About

“What’s it all about?”

Yes, “What´s it all about, Alfie?” goes through my head very often.*

In 2009 I was surfing the web and found a great story about a Norwegian, Bjørn Heidenstrøm, who was cycling from Oslo to South Africa in 2009/2010 (10 months of cycling through Europe/Africa!).I made contact and said, “Can I help?” I was enthusiastically welcomed. Quickly, I got sucked in to the project and was inspired by his commitment and his focus. Please visit his site and say “hei”.

I acted as his volunteer PR and back-up on that ride as he successfully completed that massive journey to raise awareness for the world’s 45 million refugees who have no home and little hope. His chosen partner was the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees who have always given him tremendous support.

He was collecting football shirts along the way and they were all sewn together to form the world’s biggest ever shirt which was on display during the World Cup in South Africa that summer. The Guinness Book of Records confirmed it as the biggest shirt in the world! We received massive support from FIFA, UEFA and hundreds of clubs from the VERY biggest (Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool) to the most humble level 7 clubs in hamlets in deepest Latvia. We have also received support from celebrities such as Sir Elton John, Iron Maiden, Slade, The Liverpool Legends and many national football associations from Bhutan to Belgium, Ireland to Italy …….and everything/everybody in between! Please visit his site and say “hi”. You will see many of the shirts and supporters of this epic journey!

We have had unbelievable media coverage and, as you can see, Bjørn has been on prime time TV, local TV and radio, given hundreds of interviews, filled page after page of newspapers and magazines and been featured or linked on thousands of web-sites.

After a while, I decided to assist more actively in Bjørn’s project and to increase the level of awareness for these refugees so to support him and re-enforce his efforts, I cycled for four months and visited all the 92 football league grounds in England and Wales in May/September 2010. (“Doing the 92” as it is called). Yes, some four months and 3,000+ miles!

Life has been good to me and I felt it was time to give something back. I am not a huge fan of rattling charity tins and I am not a trained nurse/doctor so PR/marketing is probably where I can best contribute, or so I thought until I got off my backside and covered hill and dale. (Fortunately, there are not too many mountains in England!

Despite a hit-and-run incident which left me in hospital in Newcastle for four days and left my bike in two bin bags, I successfully completed the 92 grounds. Sadly I lost all my worldly possessions in a storage centre fire in Spain during the journey but four months after my first tricky mile I arrived in West Ham’s ground to tick off the last stadium. A GREAT feeling!

The years went past. Bjørn completed some epic journeys and I started feeling restless so decided to undertake another little jaunt! Yes, this year it is the length of Norway – 5000 kms and a visit to every ground in the top three levels of Norwegian football. Wish me well, please!

Quick overview

1) I start in Oslo and meet sponsors, friends and the Red Cross. I collect their endorsements.

2) I then visit all the clubs in the top three levels of Norwegian football (and many other semi-pro/amateur grounds along the way.) I will also visit the clubs in the top level of ladies’ football and will get “my” shirt signed at every club. This will be sent to Bjørn when I have completed the clubs. I hope also that some clubs will also give me a shirt that I can send to Bjørn. My aim is to get 5000 signatures!

3) As you can imagine, the clubs are not conveniently spread in concentric circles but I will enjoy trips the length and breadth of Norway. I start in Kirkenes and finish in Sarpsborg and cycle 3,000 miles between them! This is all uncharted land for me as I have been north of Bergen and I am expecting days or at least hours of seeing nobody, I am sure!

4) What would be great is if I can meet football supporters and those interested in this Social Media project as I travel through Norway. I look forward to seeing many of you.

My friend Pete Clark has kindly provided and hosted this web-site and I will use FB and Twitter (@doingthe92) for regular updates. Please join me there.

For details of how YOU can get involved please continue here.

* Just the fact that I remember that song, should tell you I am no spring chicken! I first watched Gillingham (v Doncaster spring 1964). I was 7. Football has been the longest love affair of my life!

18 Responses to “About”

  • CathM:

    Let me know when you will be in Blackburn please.

  • Jock:

    Good luck Steve a journey like no other for a truly global matter.

  • Well done to you all. Brilliant cause 🙂

  • Enfield Torry:

    Steve. When you get to Tottenham pop down the road 10 minutes and come and say hello.
    you can add Futsal Club Enfield to your visits as well

  • Steve Hall:

    Thanks, Rob I look forward to meeting up with you and doing a blog about Futsal Club Enfield.

    Rob is a long-time friend with a fantastic knowledge about the game at all levels. I am sure he has done most of the 92 himself …. as well as 100s of amateur and non-league grounds. Top man!

  • Hi Im a bold Norwegian. Close to South Africa, and thats when it begins……
    Hope the Brits can prove (again) the friendship and help on the streets, the beaches, and the grounds.

    Get helpers.

    Be warm and safe!

    Your mate,

    Bjorn

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bjorn Heidenstrom. Bjorn Heidenstrom said: He is crazy – he is doing it – he is helping – and he is explaining it on http://bit.ly/9s7sXr and is behind @doingthe92 […]

  • Steve Hall:

    Ladies and Gentlemen. This is Bjorn Heidenstrom who was cycled from Oslo to South Africa. Please visit his site and support for the last few days of his journey. Without his inspiration, friendship and support I would never have dreamt of my mini trip.
    Top guy! Kram og klem, vännen min

  • Looking forward to meeing you when you visit Plymouth, Torquay and Exeter.

    Clive Birch
    BNI

  • Steve Hall:

    Thanks Clive, look forward to my trip to the SW

    Appreciate the fantastic support from BNI nationally

    Kind Regards

    Steve

  • Lasse:

    Steve! Sorry to hear about the fire 🙁 Sending my warmest thoughts to you even though that might not help much…

    Lasse, Norway

  • Great meeting up today Steve. Some 4 years ago since we last had chance to have a drink together whilst in Florida (Water of course!) – Glad to be of service this evening in Birmingham City as your personal chauffeur.. Barbara and I are really proud of you! Keep onnn peddling…

  • Steve Hall:

    Fantastic to link up again and HUGE thanks for the intros to the radio station and Birmingham City and Aston Villa. Great gigs weren’t they? Look forward to meeting you at BNI tomorrow.

  • Hi Steve

    Great to speak with today. I’m really looking forward to welcoming you to Rochdale. Its great that you are raising awareness of such an important global issue. Well done!

  • Steve Hall:

    I look forward to seeing all at TheBestOfRochdale tomorrow.

    I have enjoyed working with your partners in Richmond, Luton, Bury and Rossendale.

  • Vi and Philip:

    Great to know that you have finally achieved what you set out to do. No doubt you have enough memories now to last you he rest of your life!! Well done Steve. Where to next??

  • Steve Hall:

    Thanks. Where next? I have a number of plans in the offing. Maybe do it again? Maybe cycle the length of Sweden or Norway? (I’d prefer Denmark!) For 2013/2014 cycle from Spain to Brazil. Watch this space!

  • […] and Bjorn have compiled to tell you all about their quest. TheShirt.co.uk – Doing the 92 About The Shirt – tells you what got them both started and why they have chosen to take on this mad but […]

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