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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 January, 2005, 13:43 GMT
Hollywood ball for actors
By Francis Keogh

Hollywood may have kicked off its annual film awards season, but there's also been plenty of time for football talk in Tinseltown.

For American readers, that is association football, not gridiron.

Suave English actor Clive Owen, nominated for an Oscar after enjoying Golden Globe success, has confessed to being a devoted Liverpool fan since he was a boy - despite hailing from Coventry.

Fellow Globe winner Ian McShane - yes, the one who played dodgy antiques dealer Lovejoy - follows Manchester United, for whom his father played.

And hellraiser Colin Farrell was a promising player in Ireland before acting beckoned.

CLIVE OWEN

Owen, whose big break came in the TV series Chancer, is being tipped as the next James Bond.

And he hopes Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez can give his beloved Reds a licence to thrill at Anfield.

Owen was born in Coventry, yet was a huge fan of the all-conquering Liverpool in the 1970s, and still tries to make matches.

"They won everything when I was a kid - it's very simple. Coventry were struggling," he told BBC Five Live.

"I never supported Coventry. I used to dress up in the Liverpool kit to go and watch the matches on the telly."

Clive Owen with his Golden Globe award
We are playing good football and I just pray we keep hold of Stevie Gerrard
Clive Owen

Owen has won an Oscar nomination, following his best supporting actor award at the Golden Globes, for his part in the romantic movie Closer, which also stars Julia Roberts and Jude Law.

"I've always been a Liverpool fan - the Keegan-Toshack era was pretty fantastic," added the 40-year-old.

Despite hiccups this season, including a shock FA Cup exit at Burnley, Owen is hopeful about the future.

"I think the foundations are there for an exciting team," he said.

"The thing that I'm most preoccupied with is that I'm praying that we get it together quick so that Steven Gerrard stays."

Asked to choose between winning an Oscar and Liverpool claiming the Champions League, he admitted: "It's neck and neck."

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McShane is best known by many British TV viewers as the lovable rogue antiques dealer Lovejoy.

For younger readers, he was a fictional version of a character that later appeared to surface in real life as ace bargain hunter David Dickinson.

Lately, McShane has been cutting a dash in the US television show Deadwood, his portrayal of foul-mouthed brothel-keeper Al Swearengen earning him a Golden Globe for best TV actor.

Yet he still has time to remember his roots in the north west of England, where father Harry played for Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United.

Ian McShane then as Lovejoy - and now in Deadwood
Ian was also a keen footballer, but chose acting as his career instead.

He maintains an interest in United, lending his support when shareholders opposed attempts in 2004 to take over the club.

"Repel all boarders. I suggest peaceful protest, but would not rule out nuclear reaction if pushed. Power to the people," was his subdued statement of support, according to pressure group Shareholders United.

And with a reported 20,000 a week contract, he is almost on Premiership wages.

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The Irish actor is currently earning mixed reviews as the lead in the film story of Alexander, the warrior king of Macedonia.

Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was a promising young utility player for Dublin side Castleknock Celtic, even spending stints in goal

Alexander star Colin Farrell
Colin's father Eamonn, an Irish Cup winner with Shamrock Rovers, managed the team.

"I was never that good - I had delusions of grandeur," Farrell says of his time with the club between the age of about 12 to 16.

But club secretary Tony Jordan indicated he could have become a very decent player - if only he had the commitment to training.

"He was very versatile and could play anywhere," recalled Jordan.

"He was mischievous in his own way. Towards the later days with Castleknock Celtic, he was probably difficult to get out of bed on a Sunday morning to get him to the football matches.

"I think he had all the skills, but there's one thing you need to make it work, which is to have the heart and the commitment. I reckon young Colin could have done well."




SEE ALSO
Closer attracts Oscar buzz
03 Dec 04 |  Entertainment


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