'I never want to get on a bike again!'
A group of Manchester United fans were greeted by Treble legends Andy Cole, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville at Old Trafford on Monday, after completing an epic charity cycle ride from Barcelona.
“Dad died in Salford in a hospice, where the care he received was fantastic,”Andy told us, after completing the final few metres to Old Trafford around 5pm.
“But two weeks before he died, there was no ambulance for my dad. He had to get a lift home to die. We wanted to do something positive and we’ve done our bit. A thousand people have sponsored us so we can put an ambulance on the streets of this city.
“It doesn’t get us our dad back, but we’ve tried our best and we’ve had a lot of support from a lot of people, including the lads who’ve come here to see us, and we’re buzzing off that.“
From Barcelona on a bike Gallery
United fanzine editor Andy Mitten completed an incredible charity bike ride on Monday night.
“We got a load of punctures,”Mitten continued.
“We had some good days, we had some bad days. We just kept going. We’re pretty fit – I just feel like I don’t want to get on a bike again!“
“I know his dad passing away had a huge impact upon Andy and obviously to do this, and get an ambulance, is absolutely incredible. So well done to them all. We said we'd meet them at the end. I thought we were going to do the last leg, actually. We agreed, a few weeks ago, to do the last leg, but we backed out! We thought we'd let them come in and meet them here at Old Trafford.”
“My Grifter's got a puncture so I couldn't quite make it! But it's a great effort. Andy’s talked about some of the challenges they've had, so they can have a pint tonight and enjoy it.”
“Manchester United have been brilliant. They said right from the start: ‘What can we do for you?’ They put a suite on for us; they've put some food on for us. Liverpool FC have been brilliant, Manchester City have been brilliant.
“Liverpool gave us Andy Robertson's shirt from Madrid. It went for £5,000. I said to the lad who bought it: 'Do you want to come and get it at Old Trafford? Gary Neville will present it to you.' The lad said, 'Under no circumstances.'
“My wife has looked after my kids for 16 days, which has been a challenge,”he continued.
“We've had a huge amount of support, and you need that. We had the two lads driving us. One went through a red light on the first day!
“We had Wigan's former kit man on top of the hygiene, washing our kit every single day. We were in a pub near Birmingham yesterday and this pot went round and they just said, 'Here's £190 towards your ambulance'. Complete strangers.
“It was a team effort. I was probably the weakest cyclist, and I needed the lads to help me, just to say, ‘Push on, push on’. But we've raised the dough. For us, it's a lot of money to raise, so we're buzzing with it.”