Bob Wilson's charity bike ride Day One: A painful Spurs memory

Bob Wilson is cycling 500 miles over 12 days to visit all of the 20 Premier League clubs - and raise £250,000 to help beat cancer. MirrorFootball's John Cross will be following him and keeping you up to date on Bob's progress.

Day One: Fulham, Chelsea, West Ham, Arsenal, Tottenham

Scott Parker, Mark Noble, Pat Jennings, Ossie Ardiles, Arsene Wenger and Wojciech Szczesny are among the people to wish Bob Wilson good luck after he cycled to five London clubs in one day.

But ahead of the north London derby, the former Arsenal keeper has a painful memory of the 1969 League Cup semi-final - and has only just discovered how painful.

After getting a check-up in training, Wilson, 69, discovered he broke his leg in a challenge with former Tottenham player Alan Gilzean.

"It was the dirtiest derby ever. I don't think he liked me very much - and volleyed me!" smiles Wilson. "Someone said to me afterwards: 'He did you there.'

"But, while it hurt at the time, it was only later when one of the doctors looked at a scan and said: 'When did you break your leg?'"

That perhaps shows the depth of feeling between Arsenal and Tottenham, even if Spurs have been full of support for Wilson's Willow Foundation to give special days for seriously-ill 16- to 40-year-olds.

Wilson, who lost his daughter Anna to cancer, is now doing his bike ride to help raise £250,000 and provide special days for people.

"It's so diverse," he said. "Normality flies out of the window. So it could be as simple as taking someone to Centre Parcs with the family and to get them out of the horrible place they are in.

"Probably the most emotional day we've provided was for a young lady down in Portsmouth. She was 33, with three children aged three, five and seven. She had a wish to spend her last Christmas at home and to have a white Christmas.

"Remembering we don't do snow in this country, this time with the help of Coca-Cola, we transported, I don't know how much, maybe 50 tonnes of snow into the garden, Harrods provided a hamper and she survived until the beginning of February.

"That's an extreme. We try to do what the people want, but it's not easy to organise tea with the Queen. We are the only charity dedicated to people between 16 and 40."

Wilson now has a solid day's cycling in front of him from London Colney to Daventry and then on to Solihull on Wednesday, before visiting the Midlands clubs on Thursday, starting with Birmingham.

It is a big challenge, yet one which Wilson has embraced after taking tips from former GB cyclist David Twiddle.

"David is 78, and still rides 50 miles a day," said Wilson. "He and others have been great for me and even after this I will definitely keep cycling. It's been very enjoyable.

"I feel sharper in my mind, feel incredibly fit, only about 2lbs above my playing weight which, at my best, was around 13st 7lbs."

Follow Bob's progress online at www.bobwilsonsoccercycle.com and www.twitter.com/bobwilsonBWSC

Fancy winning £3,000 for FREE this month? Play Mirror Football Streak for your chance to win cash prizes! Start predicting now!

williamhill.com

Your comments

Blogs & Categories