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Profile: Andy Healy

Football crazy engineer Andy Healy is off to France 98.

Among the football-mad hordes descending on France will be Byrne Brothers senior engineer Andy Healy.

Welshman Healy is responsible for quality assurance on Byrne's £17M package to build seven concrete frames on the £150M Bovis Lehrer McGovern Canary Riverside residential development near Canary Wharf.

But he will desert the London-based concrete specialist next week to go to France. 'I have tickets for two matches at the Parc des Princes in Paris - Nigeria v Bulgaria and Argentina v Jamaica - and one for the Colombia v Tunisia match in Montpellier.'

'I can't wait to see the Parc des Princes. I've seen it so many times on television when watching the rugby and the atmosphere looks amazing.'

He is impressed by the other stadia on show at the tournament. 'The new Stade de France in Paris looks fantastic and while I'm in Paris I'll definitely have a look. Montpellier's La Mosson stadium has had a complete upgrade and looks great.'

The football crazy engineer is tipping Holland to win the cup.

'Brazil are the favourites but I feel the Dutch have overcome their usual internal squabbling and have a balanced squad with quality in every department - they are a good outside bet.'

The controversial ticketing arrangements for France 98 have been the only problem in organising his trip. 'I think the ticket allocation is scandalous. It took us nearly two days to get through on the official ticket phone line. However, everything else has gone smoothly. We will take the Eurostar to Paris where we have had no problems reserving cheap rooms. We are also booked a train to Montpellier.'

Healy does have some concerns surrounding the trip. He is worried about the prospect of crowd trouble at England matches 'The reason we are not watching England is because of the threat of hooliganism.'

Healy's Welsh heritage does not prevent him supporting the other home nations. ' As a Welshman I am fairly neutral but obviously I would like England and Scotland to do well.'

And the former Laing, Barhale and O'Rourke man believes they can. 'England have a good team and a good chance of making the semis. If Scotland can beat Norway I think they will go through to the second round.'

Healy is an Arsenal fanatic. 'I love Arsenal and go to every game.' He has been following the Gunners since he saw the London giants draw 0-0 with Cardiff in the third round of the FA Cup when he was eight. That year Arsenal went on to beat Manchester United in the final.

It is unsurprising then that Healy is backing the Dutch to do well in the tournament. He has been worshipping the skills of Arsenal's Denis Bergkamp and Marc Overmars all season. 'Bergkamp fully merits his FIFA ranking as third best player in the world and Overmars' pace is capable of beating any defender in the world. Arsne Wenger has managed to blend foreign flair with English spirit to produce an unstoppable combination.'

Richard Thompson

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