Actor, Michael Sheen’s life could have been completely different if his parents had allowed him to sign a contract with Arsenal when he was 12, but they didn’t want to leave Wales.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JUNE 05:  Michael Sheen of the Rest of the World waves to the crowd after the Soccer Aid 2016 match in aid of UNICEF at Old Trafford on June 5, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JUNE 05: Michael Sheen of the Rest of the World waves to the crowd after the Soccer Aid 2016 match in aid of UNICEF at Old Trafford on June 5, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Most people know Michael Sheen.

The 53-year-old actor, TV producer and political activist, who gave back his OBE after learning more about the relationship between the British State and his home country of Wales, is one of the most respected performers in his field.

A host of awards, including BAFTAs, Emmys, and more serve as recognition of his talent, but it could have all been totally different but for a decision his parents made when he was just 12.

“I was absolutely obsessed with playing football, watching football,” he said.

“Football has played an important part in my life and at a certain point it looked like I might actually go down that road.

“I was offered the chance to join the Arsenal youth team when I was about 12 and at that time it would have meant living in London at that age and there was no way I could do that, my parents couldn’t move so it was a case of ‘fair enough’.”

Sadly, however, Sheen is not an Arsenal fan but Liverpool.

“I lived for three years in Liverpool for my dad’s work and that was my team at that time, the Liverpool team of the mid-70s, (Kevin) Keegan, Toshack and all of those,” he explained.

“Many, many years later, when I was filming The Damned United, we had to recreate the Charity Shield match between Leeds and that Liverpool team.

“So I, as Brian Clough, was walking out ahead of the Leeds team with my Liverpool team. There they were.

“When we left Liverpool and came back to Wales, because my dad was a rugby man really, not a football man, no one explained to me that you could still support a team even if you didn’t live there.

“I just assumed when we were in Liverpool I supported that team and when we were going back to Wales I couldn’t support them anymore.

“And by the time I found out it was a bit late. So consequently I don’t have a team. Well I do, but it’s just a very specific Liverpool team.

“I was in the same room as John Toshack fairly recently and I couldn’t even bring myself to speak to him.”

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.