Didn’t they do well: Unlikely rises to stardom

Looking back at the careers of many of the most loved celebrities, it is a wonder how some – considering their uninspiring beginnings – made it to the top.

Ant and Dec

Now the UK’s favourite presenting pair, it is easy to forget that the Geordie duo began their careers in naff BBC kid’s programmes Why Don’t You? and Byker Grove. They even had time to make a number of cringeworthy hip-hop inspired records before finally landing their breakthrough gig as the hosts of Saturday morning programme SMTV Live. A far cry indeed from the X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.

Guy Pearce

The English-born star of The King’s Speech, LA Confidential and Memento took the scenic route to stardom. Moving to Australia when he was still a toddler the young Mr Pearce was Mike Young in Neighbours and a bit-part player in Home and Away before Hollywood came calling.

Ian Wright

He might be a second-rate pundit and presenter today but it easy to forget that the former Arsenal and Crystal Palace star was once one of England’s most exciting footballers. The former record goalscorer for the Gunners, who also has 33 caps to his name, was a 22-year-old amateur before exploding into the big time after being spotted for the Eagles while playing for Dulwich Hamlet.

Happy Gilmore

Adam Sandler’s 1996 character Happy Gilmore was a wannabe hockey player and all-round loser before taking up golf in a bid to save his grandmother’s home. Spotted by one-handed coach Chubbs Peterson, Gilmore’s long drive took pro golf by storm helping the hot-head to victory in the Tour Championship against Shooter McGavin.

Colonel Sanders

The King of fried chicken was a steamboat pilot, farmer and insurance salesman before first serving his trademark to the dishes. He didn’t even develop his secret recipe until he was 49 – leaving him just 41 years to enjoy his finger licking creations until his death in 1980 aged 90.


Time up for Wenger at Arsenal?

A season is a long-time in football so six years must feel like an eternity for Arsenal fans.

The last time the Gunners won a piece of silverware – the 2005 FA Cup final – modern legends Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira and Dennis Begkamp were still in the side.

The match, which Arsenal played in a uncharacteristically defensive fashion, proved a watershed for the club.

Vieira departed the club after sealing the trophy, with new talisman Cesc Fabregas the fulcrum of the side. It was also the last season that the club displayed any pragmatism.

In the seasons following the triumph the new model for the direction for the club has been bold and idealistic. Arsene Wenger has relied almost entirely on the youth system to create attacking, beautiful football.

However, while the increasingly stylish play has won admirers it has not won trophies and, for the first time in his run in charge, Wenger might finally lose the fans.

The atmosphere at the Emirates last season, especially in the 1-0 reverse against Newcastle, was one of discontent and frustration. In the last few days, former players, including Tony Adams and Lee Dixon have been critical of Arsenal’s weaknesses.

So is it time for Arsenal to do the unthinkable? Or can Wenger turn the tide?

Keep Wenger

While Arsenal have not won a trophy for a while, they have become a regular Champions League side under the guidance of Wenger. They have never finished outside the top four under the Frenchman and have become one of the world’s most financially sound football clubs.
The team is a young, attacking side and are only a few decent players away from becoming a force to be reckoned with.

Sack Wenger

Wenger’s success was primarily build on the foundation of a solid defence and strength from set pieces inherited by the previous management of the club. His weakness lies in his inability to replace the famous back five and has struggled since.
There have also been an influx of poor defenders including Nelson Vivas, Igors Stepanovs and Philippe Senderos, while the jury is still out on Seb Squillaci and Laurent Koscielny.
While Sol Campbell and Thomas Vermaelen are notable exceptions Arsenal have been short of defensive quality since the retirement of Martin Keown and Tony Adams.

Read Adams’ and Dixon’s view on Wenger