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Sean Connery, the renowned Scottish actor who died Saturday, will be remembered for a long time for his roles on the silver screen like James Bond, Henry Jones, Sr. — father of Indiana Jones — and Marko Ramius. But there was a time in his life where his career trajectory could have put him on the soccer pitches of Europe instead of the theaters of Hollywood.

That being said, his fame as an actor exceeded any possible fame he could have gotten as a footballer. In a brutally honest article from Mud & Glory in 2005, his on-pitch talents were described in the following way: 

“Though he caused a stir as 007, it turns out that he was no great shakes at No.7. In fact, Big Tam is remembered most for his dress-sense and entourage of doey-eyed local girls during his two seasons at New Dundas Park, rather than anything he did on the pitch.”

Still, he did get an offer from one of the biggest names of the sport’s history: Sir Matt Busby, the legendary Manchester United skipper who led the club to glory in the 50s and 60s. Busby was scouting a game in the early 1950s that Connery was playing in and found himself impressed with his fellow countryman — Busby was also Scottish. He offered the future James Bond a contract of £25-a-week contract immediately after the game, which Connery nearly took.

“I really wanted to accept because I loved football,” recalled Connery. “But I realised that a top-class footballer could be over the hill by the age of 30, and I was already 23. I decided to become an actor and it turned out to be one of my more intelligent moves.”

It’s never an easy decision to give up on your athletic passion to pursue another line of work, but for Connery, the decision could not have possibly looked any better.

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