The Most Famous Fan of Each English Premier League Club
Everyone loves football. Just because you happen to be famous, it doesn't mean your weekends aren't defined by the performances of your chosen club.
And if you don't love football, sometimes it pays to at least fake an interest in the beautiful game, because apparently if football fans know you support the same team as you that helps you sell more movie tickets/get bigger ratings/sell more records—delete as applicable.
As we go through the most famous fans of each English Premier League club, you'll notice there is a mix of both categories. Then they'll be some you will probably never have heard of and maybe one or two you just won't believe. Like is it true that Mikhail Gorbachev is a Wigan Athletic fan?
Read on and find out.
Arsenal: Roger Daltrey
One of the greatest rock 'n' roll frontmen of all time, Roger Daltrey of The Who is also an Arsenal fan. The 67-year-old London-born singer's links with the the Gunners go beyond supporting the club though.
Back during the 2008/2009 season, Arsenal raised money for the Teenage Cancer Trust, a foundation Daltrey has been instrumental in promoting with yearly concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and other events designed to raise money for the cause.
Between them, Arsenal's players, staff and supporters contributed £523,816 for their designated charity of the season. Daltrey told The Who's official website in 2009:
“As an Arsenal fan I am proud of how the Club and its fans from across the world got behind Teenage Cancer Trust last season. This incredible fundraising total is testament to the dedication and generosity of the Arsenal community. Their support will enable Teenage Cancer Trust to make a huge difference to many young people with cancer through our new, much needed day care cancer unit which will be built in London.”
Unfortunately for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, Daltrey's fellow Gooners are not being quite so charitable in their patience for their beleaguered boss right now.
Aston Villa: Prince William
Tom Hanks was for a time classified as an Aston Villa fan, but in recent interviews he has all but confessed as to it being a casual comment that ended up with him holding a Villa scarf aloft for some photos at a film premiere.
No, Aston Villa's actual most famous fan is Prince William. This one is a bit tenuous too, stemming from him watching the club's 2000 FA Cup semifinal win before congratulating them in the changing room after. Well unlike Hanks, at least William has been to see a game or two.
Villa's official website also claims that when his father, Prince Charles, opened Villa Park's Trinity Road Stand in 2001, the first in line to the throne was under orders to bring his son back a pair of Villa socks.
As president of the Football Association it seems likely that the second in line to the throne at least has a little interest in football. Though apparently it isn't quite as exciting as polo and egg-chasing...
Blackburn Rovers: Matt Smith
When he is not busy travelling through time as the latest incarnation of Doctor Who, actor Matt Smith is busy watching Blackburn Rovers.
Smith, a former youth team player at Nottingham Forest and Leicester City, followed his dad in supporting Rovers. In a 2010 interview with the Manchester Evening News he described them as "the best team on the planet."
Bolton Wanderers: Amir Khan
Amir Khan has made a point of staying true to his Bolton roots. The boxer's Gloves Community Centre Gym was purposely built in his hometown, so as well as being used for his own training, local kids and people could also make use of it in their efforts to stay fit too.
Since coming to the attention of the British public after winning a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics, Khan has also not been shy in professing his love for Bolton Wanderers.
The current IBF and WBA light welterweight champion is often seen at the Reebok Stadium to watch matches and the club are never far from his thoughts, as evident by Khan often bringing them up in interviews despite him not necessarily being in the country.
It is a reciprocal relationship too, with Bolton players and staff backing Khan in his big fight nights, often going to lend him their support too.
Chelsea: Lord Richard Attenborough
With Chelsea's trendy west London location, the King's Road and all that, it is perhaps not surprising their list of celebrity fans extends longer than many Premier League clubs.
Most of these may have gone to a game or two, but a genuinely famous and legitimate Chelsea supporter is Lord Richard Attenborough.
The Oscar-winning director of Gandhi and actor in such famous films as Jurassic Park and The Great Escape, Attenborough's involvement with the club extended beyond just cheering his team on however.
Attenborough served as a director of Chelsea from 1969 to 1982, and from 1993 to 2008 was a Life Vice-President with the club. Since 2008 he has carried the title of Life President.
Everton: Sylvester Stallone
Okay labelling Sylvester Stallone an Everton fan might be pushing it a bit, but arguably nobody as famous as the Hollywood star as displayed the Toffee's colours as he did on a cold January afternoon in 2007.
A friend of Planet Hollywood co-founder and Everton director Robert Earl, Stallone paraded around the pitch at Goodison Park wearing an Everton coat and holding aloft a club scarf before the team's 1-1 draw with Reading.
If you might of thought an American actor might have drew the ire of sharp-tongued Scouse football fans, well Stallone actually got quite a good reception. He is Rocky after all.
Fulham: Hugh Grant
If you didn't much about Hugh Grant or football, you might have thought he was Fulham's manager or chairman from the amount of times television directors switched to shots of the Notting Hill star during the club's Europa League run in 2010.
Born nearby in Hammersmith, Grant is a lifelong Fulham supporter and is supposed to have once worked for the club as a groundsman at Craven Cottage.
As mentioned, he was a regular visitor to the ground in the club's European campaign in 2010, witnessing famous wins over Juventus and Hamburg. Grant made the trip to the German city for the final, but his team were unable to beat Atletico Madrid.
Liverpool: Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson became a Liverpool fan while filming The 51st State in 2001, with the northwest-set film featuring scenes where his character went to watch a game between them and Manchester United.
In a January 2009 interview with The Word magazine, Jackson commented on the chances of then-manager Rafa Benitez taking the team to the Premier League title that season while later that year he was pictured at the ESPY Awards with a Liverpool shirt.
The Pulp Fiction actor was even asked by Liverpool fans in 2010 to participate in a protest film aimed at driving out then-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
Manchester City: Liam and Noel Gallagher
The history of Oasis, and in particular its chief protagonists Liam and Noel Gallagher, is one entwined with that of Manchester City. In an early photo shoot for an interview with British music weekly New Musical Express (NME), the brothers were shot wearing the City kits they made hugely popular with its apt sponsor of Brother.
Of course they went on to play massive gigs at both Maine Road and the City of Manchester Stadium. For the former Liam and Noel along with bass guitarist Guigsy were shown in photos on the tickets wearing their City kits (notably minus rhythm guitarist Bonehead, a Manchester United fan who refused).
More recently, Liam's current band, Beady Eye, performed a version of club anthem Blue Moon (see video) to mark the launch of the new Man City home strip.
Manchester United: Mick Hucknall
Mick Hucknall is the frontman for Simply Red, a band who have sold over 50 million albums worldwide, and an avid Manchester United fan.
Hucknall is often asked for comment on his favourite football team. In a November 1999 issue with British magazine Four Four Two he spoke about his idolising of United legend George Best, hanging out with Eric Cantona and even compares his job to Sir Alex Ferguson's.
"Alex is almost like a band leader," said Mick. "He’s the guy who has to be the bastard because he has to give the bad news as well as the good news to his team and I can relate to that."
In the same interview it is revealed that at a gig, at of all places Manchester, Simply Red delayed the start by 15 minutes so Hucknall could finish watching a United game.
Newcastle United: Tony Blair
Tony Blair a Newcastle United fan? That always seemed a funny one to football fans, and it wasn't helped by the famous revelation from the ex-British Prime Minister that he used to watch club legend Jackie Milburn as a boy. This was despite it being worked out by some that when Milburn retired, Blair was only four and not even in the country.
To be fair to Mr. Blair, after much poking of fun at his expense, it was revealed years later that some wires had been crossed in the reporting that led to this being said as fact. Blair had merely commented that he believed Milburn to be the greatest footballer ever.
Norwich City: Delia Smith
Initially famous in England for being a BBC cook and television presenter, Delia Smith made herself known to a whole new audience when she became a majority shareholder at Norwich City.
Until this year she utilised her skills in charge of catering at Carrow Road, but visually has been a regular presence in the stands cheering her team on.
In a famous incident in 2005, during Norwich's last spell in the Premier League, Smith went onto the pitch at halftime when the team were down against City and delivered an infamous call to arms to the Canaries faithful (see video). They still went onto lose 3-2.
Queens Park Rangers: Bill Bailey
To be honest, QPR don't really have too many famous fans. Mick Jones from The Clash is apparently one, but there wasn't much information about that. So you have Bill Bailey, the much-loved comedian, musician and actor.
Bailey was originally a fan of non-league outfit Bath City but after moving to London's Shepherds Bush about 20 years ago, he adopted the local team there. His all-time favourite player is Clive Allen.
Stoke City: Dominic Cork
Stoke have even less famous fans than QPR. So here is Dominic Cork apparently he supports Stoke.
He currently plays for Hampshire and has played for England in the past. If you're from a test-playing nation, you may have heard of him. He is a pretty good cricketer, that is all.
Sunderland: Paul Collingwood
Another cricketer, who again, unless you're from a test-playing nation you probably haven't heard of. At least with the ever-dependable Paul Collingwood, we have some information about his supporting of Sunderland, thanks to an ever-so-helpful interview by the folks at Four Four Two.
Collingwood was there at St. James Park when Sunderland famously beat rivals Newcastle United 2-1 in 1999 on a night when it was absolutely hammering it down and Ruud Gullit all but lost his job as Newcastle boss.
"We were soaked but we didn’t care, Shearer was on the bench and we came back from a goal down to win 2-1. When Kevin Phillips scored the winner we went berserk.”
Collingwood's favourite player is goalscoring great and current chairman Niall Quinn.
Swansea City: Catherine Zeta-Jones
Oscar winner and Swansea native Catherine Zeta-Jones is without doubt the most famous fan of the local team. She was unable to make it to the Championship playoff final in May that saw them promoted to the Premier League but lent a message of support beforehand before going onto reminisce about City's last time in the top-flight.
"Coming from a family of Swans fans from such a young age I wait with baited breath for the playoff final in Wembley," said Zeta-Jones.
"I vividly remember the Swans when they were last playing top-flight football in the early 1980s and loved every minute of it.
Tottenham Hotspur: Paul Whitehouse (Kind Of...)
Jude Law is actually Tottenham Hotspur's most famous fan, or maybe it's the King of Norway. But neither are nearly as interesting or funny as comedian Paul Whitehouse, who, in the legendary British sketch programme The Fast Show, played the hilarious football pundit spoof Ron Manager.
Now that is proper football credentials as far as I'm concerned. And rather than a picture of Jude Law, I think it's more fun getting a clip of Ron Manager instead.
West Bromwich Albion: Ronnie Wood
Ronnie Wood adopted West Bromwich Albion as his team back in the 1950s, even though as a Londoner he had the pick of the capital's big teams.
The Rolling Stones and Faces guitarist told JACK magazine in 2003: “West Bromwich Albion (were) very big in the Fifties. It’s a bit like my boys now supporting Arsenal and Chelsea.”
Wigan Athletic: The Myth of Mikhail Gorbachev
Former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev is a Wigan Athletic fan?! As unlikely pairings go, this was one of the craziest, but for a long time rumours persisted he was indeed a Latics fan.
Sadly, in 2005 the club's commercial director John Fillingham admitted the tale that Gorbachev would await Wigan results while sitting in the Kremlin in his club colours was made up. Back in the gloomy days when the club struggled at the bottom of the Football League it was hoped the story of this unlikely celebrity fan would drum up some interest.
It did so for a time, but Dave Whelan's massive investment rather than Gorbachev's alleged support is generally credited with the rise of Wigan Athletic.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Robert Plant
Led Zeppelin frontman and renowned solo artist Robert Plant is a Wolverhampton Wanderers fan of over 50 years now.
A regular visitor to Molineux, a jubilant Plant was interviewed on television in the hours after his beloved team managed to avoid relegation last season, but his fanaticism extends beyond just watching.
His 1988 album Now And Zen features a wolf motif on the cover. On the end of a B-side, Oompah (Watery Bint), Plant used observations made by Wolves legend Steve Bull on telephone clubcall line.