Manchester United: Red Devils' Top 10 Celebrity Fans
And now for something completely different.
Forget about the horrible loss to City or the panicked wish lists said loss is generating. Manchester United still remains one of the most popular sporting clubs in the world. Some reports claim up to 300 million Red Devil fans worldwide.
And, yes, most of them are just average joes like you and me. But some of them are nearly as famous as the athletes they support, and here's my list for the top 10 celebrity fans.
Bear in mind, "celebrity" can be a bit relative. North American readers, fear not; there will be more names you recognize in the second half of this list.
10. Kym Marsh: Singer/Actress
Yes, she's the lovely lady serenading Sir Alex in the previous slide.
North American readers may have never heard of the pop band Hear'Say or the (very) long-running British sopa opera Coronation Street, but both are quite popular in the UK.
Kym Marsh was a member of the pop group before moving to television in 2006, where she has remained ever since. She is quite vocal about her love for Manchester United and has performed for the club on a few occasions.
9. Ulrikka Jonsson: Actress/TV Personality/Writer
If infamy were the same as popularity, this woman would probably be at the top of the list.
Where to even begin with this woman?
Aside from her numerous television appearances including from Celebrity Big Brother, Shooting Stars and Dog Eat Dog, Ulrikka Jonsson is probably best known to fans for an affair with one-time England manager Sven-Goran Erikkson. The affair led to a regular column at News of the World, where she would continue to comment on Mr. Erikkson's personal life.
8. Thom Yorke: Musician
Rock stars love football. And while Manchester City can count the likes of Liam and Noel Gallagher amongst their musician fans, United can counter with Morrisey, Richard Ashcroft of The Verve and Thom Yorke, former front man of uber-popular alternative rock band Radiohead.
7. Gary Rhodes: Celebrity Chef
Sure, for most people, the most famous British celebrity chef is wither Jaime Oliver or Gordon Ramsey. But Gary Rhodes (that's "Gary Rhodes, OBE," mind you) is no small fry in the culinary pond himself.
Having fronted shows such as MasterChef, MasterChef USA and Hell's Kitchen, this United fan has been cooking up a storm and earning Michelin stars for decades.
6. Ian McShane: Actor/Director
What did Ian McShane say to Jonny Evans at the end of the Manchester derby?
"You're nothing but... Deadwood."
Yeah. I went there.
5. Steve Coogan: Actor
Many British comedians make a name for themselves by creating characters on television that they became known for. Rowan Atkinson had Mr. Bean and Black Adder. Steve Coogan had Alan Partridge and Paul Calf.
The admitted "Weekend Manchester United fan" once related an interesting story about watching a game wherein David Beckham debuted a new haircut. As one, the away crowd started chanting "Are you Paul Calf in disguise?"
It should be noted that Paul Calf (pictured above) was an avid Manchester City fan. Ouch.
4. Justin Timberlake: Singer/Actor
The star of the upcoming Andrew Niccol film In Time and the man who got to rub himself all over Mila Kunis in Friends With Benefits once claimed that Alan Smith is his favourite player, but "Ronaldo doesn't suck either."
Clearly, I put him this high on the list due to his immense fame rather than his stunning knowledge of football talent.
3. Russell Watson: Tenor
The English superstar tenor is an avid Manchester United fan and even got to sing a full set of songs at the 1999 Champion's League Final (in which he debuted this fine, fine shirt).
An avowed Red Devils supporter for all his life, he also sang the song "Faith of the Heart"—a sentiment he and United fans all over the world need desperately after the derby loss.
2. Usain Bolt: Olympic Gold Medalist
The world's fastest man, Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Usain Bolt, once visited a Manchester United training session. Apparently, he gave Cristiano Ronaldo some tips on how to sprint faster—something the Winker took to heart when he ran away to the Santiago Bernabeau.
We won't hold that against Mr. Bolt, though, as his passion for the Red Devils is without doubt.
1. Eamonn Holmes: TV Presenter
A hard-hitting and often controversial figure in British media, the Irish-born Holmes became a lifelong Manchester United fan because of one man: George Best. He has often spoken of what Best meant to him growing up in Belfast and would later give a eulogy at Best's funeral.
Love him or hate him, he undeniably loves the Red Devils (and is close buds with Sir Alex), and having a fan with that much reach and that much passion can only mean good things for United's exposure.