You’re just champion – that’s the message to Leeds United fans who helped raise thousands of pounds for charity with a very special pre-match warm-up.
Around a dozen hardy Leeds supporters walked 30 miles from Elland Road to Rotherham United’s New York Stadium ahead of the Whites’ fixture there on Friday night.
Their efforts are expected to raise more than £6,000 for Leeds Children’s Hospital and the Luey Jacob Sharp Foundation, set up by Leeds striker Billy Sharp after the death of his baby son.
Organised by Leeds’s Square Ball fanzine, the trek took about 12 hours to complete and got the fans to Rotherham with 15 minutes to spare before kick-off.
The Square Ball’s Michael Normanton said: “The walkers themselves were a fantastic group of people who made the tough miles as pleasant as they could have possibly been – a real side before self attitude from everyone involved.
“Also huge thanks to all the sponsors. Seeing the donations roll in as the walk progressed really gave us a boost and made every blister, sore knee and ankle seem worthwhile.
“Before we reached the hostile territory of South Yorkshire we also had plenty of support from passing drivers who were beeping horns and doing the Leeds salute out of their windows.
“All in all it was a great day and I’m thoroughly proud of everyone who took part in the walk itself and helped raise such a fantastic amount of money for charity.”
People can still donate to the fundraising, visit www.justgiving.com/teams/squareball for further information.
The new issue of The Square Ball is released this Saturday and 25p from each copy sold will also go to the fund.
Billy Sharp’s son Luey had gastroschisis, a birth defect which sees a baby’s intestines growing outside their body wall for the whole of their mother’s pregnancy
The condition can normally be corrected by surgery but tragically in Luey’s case there were added complications which meant doctors were unable to operate.