[dropcap]When[/dropcap] I was a wee small lad back in the mid-sixties (yes, I am that old) I loved footy. Went every other week. One shilling for kids. It was a serious amount of money at the time, when pocket money was two of the aforementioned bobs. We were poor, but we were happy etc, etc, etc. But as young men will, girls and music intervened, and the lure of standing on a terrace with someone pissing down the back of your leg waned somewhat.
The mid-seventies arrived. I was an original punk rocker, had a girl friend, and a stupid haircut, but more importantly, I was a skateboarder. Yes, you’ve read that correctly, I skated. I was 13 when I first started skating. I was in my mid-forties when I stopped. And yes, you’ve also read that correctly, I was in my mid-forties when I, a middle-aged man, stopped skateboarding.
Skateboarding is a truly wonderful thing. Skating in the mid-nineties when you’re in your thirties, married, a father, have a mortgage and running your own one man business, well it takes a certain amount of dedication. It wasn’t like skating in the USA, where Mom and Pop would take little Johnny down to the local park and make a day of it, was it fuck. No! Skating in the UK was punk rock. If you’d managed to keep skating through countless winters, sought out fantastic architecture on which to display your amazing skills, and well, withstood the ridicule of everyone else, you were truly punk rock.
There was one particular group of skaters from Harrow. The Death Squad they called themselves. You may have caught them on the Dirty Sanchez telly show. Now these guys were truly hardcore. Both in their skating, and indeed in their lifestyle. I remember one of them, a fella’ called Dan Cates (look him up on YouTube, you won’t be disappointed) being interviewed on the telly once. He was asked about some charity event that was going on at the time. A sponsored skate, or some such rubbish. His answer has become a catchphrase of mine to this day. Old Dan turned to the camera, smiled a gap-toothed smile, adjusted his cap, and opined… “We don’t give a fuck about charity”.
Now, I’m a cynical bugger, I really am. If someone dies that I don’t know, my initial reaction isn’t, ‘Thoughts and prayers with whoever has just pegged it’. Not me. I’m more likely to just shrug, and think, ‘Who cares!’. I didn’t pray for Muamba, I don’t know him. I wouldn’t hold a candlelit vigil if another member of the royal family pegged it. I just wouldn’t .
Okay, I’m joking. Sort of. I am very cynical, but I’ve also given significant amounts of money to charity over the years. Disaster funds, cancer, Shelter, and most importantly of all for me, the NSPCC. They’ve all had a lot of my hard earned over the years. I’ve also volunteered to work for charitable organisations for free. I do a lot for charity, but I don’t like to talk about it.
So there you go, charity. I’m all for it. Just don’t tell anyone. Now, imagine that you earned £7 per minute. That equates to £420 per hour, £3,360 per 8 hour day, £16,800 a week, £67,200 a month, and £806,400 a year. Which is of course significantly less than your average Premiership player earns. It is however somewhere around the exact amount it takes to keep Willen Hospice running. It’s a lot of money isn’t it! It’s a charity. They have to raise that money by themselves. Or hope that others will on their behalf.
So, while Samir Nasri is no doubt bombing around the streets of Manchester (average house price £85,000) in his £330,000 Lamborghini, a group of around 10 Dons supporters walked, yes walked, to Fulham. All the while two other supporters kayaked to the very same away game. I know! How on earth does one kayak to Craven Cottage? But there you go. They did. Well at least I hope they did, as I’m writing this before the attempt was made. Gonna’ look a bit stupid if they didn’t. And if they indeed did, it was all in aid of the aforementioned good cause. And if you haven’t already, then you should give them some of your hard earned money. (Links at the foot of this piece). Because if you don’t, then you’re worse that Samir Nasri, who no one likes.
Both attempts are truly admirable. The average person can walk somewhere around 20 miles in an 8 hour stint. I’ve no idea how far the average person can kayak in an 8 hour stint, but as you’re sitting down all the way, then it must be the easier option. Skateboarders can obviously outdo both. It’s 56 miles from stadium:mk to Craven Cottage. Therefore, two 8 hour stints would still leave you 16 miles on the last day. It’s an early start. And when you get there you have to watch MK. Not a pleasing thought.
So there you go. They either did, or didn’t do it. But irrespective of the final outcome, massive kudos to both attempts. This from a fan base from the universally loathed Franchise FC. So while the football world heaps scorn on us, and our estranged cousins post the most bizarre and vaguely disturbing thoughts online, our fans get up off their arses (apart from the kayaks who quite literally sat on theirs all day) and actually made a difference.
So don’t be like Dan Cates, give a fuck about charity.