Football fans have been flocking to the theatre to see their hero only to find it's a different man.

"There's only one Tony Adams" is a cry often heard from the terraces at Highbury.

"Oh no there's not" is the reply from the Theatre Royal, Brighton.

Highbury Tony is the Arsenal and former England star usually seen gracing the turf in a red and white shirt and football boots.

The Theatre Royal's Tony is the former Crossroads actor, usually seen treading the boards.

Scores of theatregoers have been trying to book seats to see their footballing hero, only to find the veteran thespian instead.

Tony, from Saltdean, best known as smoothy motel manager Adam Chance from Crossroads, is playing dastardly Captain Hook opposite Michaela Strachan in The New Adventures of Peter Pan.

He said: "I'd just like to say that I was around long before the other Tony Adams came on the scene.

"And what's more, I think the Queen has got her gongs mixed up."

Tony's namesake was made an MBE for his services to football and his triumph over alcoholism and injury.

Tony said similar mix-ups had happened before.

Once, while appearing in Reading, a coachload of Arsenal fans turned up and waited at the stage door with books and scarves to be signed.

Charlotte Montgomery, spokeswoman for the Theatre Royal, said: "We've had lots of inquiries to the box office asking how Tony has managed to get time off from Highbury.

"We're not quite sure how the mix-up has happened because our publicity material and certainly our photographs make it clear it's not the footballing Tony Adams.

"Our Tony has been very sweet about the whole thing.

"He was concerned that people would book seats and then be disappointed he wasn't who they thought he would be."

Tony, who has had rave reviews for his darkly comic portrayal of Captain Hook, will be on stage until January 20 when the panto reaches the end of its run.