Since the 1980s, one of Eric Clapton’s favorite hobbies has been fly fishing. He has even been featured in BBC television sports programs on fly fishing. In recent years, he has taken up shooting, a traditional English country pursuit.
In the late 1970s, Eric Clapton was an enthusiastic supporter of the West Bromwich Albion Football Club (aka “The Baggies”). His team scarf can be seen draped over the couch on the back cover of his album, Backless (1978). It is not known if Eric currently follows football (soccer) closely.
Eric Clapton was introduced to the sport of cricket by David English, former president of RSO Records and founder of the Bunbury charity cricket team in the 1980s. Eric joined the first Bunbury side in a match played at Ripley Court School in 1986. Since then, the every-changing celebrity team has raised more than 10 million pounds for various charities. In the ensuing years, Eric would occasionally take part in matches in the greater London area.
Eric Clapton announced his “retirment” from the sport of cricket on 10 August 2003 in a charity match against the Alec Stewart Bunbury XI at Ripley Court School in Surrey. The final score was Bunbury XI 305 for 6 against the Eric Clapton XI’s 304 for 12. He labored long and hard for his all-time best of 13. The day was also England’s hottest day on record with temperatures soaring into triple digits (farenheit). The London Daily Telegraph quoted Eric as saying on the occasion of the match, “I love watching cricket but I hate playing it. Every now and then it appears to be an attractive proposition, then the game starts and reality dawns.” He continued, “I like to be good at everything I do whether its fishing, playing the guitar or singing. But the only thing cricket has taught me is humility.”
Despite these words, Eric decided to come back from retirement to once again pick up a cricket bat. On 8 June 2008 – just three days after his short U.S. summer tour ended – he fielded his Eric Clapton XI against The Bunburys in a charity match in the Surrey countryside. And again in July 2009, Eric fielded his team in another charity match against The Bunburys.
Eric is a long-time collector of sports cars and is an avid follower of Formula One racing. In more recent years, he has begun collecting custom American hot-rods. He is avid art collector, particularly favoring modern and street art. He also collects wristwatches by Rolex, Patek Philippe and others and is a lover of racing bicycles and antique U.S. western-style belt buckles! And let’s not forget his well-known acoustic and electric guitar collection!