7 celebs you didn’t know were footballers from Bradley Walsh to Gordon Ramsey

Celebrities often get accused of being talentless charlatans – but here we have forged a list that says otherwise.

Succeeding in football is hard enough given that very few of those who try actually make it. And some of those who tried their hand but failed – or just gave up entirely after coming across a new passion – ended up being household names anyway.

From James Bond actors to sweary Scottish chefs, Daily Star Sport takes you through some of the biggest names who never made the cut on the pitch.

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Sean Connery

Mister James Bond himself had some fancy footwork back in the day. The late, great Sean Connery had a career on screen that spanned around 70 years. But it was during his youth that he was heavily drawn to sport.

"I played for Bonnyrigg Rose," said Connery to the Scotsman. "And I was offered a trial by East Fife. That’s the truth. Celtic, no." Madly enough one Sir Matt Busby decided to make the star an offer when he was part-time actor and on tour in Manchester. "I really wanted to accept because I loved football," Connery continued. "But I realised that a top-class footballer could be over the hill by the age of 30, and I was already 23. I decided to become an actor and it turned out to be one of my more intelligent moves."

Which famous name have we missed out on? Let us know in the comments section below.

Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay might be better known as a sweary British chef whose amount of TV programmes could rival that of James Corden – but growing up in Glasgow he was a hardened Rangers fan who had aspirations of playing professionally.

He managed to earn a spot at Oxford United before being spotted by his beloved club. He and his family moved back to Scotland so he could pursue his career.

“I did very well,” Ramsay told the Observer Sport Monthly. “I was a naturally aggressive left-back, a cut-throat tackler. You may have got past once but there was never, ever, ever a second occasion.

"And I was fast, I was a great 100m sprinter. If you were to compare me to anyone, I guess it could be Stuart Pearce. My dad was a Rangers fan and fantastically proud of me. But it was hard and very stressful. Never knowing if you were going to make it. I was petrified most of the time."

A serious knee ligament injury that cut short his career – but luckily he ended up becoming one of the world’s most famous chefs. Swings and roundabouts, eh.

Bradley Walsh

“Would I lie to you? I was once a professional footballer.” If your answer was ‘lie’ you would be entirely wrong! Daytime TV show guru Bradley Walsh played for Brentford for a stint before going on loan to Barnet. The cheeky chappy notched five Southern Football League appearances in the 1979-80 season but an ankle fracture cut his career short.

Still, not all is lost: we have been privileged enough to see Walsh’s ability in full force with all the Soccer Aids he’s done over the years.

Johnny Marr

Johnny Marr has often flirted with the beautiful game. From meeting Pep Guardiola in a special Q&A with The Guardian to having his single ‘Armatopia’ selected for the soundtrack for eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020, the former Smiths musician has always been in and among in some capacity.

But the Manchester legend wanted to become a pro player before he started rocking out by Salford Boys’ Club, with Nottingham Forest and Manchester City’s youth team wanting to snap him up according to a couple of accounts.

He recounted via the Daily Mail in 2007: "I toyed with being a professional footballer in my teens, but I think I'd have been the only player on the pitch wearing eyeliner. I used to go out to play looking like one of the New York Dolls. I was with the Man City juniors and was offered an apprenticeship with Nottingham Forest, but I realised my true passion was music."

Olly Murs

Olly Murs is one of the biggest names to ever come out of the X-Factor. But before he was a pop star, the Essex-born heart-throb played football at a pretty decent level.

Murs played semi-professionally for Isthmian Division One North side Witham Town between 2006 and 2008, featuring for the club's reserve team. He forged his way into the first-team and made three appearances in the following season. But he had to leave it all behind following an injury.

Boris Becker

The tennis star, currently serving at Her Majesty’s Pleasure on charges of hiding assets, was a talented youngster and was even given an opportunity to play for Bayern Munich’s youth setup. He eventually opted to use a racket instead – and did quite well, in fairness.

His passion for football, in particular Bayern, never waived, though. "I have had an apartment in Chelsea for the last 10 years and some of their players are my friends," Becker told ESPN. "I'm close with Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, while I know their former managers Luca Vialli and Ruud Gullit very well, so I was kind of rooting for them in the Champions League last season until they played the club closest to my heart in the final.

"Bayern v Chelsea in the Champions League final, now that was a pretty uncomfortable night for me. In the end, I have to admit I ended up feeling deflated and disappointed."

Ralf Little

Ralf Little, of The Royal Family fame, has been a keen player since 2003. The Bury-born actor has played for the likes of Maidstone United, Staines Town, and Edgware Town.

He has also featured in countless charity and exhibitions matches, ranging from Soccer Aid and the Game 4 Grenfell match at Loftus Road in 2017.


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