Belfast Telegraph

Which of these lads went on to become a Def Leppard legend of rock?

By Sarah Rainey

These young footballers dreamed of future success as they posed for a blurry black and |white photograph nearly four decades ago.

Little did they know that one of them would go on achieve worldwide acclaim — not on the football pitch as he imagined, but on stage with a major rock band.

Wearing his team’s red and black strip, Vivian Campbell was just another face in a crowd as he stood with his friends after a match.

With his tousled hair and distant expression, the Def Leppard guitarist was one of the team, a keen player with the Hillsborough Boys club in the early 1970s.

Much like his young team-mates, the 14-year-old footballer hardly spared a thought for the years ahead — but even he couldn’t imagine hanging up his boots for a career in music.

Nearly 40 years later Campbell has become one of the greatest guitarists of his generation, playing on stage with legendary bands Def Leppard and Thin Lizzy.

Last week the Lisburn-born star returned to his old Co Down club between gigs to catch up with some familiar faces.

While many — like former Linfield captain Paul Mooney — have achieved success over the years, none have seen the fame and fortune of a rock legend.

Former team-mate Des Marley said it was great to see how well his old friend had done.

“None of us have achieved anything like Viv’s super-stardom,” he said. “But fame hasn’t changed him at all, he is still a genuinely nice guy and so down to earth.

“Viv was a left-footed player and I remember him being very talented and competitive on the field. We used to play after school and on Saturdays and he would never miss a match.”

Campbell joined Hillsborough Boys in the early 1970s and |became known as a bit of a character. He was nicknamed ‘Chopper’ for his “ball skills and fancy footwork” which helped the team win match after match.

Despite his popularity with team-mates, however, there was no hint of the rock legend the young footballer would become in later years.

His visit to his boyhood club came after he was forced to cancel an appearance in a 40th anniversary match against Glentoran Legends last year.

Campbell was greeted by former team-mates Mr Marley, Michael McFarland and Alan Moore, as well as club founders Brian Ogle and Francis Farr.

He was presented with a framed shirt and a set of photographs of him in action during his days as an amateur footballer.

Club officer Gareth Clements said Campbell joked that he would have to don the red and black shirt again to join the Hillsborough boys on the pitch.

The guitarist is a keen follower of football and plays regularly for celebrity team Hollywood United in his new home in sunny California

Def Leppard formed in 1977 in Sheffield, England, as part of the growing British heavy metal scene. The five-piece were most successful during the 1980s in the American music charts. The album Pyromania, released in 1983, turned Def Leppard into a household name, while Hysteria topped the US and UK album charts. Campbell joined the band in 1992 as a replacement for late guitarist Steve Clark. The band’s next album, Adrenalize, reached Number One in the same year. Def Leppard have sold more than 65 million albums to date and continue to tour stadiums and rock festivals worldwide

Profile

Def Leppard formed in 1977 in Sheffield. The five-piece were most successful during the 1980s. Campbell joined the band in 1992 as a replacement for late guitarist Steve Clark. The band’s next album, Adrenalize, reached number one in the same year. Def Leppard have sold more than 65 million albums and |continue to tour rock festivals worldwide.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph