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Chance for footballers to show that what Olympics fans are saying about them isn’t true – every FC please read and RT

Posted on 4 September 2012 | 6:09am

Much has been made of the contrast between the values and heroics of our Olympians and Paralympians, and the often not so great values and not so great values of our multi-millionaire professional footballers.

Well today provides an opportunity for football, football clubs and football stars to show that the caricature is misplaced.

I know lots of them already give money to good causes, but this is a good cause that ought to touch them more than most, because it concerns one of their own.

Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov has leukaemia. He is a very popular player, not least with the staff at the club. The Villa masseurs Alex Butler and Andrew Smith had the idea of doing a bike ride to raise money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, the charity Petrov now supports, and of which I am chairman of fundraising and (lapsed cos I hate swimming) captain of the triathlon team.

So PEDAL FOR PETROV was born. The idea is a 400 mile bike ride from Petrov’s last club, Celtic, to his current one, Villa. It starts at Celtic Park today, and I hope lots of media and supporters turn out to cheer them on as Celtic manager Neil Lennon sets them on their way with a cheque from the club. It will then go via Newcastle, Newton St Boswells, Halton, Liverpool and Manchester, before riding from there to Villa Park for a fundraising dinner next Sunday. That is the leg (the toughest ahem) that I will be doing, and Alex Ferguson has already committed to ensuring Manchester United will be represented as we set off. So Come on City!!! (I never thought I would hear myself say that).

Villa have put out an appeal to all top clubs to support the ride, and if I am being absolutely frank – what else would you expect? – the response so far has been disappointing. So now that it is underway, let’s see clubs, players, managers and fans get behind this ride to raise funds to ensure we find better treatments and one day a cure for this horrible disease. The target is £250,000 – which even in these tough times I think is conservative given what we are talking about – and we are well short of that as the start line nears.

So here is what we are looking for. To the media in Glasgow, Newton St Boswells, Newcastle, Halton, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham, and all points between — look out for the lads coming through, accompanied all the way by former England player and leukaemia survivor and now tireless fundraiser Geoff Thomas.

To members of the public en route – to give what they can, and to check out the charity website to see how they can support in other ways.

Above all to football clubs, players, managers and staff, to get onto this link and give us a small fraction of your wages. I know you get asked all the time, I really do understand that, but this one really should touch you.

And to businesses, and all those doing so well from the booming sports industry, we are on the lookout for money can’t buy experiences for the dinner at Villa on Sunday. Villa are also still selling tables.

Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research is a wonderful charity that devotes every penny to doing what it says on the tin. We are obviously sad that Stilyan Petrov became ill, but grateful to him that he has become such a strong supporter, and grateful to Alex and Andrew for their wonderful idea.

You can find out about them, their route, and how to help, by clicking here.

It gives you hopefully all the info you need but if anyone has anything specific they want to raise with me, they can email via the public speaking box on this site.

Begging letter over. Off to the Paralympics now. Swimming this morning, athletics later. And to all those journalists asking if I will come on to fill the blahspace talking about reshuffles before David Cameron gets round to it, the answer is No. Though here is a reminder of one thing he should do.

  • Trip

    As the average wage for the premiership is £1.46 million pounds per year, well, you can guess the rest…

  • Olli Issakainen

    Money talks.
    We have read enough of the hedonistic values of top footballers in the tabloids.
    Premier League UK tv rights are worth £3bn between 2013-16.
    Roman Abramovich has poured £1bn to Chelsea since 2003.
    Uefa rules demand that between 2011-13 clubs can only lose £35.6m.
    Yet Chelsea spent £32m on Hazard and £25m on Oscar.
    Sheikh Mansour of Man City has also given £1bn to the club since taking over.
    City spent £12m on Rodwell and £22m on Javi Garcia.
    Stan Kroenke´s Arsenal splashed £39m on the trio of Giroud, Podolski and Cazorla.
    Messrs Gold and Sullivan at West Ham eye the Olympic Stadium!
    Spurs have been on spending spree.
    QPR have bought a new team!
    What about Man Utd?
    They bought RVP for £23m. But the club is £423m in debt thanks to Glazers.
    Their leveraged takeover of Man Utd left the club £550m in debt.
    £80m from the deal of Ronaldo was never spent.
    All credit to Paul Scholes, a model professional, but Sir Alex should have brought in a central midfielder if he wants to win the premiership.
    Recent flotation of United shares at $14 a share gave the Glazers £70m.
    Only £70m went to the club.
    John Henry´s Fenway Sports has loaned £30m to Liverpool.
    But the biggest spender in Europe has been PSG.
    As far as I know, my own club Burnley FC is debt-free thanks to our former chairman.
    Another chairman Bob Lord once said that there was no future for small clubs like Burnley.
    But tv money now makes big crowds less important. Despite of a poor start I still believe that we can make to the Premier League again.

  • Anonymous

    My word, reshuffle eh? We were aware that nothing important would happen ie IDS, Gove, Osborne, Hague and May were safe. I’d have shipped out May myself and possibly IDS. They can’t move Osborne without admitting defeat on the economy, Hague is doing a decent job, Gove is doing a fantastic job.
    But moving Hunt to health?! Everyone is at them for being in the pocket of Murdoch and for wrecking the NHS so they decide to put one of Murdoch’s patsies into the Health role?! What’s the logic – is this supposed to suck all the negativity down that one black hole ie health and hunt are going to get it anyway so why open two fronts?!

  • Anonymous

    At least Ken Clarke has been booted out of Justice.
    Ken Clarke, great guy, arguably would have been one of the most formidable Tory leaders in political terms, but never really a conservative.
    He did an excellent job as chancellor under Major, but justice is really not his thing, certainly not as a conservative.
    It would be like if Labour had a man who was a solid socialist, a a solid trade unionist but who didn’t believe in the NHS – Labour could still use the guy but they wouldn’t put him in charge of the NHS!

  • Any thoughts on the values and heroics of Tony Blair Alastair? It’s just that Toby Fenwick is making some key observations over here:
    http://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-is-tutu-right-on-tony-blair-30037.html, most importantly that the purpose of Gove’s involvement in the quartet is that it protects him from arrest for war crimes.

  • Anonymous

    I would love to be a Premier footie player for a month, and then I would retire.

  • Anonymous

    Anyway, never mind about this, seems no one is interested on the successful mars rover that is prowling now there, apart from me, it seems. Germans are more interested, for some reason, but they don’t go in for tittle-tattle like the english, so that might explain it. Song,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VH0Js8qdnyA
    What do you say Doctor Sheldon Cooper, can you make any sense of it?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYMFHON8LFw

    Thought so, fucking astro physicists!

  • Gilliebc

    Gove ?

  • Michele

    I always think that if someone is really really vehemently against something they must fess up to what would be the alternative that they would support / prefer.
    Has TF done so re the whatifs – were Saddam still in power?

    Sorry to butt in and all that but it is what you’re asking AC to do after all :-s

  • 🙂 Sorry!
    And over here I’ve been denying being obsessed with Gove – how funny.. http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2012/09/04/more-state-spending-does-not-give-us-the-growth-we-need/

  • Re the 2003 war I made my position clear in my discussion with my Labour MP the week before the vote. He agree with me that the kind of aid I’d been involved in wasn’t being analysed as an alternative to war in terms of it’s capacity to build long term peace. He also agreed that he would not vote for the war without a second UN resolution which would make it legal. It was all very coherent.

    Then he did a U-turn and voted for the war and now he has a knighthood…..

    You may not have been able to see the alternative but I could.

  • Thanks also for the prompt Michele that I must write up my mental picture of the new ways forward for Israel which mass online communication are making possible. Do feel free do find me and give me a kicking to do that any time. I’m on the Local Schools Network, Lib Dem voice and John Redwood’s blog mainly at the minute as well as all the usual linkedin forums.

  • Michele

    Your position?
    Oh goody.

    I could see the alternative btw; please don’t be so dismissive whether by accident or design.
    Just one part of it was the sanctions continuing and Saddam staying in power while countries not far to their east continued breaking the sanctions for profit, helping the rich and powerful in Iraq while others were being experimented upon by poison gas being sprayed, then their being buried in mass graves.
    I only found your replies due to the coincidence of the rotating bits’n’bobs below more-current topics and won’t be back on this one.

  • Michele

    Your position?
    Oh goody.

    I could see the alternative btw; please don’t be so dismissive whether by accident or design.
    Just one part of it was the sanctions continuing and Saddam staying in power while countries not far to their east continued breaking the sanctions for profit, helping the rich and powerful in Iraq while others were being experimented upon by poison gas being sprayed, then their being buried in mass graves.
    I only found your replies due to the coincidence of the rotating bits’n’bobs below more-current topics and won’t be back on this one.

  • Michele

    PS: My point about alternative postions btw, it was about TF ….. the vehement bloke you recommended to the blog.
    Not about your own, whether ‘veh’ or not.

  • Michele

    PS: My point about alternative postions btw, it was about TF ….. the vehement bloke you recommended to the blog.
    Not about your own, whether ‘veh’ or not.