Lure of Arsenal favours Grant in football couple's tug of love

ARSENAL striker Suzanne Grant is desperate for her professional footballer boyfriend to join her in London. And, unusually perhaps, she now boasts the greater bargaining power in this tug of love having scored the goal which clinched a sixth successive title for her club on Sunday.

Grant's boyfriend David Winters helped make it a memorable weekend for the couple, who presently share a house in East Kilbride. The midfielder struck his third goal of the season for Livingston in the 2-2 draw with Queen of the South but remains unsure about his future with the financially troubled Almondvale club.

Winters' contract is due to expire at the end of this month, and Grant is hopeful he might secure a move to a club in the London area. As a valued member of England's most successful ladies' side she holds all the cards when it comes to convincing the former Ross County and Forfar Athletic player that he should follow her this time, not the other way round.

"It's down to David to get a team," Grant said. "I know Arsenal will look after me. I have been with David for six years and we have a house together in East Kilbride. We kind of go as a couple now. He might need to sacrifice his football for me for a change."

"David has not been getting his wages on time, and has not been paid yet this month, so it is a bit hectic financially," she continued. "Unless they can get better backing I won't be pushing him to stay. We need to be secure. We have bills to pay. He loves everything about the club so if he gets offered something he would love to stay. But obviously I would like him to come to England with me."

In the meantime Grant can revel in being the unlikely answer to a bar-room head-scratcher: Who was the last Scot to score an English championship-deciding goal on the last day of the season? It isn't Kenny Dalglish, whose goal famously clinched the title for Liverpool at Chelsea on the final weekend of the 1985-86 campaign. Grant's strike came in equally dramatic circumstances against Everton, the hitherto league leaders.

Sunday's 1-0 victory provided the perfect send-off for coach Vic Akers, who has retired after 22 years in charge. He had Grant to thank for the 32nd trophy of his tenure. The 25-year-old became the latest Hibs player to sign for Arsenal in February and followed up Kim Little's winning goal for the London side in the FA women's Cup final victory over Sunderland last week. The trio of former Hibees at Arsenal is completed by Natalie Ross.

The goal which sealed the last honour of the season was especially notable for having been made in Scotland. "It came in the 13th minute from a corner taken by Kim," said Grant. "The ball fell to me about four yards out. I took a touch with my thigh and volleyed it into the net. It was one of those chances which you can't believe has fallen at your feet."

Grant was back in Scotland yesterday, and wins her 69th cap for Scotland tonight at Forthbank in a friendly against Nothern Ireland, after which she will enjoy a fortnight's holiday with Winters. Also joining them on a football-themed break is twin sister Shelley. Her own football career has been interrupted by the birth of a daughter. Shelley's fiance is Don Cowie, who recently left Inverness Caledonian Thistle for Watford.