Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Winstone: I can't go to football

Ray Winstone can't enjoy watching live football any more

Ray Winstone has revealed he has stopped going to watch the football because fans won't let him enjoy the match in peace.

The actor - who is the face of Bet 365 adverts shown at halftime during live football games - grew up in Plaistow and is a devoted West Ham fan.

But The Sweeney star told Reader's Digest he doesn't go to Upton Park much since he became famous because he spends the whole game talking to fans.

Ray explained: "The thing that changes - and I don't mean this horribly because I've been to West Ham all my life - is that I used to love being in the crowd and just sitting there with the boys having a laugh. Then I found I couldn't because people will talk to me all through the game - I'm not moaning about it, they were just talking - but I want to watch the game with me mates. So you think, I've got a few quid so I'll get a box. But then how can you say you're the same as everyone else?

"And so I stopped doing it. These days I go now and again, but you spend most of the game just talking to everyone..."

The 56-year-old father-of-three, whose eldest daughters Lois and Jaime are both actresses, also lamented the rising crime he has seen in the area where he grew up.

"I don't understand the younger generation," he confessed. "I try to. Ben [Drew, aka rapper Plan B, his co-star in The Sweeney] was a great one to work with because he'll talk about what's happening on a council estate. I mean I'm quite aware of, you know, drugs and people getting killed and shot and all this b******s going on, but my answer to that is it's all f***ing wrong.

"I've lived in those places in the past but it was a different time. It was the Sixties. Yeah, there were gangs, but it was your street against my street, you'd have a punch-up and that was it.

"Very rarely was someone stabbed or shot. Maybe we just didn't hear about it, but today it seems like every time you turn on the news, it's happened. Places where my grandfather might have lived are now no-go areas."

But Ray admits he doesn't know what the solution is.

"The first thing I always say is, well, go in with the troops and sort them out! But that's just being ignorant. You need to listen to someone who actually knows it."

"There's nothing to do, and even kids who've got an education and great credentials, when they come out of university, they can't get a job.

"It must be soul-destroying. Maybe there is more pressure on kids than there was when I was young."

The full interview is available in the December issue of Reader's Digest, out today (November 15). More details at www.readersdigest.co.uk.

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