Will Hollywood star Keira watch Wivenhoe?

MUSICIAN Paul Simon once stayed there, artist Francis Bacon painted there and Steptoe and Son actor Wilfrid Brambell once cavorted naked through the town's streets.

Roddy Ashworth

MUSICIAN Paul Simon once stayed there, artist Francis Bacon painted there and Steptoe and Son actor Wilfrid Brambell once cavorted naked through the town's streets.

But all of Wivenhoe's tales of famous visitors could be eclipsed if reports of an imminent appearance turn out to be true - that of Hollywood actress Keira Knightly.

Oscar-nominated Ms Knightly, 23, star of Pirates of the Carribean, Atonement, and The Edge of Love, is said to be considering a trip to show her support for beleaguered local football team Wivenhoe Town.


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The star, who showed her football credentials in the 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham, is a lifelong West Ham fan, and now former Hammers' player Julian Dicks has taken over as manager of Wivenhoe Town, is said to be keen to show her support.

The team, known as The Dragons, has recently fallen on hard times, but should Ms Knightly swap the red-carpet for the turnstyles Mr Dicks is hopeful it could mark a turning point in the club's fortunes.

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The former Premier League defender - who also played for Liverpool - has already received pledges of support from Sexy Beast and Cold Mountain star Ray Winstone and Eastenders actor Perry Fenwick who have said they will visit the Dragons' Broad Lane ground.

Yesterday Mr Dicks, who took over as Wivenhoe manager earlier this month, told the EADT he was pleased at the prospect of a visit by Ms Knightly.

“If she came down it would be lovely. I have already spoken to Ray and Perry,” he said.

“Obviously, she is a very big name - and she is, of course, very pretty. It would be absolutely magnificent for the club and would obviously raise the profile.”

Mr Dicks said he thought that, despite The Dragons' current lack of money, it would be possible to turn around its fortunes.

“I am a very ambitious person. I wouldn't be there if I didn't believe I could beat the odds.

“The problem is no money to attract players, but we are working with what we have got.”

The former hard man left-back - whose on-pitch nickname was “The Terminator” - added that he liked the atmosphere of the town.

“I went down to the quay last week, and went to the Rose and Crown. It was very nice down there, and there are some very nice places.”

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