Exclusive interview: Why George Clooney is a fan of Derby County
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George Clooney has revealed to Derbyshire Life how working with Derby actor Jack O'Connell sparked his interest in the Rams.
The Hollywood icon is widely regarded as one of the standout actors of his generation, backed up by the highest accolades the industry has to offer and a back catalogue of leading roles in some of the world’s most famous movies.
The American actor, producer and director has been the recipient of two Academy Awards, a BAFTA and a Golden Globe to name but a few.
And it was during filming for the American crime thriller Money Monster that George worked alongside Alvaston-born Jack O’Connell and began to forge an unlikely connection to our county and one thing in particular – Derby County Football Club.
‘I love the passion of sport,’ said George, speaking exclusively to Derbyshire Life.
‘In the States there is a great following for all sports, whether that be (American) football, baseball, ice hockey or anything else.
‘The crowds are big and make a lot of noise but the passion of British soccer fans takes loyalty to a club onto a higher level. I think, in part, that is what made me start to take notice of soccer.
‘I have worked with quite a few British football fans and their moods were often dependent on how well their favourite soccer team had performed in their latest game.
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‘I found it quite curious and wanted to know what made that happen. Nobody wants to see their team lose but it seemed that British football fans were much more involved in the importance of the result.’
Derby County enjoy the support of a number of well-known faces. One Direction’s Niall Horan is a die-hard supporter, as is the aforementioned Jack O’Connell.
Ilkeston-born actor Robert Lindsay provided the vocals for Derby’s famous anthem ‘Steve Bloomer’s Watching’, Team GB Olymics swimmer Ross Davenport is also an avid Derby fan, as was the late Tim Brooke-Taylor.
So how about George Clooney? Just what is the Derby connection and is he really a fan?
‘I was introduced to the Rams by Jack O'Connell a few years ago when we were making a movie together. He was so passionate about his team and has followed Derby County all his life,’ George reveals.
‘I asked him a few questions and there was no stopping him - he really loves the club and knows so much about it. I had to admire that and listening to the club's history was quite intriguing and fired my imagination.
‘I watched a few games on TV and gradually I began to understand soccer better and began to look out for Derby County's games and results. I have been watching ever since.’
George’s observations on Derby aren’t limited to what happens in 90 minutes on the pitch, however. He’s equally conscious of the crucial developments off the field of play at what has been a challenging time for the club.
‘Derby has a great football club with a fantastic history and I am sure there is a great future too,’ he says positively.
‘I know that there have been problems in recent times but nothing that cannot be fixed and under the circumstances the team has been working really hard and playing well.
‘It’s obvious to me looking on that as well as the players on the pitch, the fans have played their part too.’
George was in conversation with Bernard Bale.
The full interview with George Clooney appears in April's Derbyshire Life, which is out in shops across the county now and available to subscribe to here.