. Their friend Dave Smith will also travel but has been banished to another campervan on account of his snoring "like an earthquake in the room".

THE BILL PLEASE

England
David Beckham promoting sunglasses
The fans
Fan friendship sticker on the van

The team play for pride but also money. England's 1966 squad collected a 1,000 bonus for lifting the World Cup. What today's players would get is undisclosed, but they are paid for each match. Personal success in the tournament can only boost the brand of stars like Beckham, worth an estimated 17m a year, and Rooney, 11.2m. Mark is an engineer but now works as a buyer and seller. Ted is a joiner. They've clinched sponsorship deals for the van, have petrol and campsite fees covered. But they are taking a month off work to follow England and spread fan friendship around Germany. The longer England stay in, the more it will cost them.




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