When I was young lad I was at a match with my father and it was my team Coventry City playing Huddersfield Town at our then ground Highfield Road. Nothing special about the game as it was just a Third Division fixture but what has remained in my memory is that our then Prime Minister Harold Wilson who was a big Huddersfield supporter was a special guest that day and as he took his seat in the stand the whole crowd clapped him, especially my dad who was a staunch Labour voter.
And with a big election coming up it got me thinking about that day and I read recently that our present Prime Minister is a fan of Aston Villa while Tony Blair who once held the post follows Newcastle United. But as we can’t really trust politicians, they could just be saying that to make themselves appear like us mere working class folk?
But “celebrities” can often be seen at our football grounds cheering on their teams, especially rock stars who seem to love the beautiful game. Old rubber lips Mick Jagger is a Gooner and gets his satisfaction cheering on the Arsenal, while fellow Stones guitarist Bill Wyman prefers watching his beloved Crystal Palace. Beatles legend Paul McCartney, who I’d expect to be a fan of Liverpool instead is an Everton supporter while Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant is a regular at Molineux as he’s a massive Wolves fan and also a director there too. Rod Stewart who is an Englishman is an avid Celtic follower and also supports the Scotland national side, while Robbie Williams is a fan of his local team Port Vale. But when he was asked to put some of his cash into the club he declined and kept his millions in the bank instead.
Noel and Liam Gallagher of Oasis fame are both mad for it for Manchester City while over at Old Trafford Simply Red’s Mick Hucknell can be heard singing along with the Stretford End as he’s a long term fan of United. But it’s not just a single celebrity that like their football sides as all of the Kaiser Chiefs cheer on Leeds United and Leicester rockers Kasabian are Foxes supporters. When on stage you can often see a large Leicester City flag or banner paraded proudly as they bang out their sounds to their fans.
Actors and actresses also like to get in on the act and down at Craven Cottage you may catch sight of Michael “your only supposed to blow the bloody doors off” Caine watching his team Fulham who also have Hugh Grant as a fan as well as Pointless host Richard Osman. Across London at Upton Park tough guy actor Ray Winstone likes to blow his bubbles as does Russell Brand, who when wed to singer Katy Perry took her to a match and she posed happily for the cameras wearing a tight fitting West Ham shirt much to the delight of the Hammers fans.
Brainy Stephen Fry sits alongside cookery expert Delia Smith at Carrow Road roaring on Norwich City while another intellectual Jeremy Paxman when not grilling nervous politicians, likes to watch Leeds United when he can. But I wouldn’t like to be sat near Brian “loud mouth” Blessed at Newcastle’s ground as he’s a Magpies supporter as you’d probably end up deaf as a post. Ant and Dec are both Newcastle followers but why support one club when you can cheer on two? Monty Python legend and globetrotter Michael Palin who hails from Sheffield likes both the Blades and the Owls from the steel city so much so he divides his support between Bramall Lane and Hillsborough equally and has be seen donning both blue and red colours during a season.
When not making audiences roll with laughter, comedians like to relax and many do so by following some club or another and Peter “garlic bread” Kay is a Bolton Wanderers fan, Phil Jupitus supports West Ham, while Vic Reeves comedy partner Bob Mortimer is a Middlesbrough supporter. At Selhurst Park Jo Brand cheers on her beloved Eagles and pint sized Ronnie Corbett has also been spotted getting behind the Palace, while impressionist Alistair McGowan has gone up in my reckoning as he has said he likes my club Coventry City. Frank Skinner is a huge W.B.A. fanatic while Ricky Gervais when not making sitcoms and films likes to watch Reading ,while fellow funny man Bill Bailey likes to get down to Loftus Road as he follows Q.P.R.
So the next time you’re at a match keep your eyes open as you may just spot a famous face in the crowd as it has been rumoured the Queen is a secret admirer of the Arsenal. But one well known person you won’t catch sight of anymore at the Emirates is none other than Osama Bin Laden who was once the world’s most wanted terrorist. When he lived in London would often go and watch the Gunners and when on the run it is said he wanted to know how his team were getting on. I wonder if he scratched the scores up on cave walls!