It didn’t take more than a few minutes after the final whistle of the Champions League final last month for the cameras to find Liam Gallagher in the stands looking sad. It wasn’t really a surprise to see him in Porto – listen to Gallagher and his elder brother Noel speak for more than a few seconds and one of them will mention being a die-hard Manchester City fan. Back when City’s neighbours, Manchester United, were hoovering up trophies in the 90s (and earning a possibly unfair reputation for having more fans in Surrey than the north-west), that Gallagher patronage gave City cool points. But are Man City still the league leaders when it comes to famous fans?
Things have certainly changed for United; rappers Dave, Headie One and Stormzy are vocal supporters, and definitely count as cool. Perhaps not as cool as James Bond, Nelson Mandela, Lana Del Rey and a pope – they are, or were, all Liverpool fans. Daniel Craig is regularly spotted at Anfield, Mandela often talked about Liverpool and met the team in 1994, LDR regularly tweets about matches and, while it’s not known if the late Pope John Paul II ever set foot on the Kop, he did tell fellow Pole – and Liverpool keeper – Jerzy Dudek that he was a red. Across Stanley Park, Everton can count Sylvester Stallone among their most famous fans.
Down south, and to Arsenal. There’s never been a shortage of celebrity Gooners, with Idris Elba possibly topping any list of cool fan – unless you count Jeremy Corbyn and his successor Keir Starmer as cool? Sadly for Arsenal, Piers Morgan undoes a lot of the good work. Their north London rivals Spurs are AJ Tracey and Adele’s team of choice, which is pretty starry, while Dizzee Rascal is a West Ham fan. Fulham can count Margot Robbie and Hugh Grant among their fans, and though Chelsea have Cara Delevingne, Damon Albarn and Mark Ronson perhaps adding cool points, Jeremy Clarkson, Ellie Goulding and Tim Lovejoy definitely take them away.
In the Midlands, Robert Plant’s lifelong Wolves association saw him performing at their Premier League promotion party in 2018. Aston Villa, meanwhile, don’t have musical royalty among their ranks but can boast Hollywood royalty in Tom Hanks and actual royalty in Prince William, although David Cameron pretends to support them, so let’s call that one a scoreless draw.
Across the border in Wales, Wrexham AFC were recently bought by actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, for reasons no one’s quite fathomed yet. Out east, we can’t overlook Delia Smith and her passionate love of Norwich.
Like British players in the 80s, if you want some real glamour, you have to go overseas. Namely Juventus, who can probably end this debate – they have Drake and Rihanna in their corner. But I am going to go out on a limb here and say their interest in La Vecchia Signora is fleeting.
Which leaves Rotherham United to sneak in with an injury time winner. Paul Chuckle might be their only famous fan, but the club wins solely due to the touching footage of the crowd at the AESSEAL New York stadium chanting “To me, to you” shortly after the death of Paul’s brother, Barry, in 2018. No one else stood a chance.