HE IS one quarter of the UK’s most successful band – and one of the best-known bands in the world.

But the success and wealth being in Coldplay has brought Southampton’s Will Champion almost slipped through his fingers. The drummer was sacked by the band shortly after they signed.

A producer told them they weren’t technically good enough and the band blamed their drummer. Luckily for father of three Will, frontman Chris Martin begged him to return. It was good news for Will – and his bank manager.

The former Cantell School pupil was reported as having an estimated worth of £32m in the Sunday Times Rich List published earlier this year.

And that was before the release of Coldplay’s latest album Mylo Xyloto, which was released worldwide last month and went straight to the top of the charts – their fifth album to go straight in at number one.

In the UK the album had the biggest first week for digital sales in chart history, taking the title from Take That’s Progress.

But although Will is hugely successful and wealthy, he has managed to keep out of the media glare.

Whereas the paparazzi are fascinated by Chris Martin – perhaps unsurprisingly given that he is married to Oscarwinner Gwyneth Paltrow and chose to give his first-born a rather daft name (Apple) – Will has said that he can wander down the street and do the shopping without getting recognised.

It’s a situation he seems happy with. After all, dedicated Saints fan Will is a season-ticket holder and might not want to join his father and fellow Saints supporter Tim Champion in the stands if he was as recognisable as fellow celebrated Southampton musician Craig David.

Will recently spoke about how he would like to see more Saints games.

“I haven’t been able to get to as many games as I’d like as we’ve been very busy and I’ve got three young children, so it’s quite hard to get down there,” said the 33-year-old.

“I’ve still got my season ticket and my dad goes every week.”

He added that he was delighted with Southampton’s manager Nigel Adkins.

“He’s inspirational, he’s so positive,” he added.

“We (Saints) had some dark years. It’s amazing how quickly we’ve been able to turn it around and it’s a tribute to Adkins and Cortese (Saints executive chairman). I’m thrilled. It’s the best time to be a Saints supporter.”

Will did his best to support his beloved Saints during less successful times. In 2009 he backed the Daily Echo Save Our Saints campaign, which called on fans to pull together to ensure all was done on and off the pitch to avoid the club going down, or out of business.

At the time Will said he didn’t have enough time to buy the club himself, but he probably isn’t far off now if the urge takes him.

It’s not bad for someone who wasn’t even a drummer when he joined the band that has brought him such success.

Will, who attended Peter Symonds College after Cantell School, played a number of instruments when he was growing up. Will may have musical career by parents Sara and Tim.

The couple, who were both lecturers at the University of Southampton – where Tim still works – used to DJ as Champion Tunes.

Sadly Sara died of cancer in 2000. The band’s debut album Parachutes was dedicated to her and in 2001, Will attended a ceremony at the University where a plaque in his mother’s memory was unveiled and a common room dedicated to her.

As a child, Will’s next door neighbour had a drum kit and he sometimes played on that and in music lessons at school, but it wasn’t until Coldplay that he became serious about drumming.

In one interview he revealed: “I started playing other instruments when I was about 14 and didn’t really look at a drum kit,” he said.

“When I went to university my friends started a band and needed a drummer so I said I’d give it a go.”

He added that his musical background – playing instruments such as the guitar, bass and tin whistle – has influenced his drumming.

“My approach has always been from a musical perspective,” he said. “I’m not one for big fills and flashy rolls.

I only play when it is really necessary. It’s just as important when you do play as when you don’t.”

Critics say Will’s personality is particularly in evidence on new album Mylo Xyloto.

The band revealed recently that they took an unusual approach to coming up with the new album – hypnosis.

It was the idea of former Roxy Music star Brian Eno, who also worked with the band on their previous album Viva la Vida.

As bass player Guy Berryman told a press conference: “We’re not afraid to try new things.

Brian Eno brought a friend in and the four of us were playing music under hypnosis.

“It didn’t really come to anything. You try ten ideas and only one works but nothing is too stupid for us.”

That idea might not have worked for them but plenty have. The band has won numerous awards including Brits, Grammys and MTV Music Video Awards.

They have used their fame to support causes such as fair trade – and sent a message of support to Southampton for achieving Fair Trade City status – along with Amnesty International, Make Poverty History and the Meat Free Mondays campaign.

They have gained further admiration for donating ten per cent of their profits to charity – not insubstantial profits given they have sold in excess of 50 million records worldwide, not to mention all the sold-out concerts they have performed around the globe. Tickets for their December arena dates in the UK have also sold out.

While Will must be grateful that he was reinstated as a member of Coldplay the rest of the band must surely feel the same. After all, he is a cornerstone of the group and who knows if the remaining trio could have had the same success with a different drummer. Whatever the answer, Will says that the band remain grateful for what they have achieved.

“Just before we go on stage, we have a little moment,” he said. “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.

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