WHEN Noel Gallagher selected a boy band of football players last Sunday, many viewers of the BBC’s Match of the Day 2 programme were left pondering which musicians would make the cut as footballers.
Olly Murs and Sergio Pizzorno have boasted their footballing skills in charity matches but there is a small selection of singers who have pulled strings at a professional level.
Here are five who almost made the big time...
1. Luciano Pavarotti (Modena)
The best-known operatic tenor in history, Pavarotti started out with ambitions of becoming a professional goalkeeper and trialled for Modena in the early 1950s.
His mother insisted he train as a teacher but eventually music took over. Growing up, Pavarotti’s idol was Di Stefano – not Real Madrid’s Alfredo but more suitably the Italian tenor, Giuseppe.
2. Rod Stewart (Brentford)
Football has been known to strike a chord in the passionate Celtic supporter and a 25-year-old Stewart would have been understandably choked up when he was rejected by Brentford in 1960!
In his autobiography Rod claimed: “They’re the only two things I can do: play football and sing.” Clearly, Brentford weren’t convinced.
3. Julio Iglesias (Real Madrid)
Having sold more than 300 million records worldwide, Iglesias’ career in football has long been forgotten.
The Madrid-born singer had aspirations of becoming a goalkeeper at his beloved Real but his career ended before it had really begun when he was involved in a car crash in 1963.
During his three-year recovery from the accident he learnt to play the guitar.
4. Mark Owen (Manchester United)
Born in Oldham, Owen had trials for various northern clubs, including Rochdale, Huddersfield and most notably Manchester United.
At the time, a special group of players were on their way through at Old Trafford but, unfortunately for Owen, injury (and nothing more) prevented him from joining the class of ’92.
5. Louis Tomlinson (Doncaster Rovers)
The One Direction star waited in the hospitality suites of the Keepmoat Stadium before being cast into the spotlight by X-Factor in 2010. Three years later, Tomlinson was on the books as a Doncaster Rovers player, appearing in a charity match before getting 25 minutes with the reserves.
Last year, the singer seemed to be moving quickly up the ladder at the club and was rumoured to make a bid for joint-ownership. Although Directioners are likely to disagree, Tomlinson was not deemed fit or proper by the Football League.