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FOOTIE MY A**E!; Royle Family star Ralph Little ready to quit hit show for a bid at soccer stardom.

Byline: KATE CONDON

ROYLE Family star Ralph Little is leaving behind his couch potato days for good - to give professional football his best shot.

The 22-year-old actor was spotted playing for an Arsenal celebrity team by Hartlepool United scout Tommy Miller, who was impressed with his performance.

Now Ralph has been invited to try out for team boss Chris Turner.

Last night, the actor said he'd be trying his best to make it into the team, who are top of the English Third Division.

He said: "I don't want to turn 40 and look back and think I could have made it as a footballer. I am after a contract with Chris Turner and Hartlepool and I'd pack it all in today. Chris said the celebrity game wasn't competitive enough to make an accurate judgement so he wants to watch again when I've got a proper game going on."

Ralph reckons he's not the only star who would give up his showbiz career to become a footballer and said that celebs including And and Dec and Robbie Williams would all do the same. He added: "I don't know anyone who wouldn't pack in showbusiness to become a professional footballer."

Ralph's football skills are well known and scouts from Hartlepool, Swindon and Millwall have all been interested. But the North-East club are the first to ask him to train with the first team.

The timing of his trial is also perfect for his TV career - he's planning a BBC documentary which describes his desire to make it as a footballer.

Ralph added: "I don't know if I'm good enough to make it, but I've got the passion, so Chris needs to sign me to see if I'm any good. I'd move to Hartlepool and I'd play every day. It would be better than being a porn star because I'd just get bored with that."

Hartlepool spokesman Paul Mullen said: "We want to have a look at him in training with the first team and take it from there. We are giving him a chance to shine, it would be great if he makes it."

Ralph's fans needn't worry about him disappearing from our screens just yet, however. He's due to film a new series of Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps and The Ralph Little Show will be screened November.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 9, 2002
Words:392
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