Ayden Callaghan is well known to the country’s soap fans as Joe Roscoe in popular teen drama Hollyoaks. What is less well known is that he is also a big Wolves fan who had a particularly enjoyable first ever match! Wolves matchday magazine caught up with the 32-year-old actor to find out more and here below is the article that appeared in Saturday’s edition.
*Born in Aylesbury - how then a Wolves fan?
*My Uncle is a Burnley fan and they were playing Wolves in THAT trophy final (in 1988). I'd never been to a professional game ‘live’ before and Dad said he'd take me. We arrived at Wembley and we found ourselves in a sea of gold shirts and I said 'I'll support Wolves today'. The rest - as they say - is history!
*So a Wembley final win and a crowd of over 80,000 – not a bad first match then?
*To be honest my memory is hazy! I remember Gold and Black everywhere, the sunshine and the overwhelming noise. The stadium seemed like this magical place from Myths and fairytales of World Cup heroes and FA Cup Finals. I played at Wembley for the NSPCC charity, but the new Wembley. I would have loved to have played at the old Wembley.
*You’ve been very busy acting-wise in recent years with Hollyoaks and Emmerdale prior to that. How do you keep up with Wolves’ fortunes?
* I follow very keenly through the Wolves website, the Express and Star online and of course through Twitter. And I watch any games on tele that I can. My job makes it difficult to get to games and I haven't been to many in recent years. The last game I attended was Burnley last season at home with Jody Craddock. The less said about that game and the aftermath the better I think!
*Any particular highlights from your Wolves supporting days?
* A game that stands out was the last home game in our first season in the Prem against Middlesbrough. We were already down but the atmosphere was carnival- like and Henri Camara tore them to pieces. Another favourite memory was our Play off final win. I watched it in a pub in Guildford where I was at drama school, we blew Sheffield United away in the first half so the nerves disappeared quickly and I was as relaxed in the second half as I can ever remember watching Wolves.
* Steve Bull obviously! Every kid in the playground wanted to be Ryan Giggs, Lee Sharpe, Gary Lineker, Ian Rush etc. Well I shaved my head and pretended to be Bully. I remember playing a youth game where I dribbled round the entire opposition team before firing home and the ref came over and said: 'You been watching Ryan Giggs lad?” “No,” I replied. “Steve Bull!” Ha ha! Dean Richards, Lee Naylor and Joleon Lescott were my favourite defenders. Kightly, Jarvis and Fletcher have been favourites in recent years. I loved Alex Rae and Dean Sturridge too. There have been so many players over the years to have donned the great shirt I have enjoyed watching as well as a few who never deserved to!
*Thoughts on the disappointments of the last few years?
*What is there to say? After our first year back up I was positive but things seemed to go backwards in that second season and we stayed up on goal difference on the last day, I felt then would have been the time to make the change and Sam Allardyce was a manager on the market I think would have been great for us. That third season was simply excruciating and last season in the Championship highlighted our frailties and mistakes unforgivingly. I however feel that perhaps we need to go back before we could go forward. It has also been compounded by the progress and success our great rivals West Brom have been making, but we shouldn't worry about what they are doing and would do well to learn one or two lessons. Our pride as a club has been hurt but we are - and always have been - big enough to take it. We have done, and we move on.
*How hopeful are you of success now under Kenny Jackett?
* I am the most positive about a season I have been for some time. Our fantastic Academy has produced some terrific players that the team can be built around and, more than that, they have the club in the DNA and the fans know that and will back them even more. We are the biggest club in this division and the one above - our fantastic gates will bear that out this season and although every team coming to ‘The Mol’ will treat it as a cup final, hopefully we can make it an intimidating fortress. I like what I have seen of Kenny Jackett, I think he is a man that can rebuild us and move us forward in the way we all want. I am hoping to make a good number of games this season and there are a good few away games near where I film so hopefully I can make them too.
*Work-wise, how did you get into acting?
I kind of fell into acting, I was never sure what I wanted to do and I would have loved to have been a footballer but I was far too lazy to train really. I did nearly go to America to do a Soccer scholarship but instead chose to go to Drama School and the rest is history.
*What is it like being in such well-watched shows such as Emmerdale and Hollyoaks? I loved working on Emmerdale it was a very pleasant place to work and as an actor its always lovely to be busy working every single day. I am loving my time at Hollyoaks, it's a really fun, vibrant and creative environment. It's one of my favourite jobs in my career so far. It's hard and intense work and long hours, not to mention the hours spent at home learning lines, it is no way an easy gig. We do have a great deal of fun and there is always plenty of banter flying around because we are really happy and grateful to be doing what we are doing. It’s a bit like footballers I guess, with similar pressures and camaraderie.
*Do you pass on your love of Wolves to fellow cast members?
They all know I'm a Wolves fan, and to be fair it’s usually me mocking the Liverpool, Man City and Man Utd fans. I know as Wolves fans we have high expectations but these guys are on a different level. Also, as Wolves fans we've learnt to take the tough times so there isn't much anyone can say that we haven't heard or said ourselves before.
*You’ve been heavily involved with charity work – how important is that to you?
I love working with charities and try and do any requests that come my way, and if any involvement I have helps in even a small way I'm really pleased to be of use. There are a few charities that are very close to my heart and I try to be involved as much as they want me to be. Also some of the events and football matches are really great fun to be a part of on a personal level.
*And through that you’ve met Jody Craddock – what do you make of the great man?!
*Jody is one of the best guys you could hope to meet, and I've spent a few evenings at his place watching rubbish telly (he loves a bit of The Voice and X Factor - unbelievable!) and talking nonsense. As for my skills you'd have to ask Jody. I will say this - I banged a goal into the top corner against a West Brom All Stars team with my first touch. And when I captained the side in his absence, I definitely stretched that armband around my biceps. He'll need a new one when he's back.
*Finally, your girlfriend is fellow actress and TV presenter Sarah-Jane Honeywell. And she is a Bristol City fan?
*Yes we have discussed prospects for this season! Obviously I feel Wolves should be looking to win the title and certainly be aiming for automatic promotion. Bristol City have different aspirations. They are a smaller club with less finances but I'm sure they will be hoping to be around the play offs, although a decent high mid table finish wouldn't be terrible for them. There is talk of a new ground being built which might allow bigger gates and therefore help them progress. I think both clubs are in for an interesting season and it's a lovely six points in the bag for us I told her.......
*Many thanks Ayden! Those wishing to follow Ayden on Twitter can do so @aydencallaghan