Former Manchester United and England footballer David Beckham has landed a cameo role in Guy Ritchie’s next film, Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur.
The 40-year-old is far from the first player to swap the green turf of the football field for the red carpets rolled out at film premieres, a fact he is mindful of, conceding: “I am very aware that many sportsmen and other celebrities have turned their hand to acting and failed.”
Here are five other footballers formerly employed by Newcastle United to try their fortunes in films or on TV:
• Former Newcastle United manager Graeme Souness took a cameo role, playing himself, alongside his purported lookalike Yosser Hughes, alias Bernard Hill,in an episode of the BBC2 drama Boys from the Blackstuff in 1982. Sammy Lee, currently coaching at Southampton, featured in the same episode.
• Another former Magpies manager, Ossie Ardiles, was one of a host of famous footballers cast alongside Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone in the 1981 film Escape to Victory. The others included Bobby Moore, Pele and John Wark.
• Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer is a repeat offender. Not only did the 45-year-old turn up in 1999’s The Match, 2000’s Purely Belter and 2005’s Goal!, playing himself in all three, but he also starred in a 1998 TV advert for McDonald’s, again playing himself.
• Former France and Newcastle United footballer David Ginola might well have been worth a starring role in a TV ad for L’Oreal shampoo, but the 48-year-old wasn’t worthy of a film career as high profile of that of fellow Frenchman Eric Cantona. He starred in two French shorts, Rosbeef and Mr Firecul, in 2004 and the 2006 film The last Drop alongside Nick Moran, Billy Zane, Laurence Fox and Gotham actor Sean Pertwee, but there’s been nothing since.
• Ex-Sunderland and Newcastle United defender Barry Venison, playing himself, made a cameo appearance, alongside Pele and the older Ronaldo, in the 2001 movie Mike Bassett: England Manager, starring Ricky Tomlinson in the title role.