The fan - Hunter Davies

In Becks Major's book, Sven will find all the tips he needs to manage England

That great upmarket, intellectual, top-quality newspaper, the Times, has been serialising the biography of one of the most important and influential figures in world football - Ted Beckham. Fans everywhere will always be indebted to him siring young David.

There was intense competition for the serial rights, notably a last-minute bid from the Beano, which reportedly offered a "high four-figure sum" (thought to be £19.99). If only it had got "into bed" with the Dandy (this is a technical expression oft used in newspaper and magazine bidding wars, and not in any way associated with Boy David), it might have pulled it off.

Just as well for me. The Beano and Dandy are late arriving up here in Lakeland - I think the postie reads them first. But one of my gardeners gets the Times, so I was able to devour every word of David Beckham: my son by Ted Beckham. The price is £18.99, but the Times is doing a special offer, post free, at £17.09. That's all my Christmas presents settled.

Among the pearls, the paragraph that struck me most was the exclusive revelation that David sucked a dummy until he was six. He'd probably be sucking it to this day, so Ted reveals, but for some smart work by David's mother, Sandra.

"Sandra decided that he had to give it up. She told him it was time for our pet rabbit to have it - a ruse of course - and she was expecting a big fuss. But next day, he dropped the dummy into the hutch and that was the end of it."

Brilliant! I have two grandchildren, one of whom is six, and I'm sure each was well aware by the age of two, perhaps three max, that rabbits don't in fact use a dummy. But of course my grandchildren are incredibly advanced and this is 2005. Dad Becks is describing a scene that took place in suburban Essex back in the dark days of the early Eighties. Understandable.

I do hope Sven has read and digested every word. It could help him, in whatever he is doing now, wherever he may be.

I have to cover myself in case by the time you read this we've been stuffed by Austria and Poland, and Sven has resigned in a hissy but silent fit and is now in the wastes of Arctic Sweden, with only his millions to keep him warm.

Two things have always puzzled me about his style of management, which otherwise has been exemplary, not to say excellent. First, he never makes notes. Now this is unusual in modern management. It could of course be that his brain is so big, his memory so phenomenal. And yet most top foreign managers, such as Jose Mourinho and Rafael Benitez, do make notes during a game, as do young English pretenders such as Alan Curbishley and Alan Pardew.

It always heartens me to watch them, scribbling away in the dugout. I feel cheered, pleased, nay proud. Writing is not dead, I tell myself; there is still a place for it in this technological age, despite iPods, whatever they are, and miniature mobile phones. I am glad for my successors in the field of football biography, hacks to come, who will have something concrete to go on: thoughts of great men preserved for ever, for I'm sure modern managers never throw such precious items away. They have to think of the royalties to come.

Second, Sven always leaves ten minutes before the end of every game. I always presumed it was to avoid the traffic, as of course he is a very important person, with at least six teams a year to pick, and only one pencil. Or he's simply hurrying home to Nancy, or similar. But last weekend, at Charlton for their game against Spurs, there he was, well before the end, gone. Yet we know Charlton get small gates, so there was no need to rush. So why had he done a bunk, early doors?

Obviously, to finish off Becks Major's book. And in it, he will have found all the aide-memoires, notes and tips he'll ever need to manage England.

For surely the reason England were able to hammer Austria and Poland was that, at half-time, Sven gave David a dummy to calm him down/the reason we got thumped was that Sven forgot David's dummy. (Note to editor: please delete whichever is not applicable. Thanks.)