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Hollywood star Michael Sheen inspires Steelmen Euro bid

Uefa Europa League first qualifying round first leg - TPS Turku v Port Talbot Town
Venue: Veritas Stadion Date: Thursday, 1 July Kick-off: 1700 BST
Coverage: Score updates on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cyrmu and BBC Sport website

Michael Sheen playing at Soccer Aid
Hollywood actor Michael Sheen is vice-president at Port Talbot Town

Mark Jones wants his men to put Port Talbot on football's map like Hollywood stars Michael Sheen and Sir Anthony Hopkins have done in the film world.

Both Hopkins and Sheen were brought up in the south Wales town and Damned United star Sheen has accepted a vice-presidency of Port Talbot Town.

The Steelmen make their European bow against TPS Turku of Finland in the Europa league first round on Thursday.

And boss Jones said: "We want to put Port Talbot on the footballing map."

Football fan Sheen played the character of legendary football boss Brian Clough in the controversial film Damned United about Clough's infamous and unsuccessful 44-day reign at Leeds United.

The Welsh actor was raised in Port Talbot from the age of eight and the Steelmen wrote to the 41-year-old movie star to offer him an honorary vice-presidency of the 109-year-old club.

Of course the club are very proud of Michael's achievements... now it is time for the club to make him proud of us

Port Talbot manager Mark Jones

"We got in touch with Michael Sheen and he accepted a vice-presidency of our club," said Jones.

"Of course the club are very proud of Michael's achievements and we were honoured he accepted our invitation.

"Now it is time for the club to make him proud of us."

Welsh acting great Hopkins - star of Silence of the Lambs, Hamlet and Dracula - was born in Port Talbot, whose football team qualified for Europe for the first time in their 109-year history last season.

"There are no film stars in this squad," joked Jones. "But I hope there are some football heroes.

"Michael Sheen was brilliant as Brian Clough in the Damned United but, if he asks, I wouldn't let him do a Cloughie team-talk as I am a Leeds United fan!"

Although Thursday's showdown in Finland is Port Talbot's first European game, Jones appeared in Europe for three successive seasons between 2005 and 2007 during his reign as Carmarthen boss.

But he returned to Port Talbot for a second spell in 2008 and in his first full season inspired the club to their first Welsh Cup final - losing 3-2 to Bangor City - and into Europe.

Now Jones will lead his Steelmen into European battle against Finnish side TPS Turku on Thursday hoping to claim a European scalp.

The Finns boast ex-Finland international Jonatan Johansson, the former Charlton Athletic and Glasgow Rangers striker, in a squad that includes a host of internationals.

But Johansson - who won 100 caps for Finland - will be their danger man and the last time he played against a Welsh side scored against Wales in a 2010 World Cup qualifier at the Millennium Stadium last year.

"You don't win 100 caps for your country and play in the Premier League if you're a bad player, so obviously he'll need some marking," said Jones.

"Their manager told me at the draw last week that their budget is £2m for a year, which is 20-times plus more than ours but it is not all about money.

"It would be a massive upset if we win, but we have to believe as football is littered with giant-killings."

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see also
TPS Turku 3-1 Port Talbot Town
01 Jul 10 |  Welsh
TNS secure fifth Welsh Prem title
24 Apr 10 |  Welsh
Sheen's joy at hometown play
06 Apr 10 |  Wales
Bangor City 3-2 Port Talbot Town
01 May 10 |  Welsh
Michael Sheen on playing Brian Clough
20 Mar 09 |  Football Focus
Sheen says Brian Clough was a 'genius'
18 Mar 09 |  Entertainment
Wales 0-2 Finland
28 Mar 09 |  Internationals
Jones takes over at Port Talbot
08 Dec 08 |  Welsh
Battling loss comforts Carmarthen
25 Aug 05 |  Ceefax Only
Hopkins returns to acting roots
05 May 08 |  South west
Hollywood star for Hopkins
20 Jun 03 |  South west
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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