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Homeless World Cup

Intrigued to find out more? Click here for the official Homeless World Cup website.

5 a side Competition

Fundraising 5 a side competition was held on 12 August and raised over £650. A full report on the evening's activities is online now. Click here to read it. Photos are also available to view - Click here to see them.

Just Giving

If you are able to donate, please visit my Just Giving page at
Every pound you give will go towards changing people's lives and will be greatly appreciated. Thank you :)

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Quick Note

Just a quick note to prevent any confusion: I'm not associated with, nor am I trying to pass myself off as, World Cup Willie, the 1966 World Cup Mascot. He's much more popular and handsome than I could ever be. If you want to find out more about him click here

I want to ride my bicycle … and so I did.

My new bike has been sat in the living room for about 3 months (see pic below), untouched. I’ve tightened, tweaked and played with bits and pieces. I’ve even managed to break the valve on the inner tube recently. But today, I finally managed to get out on it.

My new bike ... parked behind the sofa in the lounge

My plan was to be riding in the Suffolk Coastal Bike Ride doing 60 miles from Woodbridge up to Cove Hithe and back down again. I’d have been back in my home territory, in the beautiful sunshine, pedalling like mad for a few hours, but, as you’ll have seen in earlier posts, I’ve been struggling with a knee injury since before the end of the football season and, only now, do I think I’m in any position to start training for long distance events. My recent optimism comes courtesy of some extraordinarily simple, but very effective, treatment from my chiropractor, Dr Neil Folker, who worked wonders on my ITB (a kind of elastic band in my leg).

Anyway, back to the bike ride. Completed 10.5 miles today – my longest bike ride in about 15 years! Yes, I did it because I wanted to do it, but I also felt I should take on some hard(ish) work in a kind of sympathy-pains way, as my buddy Si Hatson was riding up and down Suffolk without me. He finished the whole route in 4hrs 25mins – a whole lot quicker than he would’ve done if I was with him. Well done, Si!

Riding bikes has been a common thing during my fundraising project …

First I met Steve Hall who landed back in England from his home in Spain without any transport or accommodation and is cycling around all 92 Football League grounds in England and Wales. He’s currently just beyond half way and has suffered on the way with all his possessions in Spain being lost to fire and a couple of days in hospital near Newcastle after being knocked off his bike by a car. Steve’s ‘doing the 92′ to support a href=”” target=”_blank”>Bjorn Heidenstrom who cycled from Oslo to Cape Town.

Yes, you did read that correctly. Bjorn cycled all the way from Norway to South Africa! His aim was to deliver the world’s largest shirt to the World Cup in South Africa to raise awareness of the world’s 45 million refugees. No fundraising – just raising awareness. An incredible effort that took 12 months and you can see the shirt on You Tube here (22 seconds in) and here.

And, just this weekend, following a recommendation from Steve Hall, I’ve found a guy, Leigh Timmis, who is cycling all the way round the world to raise £10,000 for Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre. He’ll be on his bike for months and years! You can find out more about Leigh’s amazing adventure at

The stuff I’m doing to raise money seems so insignificant compared to their efforts – they deserve as much support and encouragement as they can get. Please look out for them :)

OK, so it’s been a while since I last updated my blog. I have a barrel-load of reasons/excuses/justifications for my absence, but will spare them for another time. The only things I will say are i) very busy at work and ii) plans for the 5 a side competition are coming along nicely …

It’s been a bit of a squeeze for the last few weeks juggling work with fundraising, but I’ve managed to get many requests for raffle/auction donations out by snail mail, email and generally dropping in on places at random. Letters went out about 4 weeks before the raffle (less time than I had hoped for and cutting it a bit tight) but so far I’ve already had a shirt from Liverpool FC, entry for lots of people to paintball and an executive box and tour at Wycombe Wanderers FC confirmed. I’ve also managed to get a signed Roy Keane autobiography too, courtesy of an old school friend, James Hollman, who is now the goalkeeping coach at Ipswich Town. Very excited by that one! Hoping for a few more items to make the event even more appealing.

So far I’ve got 6.5 teams confirmed for the event (waiting for final confirmation from the seventh) with 8-10 being the perfect number. Not sure what the standard is going to be like, as I can’t imagine some of the guys from work have kicked a ball in anger for many years, but I’m expecting it to be good fun regardless. Balls have arrived, ref’s whistle purchased and trophies ordered. Teams confirmed so far are from Coffee Nation Ltd, Dreams plc, HM Air Cooling and Complete IT.

While this has all been going on I’ve had a serious think about my knee. Yes, it’s getting better (my chiropractor rocks!), but this late surge of treatment has reduced my training to almost zero since I took on this fundraising project all those weeks ago. I’m sorry to say, but have to pull out of the Suffolk Coast Bike Ride and the Ipswich Half Marathon in August and concentrate on an event in October – The Royal Parks Half Marathon. I stand a chance of getting round that without risking any long-term damage to my knee so, with my practical hat on (dull, huh?) I’m going to defer all my energy for this event. I’ll keep an eye out for anything else I can get involved in, just so all my sponsors can get their money’s worth of sweat out of me. Really sorry to sound like I’m wimping out, but all that running and riding just ain’t gonna happen with my body playing up like it is.

Funds currently stand at £1172 – 45% of my target. Planning for a successful August to bring in the remaining half!

Getting late in the evening now, so I’m off to bed shortly, ready for another full day in (or even ‘out’) of the office :)

Interesting times; I have broken things that need fixing. I’ve recently received my brand spanking new bike and already managed to break it and I’ve had to take a trip to the physio to get my knee checked out.

I’ve tried to look after my new bike and I pumped up the tyres last week before taking it out for its first proper ride and managed to break the inner tube where it joins the valve. Never used one of these Presta valves before and it seems they’re a whole lot more delicate than the old style Schrader valves that I am used to. I’ve got a lot of learning to do after 10 years out of the saddle with only 5 weeks until the big ride!

Recently been feeling some discomfort in my right knee, too, which shows it’s ugly face about 2 miles into a run. I’ve been expecting it to just disappear since the Watford 10k in May, it hasn’t disappeared yet, and with less than 9 weeks until the Ipswich Half Marathon, I thought I should get some expert advice. The area below my knee has been strapped up to try and pull some bits back into line and I’ve got to take it out for a test run to see if it works any better than before. Just waiting for the temperature to drop today …

Strapped up knee

Split inner tube

I’m plesed to confirm a 5 a side tournament to raise money for The Homeless World Cup Foundation will be held on Thursday 12 August at Hamilton School in High Wycombe, from 6pm. Entry is £60 per team of 5 (or 6 if you fancy a sub) with all funds raised going to the charity. Click here to download an application form for the tournament.

There’ll be group matches, semi final and a final, so there’ll be lots of football to play with a trophy for the winning team. Plans are also being put down for a post-tournament auction and raffle with some food for everyone too.

If you don’t fancy playing, please do come along to support the teams – it should be an evening full of fun :)

Remember Steve Hall? Met him recently. He’s the one ‘Doing the 92′ (cycling round all 92 English and Welsh league football clubs). Finally, after many months of planning, he and his friend Bjorn have achieved their aim of getting ‘The Shirt’ on show at The World Cup. You may have seen it as part of the opening ceremony at Soccer City. Click here to watch the You Tube clip. It’s probably the biggest shirt in the world.

Great work guys! Hope it brings lots of awareness to your project.

Can you help? I’m organising an auction and raffle and need some fantastic items for my Homeless World Cup fundraising …

Tickets to events (races, football matches, concerts), weekends away in wonderful hotels, rounds of golf, signed sports memorabilia, dinner at restaurants, behind the scenes or once in a lifetime trips … and anything else you can think of.

If you can help with generous donations or interesting suggestions, please drop me an email:

Thursday night was the Crisis Square Mile Run in London (St Paul’s Cathedral to The London Eye, up and down the river a bit and back to St Paul’s). Fantastic finish crossing the Millennium Bridge with St Paul’s immediately in front. Thousands of people there, watching and taking part, and even a few people spotted me, as they saw my new shirt (with name on front and website on the back) – was one of them you?

Anyway, run complete, more people know about my project now and a trip to the physio coming up to see why my knee isn’t happy. It needs to be working right with just 11 weeks until my first half marathon. Lots of training to do before then as well!

Thanks to Rabobank for putting on a fab BBQ on their balcony, which overlooks the Thames and Millennium bridge. Photo is a bit dark, but you can see my new shirt here and the Millennium bridge lit up behind. It’s looking west down the river towards Parliament.

Recently met up with Steve Hall who is ‘Doing the 92′ – for those of you not in-the-know, that means he’s visiting each of the 92 league football grounds in England and Wales all the way from Plymouth to Norwich to Newcastle and beyond. He’s also doing on a bike. It sounds like madness, but Steve is doing it for good reason.

Steve’s aim is not to raise money – he is simply raising awareness of the 45 million refugees in the world and for an amazing parallel project that a friend of his is taking on. Bjorn Heidenstrom is a retired Norwegian footballer and is cycling from Oslo to South Africa, again raising awareness of refugees, collecting football shirts and creating  the biggest shirt ever – we think it’s a record breaking shirt – click here to see a Flickr pic. It’s an astonishing undertaking by Bjorn! And he has recently arrived after many months and thousands of miles on his bike. Well done, Bjorn!

Anyway, Steve will be out and about around England and Wales over the summer. You can keep up to date with him on his website and he’ll be delighted to meet and get your support on his trip. At the time of writing he’ll be somewhere between Birmingham and Manchester.

Here’s a little pic of Steve and I when we met, just after I fixed his bike. Hope it’s still going well for him. Good luck, Steve!

Just received 500 flyers! I’ll be starting to hand them out tonight at The Crisis Square Mile Run.

Let me know if you want some to hand out to help fundraising.

Getting prepared right now for tomorrow’s run around Central London. Starting at 7pm, I’ll be running with hundreds of others from St Paul’s Cathedral, along the Thames, up to The London Eye and back again, finishing (hopefully) with a sprint finish across the Millennium Bridge – 4.3 miles in total.

Look out for me in my new WILLY t-shirt (with name printed big across the front). If there are any photos, I’ll post them here later :)

What is this all about?

This is all about creating new futures for people ... through football. It's simple! And more than 500 people from across the world will have the opportunity by taking part in the 2010 Homeless World Cup. The event raises awareness of homelessness globally and drives people to change their lives with new health, jobs, homes, families and more. If you'd like to sponsor me, please click here.

Who am I?

I'm Wil, a football fan ... and now a volunteer at the 2010 Homeless World Cup. I've taken on the challenge of volunteering for the 2010 Homeless World Cup to combine my passion for football with a desire to help others. I'll be getting my hands dirty at the event, helping in a whole range of ways (lugging around equipment, directing teams, talking to the press, compiling results, writing blogs and more). It's a fantastic opportunity to get involved and to make a difference to so many other people's lives.