Doing The 92

My name is Steve Hall. I am a Brit who loves football and travel.

In 2010 I cycled to all the 92 football league clubs in England and Wales. I set off in May 2010 and finished on 23 September. I was met with almost universal kindness, hospitality and friendship.

I had great plans for retracing the route in 2020/2023. Sadly Covid and then a long spell in hospital scuppered my plans.  I am delighted to announce that I start a new 90 day trip on 6th January 2024.

“Steve is a seasoned traveller – 50 countries, 700 flights – but this trip will be unique. Is he back in the saddle and cycling? No. Is he running? No. Horseback/canoes? Dream trips but not this time. No, this one will be in a digital tuktuk! He will be virtually visiting the many football clubs in England he loves so much! Yes, the motorised rickshaw much beloved of travellers in Thailand and India will be visiting Old Trafford and Villa Park, Elland Road and St James …. and many, many more! 

So, what is this journey? Why is he doing it?  There are two main reasons. The number one priority is to raise money for Prostate Cancer  Like all charities, Prostate Cancer had a torrid time during the Covid 19 crisis. He is keen to raise many thousands of pounds for the charity and has set himself various targets.
He is sharing his fundraising this time 50-50 with his friends at FC Deportivo Galicia from Heathrow, London. Again Covid was tough for this Combined Counties side but with some luck and Galician pluck they are punching above their weight again this season. The first task is to get £500 to them both asap.

If you want a mention, just shout! If you write about football, just shout! If you want to sponsor a club, just shout! If you want some promotion for your business, please shout! You get the picture.

People can sponsor per mile, per club, per stadium etc. Anything from literally £1 will be gratefully received. Alan at The Worlds Most Expensive Link (check it out!) immediately offered to sponsor the 90 days. I am eternally grateful to him for that.

The JustGiving page is now live for Prostate Cancer as is the BuyMeACoffee page for FC Deportivo Galicia. 

My point of departure is confirmed. It will be at 5pm on Saturday 6th January 2024 from Bedfont Sports on Hatton Rd, TW14 9JR. It’s by Hatton Cross station on the Piccadilly Line. I will be leaving after the Combined Counties game between FC Deportivo Galicia and Langley. All welcome at the game. Want a free ticket? Just txt or Wapp me on 0044 7950 656654 For anybody in business, £5 is a trifling amount to get quality links to their websites. If a business pledges £50, I will also add it to The Worlds Most Expensive Link 

Remember you can get involved from just £1 so hopefully we will be able to raise a tidy sum.

I have updated the main website and poster, so hopefully all the information is now in the one place. (Full details here) .

Please check through the site to learn more about the project, the people involved and how you can also help and get involved.

Thanks

Steve

DoingThe92

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Tuktuk Day 58


Well, an interesting weekend. Chelsea fail at Wembley against “Klopps’s Kids” although few note that the average age of the Chelsea team was YOUNGER than that of Liverpool. Let’s not allow facts in the way of sports editors’ favourite storylines! Congratulations, anyway. How many pieces of silver will Klopp win in his last season on Merseyside? I think City will win the league but would not be surprised if Klopp captures all the others. We’ll know by May! Gillingham do a Gillingham (A “Spursy”?) and beat Wrexham to go back into the play-off places. A huge win and now to do a Gillingham (So”Spursy”) and struggle against lowly Salford next time out! Steve, keep the faith!

In the meantime, sad news of the deaths of both Stan Bowles and Chris Nicholl this weekend. Both legends in their own ways in British and Northern Irish football. My thoughts are with their families.

Stan Bowles 1948 – 2024 (left) and Chris Nicholl 1946 – 2024 (right)

Little Princess Trust



On a happier note, I got a lovely letter from the Little Princess Trust which I reproduce in full. For over three years I have been growing my hair to make a wig for a little girl. I had it cut at Academy Studios last week and thought that was the end of it but no….

“Thank you very much for your wonderful hair donation. We can confirm that it has safely arrived!

Thank you for providing your email address which we have used to send you the attached certificate as a small token of our heartfelt thanks. 

Last year, our charity provided almost 2,000 real hair wigs, free of charge, to young people who lost their hair through cancer treatment and other conditions. It is only thanks to kind people like you that this was possible

We would love to stay in touch about our latest news, fundraising events and appeals.

Thank you!”

Nice when people say, “THANKS!” I appreciate them. This leads me to thanking those who have already supported this tuktuk tour. Thanks to those who choose to show their names and also to the anonymous ones. A BIG shout out this week for Steve Jennings who very kindly donated several hundred Birmingham City programmes to the cause. He says he was very happy to support such a great cause and reminded me that he is always on the look out for Birmingham City programmes from the 40s and 50s. Guys, can you please check your collections? I will be delighted to put you in contact if you think you have anything of interest. THANKS!

In the meantime, I hope that you will consider a donation however small to support FC Deportivo Galicia and/or Prostate Cancer UK  If everybody chipped in £1 I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and life would be easier in West London whilst the charity continued their great work. A HEARTFELT thanks, if you can. If you can’t you can still help massively by sharing this page about the work of Prostate Cancer. THANKS, Steve.

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Tuktuk Day 57


So, it’s Sunday and that can only mean one thing*. Intrepid Darren Ashley has been on his travels again. His vlogs are becoming very popular and many are going over to view the vlog on his YT channel. You can subscribe at no cost to see the updates. Yesterday he was at Stotfold and by all accounts was well looked after again. The POWER of non-league.

* Actually two things to ponder, Why did my beloved FC Deportivo Galicia throw away a 3-0 half-time lead at Westside? Whey we love football (sometimes) number #537343


So, let’s see what Darren says…

“This weeks destination for the filming of the vlog was Stotfold FC, for their Step 4 Southern League Division 1 Central clash with Ware FC.

With the awful rain all around this week, I fully expected to be watching a match on a 3G surface for the 4th week running, but was delighted to find a match that was a very reachable distance to get to that was to be played on grass.

I initiated contact with the club via X, particularly with manager Brett Donnelly, just to make sure it was all ok to film.

Brett was great, replying that they were happy to have me and would be happy to help out with interviews etc.

Matchday, and I got to the ground nice and early, and, almost straight away, the club was very helpful with a steward called Paul telling me about the club and being happy to film my opening link to the vlog.

As he was doing this, the, as I soon found out, the wonderful chairman Rob Parkin appeared in shot, and once the initial filming was done, i was introduced to Rob, and, he took me into the ground and showed me around.

Honestly, he couldn’t have been kinder, allowing as much access as I wanted, and that even included going onto the pitch to film various links.

I had to somehow get him on camera for an interview, and, with a small bit of persuasion, he was happy to do it.

After initial filming was done, I had a little walk around the ground Stotfold ground, New Roker Park, where I met Brett properly for the first time, and, also Paul Halsey, the Ware manager, who was walking his dog around the ground whilst his team were warming up

They were happy to have a few words on camera at Full Time, no matter the result, although Paul told me he would be pushed for time as he was off to Arsenal that evening.

You know what though, Paul actually waited around for me when it was time for the interview, which was very classy of him, and yet another reason why I now find Non League the absolute best.

Onto kick off time now, in what must be said, a very unusually warm and sunny February afternoon.

Now you know this next bit by now…..I won’t write any words on the match itself,as i hope you will give the matchday vlog a bit of a watch…where the link will be found in the comments!

Half time arrives, and I made my way into the boardroom, pre arranged with Rob, where I was treated to coffee and biscuits.

I think I was enjoying the hospitality too much because, I nearly forgot to film my brief half time link.

It’s not easy to talk when all I was doing was eating and drinking.

Onto the second half now, and, half way through it, I had to move my position from the main stand to the other side of the ground, as my phone was struggling to pick up any clear action due to the brightness of the sun.

It was around that side where, for the first time all day, I had contact with Ware supporters.

The ones I spoke too were all a good lot, and we all had pretty much the same thoughts on what we thought of the match… a couple of them also were asking whether I would do a vlog at their ground…..of course I would, if invited.

So… the final whistle goes, on, what I thought as a neutral, a really enjoyable match.

I sought out the managers ( by the way, they were a couple of decent fella’s and a laugh too) for the interview’s and once again, went to the boardroom where I was offered drinks and curry.

I couldn’t turn that down, but I did make a schoolboy error, as I sent a quick video to my partner Melanie, showing her how well I was being treated and what I was eating.

Her simple reply was “ I hope that’s not your dinner as I’m cooking it now. “

Ware FC

What else could I say other than, don’t worry, I will eat my dinner when I get home….although, even then, I was pretty stuffed!!

Time to leave then, but I had to find Rob one last time to thank him and his club for their amazing amazing hospitality.

I cannot recommend Stotfold FC to visit highly enough for ground hoppers, yet a had mixed feelings as I left as I really want them to progress, yet, at the same time, not too much, so they could retain the charm and community spirit which they clearly have.

Thanks for reading.”

Thanks, Darren, we all look forward to next week’s adventures.

In the meantime I hope you are all enjoying the tour of the UK and I that you will consider a donation however small to support FC Deportivo Galicia and/or Prostate Cancer UK If everybody chipped in £1 I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and life would be easier in West London whilst the charity continued their great work.


This week we have lost the Maverick Stan Bowles who was one of those players who fans of all clubs would love. My thoughts are with him and his family and friends.

Stan Bowles R.I.P.

… and now a little rant! Yet another club encouraging me to buy their FOURTH kit! Now, I happen to have a soft spot for all the Madrid clubs, think all the Atleti shirts are quite attractive but NOBODY needs four shirts in a season. Nobody. It is done solely to fleece the fans. Do NOT bite the hand that feeds you. Guys, enough is enough or as they say in Spain. ¡Basta Ya!

Atletico de Madrid’s FOURTH limited edition kit – ridiculous

First and Second Kit 23/24

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Tuktuk Day 56

It’s Sunday and a day of contemplation. Why are Arsenal going to blow it ….again? Why are Gillingham going to go up as champions …again (cf 1964!) “Why does Saigon sleep at night, why do the Gooners talk such xxite? Vietnam You don’t give answers, do you friend?” No I am not thinking of Miss Saigon and today I am mostly contemplating North East Lincolnshire. Yes, that hotbed of football excellence ….not! Fortunately I am helped by a dear friend and Grimsby advocate, Russ Pearce who otherwise can be found chasing football games in such unlikely places as Catral (Spain), Nicaragua, Falmar and pretty much anywhere else on the planet! It is a true pleasure to read his thoughts.

Football in North East Lincolnshire

Welcome to North East Lincolnshire, a hotbed of what is, let’s face it, pretty mediocre football these days. The fans, however, are very, very passionate despite the current mediocrity.

Most people think of Grimsby Town when they think of football in this region. That’s hardly surprising as they are the only current Football League club and it’s likely to stay that way so long as the Mariners can keep themselves out of the bottom two of League two! Blundell Park is not the fortress it once was, but ask anyone who the best away fans in the division are, and a lot will say that honour belongs to Grimsby Town. Think of inflatable haddocks which have made appearances at Premier League grounds lover the years in famous cup ties, beginning in 1989 with a trip to then-FA Cup-holders Wimbledon, through to last season’s amazing run to the quarter finals where the famous fish was seen (despite initially being banned) at an incredible VAR-assisted last-16 victory at Southampton followed by a thrashing at Brighton leaving many wondering what would have happened if Brighton’s goalkeeper Robert Sanchez had been sent off early in the game for handling the ball outside his area.

Go back, ahem, almost 90 years and you’ll find Grimsby sitting pretty in 5th place in the top flight and reaching two FA Cup semi-finals. In 1939 they lost to Wolves in what is still the highest attendance ever at old Trafford. Until the formation of the Premier League, they had played in every division ever created in the English league system having been in both the Northern and Southern regions of the old third division. Recent years have been traumatic and turbulent with a long spell in non-league but brighter days are surely on the horizon with new ownership under the guidance of local businessman Jason Stockwood. The days of John Fenty are finally over but the poor investment in the club means they still have a lot to do to stay in League Two and not return to non-league football once again.

So who are the other teams in North East Lincolnshire? Well, don’t mention Scunthorpe United because they are in North Lincolnshire. A subtle difference! Other than being the only place in the UK with a genuine swear word in their name, they are of little relevance, and even less so these days as they compete with the likes of Rushall Olympic and Curzon Ashton in the National League North!

Clive Mendonca – A Legend at Grimsby Town and then Charlton Athletic

Grimsby Town are famed for playing their home games in Cleethorpes. You may or may not be surprised to learn that Cleethorpes Town play their home games in Grimsby! Having risen from pretty much park football to Tier 8 (Northern Premier League East Division), they reached the final of the FA Vase in 2017 resulting in a trip to Wembley. A 4-0 defeat to South Shields wasn’t the result everyone wanted but what a day out it was for everyone concerned! A year later they moved back to their own stadium, the Linden Club, after five years at Bradley Pitches where they shared a “stadium” with Grimsby Borough, now once again rivals in the same division as they themselves have also gradually risen upwards. Cleethorpes Town have come close to rising further in recent years but Covid put paid to their amazing run and they kind of ran out of steam after the pandemic. With any luck, the turmoil of the last few seasons is behind them now and they can push onwards and upwards from here.

Russ & Trish sponsoring at Immingham

Drop down a couple more divisions and you’ll find Immingham Town. The Pilgrims, as they are known, don’t have any sort of history in the game and are currently playing away from their own home whilst it is brought back up to the standard required. They started this season with a new manager and a new squad, mostly teenagers, and struggled to get going. A few older faces were brought in and they are now making great strides towards being able to aim higher. Their manager, Jon Davy, a good friend of mine, used to be the assistant at Cleethorpes Town so he knows what it takes to take a smaller team up a step or two. Watch this space!

A hotbed of mediocrity it may be, but it’s definitely worth delving into the passion for football that North East Lincolnshire has to offer.

Cleethorpes Town at Wembley, Real Betis just down the road!

(Author – Russ Pearce of www.anythingbutpaella.com and co-ordinator of Seagulls Over Spain. Born in Sussex in 1970, he grew up in Cleethorpes before escaping at the tender age of 16 and eventually ending up living full time in Spain. His first ever Brighton game was a 5-0 defeat for the Seagulls at Blundell Park (see above) so the 5-0 win in the FA Cup last season made for some nice symmetry!!)

Russ with the Seagulls Over Spain scarf in his right hand.

I HOPE you are all enjoying the tour of the UK and I that you will consider a donation however small to support FC Deportivo Galicia and/or Prostate Cancer UK If everybody chipped in £1 I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and life would be easier in West London whilst the charity continued their great work.

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Tuktuk Day 55

So, “When Saturday Comes” has come. After the disappointment of my midweek game at Hillingdon Borough being postponed with 40 minutes notice I am off to Westside who play off the A3 bypass somewhere between Kingston and Wimbledon and Putney and, well, nowhere. I may be some time! I’ll update later as Westside always seem to put out a decent team but aren’t big on publicity so I haven’t much to say. They groundshare and I suppose are nearer to home than when they played at Chessington previously. Looking forward to a good game.



In the meantime, Christian from Through The Turnstile has been busy again and this time he visits Cray Wanderers who many will remember for their cup exploits this season….. not least the Charlton manager!
Remember he has covered Coventry United, Chatham Town as well as a fascinating overview of why fans are leaving the big clubs for clubs lower down the pyramid. Thanks again. Let’s see what he says.

THROUGH THE TURNSTILE @ CRAY WANDERERS

Welcome back to Through the Turnstile, the series that shines the light on some of non-leagues leading stars. On this feature we are venturing to the borough of Bromley, going through the turnstile at Cray Wanderers, so without further ado lets get stuck in!

A brief history of the Club

Cray Wanderers FC was formed in 1860. It came about when migrant workers, building the Cray Valley railway viaduct, teamed up with villagers from St. Mary Cray for a “lunchtime kick about”. Little did these early footballing pioneers realise that what started out as a bit of fun would still be going strong over 150 years later.

Nicknamed the Wands, they are based in the London Borough of Bromley and compete in the (Isthmian) Premier Division: the seventh tier of English football. 

They currently play their home matches at Bromley’s Hayes Lane ground (capacity 5,000). The club have just recently announced they will part ways with Bromley and their ground sharing agreement come the start of next season which is a very exciting part of their future.

Neil Smith was appointed as manager towards the end of the 2021–22 season and the following year led Cray to the highest league finish in their history (5th). The Wands lost on penalties to Hornchurch in the play-off semi-final. They currently sit 13th in the table, a mid-table position which, should the season end tomorrow, provide them with a very good springboard of which to leap from next season.

(Source: https://www.cray-wanderers.com/)

Club legends (as told by Fan Martyn Beadle)

Sam Wright – the CEO of the football club has been instrumental in the building of the new stadium and was a decent player by all accounts although I unfortunately never got to see him play in person.


Joe Taylor who now plays at Ramsgate (his goals while at the club were superb)

Kit

2023/2024 Cray Wanderers FC Home Kit
£39.99 Replica Kit – Available online or in the stadium shop.

https://www.cray-wanderers.com/product/2324-home-jersey-vx3/

Stadium info

Cray Wanderers currently ground share with Bromley FC, however they do have VERY exciting news in regards to having a stadium to finally call their own, which you can find out more about down below! But in the meantime here is the info for Hayes Lane:

Hayes Lane, BR2 9EF
Capacity – 5000 (1300)
Number of stands – 3
Artificial Turf

Coming soon…a brand new stadium – check out the video below which was released 6 months ago to give you a bit more of an insight on what that new stadium will look like. Sam Wright (CEO) does personally touch on the more recent stadium developments later on in this feature, but the video below is a great overview of the whole project and how it has got to this point.

Stadium Shop

Located online only at the moment, due to ground sharing. Cray Wanderers fans can get all their merchandise needs with just a few click. There are plans for a physical Cray Wanderers store in the near future, so all of you can get up and close to the merchandise on offer, just watch this space (more info on that below).

Thanks Christian for a fantastic overview BUT, “There’s More.” Yes, shoot over to the Through the Turnstile website and see the complete low-down on Cray Wanderers ….after all, they are London’s oldest club!

Thanks again, Christian. I hope your numbers are growing. You and Darren with his vlogs add a lot this tour. You are both appreciated.

…. and let’s not forget the OTHER “When Saturday Comes,” indeed a half decent magazine! Wherever you were this Saturday, I hope you had a great time and took home the points unless you are a Wrexham fan and I hope you had a fantastic time at the best ground in the country …. but did not take home the points !

I HOPE you are all enjoying the tour of the UK and I that you will consider a donation however small to support FC Deportivo Galicia and/or Prostate Cancer UK If everybody chipped in £1 I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and life would be easier in West London whilst the charity continued their great work.

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Tuktuk Day 54

Cheltenham Town – Christine Baldwin Art Foundation

Many of you know (or are learning with this tour!) that I am a great lover of art. Tragically I cannot draw a straight line. That does not stop me admiring people like Football Cartoons, Gillingham Legends and Dave Baldwin at Papilios Creative. Dave is a huge Villa fan but now lives in Cheltenham. I asked him whether we could do a piece on Cheltenham and he was pleased to agree. Despite what Shankly might say “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.” I know the great man was maybe tongue in cheek. Dave and I got talking about his art and I was delighted to find he has an exhibition near Cheltenham this week. Jonny-Rocks/Completely Suzuki/Wheldon Rd can wait! He sent me this update….

Art Exhibition

Sunday 24th February 2024, 10.30am – 4.00pm

I am delighted to announce a forthcoming art exhibition in aid of the Myeloma UK Charity.

I will be showing my original paintings as well as artwork done by students at The Butterfly Garden where I volunteer on a Monday and Tuesday. All paintings will be for sale

The event is Sunday 24th February at Dundry Nurseries, Bamfurlong Lane, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. GL51 6SL Website here

Details for The Butterfly Garden can be found here

KEEP SAFE and WELL! If you can make it to the event it would be lovely to see you.

PLEASE SHARE THIS AMONGST FRIENDS AND ON SOCIAL MEDIA, Thank you.

Below is a small section of the gallery of my work that will be available to purchase on the day. 

Here is a little more information:

Logo copy v2.jpg

My darling wife Christine passed away at Sue Ryder Hospice, Leckhampton, Cheltenham, on 20th July 2022 aged 56 from Multiple Myeloma, leaving a beautiful 14 year old daughter Hannah without a mummy.
Chris always supported me with my art, calling it my “Happy Place”, and without her confidence in me there would not be a Papilios Creative.

For Cover Christine Baldwin.jpg

In her name I have created The Christine Baldwin Art Foundation to help raise funds to find a permanent cure for this awful disease.  My wife knew that her battle against this disease would ultimately be lost, but she fought for over 7 years, and showed incredible courage and bravery.

I hope now to use my art and sell prints, merchandise etc. with all profits going towards research into the treatment for Myeloma in the UK. One of Chris’ favourite flowers was the freesia with purple her favourite colour, so I have painted it and adopted it as the foundation emblem. Prints and greetings cards are available to buy on this page

Only in it’s infancy, but I hope to expand the foundation into further activities in the future, but my wife’s passing is still very raw for me and the family, so little steps at the moment.

I also fully support The Sue Ryder Hospice, and thank them for looking after Chris during her final days. We cannot thank them enough for their tenderness and support at our most difficult of times.

Direct donations can be made to Myeloma Research UK or Sue Ryder by clicking on the links.  Thank you for visiting this page and reading about our new fundraising.



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Tuktuk Day 52

Sunday League Day

Sunday League Day is a new concept to promote Sunday League football across the UK, piggybacking on the success of Non-League Day in recent years. The overall objective is simple: to raise the profile of Sunday League football and to get people out of their houses on a Sunday morning to go and watch their local grassroots football team.

Teams usually play in public locations so it’s often free to watch, fresh air is great for physical and mental health, and clubs really value seeing spectators at their games. Getting more people interested and involved in Sunday League football will only help to grow the beautiful game in its purest form, and ultimately increase participation too.

With entry to the majority of Sunday League games free, we are keen to bring a charity element to the occasion and encourage spectators, as well as players, clubs and leagues alike, to raise money towards a good cause. For example, spectators could donate a notional “ticket price” to charity.

Another aim is to dispel some of the misconceptions of Sunday League football from a previous era. Pub teams are still a (great!) thing, and it’s good that people have an opportunity to play competitive, structured football. However, things have changed on a Sunday. The likes of Palmers, SE Dons and Hashtag United (who’ve now switched to storming up the Saturday pyramid), have brought Sunday League football to people’s attention through YouTube. Social Media has given clubs like Caversham United the opportunity to make a name for themselves outside of the local area. Sunday League is interesting to people – a purer form of the game – without VAR for a start. Another misconception is the quality of the football. The standard of the FA Sunday Cup teams would challenge the teams pushing up the Saturday pyramid.

The message to potential spectators is simple: turn up, watch some stripped back football, and enjoy! Sunday League football is way more accessible to potential spectators now, with fixtures online and a lot of clubs are on all the popular social media platforms and sharing fixture details.

Clubs can approach Sunday League Day with the freedom and creativity to mark the occasion however they want to. Sharing the #SundayLeagueDay and #SLD2024 hashtags on socials is a helpful start. Clubs should use the opportunity to try and attract spectators along, which can of course lead to many benefits as a result (more awareness, potential sponsors, etc). As an example, Reading-based side Caversham United have committed to getting involved and have suggested they will likely have a small programme available on the day and some form of refreshments (they are sponsored by a brewery…), whilst raising money for charity by “selling” tickets for a good cause.

We hope that media will engage and give SLD and its teams some coverage too! There’s been a lot of frustration with the elite game in recent years, that extends further down the pyramid too (see recently Reading’s ongoing ownership battle and #SellBeforeWeDai movement). Sunday League has an opportunity to shine, and the time is now!

We would like to encourage everyone to get involved!

If there are any volunteers out there who would like to get involved and support the #SLD2024 (and beyond) campaigns, please send @SundayLeagueDay a DM on X (formerly Twitter) or an email to sundayleagueday@outlook.com

EDITOR’S NOTE: Obviously. I would love all the teams to support @Prostate Cancer but each team/club can choose to support whoever they wish. In the meantime, I hope that you will consider a donation however small to support FC Deportivo Galicia and/or Prostate Cancer UK  If everybody chipped in £1 I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and life would be easier in West London whilst the charity continued their great work. A HEARTFELT thanks, if you can. If you can’t you can still help massively by sharing this page about the work of Prostate Cancer. Thanks, Steve.

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Tuktuk Day 53

Gillingham FC


60 Years’ Anniversary

Anybody who has stood within 100 yards of me since 1964 (yes 60 years ago!) will know that I have been a Gillingham fan all my life. My first ever game was a 1-1 draw against Doncaster Rovers in Division 4 (now League 2) on 22 February 1964 … a season when we won the league for the first time ever. We were unbeaten at home and only conceded 10 goals all season at the Theatre of Farce that is Priestfield Stadium. Away we were equally tight with only 20 against. We actually only won it because we beat second place Carlisle United at home. Not that I was such a statto then but our goal average was 1.967 and theirs was 1.948. We finished equal on 60 points and even though we had scored 59 to their 113 (!) our minusculely better average gave us the title.

Sixty years later we are approximately 8 places worse off and sitting outside the playoff places after yet another 0-0 versus Stockport County on Tuesday. In between more pain than gain with the infamous Wembley play-off defeat against Manchester City and then the six glory years in the Championship. In all that time we have never ever once played Manchester United!

So, as a lifetime fan, you can imagine how excited I was to hear from fellow Gillingham fan James Norley with his Gillingham Legends business recently. He was kind enough to tell me more ……

GILLINGHAM LEGENDS – FOOTBALL IS A WORK OF ART

What started out as a hobby, has now turned into one of the most sought after gifts for Gillingham football club fans throughout the world – artwork of GFC’s legendary players throughout its time! Created by Football Digital Illustrator Jim Norley, who first started to drawing distinctive digital illustrations of former Gillingham players a few years back, has now launched his debut book ‘Gillingham Legends’ which consists of 175 players and staff to date. 

“I’ve been a Gills fan since the age of 8”, says Jim “I’ve experienced both the darkest and most triumphant days in the club’s history. When I first started the posting the pictures, it became an outlet for fans to reminisce about the old days and share their personal stories and memories. It then soon progressed into the ‘legends’ themselves interacting with me and providing their own personal stories and memories too – which then in turn encouraged me to publish the book. Who knew little old  Gillingham would have such an array of great players over the years!”

The A5 hardback ‘Gillingham Legends’ book containing original digital illustrations of 175 of Gills greatest ever players and staff costs £15. And as well as the book, an Andy Hessenthaler gold plated, soft enamel pin badge which comes with an A7 artwork card is now available and costs £5.

All the above products and more are available from his website  

You can also follow the Gillingham Legends social media platforms: Facebook and Twitter

Much has happened in the last 60 years; our beloved Priestfield Stadium has legendary status because of the “Ginger Rogers Stand” also known as the Town End and The Brian Moore Stand, we now have a Podcast, video streaming of every game and a whole host of social media involvement that (a) never existed 60 years ago and (b) as a seven year old kid, I could never have dreamed of anyway!

Singing in the Rain – The Ginger Rogers stand. Temporary since 2002!

So, yes, a sixty year love affair. My heart was broken by Manchester City at Wembley in 1999, hope returned against Wigan in 2000 and then we had the glory years in the second level/Championship including memorable wins against Leeds United, Crystal Palace, Wolves and West Ham among others! Since 2005 there has been little to get too excited about apart from another memorable Wembley against Shrewsbury Town to get us back to the third level/league one. The chairman Paul Scally eventually “left” and a ray of hope arrived with American buyers Brad and Shannon Gallinson. We have a new manager, Steve Clemence the son of Ray Clemence who I met on the cycle tour back in 2010. The manager made over 200 Premier League appearances but this is his first permanent management position.

Clemence was a WINNER with England and Liverpool. Let’s hope his son is at Gillingham – here’s to the next 60 years!

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Tuktuk Day 51

Newcastle United

Well, I covered Sunderland recently so it is only fair that I talk about their noisy neighbours. The rivalry between Newcastle United and Sunderland is fierce but until a few weeks ago they had not met for eight years. A three nil victory for Newcastle United only re-opened arguments! Both sets of fans still claim bragging rights. FACTS show 54 victories and 53 defeats for the Tyneside club but Sunderland fans will scream about the six straight victories in the Premier League. and so it goes on. Most goals? Most away wins? Biggest victory score line. Like Tory politicians and statisticians the world over, fans will “prove” who is the bitter/bigger club! If they are struck for a definitive answer they will comment on the size or the capacity of the stadium, average attendances, number of seasons in the top division, the age of the stadium etc etc Personally, I’d say ….well perhaps I had better not!

One man who knows more than most about Newcastle United is author and fan, Gavin Haigh and we were talking about his latest book this week. I think it is one of the relatively few truly comprehensive books about a single club. So, if you are interested in the history and evolution of the Newcastle United shirt “Black and White Stripes ” is for you.

BLACK AND WHITE STRIPES
The Greatest Collection of Newcastle United Matchworn Shirts
By Gavin Haigh

Be the first kid in your street to own the ultimate Newcastle United shirts book. Order from Conker and you’ll get a free set of four limited-edition Classic NUFC Shirts postcards, too!

BLACK AND WHITE STRIPES is a stunning showcase of the world’s greatest collection of matchworn Newcastle United shirts. It tells the story of one man’s lifelong labour of love as a Magpies supporter and collector – and also works brilliantly, both visually and emotionally, as an informal fans’ history of the club spanning the late 1950s to date.

Every Newcastle United fan will be transported back in time by the historic matchworn shirts featured, each of which recalls a season, a past hero, big-match thrills and heartaches. Through the power of the shirts they wore, BLACK AND WHITE STRIPES puts you in touch with memories of Peter Beardsley and Alan Shearer, Gary Speed and Jonjo Shelvey.

Here is the shirt worn by hat-trick hero David Kelly in the 7-1 thrashing of Leicester in 1993, when the lads were presented with the First Division trophy. The Aertex number nine jersey prepared for the Japan Cup in 1983, but never used. Paul Gascoigne’s well-worn away shirt from the 1987/88 season. And many more…

Foreword by Newcastle United legend David Kelly.

About the author

Gavin Haigh’s life as a passionate NUFC shirt collector began as a seven-year-old in June 1976 with a trip with his mother to Stan Seymour’s sports shop in the centre of Newcastle. He attended his first match in October 1976, standing on the Gallowgate, became a Milburn Stand season-ticket holder in 1992 and continues to attend every home match, his love and commitment to the club never wavering. Gavin’s knowledge of the history of the club and their shirts is second to none, his NUFC shirt collection currently standing at close to 1000, of which 275 are matchworn shirts.

The book is available on The Conker Editions website or on Amazon

My Personal Favourite – Iconic!

I HOPE you are all enjoying the tour of the UK and I that you will consider a donation however small to support FC Deportivo Galicia and/or Prostate Cancer UK If everybody chipped in £1 I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and life would be easier in West London whilst the charity continued their great work.

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Tuktuk Day 50


Some clubs consistently punch above their weight. In the Premier League you could probably think Bournemouth and Luton are doing well. Other clubs always surprise you. You look at their history, attendances, potential and wonder why they are where they are. I’d think Sunderland, the Bristol Clubs and Notts County fall into that category. One club that DEFINITELY punches above its weight is Caversham United from Reading. Obviously they are in the shadows of Reading FC but there are other bigger local clubs that can attract both fans and players – Bracknell, Sandhurst Town, Reading City etc etc

So, on my recent visit to Woodley who groundshare with Reading City at Tilehurst I decided to catch up with Caversham United to see what makes them tick.

The first thing you notice is 20,000 Twitter followers! Impressive. Join them here

Caversham United Football Club


Hi thanks for agreeing to this Q&A. I have to say I am impressed with everything I see. Let me know a little more, please. Let’s start with an easy one.

Who are you?

Caversham United Football Club is an amateur football club based in Reading, Berkshire. We now boast three teams at the club, including two men’s sides in the Reading and District Sunday League, Divisions 1 and 4 respectively, and a women’s side in the sixth tier nationally, in the Southern Regional Division 1 North.

Our club is affiliated to the Berks & Bucks Football Association. Caversham United Football Club was founded under current ownership in June 2015, having been most recently known as AFC Palmer. Previous entities of the club include RBC Unison, FC Brettle and Miah’s. This is all history now and prior to the current ownership.

Any famous players?


Probably nobody you’ve ever heard of! We had an Isle of Man “international” in our ranks previously and have been coached by ex-Premier League striker Dave Kitson. A few professional footballers have a Caversham United shirt including Adam Le Fondre and Fran Kirby (“local girl done good.”)

Any famous cup run?


Our Women’s Team were beaten finalists in the Berks and Bucks FA Women’s Trophy in 2022, whilst facing QPR away in the Women’s FA Cup that same season. On the Men’s side, a penalty shootout in the league cup final last season.

Your nickname is The Goats. Why?


Goats because ….? The Goats? Following a Twitter Campaign in November 2018 the club adopted a new nickname of The Billy Goats, decided by the Twitter public. The nickname was not the only thing devised by our 15,000+ Twitter followers though! The current club crest was chosen, as was the club’s kit… and since then we have held an annual #CavUtdKitCompetition where designers can create a new kit and Twitter followers can vote for their favourite!


Those numbers are really impressive. I remember sharing the competition last season. I did not entere because I have literally zero design skills. I am mocked in the shirt community because I love the Windsor shirts!

Any quirky facts?


Quirky fact about us ….? Other than reinventing ourselves on social media!? Caversham United has a number of famous friends on Social Media including Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen, Manchester City, AS Roma, Benfica, Hashtag United, John Cena, Shaun Goater and so many more!

Shirts, Favourites, stories etc etc. Please?

Our shirt situation is pretty unique, with the general public designing each of our last 5 shirts. Every year around March time, we put a request out to our followers to send in their kit designs. In 2023 we received nearly 200 entries! Once the entries are in, a panel of club members pick their favourites and they are set against each other in a World Cup style vote on X/Twitter. The club’s home colour is navy, with the current away kit being white. Will the #CavUtdKitCompetition be back this season….? It might just be! Watch this space!

Thanks, you are another club whose results I will look out for. I wish you every success both on the field and with all your social media efforts. Please do keep in touch.

Home 23/24 (above), Away 23/24 (below)

I love the designs and LOVE the mantra!

I hope that everybody is enjoying my tour through the clubs of the UK. Caversham United may be the “smallest” I have spotlighted but absolutely the most “successful. “Congratulations. I hope readers will consider a donation however small to support FC Deportivo Galicia and/or Prostate Cancer UK If everybody chipped in £1 I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and life would be easier in West London whilst the charity continued their great work. A HEARTFELT thanks, if you can. If you can’t you can still help massively by sharing this page about the work of Prostate Cancer. Thanks, Steve


If you know, you know!

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Tuktuk Day 49

The guys at We Fix Kits are taking their business to the next level. They are shortly launching a You Tube channel and to celebrate are offering a GREAT prize for new followers. All you have to do is shoot over to their Twitter page and follow the simple instructions.

They say. “To celebrate the launch of our YouTube channel, we are giving away this iconic L/XL England 98 home shirt, complete with the Owen 20 nameset. All you have to do is follow us, like, comment and retweet this post on Twitter The winner will be selected on Friday 23rd Feb.”


We Fix Kits: A New Company That Teaches You How to Restore Your Football Shirts

If you don’t know We Fix Kits they continue, “We Fix Kits is a new company that aims to democratise the skill of restoring football shirts – classic, vintage or current. Whether you want to revive your old favourite shirt, or give a new look to your latest purchase, We Fix Kits can help you with their expert advice and services.

We Fix Kits was founded by a team of passionate football fans who have been collecting and restoring shirts for years. They realised that many people share their hobby, but lack the knowledge or confidence to work on their own shirts. That’s why they decided to create a company that not only offers professional shirt restoration services, but also teaches customers how to do it themselves.

“We believe that everyone should be able to enjoy their football shirts, no matter their age, condition or value. We want to empower our customers with the skills and knowledge to restore their shirts to their former glory, or even create something new and unique. We also want to promote the culture and history of football shirts, and celebrate the stories behind them.” – said Will Hogg, co-founder of We Fix Kits.

We Fix Kits provides step-by-step tutorials on their YouTube channel as well as tips and tricks on their social media accounts (@wefixkits on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok). Customers can also send their shirts to We Fix Kits for a professional restoration service, with a range of options and prices to suit their needs and budget.

For more information, please visit @wefixkits on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok”

PUMA – Switzerland

Perhaps I should put them in touch with Puma and the Swiss team. Remember this? Kit manufacturer Puma said it had traced a problem with ripped shirts for the Swiss team at Euro 2016 to a defective batch of material used only in a limited number of home jerseys for the team. During the goalless draw against France, which saw Switzerland join Les Bleus into the knockout phase, at least four Swiss players had to go to the sidelines to swap their torn tops. Oops.

CASTORE – Newcastle United

Puma are not the only company to have had “challenges” as Newcastle United have had problems with Castore shirts this season so it looks like We Fix Kits have found themselves a nice niche. If you have a problem, get in touch with the guys.

I hope that you will consider a donation however small to support FC Deportivo Galicia and/or Prostate Cancer UK  If everybody chipped in £1 I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and life would be easier in West London whilst the charity continued their great work. A HEARTFELT thanks, if you can. If you can’t you can still help massively by sharing this page about the work of Prostate Cancer. Thanks, Steve.

PS Perhaps I should tell Puma and Castore I will take this down if they make a donation! Anybody got a contact there?

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