92 CLUBS in 92 hours – that’s the challenge a team faces when it aims to visit all Football League grounds to raise money for the charity Help for Heroes.
The four-man squad will leave Wembley Stadium after England’s World Cup qualifier with Montenegro on Friday October 11 and aim to be back in time for the game where Roy Hodgson’s men take on Poland on Tuesday, October 15.
They will all take turns at driving their 2,600-mile route, collecting donations along the way.
Two of the team have military experience – Darren Young served with the Royal Air Force while Mark Burns is a serving member of HM Armed Forces as well as being a coach at Swindon Town FC Academy. Football fans and businessmen Simon Cox and Mike Peters complete the starting line-up.
All four have two things in common – a love of the beautiful game and a passion for raising money for worthwhile causes.
Darren, from Norfolk, said: “After serving in the Royal Air Force Fire Service for 16 years, I decided I needed to give something back to my country.
“I am now a college lecturer working with the next generation; however, these learners have inspired me to help people who need my help more.”
Mark, from Wiltshire, said: “I have served throughout the world and in more recent years have unfortunately had to witness the devastating consequences of front line combat on our troops. They have been left with devastating injuries that have an effect long after leaving the front line.
“Help for Heroes is a fantastic charity that supports our troops and is something my wife has been involved raising money for throughout the years and is a charity that I felt I personally wanted to do something for.
“This is where the charity event 92 Plus 1 came to light and was something that I just had to get involved with.
“With my forces background and my absolute love of the beautiful game this was the ideal way of mixing both work and pleasure to raise money for a worthwhile cause.”
Simon, from Wellingborough, said: “I am football mad and passionate about the game. I have always wanted to do this challenge and visit the 92 football league clubs in the country and can’t wait for October!
“I enjoy raising money for charities and knowing that we can make a difference to those that have helped to protect us adds more excitement to the challenge.”
Mike, from Milton Keynes, said: “I am fortunate enough to have played the game and am now running my own business.
“As a football lover this challenge caught my attention and Help for Heroes is a worthy charity.
“I am hoping the football community will come together and support this challenge.”
Bryn Parry, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Help for Heroes, said: “Help for Heroes was launched to raise money to help support our wounded.
“We appealed to the public to get out there and ‘do your bit’.
“The 92 Plus 1 challenge will see dedicated football fans and supporters of Help for Heroes undertake an epic 2,600-mile drive around the country to raise money for the charity.
“We will be able to use the money raised to provide practical, direct support to those who suffered life-changing injuries and illnesses while serving our country.”
Many football clubs have already pledged their support for the challenge – called 92 Plus 1, with Wembley Stadium being the extra one – and it is hoped more will get on board to help the team reach their goal.
The group welcomes any sponsorship individuals, football clubs or businesses can offer. It is particularly keen to hear from anyone who has a vehicle they could use to get them through their route.
Anyone who would like to assist in any way can check out their website, www.92plus1.co.uk, or call Simon Cox on 07533 774420.