Ipswich: Soccer-mad Town fan to travel to all 92 English league grounds - in alphabetical order and on public transport!
IPSWICH: Visiting all 92 league football grounds in England and Wales is a familiar challenge for many die-hard fans.
But Town season ticket holder James Miller has set himself a much more formidable target in an attempt to raise money for research into pancreatic cancer.
Mr Miller, 64, is planning to visit all the grounds in alphabetical order – in just 29 days and only using public transport or supporters’ coaches.
He plans to start his epic journey on October 1 and complete it before the end of the month.
Although he now lives in Hackney, Mr Miller has been a Town fan for many years, having previously lived in Felixstowe and Newmarket.
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But he has special reasons to support research into cancer.
His wife, Celia, died from a rare cancer of the heart in 2007 and last year his son George died from pancreatic cancer at the age of just 37.
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He said: “I have decided to do a big fundraising stunt to show my contempt for the Devil who has been getting at me.
“Others might cycle to Moscow, but as a keen Ipswich fan, who has followed the team extensively by train for the last year, I thought ‘why not visit all 92 league clubs – alphabetically’?
“Luckily, I don’t have to see a game at each ground, as that would take several years.”
Mr Miller himself was diagnosed as a coeliac in 2003, which means he cannot eat anything with gluten, and last year while on a trip to Hong Kong after the death of his son he suffered a stroke from which he is now recovering.
Liverpool University has a team doing world-leading research into pancreatic cancer, and as both Mr Miller and his late wife were graduates from that university he is planning to donate any sponsorship money his epic trek makes to that. He starts his trip on October 1 at Accrington Stanley’s Crown Ground. They are playing Aldershot on that day, and he is hoping to cadge a lift back to number two on his list in their supporters’ coach.
The longest trips are not always the most difficult – but some are expected to be very challenging.
The trip from Sunderland to Swansea will be a challenge – as will that from Bournemouth to Bradford. Visiting Derby, Doncaster, Everton and Exeter on a single day will also be a formidable journey.
But one place Mr Miller is not looking forward to visiting is Scunthorpe.
He said: “Glanford Park is way out on an industrial estate with no buses, nothing. I’m making a bit of a point about that!”
If you want to support Mr Miller’s efforts you can sign up to sponsor him at www.justgiving.com/92ClubsByTrain
n Have you attempted any unusual fundraising efforts? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org