Sean Launches New Sheffield United Book

Last Update: 10 Dec 2006


Sean Bean stars at Brunel University
06 December 2006


Sean Bean and Dr Gary Armstrong sign copies of Sheffield United FC – The Biography at Brunel University (click on the thumbnail for a larger version)

Hollywood actor Sean Bean delighted staff and students at Brunel University in
Uxbridge, where he appeared in his latest role: a book-signing session, on Tuesday
[Dec 5].

The star, who has appeared in “Lord of the Rings,” “Troy,” and starred in the
TV series “Sharpe” wrote the foreword to ‘Sheffield United FC: The Biography’
by Brunel University sports lecturer Dr Gary Armstrong.
Dr Armstrong and the actor are old friends: they met on a London train journey
nearly 16 years ago and found they had plenty in common including a life
long dedication to Sheffield United.
“The book has been some time in the making, however our love of the
‘Blades’ has been instrumental in driving the project,” said Dr Armstrong.
The book has the backing of the chairman of the club, Kevin McCabe. Covering
the club’s history over 117 years, since its inception, ‘Sheffield United FC: the
Biography’ details a series of extraordinary stories, which were obtained from
the use of the club’s archives, including its social history, the people who ran
the club and former and present players. It also looks at the history of football
in Sheffield which began 150 years ago.
“Much of the book is a compilation of stories and memories passed down through
various generations of Blade supporters. These anecdotes will now form part of
the club’s history,” he added.
Source: Hillingdon Times
08 Dec 2006
Star signs for Blades
By David Doyle


 Sean Bean with Dr Gary Armstrong

HOLLYWOOD star Sean Bean swapped the blades of Middle Earth sword fights
for the Sheffield United Blades, his beloved football team, at a Brunel University
book signing.
The Lord of the Rings star visited the university to autograph copies of Sheffield
United FC: The Biography by sports lecturer Dr Gary Armstrong.
The actor, who also played Sheffield footballer Jimmy Muir in 1996 film When
Saturday Comes, has been friends with Dr Armstrong since they struck up a
conversation on a London train journey 16 years ago.
They both found they had a lot in common - in particular a love of Sheffield
Sean, 47, wrote the foreword for the book of anecdotes and visited the school
on Tuesday to sign copies for staff and students.
Dr Armstrong said: "The book has been some time in the making, however
our love of the Blades has been instrumental in driving the project.

"Much of the book is a compilation of stories and memories passed down
through various generations of Blade supporters. These anecdotes will
now form part of the club's history."
The book, which has the backing of club chairman Kevin McCabe, has been
compiled from club archives and the accounts of people who ran the club
and former and present players.
Source: Sheffield Star
06 Dec 2006
Bean means sex on a plate for us girls!



 Click on the thumbnails to read the story.


Source: Yorkshire Post
06 Dec 2006
Never mind Hollywood, give me Bramall Lane


 Theatre of dreams: Sean Bean at Bramall Lane. Picture: Jim Moran

Sean Bean has helped launch a new biography about his beloved Sheffield United.
Chris Bond talked football with the Hollywood star.

THE staircase leading to the plush restaurant in Bramall Lane's south stand is
lined with photographs of famous Blades.

Former England captain Ernest Needham sits alongside Alan Woodward and the
much-loved Tony Currie, names etched into footballing folklore here.

Upstairs is a man you feel would happily swap his fame and fortune just to
have his picture next to theirs.

Sean Bean has been a Sheffield United fan for more than 40 years and, for
good measure, has "100% Blade" tattooed on his left shoulder.

The 47-year-old actor is here to talk about Sheffield United FC – The Biography,
a new book for which he has contributed a foreword.

Wearing a pair of jeans and scruffy trainers and wrapped in a sports jacket,
he looks more like a regular at the nearby Cricketers Arms, than a Hollywood
film star.

But a man who has appeared alongside screen legends like Robert de Niro and
Harrison Ford, is in his element.

He's got a cigarette in one hand and a bottle of beer in the other, and he's
talking about football.

The new book tells the social history of the Blades and has been superbly
pieced together by John Garrett, the club's Hall of Fame manager, and
sports lecturer and writer Gary Armstrong.

Bean grew up with Armstrong in Sheffield's Handsworth suburb, and the
pair remained friends over the years.

So when Armstrong asked him to contribute to the book, he was happy to

"I think he's come up with something that an ordinary fan can identify with.
It's not dour, it's not all about dates, it's got humour in it and you can trace
back the history of the club and you can see how it has evolved and why
Sheffield United is here.

"And I think that's important whether you're an elderly fan or a young kid
just starting to follow football," says Bean.

It is, indeed, a fine book and one that most football fans, except perhaps
those of a blue and white persuasion, can appreciate.

It combines an anorak's attention to detail with a football fan's innate
love of gossip – did you know that Italian legend Franco Baresi nearly
became United's manager?

Like many supporters, Bean was hooked from the very beginning.

"I was six or seven and I don't remember a great deal except the atmosphere;
it was that drama of being at a football ground. I'd never seen anything like it.

"It just happened to be a night match in winter and the floodlights were on;
everybody was shouting and we were winning, which was important, and it's
stayed with me forever. My family were from that side of town and my dad
and granddad were United fans, so I carried it on."

Bean, of course, realised a boyhood dream of playing for Sheffield United
in the fictional film, When Saturday Comes. But he reckons nothing quite
matches the emotion, camaraderie and rivalry of being a football supporter.

"Anybody can enjoy it and there's no political correctness, thank God. It's
still one of the few arenas where you can go and express yourself and you're
not reprimanded for it. I think it's the most vibrant, magnetic, piece of
theatre and drama there is. You can go to the cinema, you can go to the
opera, but you can't shout and scream like you can at a football match,
and you form a bond with the people around you."

Unlike some celebrities who often seem embarrassed of their roots, Bean
embraces his wholeheartedly.

"I'm proud of this place, it's where I was born," he says.

"I went into the steel industry which was thriving, and it was good, it was
strong, it was doing something. The people here manufactured and created
things. Sheffield has this rich history of industry and steel and coal and
you could see that through the football and the way the players expressed

He's equally proud to be able to call himself a Yorkshireman.

"I can't think of another county in the country that has quite the same pride and
loyalty, and there's a kind of stubbornness there, it's almost like a separate

"That's something we should hold on to, it's a tradition and it's a good tradition,
it's optimistic."

Even though he is now a club director, he admits that work commitments mean
he doesn't get to watch as many games as he would like. So, sometimes
he just has to improvise. "A memorable match day for me was in Rajasthan,
India, when I had to buy four pairs of sandals from a bloke in a cobbler's
shop before he would switch on his internet access and let me listen to the
Radio Sheffield match commentary," he says.

Although Bean's delighted that United are back in the Premiership, he is
worried about the amount of money being spent by the elite clubs. "I was
reading about Chelsea the other day and, apparently, Shevchenko is a bit
of a flop, it seems, and they're thinking about spending £20m on someone
else. What chance has anyone else got in that league to compete and where
do you draw the line? People are making a lot of money somewhere so there's
no reason why there shouldn't be a ceiling or a restriction on how much
you can pay for a player or how much you can spend in a season on players."

He fears the cost of watching football nowadays is changing the face of the
game, and not for the better.

"The real fans are being out-priced and they are the lifeblood of your team
and you're changing the clientele and you're seeing an atmosphere in the
Premier League that is boring."

Which is not a word you would use to describe some of the footballers Bean,
and millions of other fans, grew up watching.

The mercurial talents of players like Tony Currie, Stan Bowles, Frank
Worthington and Alan Hudson brought a swagger and a sprinkling of
stardust to English football during the '70s. So who is his favourite player?
Perhaps surprisingly, it isn't Currie, or Alan Woodward, or even Keith Edwards.

"I liked Alan Hodgkinson. He was only a shortish, stocky little fella, but he was
very athletic and I met him a couple of years ago and he was a real gentleman.

"It's always pleasant when you meet one of your heroes and they turn out to be
quite decent people," he says.

"I've always had a bit of a soft spot for goalies because they're all a bit
potty, I mean look at Paddy Kenny and the Coventry goalie, David Icke.

"I think they've got a bit of individuality, whereas a lot of footballers now are
into the same things, the same music, the same cars and the same girlfriends."

Despite his reservations about the modern game he is ever the optimist when it
comes to United.

"We've got a good fan base and it's just a matter of getting it right. We've got
the structure and our chairman has come along and realised that you've got to
build other things around the club that sustain it on the pitch, that you can't
just rely on getting the money coming in through the turnstiles.

"Financially, we're in a good place, all it is at the end of the day is you've just
got to win and you've just got to stay up," he says, pausing to light another

"And I think we will."
Sheffield United FC – The Biography is published by
The Hallamshire Press (£29.99).
To order a copy from the Yorkshire Post Bookshop call free on 0800 0153232.
Postage and packing costs £1.95.
Order on-line at
Source: The League Football Paper
03 Dec 2006


 Click on the thumbnail to read the story.


Source: Daily Mail (Manchester edition)
02 Dec 2006
Hard-man Sean's Spot of Bother
by Peter Ferguson


 Click on the thumbnail to read the story.


Source: Sheffield Today
02 Dec 2006
Sean's United labour of love
By Jo Davison

Football mad: Movie star Sean Bean at the launch of Sheffield
United FC: The Biography, at Bramall Lane
Picture: Steve Parkin


SHEFFIELD'S most famous Blades' fan was back on the terraces – to cheer
on a book about his beloved football club.

The tome, released yesterday, was written by film star Sean Bean and his
two best mates.

"We're a football-mad threesome who talk football down the pub until the
cows come home," said former Handsworth man Gary Armstrong, co-author
of Sheffield United FC: The Biography.

Gary, a sports lecturer at Brunel University and John Garrett, United's Hall
Of Fame official who co-wrote the book, have been friends with Sean Bean
for years.

Sean wrote the foreword for the book – described as the first club social
history book.

"This book is something to to pass down, like support of a club is passed
from generation to generation," said Sean.

"I have so many emotions and memories associated with Sheffield United,
encapsulating them all into two pages was extremely difficult."

The book, £29.99, is on sale at the Blades' Superstore and in Sheffield
Sean Bean gives book boost
Source: Sheffield United
01 Dec 2006
Sean Bean inevitably took centre-stage at Bramall Lane on Friday
afternoon as 'Sheffield United: the Biography' was launched - and
immediately started flying off the Superstore shelves.
With the film star contributing a foreword the book, written by Gary
Armstrong assisted by John Garret, attracted huge media interest across
the whole range of TV, radio and written media - and Bladesworld will
feature two interviews next week.
The warts and all edition, commissioned by plc Chairman Kevin McCabe,
is not merely a history book, but a document that contains accounts of
some of the more memorable, even questionable episodes the Blades
have been involved with.
Sheffield United: the Biography is available now from the Blades
Superstore - click here to buy online.
Bean gets mean over Neil deal
Source: Teamtalk
01 Dec 2006
Neil Warnock will deserve a new contract if he keeps Sheffield United in
the Premiership, according to Blades fan Sean Bean.
Hollywood film star Bean is a lifelong fan who has also served on the
club's board of directors for the last five years.
Bean was promoting Sheffield United FC - The Biography, a book chronicling
the life and times of the Bramall Lane club.
And he has been delighted with the work of Warnock, who on Saturday
celebrates seven years in charge of the Blades.
Warnock, 58 on Friday, is currently working without the safety net of a
long-term deal as his current contract expires at the end of the season.
When asked whether he would like to see Warnock stay, Bean said: "If he
keeps us up and he is doing a good job, then yeah.
"If we go down, then it's another story. I don't know what the situation
would be then.
"But first and foremost, it's about Sheffield United. I'm a great admirer of
Neil's, but the club comes first.
"If he can get us where we want him to get us, then I'd like to see him stay,
and I think most fans would say that.
"Obviously, we want the most successful manager for our club, and who
can do the best for our club, regardless of whether he is a Blade or not.
"I'm not taking anything away from Neil, but success for the club is paramount.
It's not about personalities."
Warnock on Thursday spoke of his vision for the future, of seeing the Blades
remain in the Premiership this season, and then next season taking them into
Bean feels Warnock may be over-reaching, adding: "It's a vision, first and
foremost, but I can't see it happening for a few years.
"The main thing is to stay in this division, even if we're near the bottom,
and gradually build from there.
"To be in Europe is a dream we would all love, but it's going to take some time
"It's Neil's job now to sustain what we have achieved so far, to maintain it,
improve on it.
"With that comes a lot of responsibility. That's why there's still that
pressure on him, which is a good thing.
"It's like me, if there's no pressure then I don't perform very well.
"But I have been impressed with what he has done, in conjunction with
Kevin McCabe (plc chairman) and the board of directors.
"Everything seems to have come together quite nicely. He's been here
seven years and he has done a good job, getting us to where we want to be."
Bean at least has faith in Warnock, believing he will keep them in the top flight,
and with it stay in a job, although it will not be without a struggle over the
next five months.
Asked if he thinks United will avoid the drop, ahead of the vital home clash
with rock-bottom Charlton, Bean replied: "I do, yeah - just. Fourth or fifth
"I'm still optimistic and positive, as are the fans and the people at the club.
There's certainly no lack of spirit or fight, and that's what I think will keep
us up."
Although a director, and proud to be so, Bean's roots remain as a fan -
which is why there are divided loyalties on match days.
"It's a great honour to be a director," remarked Bean. "I'm kept in the picture
about the future - prospects and plans - and that's something I can comment
on and contribute towards. It's a good position to be in.
"But I do like to be in with the fans. I sometimes would like to get back to
what it used to be - blokes singing, shouting and swearing. I enjoy that
on a Saturday afternoon."
Source: Sheffield United
01 Dec 2006
Sheffield United: The Biography
Film star Sean Bean's devotion to Sheffield United has moved to a new
level... by inspiring a unique soccer book.

Bean, renowned for his 100 per cent Blade tattoo, has been a driving
force behind 'Sheffield United: The Biography' - a remarkable insight
into the world of soccer and in particular the Blades.

On Friday 1st December, he will officially launch the book, which
will be on the Christmas wishlist for every Blades fan.

Author and Brunel University sports lecturer Gary Armstrong,
together with close personal friend Bean, got the backing of club
chairman Kevin McCabe to produce what is a life story of a football
club and English soccer's first-ever dedicated club social history

Assisted by John Garrett from the club's Hall of Fame, the book
reveals a remarkable series of stories as a result of having access
to the club's archives, people who ran the club and former and
present players.

Speaking about his role with United and the publication of the book,
Bean said: "In a great city like Sheffield, an equal to any place in
the world that calls itself a soccer hotbed, the club you support is
rarely a matter of choice.

"Support is passed from generation to generation. My granddad was a
Blade, my dad a Blade - there was no way I was going to end up at
Hillsborough, was there?

"Over the years filming has taken me all over the world. I have
missed more United games than I would have liked. I have found myself
making long distance calls in odd locations seeking out the Blades

"Such anecdotes and stories are just what this book is about. They
provide a fascinating insight into the history of soccer and our
club," added Bean.

The 400 page book covers a period of 150 years and will be available
in the Blades Superstore soon.
Sean Bean on Football Heaven
Source: BBC
01 Dec 2006
(audio link at the end of the article)



Handsworth and Hollywood heartthrob Sean Bean visited the BBC in his
hometown to appear on Radio Sheffield's Football Heaven programme.
Famous for his roles as Lieutenant Richard Sharpe, a staring role opposite
Harrison Ford as an Irish terrorist in Patriot Games - International villain
Alec Trevelyan in GoldenEye, and recently Boromir in the Lord Of The Rings
trilogy, Sean Bean is undoubtedly an international star.
The actor has come a long way from his boyhood years, growing up in the
Handsworth district of Sheffield. Despite his international pull he's
continually inspired by his love for football and his club, Sheffield United.
Bean is well known for his "100% Blade" tattoo and realised a boyhood dream
of playing for Sheffield United, albeit in the not so critically acclaimed 'When
Saturday Comes' as footballer Jimmy Muir.
Despite spending a lot of time on sets abroad the actor does his best to
stay in touch with going's on at the Lane via Radio Sheffield. He recalled
one occasion in India where he filmed the latest series of Sharpe:

"We were in Rajasthan in a cobblers... we were right out in the sticks and
it was the only place we could get an internet connection.
"So we had to buy about eight pairs of shoes and he said 'now you can use
the internet' [laughs]. So we were sat around all these shoes listening to
you [Paul Walker] and Keith Edwards.
"I listen to Radio Sheffield even when the match is not on, with computers
now you can put Radio Sheffield on so we listen to it in the morning... and
Football Heaven, I always listen between six and seven... it's brilliant."

Other than being on the director's board at the club Bean's latest involvement
with the Blades is in publishing 'Sheffield United: The Biography'. A book which
tells the story of the social history of the Blades, covering a substantial 150
year period.
"In a great city like Sheffield, an equal to any place in the world that calls
itself a soccer hotbed, the club you support is rarely a matter of choice,"
said Bean.
"Support is passed from generation to generation. My granddad was a Blade,
my dad a Blade - there was no way I was going to end up at Hillsborough,
was there?"

Listen to Sean Bean, Gary Armstrong and John Garrett talk about the book,
Sheffield United and hear what Sean's been up to...
Watch Sean on BBC's Look North:
(Scroll down to bottom left of page, headline: Film star turns soccer writer)
Vid cap by liars_dance



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