It’s going to be an eventful day on the pitch this Saturday as FC United of Manchester visit Croft Park but that will be matches away from the pitch and it’s all in aid of the Scott Bell Fund. Several Spartans supporters – and some very special guests – will be cycling from the Sunderland Stadium of Light to Newcastle United’s St James Park with the aim of raising funds for the charity set up by former Spartans striker Scott Bell to help those with Motor Neurone Disease.
The list of riders is Fergus Dowd, Tony Parker, Carole Thomas, Ray Cummings, Dave Brennan, Sarah Rose, Maurice Hepworth and Willie Henderson. Joining them will be former Magpies stars Mick Martin, Joe Allen, Oliver Bernard and one of the stars of Spartans famous 1978 FA Cup run Alan Shoulder.
The supporters will be joined by some former Black Cats and Magpies players for the cycle which has been titled “There is a light that never goes out” and will be leaving the Stadium of Light at around 8:30am. They expect to arrive at St James Park between 10 and 10:30am where they will be met by Spartans manager Tom Wade and some members of his squad and then it’s on to Croft Park.
That is far from the end of the action with a number of talks taking place at Spartans Clubhouse bar prior to the match with the Rebels. First up at 1:30pm will be FC United General Manager Andy Walsh as he talks about his time with the club and takes questions from the floor. At 1:20pm two very special guests will take to the floor. Sue and Mike O’Connell are relatives of Patrick O’Connell, who made a big impact with La Liga giants Barcelona and the club Spartans have a supporters ‘Pena’ link with Real Betis. They will talk about just what Patrick achieved and why he was such a trailblazer.
The final talk will take place at 1:40pm as Jeff Healey is welcomed to give a talk on Motor Neurone Disease in football and in general. This will finish at around 2pm when thoughts will turn to the match.
Spartans official YouTube channel BSAFCTV will be with the riders at the Stadium of Light, St James Park and of course Croft Park with interviews and footage from the ride. That will be available online early next week.