The Square Ball Charity Walk: 35 Miles of Football Fun

In 2018-19 articles, Free, Leeds United by Michael Normanton

Even by our standards, 2014 was a bizarre year. Cellino (remember him?) arrived, sacked Brian McDermott (remember him?), re-employed Brian McDermott, sacked Brian McDermott and then replaced him with a glorified PE teacher, Dave Hockaday (remember him?). At some point during all this madness we decided to add a little of our own by organising a 30 mile sponsored walk to the New York Stadium in Rotherham.

By the time the walk came around, we were led, or at least nominally managed by, Darko Milanic (remember him?). The game itself turned out to be slightly more painful than the walking 30 miles, as two second half goals cancelled out Mirco Antenucci’s (remember him?) opener. Adryan (remember him?) came off the bench and briefly looked like a world-beater, but it still wasn’t enough to beat Steve Evans’ (remember him?) Rotherham team.

That was four years ago, and frankly it’s time we did something stupid again. So we’re going on another walk.

Because we can’t face ending a walk in Rotherham again, this time around we’re starting and finishing at the only place for us. Leaving Billy Bremner at 6am, the 35 mile route will take us on a football tour of West Yorkshire, to the grounds of our friendly neighbours Bradford City and Huddersfield. Having no doubt received a heroes welcome from the genial locals, we will then return to Elland Road in time to watch Bielsa’s boys put a hatful past Preston on Tuesday 18 September 2018.

There are already eight people committed to doing the walk, although to be quite honest it’s a very long way and we would love some additional people to talk to. If you want to get involved then please email michael@thesquareball.net.

While the walk will undoubtedly be tough, we are never straying far from civilization (I know it’s going through Bradford and Huddersfield, but you get my point) so you won’t need to carry huge amounts of supplies, and if it gets too tough then at least it will be a taxi taking you home rather than a mountain rescue team. I know the people who are already doing it and believe me, they aren’t athletes.

Money raised for this event will be split between Leeds Children’s Hospital and Muscular Dystrophy UK. We have supported Leeds Children’s Hospital for several years, and it was an easy choice; the work they do for children across the region is invaluable and we’re truly fortunate to have such an incredible place in the city. Your donation will help them continue providing the best possible health and wellbeing for children and young adults, and the best possible support for their families.

The reason we’ve chosen Muscular Dystrophy UK, is very simple: Martin Hywood. Not only does he complete a 330 mile round trip to games at Elland Road, but over the past few years Martin has organised countless fundraising events, many centred around Leeds United. In defiance of his own mobility issues, last year Martin led a team, predominantly of Leeds fans, up a mountain. A bloody mountain. This year he has continued to inspire Leeds fans to run marathons, cycle daft distances and now, plod around West Yorkshire for a giggle. His relentless positivity is as remarkable as his fundraising, with an incredible team generating over £32,000 this year alone.

Donations can be made immediately via Virgin Money and please, please, please join us by emailing michael@thesquareball.net It will be a laugh. Probably.

(feature image by Lee Brown)