Imagine getting an answer phone message out of the blue from one of the coolest and most suave of Bond actors Sean Connery.
Everton FC ace Steven Naismith, 28, was star-struck when he picked up his mobile to hear the former 007 actor’s distinct voice.
His surprising conversation with the movie icon, and fellow Scot, was the result of the Blues forward’s charity work with homeless and jobless people.
Naismith told the Liverpool Echo: “I was at Rangers and I did an interview in which I said I was dyslexic.
“I then got a phone call from Sir David Murray, the Rangers chairman at the time, and he said his mate Sean wanted to speak to me.
Shaken not stirred: Sean Connery as James Bond and Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger
“He gave me Sean’s number, but I didn’t have his full name, so when I texted the chairman to ask, he told me it was Sean Connery.
“He called me first and left a voicemail. I let all my mates listen to his message and they thought I was on a wind-up.
“It took me a few days to convince myself that I should actually phone him back. So, as you do, I just phoned him and we spoke for an hour.
“I spoke to Sean about Rangers and then the Real Madrid v Barcelona game. It was surreal.
“We also spoke on the article I had done on dyslexia, and he told me that his mate Jackie also wanted to speak to me.
“His mate, was Sir Jackie Stewart. He is involved in ‘Dyslexia Scotland’ and after speaking for a while we decided to do a few things together to help raise awareness.
Surreal: Steven said he spoke to Sean for around an hour
“It’s fantastic to be in the company of these guys. I could sit there all day listening to them, especially Sir Jackie.”
Naismith is well-known for his charitable endeavours – so much so that The Big Issue asked whether he is Britain’s kindest footballer.
The sportsman supports homeless centres in Liverpool and Glasgow and donates tickets (Click to find tickets) to Everton matches for jobless people in Merseyside actively looking for work.
Everton are host to Manchester United at Goodison Park today in one of the Blues’ biggest games of the season – but four jobless home fans will be watching free of charge as Naismith’s personal guests which he is funding out of his own pockets
Naismith said: “I have four season tickets (Click to find tickets) and I give them to people from the Job Centre.
“I try to meet them afterwards. That isn’t always possible, but I do like to meet people and hear their stories.
Chatty: Sean and Steven spoke about his charity work
“You quickly realise that it isn’t their fault. In the modern day, it is too easy to read one thing and get the wrong perception of people when, in reality, that isn’t really what is going on. If you dig a bit deeper the truth is a lot different.”
Between them Premier League clubs have agreed a new television rights package in excess of £5billion for three seasons from the 2016/17 season – a 70 per cent increase on their current deal.
Naismith believes that could be the right time for teams to start implementing a more affordable ticket pricing structure for supporters. He said: “It can’t go on like it has because the fans just won’t be able to afford to go and before you know it, your stadium will be half-empty.”