A Footie-Adventure

or: An Evening with Sean Bean...
(...and Steve and Paul and Gareth and Natalie and a few others)

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.



Part Three

Renate:
Ooooh, this had gone by fast. I don’t want to say, much too fast, because with all that had already happened, I felt, I could be quite satisfied. I do bean-land.de (the German Version) since 7 years now - but somehow, it never had happened that I met Sean Bean in person.

Not that that is really necessary - I like his films and think him an extraordinary actor - and - honest! - for this, it is quite enough to have a cinema anywhere in a reachable distance and some shops, that sell DVDs. And when I think of it, a TV-set and a DVD-player at home is also of some use.

But, as it is with human nature, one always wants to know more. And after having seen lots of his films - and watched or read quite a number of “behind the scenes”-snippets, interviews and articles, what I had heard and read again and again about him was that he is a grounded person, a good and very professional collegue and reacts nicely, when he meets one of his fans. But how sure can I be about this, without having the prove of my own eyes? Actors move, after all in a world of appearances and make believe.

Or, with other words - I had become pretty curious about the man behind the characters he brings so much to life on screen. :-)

So, what had I seen? He hadn’t looked bigger or smaller to me, or thicker or thinner, than I had expected. Somehow, he looked just right and behaved just right, and had become immediately very real. Strange, this, because with other actors I had met in person, that was usually not so - there, it had always needed some time for them to “come down from the screen” - if you know what I mean.

Not so with this man. Sean Bean has quite a presence. And that is something I hadn’t expected at all. I’m used to his presence on screen, yes. But that is not the same. Standing near him you get the feeling, that this is a person that is very much in the here and now. He concentrates completely on the task at hand or on the person before him. And I don’t think, there can be anything more real than that. That he is an actor, and famous, is still somewhere there, but it is outshined by his personality.

Sooo, and now the Meet and Greet was over. Dinnertime! Surely this meant, that the Star of the evening with his entourage and a few privileged would vanish now into a separate chamber - and we would possibly have the pleasure of seeing him for a speech or for the auction or so...

 

   
           

 

 

Evi
At the coat check were lists with table numbers and names. TMB were listed at table #5 and my name "+1" was at table #6. Table #1 listed Sean, Georgina, his daughter Lorna and others.

 

           

Renate:
Okay, imagine a rectangular room where about 20 big round tables are set up, every table for perhaps 6 to 10 persons. You come in at the small side. The six or seven “VIP-tables” are situated at the rear at the other small side. And, oh, table no 1 is also there (no, I think, this will be just for show...) - in front of a small gallery where lots of interesting things for the auction were lined up, and behind a long table we could see throne-like red chairs bearing the SUs emblem... Oh, and: I am the appendix existing as a number only behind Evi’s name :-)

           
   

Evi:
Just to confuse things a little bit, the list on our table didn't bear our names, or that of the other six people already seated there, but listed the names of the ladies from "The Mighty Bean" - who had, as we did know, table #5. Someone had obviously just put the wrong sheet on the wrong table. And Sheffield steel is unbending so nobody at our table did move, and that's why Renate and I ended up with the good view at table #1. Various elderly gentlemen and Georgina were already sitting when we arrived, and the seat next to her was the only empty one at their table, so I guessed that Sean would be sitting there.

 

           

Renate:
Evi is a genius - because it was her bravely telephoning with Steve, and telling him, that we would prefer it to sit at a table not with the other "Germans" that made this possible. Oh, and, forget everything about “extra” chambers or “special VIPs”. Sean Bean sat with his wife and daughter simply at table no 1. The whole evening. Perhaps only 10 meters away from us.

 

   
           
   

Evi:
When everyone was seated, lights began to flicker and Gary Sinclair, the MC/DJ for the night announced Sean. He was entering through the kitchen door, waved briefly and took the seat near his wife.

Shortly afterwards, the first course, cauliflower soup was served.

As for beverages:Sean held onto to beer for the evening...

 

           

Renate:
....well, as Bavarians, and living in the city with the biggest beer-festival in the world, we can't but notice that :-)

 

   
           

 

Evi:
The folks at our table were from Handsworth, supporters of SU and knowing Sean from childhood, but having lost contact with him over the years, but according to them Sean still remembers who they are when he sees them. They told us interesting tales from the past and the present in that neighborhood, where Sean’s grandparents once ran a pub and his parents and sister still live. But it has changed to the worse since he lived there. Not as friendly and safe as it was back then.

Renate refused to admit that we were there just because of Sean, and insisted that it was because of football. I said, no, it is because of Sean that we came all the way to Sheffield.

 

           

Renate:
Yes, thank you Evi for blowing my - admittedly, very flimsy - cover the first minute you opened your mouth at our table :-) But I stick to it - it was a Footie-Adventure, no matter what you say!! And I have as prove at least 20 different photos I made from the stadium. (sniff).

As a result of her words, Evi and I had to explain then in detail, why it is for us actually easier to come to Sheffield than to go to the set of "Black Death" in Germany. The places Sean had filmed it in spring/summer are at the other end of Germany and almost impossible to reach from Munich without taking an extensive vacation time. No real train or autobahn connection, and the filming locations were close to the Polish border way out in the countryside of Sachsen-Anhalt.

 

   
           
   

Evi:
Between main course (Chicken breast with a potato tart and assorted vegetables) and desert (Berry mousse with a football made of white chocolate on top) was a quiz where each table had to name 20 people (former players, managers and other important ones of SU) and its 2nd part asked for naming 20 movies, TV shows and stuff with Sean. Of course TMB beat our table with writing 37 to my 27 titles - I ran out of writing time. Five people writing obviously goes faster ... The win was a DVD of Outlaw. Hey, my name is on its co-producers list, so I don't need to win it! Sean also participated, but stopped writing after having filled in 20 spots, as the MC later announced.

 

           

Renate:
Well, here you can see the - ehm - dedication of the fan - Sean had filled in 20 titles, as the quiz had asked for!! - But can a fan be stopped by a mere trifle like that?? :-)

 

   
           
   

Evi:
After desert, the singer opened her first set. Stephanie King wasn’t bad, but the speakers were way too loud. She was a participant of a TV talent show I guess.

Raffle tickets were sold, but they sold so well, that they had to go out and buy another booklet with numbers. We bought a handful of tickets, but didn’t win anything.

Then the auction was held with items related to either Sean or the SU, or both. Also some mounted photos (the same motives we got up in the VIP suite) were offered. Sean dedicated a framed torn and stained shirt from The Hitcher and a jersey from David Beckham dedicated to him, which went for £ 3000, with its proceeds going to Sheffield’s Children’s Hospital. Sean took up the microphone and gave a small thank-you speech for the woman with the highest bid. That was the only moment when he showed traces of the actor he is in another life, but he still was a bit nervous having to talk freely.

The organizers had hoped to sell 40 VIP tickets, but sold almost 60 instead. All in all 21 tables (including Number 1 with Sean) were set up.

 

           

Renate:
By now, with the evening half over, having had a nice dinner, enjoying the whole, easygoing atmosphere around us, I started to wonder, who actually the often mentioned "Steve", who had organized everything so efficiently, was? Evi pointed out to me, that, according to what she had heard from our table neighbours, the man is a legend here in Sheffield, who has also written several books about the history of football in Sheffield in general and about the SU in particular.

We asked our friendly neighbours to help us recognizing him - which wasn't completely easy, because he was constantly moving around - making sure, that everything worked!

When we had finally pinned him down, the next announcement made it clear, that Steve had (still) a goody left for everyone who wanted to participate...

 

   
           
           
           
< back to Part Two     to Part Four >
           
back Home     rg und EFi / 26. November 2009