SEAN CONNERY turned down a Manchester United contract after legendary manager Matt Busby offered him £25 a week.
Sean Connery, who has passed away at 90, was 23 when he impressed long-serving Man Utd manager Matt Busby in a practice game in 1953
Sir Matt Busby, who famously managed Man Utd from 1945-1969, is said to have approached Sean Connery after a local football matchCredit: Hulton Archive – Getty
Sir Sean Connery went onto become James Bond and star in seven 007 movies after turning down the chance to pursue a football career Credit: Getty – Contributor
But Connery, a 6ft 2in right-winger, rejected The Theatre of Dreams for the silver screen – as he felt he was too old at 23 to take up a playing career.
He had also alerted scouts while playing for amateur Edinburgh side Bonnyrigg Rose, once trialling for Scottish Leaguers East Fife.
But even when United came calling, the 007 legend put his head before his heart.
Busby noticed Connery’s imposing display in a 1953 match in Manchester with fellow cast members of a musical he was appearing in.
And Sir Sean admitted he was shaken by Busby’s offer but not deterred from acting.
He said: “I really wanted to accept because I loved football.
“But I realised that a top-class footballer could be over the hill by the age of 30, and I was already 23.
“I decided to become an actor and it turned out to be one of my more intelligent moves.”
And few can argue with the outcome.
Connery went on to play Bond seven times, also winning an Oscar for The Untouchables, as one of Britain’s most famous movie names.
But as a proud Scot, what would have happened if he had been contacted by a giant club north of the border? .. let’s say Celtic – an approach that some have said happened.
Fortunately, Connery himself cleared up the hypothetical dilemma.
He once said: “I played for Bonnyrigg Rose and I was offered a trial by East Fife. That’s the truth. Celtic, no.”
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