It nearly wasn’t to be for ace drummer Will IT is the job that has made him an international rock star who has played sell-out stadium shows all around the world, sold millions of records, won dozens of awards and earned a reported £10m.

But now it has been revealed it nearly wasn’t to be for the Hampshire student who went on to be one quarter of Coldplay.

For drummer Will Champion, who was born and raised in Southampton, was sacked by his bandmates before they had even released a single.

Talking about the 1998 incident for the first time, the group – whose hits include Clocks, Yellow and Violet Hill – have revealed they blamed their percussionist when they were told they would never make it big.

“We got signed and went to a studio and we were doing OK but this producer we were working with told us we weren’t good enough, we weren’t technically good enough,” said singer Chris Martin.

“What bands often do in that situation is blame the drummer for going out of time or whatever.

“We didn’t really know that music is supposed to be about the feel of it, we thought it had to be technically perfect because we have a record deal now, so it ended up with us asking Will to leave.

“Three days went by and we were doing our thing and playing with a drum machine and stuff, but just felt really miserable.”

Chris, who is married to Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow, said he had to grovel to convince Will to rejoin, which he only agreed to if the singer drank a large amount of vodka and cranberry to make him remember his mistake.

And four multi-million selling albums later, he will tell viewers he hasn’t forgotten how stupid he had nearly been in a profile piece on the South Bank Show to be aired on ITV tomorrow.

Father of three Will, 31, who went to Southampton’s Cantell School and Peter Symonds College in Winchester, says he is always sure the band remember how lucky they are to be in the position they are now in.

Coldplay have just finished a 163-day world tour, which saw them play in 112 cities including London, Tokyo and LA.

“Literally just before we go on stage, when we’re standing by the side of the stage, we just have a little moment,” said Will.

“We all get together and remind each other of why and how we are in the position we are, and that it’s not an opportunity to be wasted, and then we go on.

“Every day we wake up knowing how lucky we are, but it drives us on to work harder.”

n The South Bank Show is on ITV1 at 10.15pm on Sunday.